Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/07/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 127 CRIM. CONV. OVERTURNED: RECEIVE PAST PFD TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 127 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 112 SEXUAL ASSAULT BY PEACE OFFICERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 1 ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 127-CRIM. CONV. OVERTURNED: RECEIVE PAST PFD                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:04:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  order of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 127,  "An Act  relating to  a permanent                                                               
fund  dividend  for  an  individual  whose  conviction  has  been                                                               
vacated, reversed, or dismissed;  and relating to the calculation                                                               
of the value of the  permanent fund dividend by including payment                                                               
to individuals eligible for a  permanent fund dividend because of                                                               
a conviction that has been vacated, reversed, or dismissed."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HB 127.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:05:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FRANK TURNEY testified  that he supports HB 127.   He stated that                                                               
there  are a  number of  criminal convictions  overturned due  to                                                               
newly discovered facts, suggesting a  miscarriage of justice.  He                                                               
said that those  wrongly convicted have suffered  punishment as a                                                               
result.    He  asserted  that  "the  Fairbanks  Four"  should  be                                                               
compensated with  the permanent fund dividend  (PFD) payments for                                                               
the 18 years of incarceration  as should others whose convictions                                                               
have been overturned.   He offered that  wrongly convicted people                                                               
face  many  hurdles when  re-entering  society,  such as  finding                                                               
employment  and housing,  and  needing psychological  counseling.                                                               
He opined  that compensating  these people  would not  remove the                                                               
long  years of  incarceration but  would help  them "get  back on                                                               
their feet"  and have  a normal  life.   He mentioned  that other                                                               
states  have set  forth  compensations for  those  who have  been                                                               
wrongly  convicted and  whose convictions  have been  overturned.                                                               
He said  that he spent  nine years incarcerated in  Oregon, after                                                               
which  he worked  on  a governor's  task force  and  on a  county                                                               
community corrections advisory committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:07:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARVIN ROBERTS stated that he is  from Canton, Alaska, and is one                                                               
of the  Fairbanks Four.   He relayed that  in 1997, he  and three                                                               
others were  wrongly arrested and subsequently  wrongly convicted                                                               
for crimes  that they  did not  commit.  He  said that  "after 18                                                               
years, we were finally given back  our lives," but were not given                                                               
any  compensation and  are starting  out with  nothing.   He said                                                               
that  they find  themselves  struggling  without job  experience,                                                               
education, or  money for professional  counseling.   He mentioned                                                               
that he is  working two jobs, which limits time  with his family.                                                               
He maintained  that they  were not  allowed to  file for  PFDs in                                                               
prison  during the  18 years.   He  attested that  he would  have                                                               
remained in  Alaska during  those 18 years  and would  have filed                                                               
for all  his dividends.  He  stated that the money  would benefit                                                               
the four of them immensely.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:10:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  thanked Mr.  Roberts for  his letter  to the                                                               
committee  [included  in  the  committee   packet]  and  for  his                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS   wished  Mr.   Roberts  the  best   as  he                                                               
transitions back into society.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:10:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked Mr. Roberts  if he was ever  offered a                                                               
PFD application during his years of incarceration.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBERTS replied that he was not offered a PFD application.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NATASHA SINGH,  General Council, Tanana Chiefs  Conference (TCC),                                                               
stated  that  14  months  ago TCC  celebrated  the  release  from                                                               
incarceration  of the  four men  known  as the  Fairbanks Four  -                                                               
Marvin Roberts, George Frese, Eugene  Vent, and Kevin Pease.  She                                                               
relayed that  these men maintained  their innocence for  19 years                                                               
and were vindicated  after a five-week [hearing].   She said that                                                               
they  were   released  in  exchange  for   signing  an  agreement                                                               
releasing the  State of Alaska  from any civil  liability related                                                               
to the  prosecution or investigation  of their  cases; therefore,                                                               
they  cannot  seek  compensation   through  the  court  processes                                                               
available to most people.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SINGH  mentioned  that the  Fairbanks  Four  literally  left                                                               
prison with  the shirts  on their  backs, and  the state  did not                                                               
provide these men with assistance  in transitioning back into the                                                               
"real world."   She  added that  despite one's  proven innocence,                                                               
re-entry into society is profoundly  difficult for the wrongfully                                                               
convicted.   She maintained that  the failure to  compensate them                                                               
adds insult to  injury and opined that society  has an obligation                                                               
