Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532
05/03/2006 09:00 AM FINANCE
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9:13:36 AM SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 441(JUD) "An Act relating to criminal sentencing; relating to operating or driving a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft while under the influence; relating to court- ordered treatment programs for certain offenders and offenses; amending Rule 35, Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date." This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance Committee. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBURG, sponsor of this bill, characterized it as a compilation of the therapeutic court program. 9:14:57 AM Amendment #1: This amendment inserts "as defined in AS 28.35.028(h)" to AS 12.55.155(d)(17), amended in Section 1, on page 1, line 11. The amended language reads as follows. (17) except in the case of an offense defined by AS 11.41 or AS 11.46.100, the [OR A] defendant [WHO] has [PREVIOUSLY] been convicted of a class B or C felony, and [THE DEFENDANT], at the time of sentencing, [IS ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING IN OR] has successfully completed a court- ordered [STATE-APPROVED] treatment program as defined in AS 28.35.028(h) that [IS RELEVANT TO THE OFFENSE AND THAT] was begun after the offense was committed; New Text Underlined [DELETED TEXT BRACKETED] Co-Chair Green moved for adoption. HEATHER NOBREGA, Staff to Representative Rokeberg, explained this amendment provides a technical reference to the program definition. Without objection the amendment was ADOPTED. 9:15:56 AM Senator Bunde assumed that the fiscal note indicating this legislation would incur no additional cost to the State is based on the premise that those participating in the therapeutic court program would have otherwise been processed in the regular court system. 9:16:28 AM Representative Rokeberg clarified that the State would receive an additional $669,000 in federal "highway funding", as a result of passed legislation sponsored by Senator Bunde relating to seatbelt use. This funding has been allocated to the establishment of therapeutic courts located in Ketchikan and Fairbanks, and to expand capacity of the Juneau program and others in the state. Representative Rokeberg spoke to the fiscal benefits of this program. Outside consultants have testified to the legislature about the one-to-ten ratio of savings for each dollar invested in this program. The benefits of this program are reduced recidivism and "actually rescuing people's lives." 9:18:43 AM SUSAN PARKES, Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, was available to respond to questions. 9:18:59 AM Co-Chair Green asked the effect of this legislation; whether it would expand the therapeutic court program, codify certain practices, or have other impacts. Representative Rokeberg replied that this bill conforms the provisions of two separate statutes. The first statute pertains to the initial pilot program addressing felony driving under the influence (DUI) charges. The other statute was enacted making the program permanent. The differing language in the two statutes inadvertently created a two-tier system. This bill would make the necessary technical changes for the program to be consistent. 9:20:05 AM Ms. Nobrega noted that the pilot program was established in uncodified law. 9:20:30 AM Co-Chair Green verified this legislation would make the program consistent. Representative Rokeberg affirmed. Co-Chair Green asked if this legislation would have the effect of increasing the number of offenders participating in the therapeutic court system. Representative Rokeberg answered it would not. He explained that the Public Defenders Agency (PDA) and the prosecutor must agree whether an offender could enter the program. This legislation would ensure smoother operation of the program and that all positions were funded. 9:22:05 AM Co-Chair Wilken offered a motion to report CS HB 441 (FIN), as amended, from Committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There was no objection and SCS CS HB 441(FIN) was MOVED from Committee with zero fiscal notes: #1 from the Department of Administration, Office of Public Advocacy; #2 from the Alaska Court System; #3 from the Department of Law; #4 from the Department of Administration, PDA; #5 from the Department of Corrections; #6 from the Department of Health and Social Services; and #7 from the Department of Public Safety.