to compensate the wrongfully convicted.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. SINGH  offered that for  Alaska to guarantee true  justice to                                                               
innocent  Alaskan men  and women  who  are falsely  incriminated,                                                               
wrongfully  convicted,  or  victimized  by  the  Alaska  criminal                                                               
justice system,  many areas of  that system must be  examined and                                                               
rehabilitated.    She  mentioned  that  there  are  charging  and                                                               
sentencing  disparities regarding  both  rural  and urban  Alaska                                                               
Natives  and to  all  Alaskans.   She  stated that  prosecutorial                                                               
misconduct  and   the  mechanism  for  accountability   of  state                                                               
officials need to be codified  with real and meaningful sanctions                                                               
available.  She  added that TCC will be  seeking criminal justice                                                               
reforms  and  statutory  changes.    She  mentioned  eye  witness                                                               
identification  and access  to  post conviction  deoxyribonucleic                                                               
acid (DNA) testing as two areas in need of reform.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SINGH  relayed that  she  has  personally witnessed  Marvin,                                                               
George,  Eugene,  and  Kevin  re-integrate  themselves  into  the                                                               
community of Fairbanks  and try to make  something of themselves.                                                               
She maintained  that they truly are  doing it on their  own.  She                                                               
expressed her  belief that they  are heroes who have  her respect                                                               
and the respect of the executive board of TCC.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:15:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL  OBERLY,  Executive   Director,  Alaska  Innocence  Project,                                                               
stated that the proposed legislation  would correct an error made                                                               
by  the court  and subsequently  by the  Permanent Fund  Dividend                                                               
Division  (PFDD).   He  asserted  that the  men  and women  whose                                                               
convictions have been  vacated deserve the proposed  statute.  He                                                               
proclaimed, "The money is there, and  it is the right thing to do                                                               
to  give it  to them.   It  is their  money, in  fact, wrongfully                                                               
taken from them."  He contended that  it is the right thing to do                                                               
morally, as they  already have had years taken  from their lives,                                                               
and it  is the right thing  to do legally, since  they should not                                                               
have been  in prison,  and the  PFD should  not have  been denied                                                               
them.   He asserted  that HB  127 would correct  that error.   He                                                               
added  that this  money could  not be  put to  a better  use.   A                                                               
person  released after  wrongful incarceration  receives no  help                                                               
for his/her  transition and  no help  to return  to society.   He                                                               
urged  the  committee to  pass  HB  127  out  of committee.    He                                                               
reiterated that these  four men are truly heroes  in that despite                                                               
being wronged  terribly, they approach  each day with  a positive                                                               
attitude and  continue to struggle each  day in the face  of many                                                               
barriers.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:18:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  asked if  HB 127 is  the right  vehicle for                                                               
compensation.  He asked why  someone, who knew his/her conviction                                                               
was going to be overturned, would  give up his/her right to civil                                                               
litigation.   He  offered that  the PFD  money represents  such a                                                               
small component  of the  compensation truly  due them  because of                                                               
wrongful conviction.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  OBERLY  replied  that  he   would  attempt  to  explain  the                                                               
situation  by  relating  what  the  presiding  judge  said  after                                                               
completion of the [five-week] hearing:   The judge shared that he                                                               
had not listened to any testimony  from the first three trials or                                                               
reviewed  the   two  dozen   motions  and   additional  testimony                                                               
submitted during  reconsideration of the  case.  He said  that it                                                               
would take  about six months to  hear all the testimony  and rule                                                               
on  all the  motions.   He stated  that he  would be  allowed six                                                               
months to  decide on  the case, but  that six-month  period would                                                               
not  start  until the  review  of  evidence  was completed.    He                                                               
relayed that  if he  has not made  a decision by  the end  of the                                                               
six-month  period, he  would  no longer  be  compensated for  his                                                               
work, but he  stated that he would not be  rushed into a decision                                                               
and had no problem working  without pay.  Through his statements,                                                               
the judge relayed  to the men and those in  the courtroom that it                                                               
could be a year or more before his decision.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERLY  said that  at that  time, three of  the men  had been                                                               
wrongfully  imprisoned for  18 years  -  Mr. Roberts  was out  on                                                               
parole.  He said they were  told they could "get out tomorrow and                                                               
spend their first  Christmas with their family in 18  years."  He                                                               
attested that  it was a  difficult decision  but said that  if it                                                               
were him, he would not want to spend another day in prison.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERLY emphasized  that HB 127 is totally  independent of the                                                               
larger  issue of  compensation.   The proposed  legislation would                                                               
give them money that was  wrongfully taken from them because they                                                               
were  wrongfully  imprisoned.   He  contended  that it  is  their                                                               
money; they  are entitled to  it; and  it should never  have been                                                               
taken from them.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:23:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony on HB 127.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:23:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  asked how  much of the  PFD money  [for the                                                               
Fairbanks  Four] was  received by  the Department  of Corrections                                                               
(DOC) and if it would be  more appropriate to repay it from DOC's                                                               
budget rather than PFDD.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:24:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCOTT  KAWASAKI,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  as                                                               
prime  sponsor of  HB 127,  explained that  PFD criminal  funds -                                                               
funds that  are withheld  from someone  incarcerated or  having a                                                               
felony  conviction -  are  paid  predominately to  DOC  and to  a                                                               
lesser extent  to the Violent  Crimes Compensation  Board (VCCB),                                                               
the  Alaska  Council  of Domestic  Violence  and  Sexual  Assault                                                               
(CDVSA),  the Office  of Victims'  Rights  (OVR), and  non-profit                                                               
victims' rights organizations.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  asked if  it would  be more  appropriate to                                                               
repay the  funds from the DOC  budget or the Alaska  Court System                                                               
budget, since otherwise PFDD would be paying the amount twice.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI replied that under  HB 127, the source of                                                               
funding would be the Reserve  for Prior Year Dividend Liabilities                                                               
-  a fund  reserved for  PFDs  denied in  error and  subsequently                                                               
awarded.  He said the fund currently has $233,000.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:25:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked  how the money would be  paid to the                                                               
four men and if there is enough money in the fund to do so.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  reiterated  that  the  balance  in  the                                                               
reserve  is about  $233,000, and  if the  Fairbanks Four  applied                                                               
under  the  proposed  legislation,   they  could  receive  up  to                                                               
$103,000  for the  18  years.   He  maintained  that  it is  very                                                               
difficult  to  predict   the  number  of  cases   that  would  be                                                               
applicable under HB  127, but staff has  estimated the following:                                                               
two in 2011;  two in 2012; zero  in 2013; two in 2014;  and 13 in                                                               
2015,  which includes  the  Fairbanks Four.    He mentioned  that                                                               
prior to 2011, there were about  two to three cases per year that                                                               
could potentially take advantage of HB 127 if passed.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:28:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON expressed  her concern  that there  would                                                               
not be  enough money in  the reserve  fund for all  the potential                                                               
cases.  She stated that another  concern is whether the state has                                                               
a responsibility to solicit potential applicants under HB 127.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI answered  that Department  of Law  (DOL)                                                               
staff informed  him that  if HB  127 passes,  ignorance is  not a                                                               
valid  argument for  neglecting to  apply for  the PFDs,  and the                                                               
state has no responsibility to solicit applications.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON stated  her belief that there  should be a                                                               
fiscal note attached to HB 127.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  commented that the  proposed legislation                                                               
is scheduled  for the House  Finance Standing Committee,  and the                                                               
fiscal note will be reviewed in that committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  for more  information regarding  the                                                               
sufficiency of funds in the PFDD  reserve fund for payouts, if HB
127 passes.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:31:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARAH RACE,  Director, Permanent  Fund Dividend  Division (PFDD),                                                               
Department of  Revenue (DOR),  stated that  the amount  set aside                                                               
for the  reserve account  is calculated every  year based  on the                                                               
available  amount for  calculating the  per individual  dividend.                                                               
She explained that PFDD does  an analysis that considers not only                                                               
prior year  liabilities but the  potential number  of individuals                                                               
turning  18 for  whom their  parents or  sponsors did  not apply.                                                               
She  said  that  regarding  the proposed  legislation,  PFDD  may                                                               
either create another reserve account  or may increase the amount                                                               
available in the Reserve for Prior Year Dividend Liabilities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:32:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked how the  120-day filing period in the                                                               
proposed legislation was  derived.  She opined that it  is a very                                                               
short window.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI suggested  that  the  longer the  filing                                                               
period, the larger the potential payout.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  agreed that  with a longer  filing period,                                                               
more people who  are entitled to the payout would  know that they                                                               
are entitled  to it.   She  expressed her  concern that  with the                                                               
120-day filing period, the Fairbanks  Four may be the only people                                                               
who would apply for the payment under the proposed legislation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  said he is  not sure if there  are other                                                               
people  following  the progress  of  HB  127  as closely  as  the                                                               
Fairbanks Four.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:34:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  asked  if  there  are  any  conditions  or                                                               
provisions of  the settlement agreement [signed  by the Fairbanks                                                               
Four]   that   would   preclude  payment   under   the   proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI referred  to the  Alaska Superior  Court                                                               
settlement  document,  which  lists  eight  stipulations  of  the                                                               
agreement.  He said that  with the [signed] document, they agreed                                                               
not to sue the state.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH referred to  the sponsor statement and asked                                                               
Representative  Kawasaki  if  he  truly believes  the  PFD  is  a                                                               
defining characteristic of what it means to be an Alaskan.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  conceded  that   the  language  in  the                                                               
sponsor statement  might have been  "a little bit over  the top."                                                               
He said he  didn't think the PFD was  the defining characteristic                                                               
of being an Alaskan.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:36:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  asked  if  everyone who  has  had  his/her                                                               
conviction overturned  or dismissed since the  first payment year                                                               
of 1982 would be eligible to apply for their PFDs under HB 127.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE responded, "That is correct."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP suggested that the  state has no idea of the                                                               
number of  people who would be  affected by HB 127  or the length                                                               
of incarceration  per person,  and he  asked, "What  happens when                                                               
this fund  runs dry?"  He  asked how the annual  recalculation of                                                               
the reserve was  performed.  He also asked for  an explanation of                                                               
payments reserved  for those  who did not  receive their  PFDs as                                                               
juveniles because their parent didn't apply.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE answered  that every year PFDD calculates  the amount of                                                               
money  to be  put  into  the reserve  account.    That amount  is                                                               
deducted  from  the  money  that  becomes  available  for  paying                                                               
dividends,  thus reducing  the individual  dividend amount.   She                                                               
said that  after the first year  under HB 127, PFDD  would have a                                                               
better idea of the amount that should be put into the reserve.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE,  responding to Representative Knopp's  second question,                                                               
said  that  individuals  turning  18 may  apply  up  until  their                                                               
twenty-first birthday for  any PFDs that may have  been missed on                                                               
their  behalf.    For  these  individuals,  eligibility  must  be                                                               
determined for the years of application.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:38:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL,   paraphrasing  the  testimony   of  Deputy                                                               
Commissioner  Jerry Burnett,  Department of  Revenue, during  the                                                               
House State  Affairs Standing Committee meeting  of 2/28/17, said                                                               
that  if an  incarcerated person  applied for  his/her PFD  every                                                               
year,  then was  released  because of  an overturned  conviction,                                                               
he/she could  appeal previous PFD  denials.   Representative Wool                                                               
asked Ms.  Race if many  prisoners apply for  PFDs.  He  asked if                                                               
they are given the opportunity and access to a computer.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RACE  replied  that  PFDD  does  receive  applications  from                                                               
incarcerated individuals, and  correctional facilities do request                                                               
applications for prisoners.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  expressed his  understanding that  those who                                                               
are incarcerated  are not eligible  for a PFD.   He asked  why an                                                               
incarcerated person  would receive an application  if ineligible,                                                               
and if some  get applications, why wouldn't all of  them be given                                                               
applications.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE  responded that many  ineligible people apply  for PFDs,                                                               
and PFDD  encourages these applications, because  that gives PFDD                                                               
the opportunity to determine eligibility.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL suggested  that he  may be  mistaken in  his                                                               
assumption that  anyone in a  long-term correctional  facility is                                                               
ineligible for a PFD.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RACE said  eligibility, regarding  incarcerated individuals,                                                               
depends  on   timing.     She  stated   that  one   criterion  of                                                               
ineligibility is  that during the qualifying  year, an individual                                                               
has been  sentenced because of  a conviction of  a felony.   If a                                                               
person  is both  sentenced  and incarcerated  in  the same  year,                                                               
he/she may  be ineligible for  that year's PFD.   If incarcerated                                                               
for  more years,  then the  ineligibility would  be extended  for                                                               
those years.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS relayed  that if  someone was  incarcerated                                                               
for a  felony but knew he/she  was innocent, it would  be in that                                                               
person's best interest  to apply every year  until evidence might                                                               
vindicate  him/her.   This  would  allow retroactive  eligibility                                                               
upon appeal of PFD denials and subsequent payments.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE  responded, "That is  correct."   She said that  in this                                                               
scenario, the applicant  would have received a  denial letter for                                                               
every  year of  application,  and the  denial  letter would  have                                                               
explained  the reasons  for denial.   She  confirmed that  at the                                                               
time the conviction was overturned,  the person could appeal each                                                               
year of PFD denial.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:43:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  asked if  anyone  eligible  for the  PFD                                                               
under HB  127 would  be paid a  PFD for any  period spent  out of                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE answered that in  that situation, the inmate would still                                                               
be in the state's custody.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  for  clarification  regarding  the                                                               
scenario  of someone  in prison  filing a  PFD application  every                                                               
year  believing that  he/she will  ultimately be  exonerated, and                                                               
the applications are denied.  She  asked if there is a time limit                                                               
to appeal  a PFD denial.   She suggested that either  the appeals                                                               
would be denied because the  person is still incarcerated, or the                                                               
time would  have expired for  most of the  years by the  time the                                                               
person  has been  exonerated.   She  offered that  in that  case,                                                               
applying for a  PFD for all those years would  not put the person                                                               
at any advantage.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE confirmed  that an individual has 30 days  from the date                                                               
of receipt  of a PFD denial  letter to start the  appeal process.                                                               
She  added,  however,  that an  additional  regulation  gives  an                                                               
individual, who  is in the situation  described by Representative                                                               
LeDoux,  60 days  from the  time of  an overturned  conviction to                                                               
begin the PFD appeal process.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   asked  if   any  of  the   21  potential                                                               
recipients  of PFDs  under  HB 127  might  have already  appealed                                                               
under the regulation cited by Ms. Race.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  responded  that  he did  not  know  the                                                               
answer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked how  many people have taken advantage                                                               
of  the  regulation -  that  is,  were  exonerated and  then  re-                                                               
appealed their PFD denials.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE replied  that she didn't have that number  but could try                                                               
to find  out from  the Dividend  Enforcement, Review  and Appeals                                                               
Unit.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked the sponsor to reconsider the 120-                                                                  
day  period for  PFD application  under HB  127.   She questioned                                                               
whether  that  was  an appropriate  amount  of  time  considering                                                               
minors  are given  three  years  to apply  after  turning 18,  if                                                               
applications were not filed in their behalf.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  if  anyone has  been reimbursed  for                                                               
PFDs after being exonerated.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. RACE responded  that she is not aware of  any such occurrence                                                               
but could research the question.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:50:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   WOOL  said   that  he   fully  appreciates   the                                                               
unreasonable  expectation for  someone  in prison  taking on  the                                                               
responsibility  of requesting  and completing  a PFD  application                                                               
year after  year, only to  be denied.   He offered that  with the                                                               
individual's  involvement in  all the  legal processes  necessary                                                               
for  having his/her  conviction  overturned and  the many  issues                                                               
flooding his/her life after exoneration  and release, finding the                                                               
PFD  denial   letters  and  pursuing   the  PFD   appeal  process                                                               
understandably might  be delayed.   He  opined that  the proposed                                                               
legislation is needed,  and he agreed that the  120-day period is                                                               
too short.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:52:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  said, "Somebody  that  isn't  here is  the                                                               
person who ...  started it all, and that's  the deceased person."                                                               
He cited one  stipulation of the settlement  agreement [signed by                                                               
the  Fairbanks Four]  and said,  "The  petitioners stipulate  and                                                               
agree  that the  original  jury verdicts  and  the judgements  of                                                               
conviction were properly  and validly entered based  on the proof                                                               
beyond reasonable  doubt."  He agreed  with Representative Wool's                                                               
assessment of the difficulty of  filing for PFDs while in prison,                                                               
and  he  stated  that  HB  127 would  be  an  appropriate  remedy                                                               
[regarding  the  wrongfully  convicted].     He  reiterated,  "We                                                               
shouldn't  lose sight  of the  fact  that ...  there is  somebody                                                               
that's not  here ...  a young  man that was  lost in  some crime,                                                               
some time ago in the past."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:53:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK moved to report  HB 127 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, HB 127  was reported out of  the House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.