Legislature(2013 - 2014)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/12/2014 05:00 PM FINANCE

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Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 12, 2014                                                                                            
                         5:22 p.m.                                                                                              
5:22:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stoltze called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 5:22 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Alan Austerman, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Mia Costello                                                                                                     
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Mark Neuman, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Kate  Burkhart,   Executive  Director,  Advisory   Board  on                                                                    
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.                                                                                                      
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Norman  Means, Self,  Palmer;  Tiffany  Thomas, Division  of                                                                    
Motor  Vehicles,  Anchorage;  Robin  Minard,  Mat-Su  Health                                                                    
Foundation,  Wasilla; Vicki  Wallner,  Stop Valley  Thieves,                                                                    
Palmer; James Noble, Self, Prudhoe  Bay; Mark Mew, Anchorage                                                                    
Police  Department,  Anchorage; Quinlan  Steiner,  Director,                                                                    
Public Defender  Agency, Department of  Administration; Rick                                                                    
Allen,  Director, Office  of Public  Advocacy, Palmer;  Lisa                                                                    
Rieger, Cook  Inlet Tribal Council, Anchorage;  Jeff Jessee,                                                                    
Alaska Mental  Health Trust,  Anchorage; Mary  Geddes, Self,                                                                    
Anchorages;  Loi Ricker,  Stop Valley  Thieves; Rick  Allen,                                                                    
Director, Office of Public  Advocacy, Palmer; Seth McMillan,                                                                    
Anchorage   Police    Department   Employees'   Association,                                                                    
Anchorage; Mary Geddes, Self, Anchorage; Mike Walsh, Self,                                                                      
CSSB 56(JUD)                                                                                                                    
     RECLASSIFYING CERTAIN DRUG OFFENSES                                                                                        
     CSHB  56(JUD)  was  HEARD and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
     further consideration.                                                                                                     
CSSB 64(JUD)                                                                                                                    
     OMNIBUS CRIME/CORRECTIONS/RECIDIVISM BILL                                                                                  
     CSSB  64(JUD)  was  HEARD and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
     further consideration.                                                                                                     
CSSB 104(FIN)                                                                                                                   
     APPROPRIATIONS FROM THE DIVIDEND FUND                                                                                      
     CSSB  104(FIN)  was HEARD  and  HELD  in committee  for                                                                    
     further consideration.                                                                                                     
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 64(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An  Act  relating  to  theft  and  property  offenses;                                                                    
     relating to  the definition of 'prior  convictions' for                                                                    
     certain   theft  offenses;   establishing  the   Alaska                                                                    
     Criminal   Justice   Commission    and   providing   an                                                                    
     expiration  date; relating  to the  crime of  custodial                                                                    
     interference;  relating to  the  duties  of the  Alaska                                                                    
     Judicial  Council;  relating  to jail-time  credit  for                                                                    
     offenders   in    court-ordered   treatment   programs;                                                                    
     relating  to  conditions  of  release,  probation,  and                                                                    
     parole;  relating  to  duties of  the  commissioner  of                                                                    
     corrections and  board of  parole; establishing  a fund                                                                    
     for  reducing recidivism  in the  Department of  Health                                                                    
     and  Social  Services;  requiring the  commissioner  of                                                                    
     health and  social services  to establish  programs for                                                                    
     persons  on conditions  of  release  or probation  that                                                                    
     require   testing   for   controlled   substances   and                                                                    
     alcoholic beverages;  requiring the board of  parole to                                                                    
     establish programs  for persons on parole  that require                                                                    
     testing   for  controlled   substances  and   alcoholic                                                                    
     beverages; relating to the duties  of the Department of                                                                    
     Health and Social Services; and providing for an                                                                           
     effective date."                                                                                                           
5:23:58 PM                                                                                                                    
NORMAN MEANS,  SELF, PALMER (via  teleconference), testified                                                                    
in support of the  legislation, particularly the addition of                                                                    
SB 108.  He relayed  a story  about his  daughter's negative                                                                    
experience  with a  police officer  and the  Municipality of                                                                    
Anchorage's  refusal  to sign  an  application  to seal  her                                                                    
records after she  was cleared of any  wrongdoing. He opined                                                                    
that her arrest  record was still viewable  on CourtView and                                                                    
appreciated the  issue being  addressed in  the legislation.                                                                    
He stated  that he was  taken aback  by the response  to the                                                                    
legislation by  the Office of  Victim's Rights  and believed                                                                    
that they had a fundamental  lack of understanding of one of                                                                    
the basic  principles of government,  which was  that people                                                                    
were innocent until proven guilty.                                                                                              
Co-Chair Stoltze  clarified that  SB 108 had  been decoupled                                                                    
from  the bill.  He explained  that  SB 108  deserved to  be                                                                    
considered  on its  own  merits.  He said  that  it was  the                                                                    
committee's intent to remove several  measures from SB 64 so                                                                    
that they could be deliberated individually.                                                                                    
5:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
TIFFANY THOMAS,  DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES,  ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  specifically to Section  33. She                                                                    
appreciated that the DMV had  been allowed to offer thoughts                                                                    
and  concern  as  the  bill  had  progressed;  specifically,                                                                    
finding  ways for  a  person  with a  felony  DUI to  obtain                                                                    
limited  driving  privileges  and  to  have  their  criminal                                                                    
revocations  terminated if  certain  criteria  was met.  She                                                                    
noted that  the section had  recently been changed  to allow                                                                    
DMV   to  review   and  restore   a  driver's   license  for                                                                    
misdemeanor  DUI  offenses.  She commented  that  under  the                                                                    
current sentencing laws a person  convicted of a misdemeanor                                                                    
offence for  a DUI would  have their license revoked  for 90                                                                    
days for the  first offence; 1 year for a  second offense; 3                                                                    
years for a  third offense; and 5 years if  it was their 4th                                                                    
or more, provided  it was not a felony.  Section 33 required                                                                    
that the DMV could only restore  the license if a person was                                                                    
revoked for  a period  of at  least 10  year. She  felt that                                                                    
most people  with misdemeanor offences  would not  have that                                                                    
long  length of  revocation.  She asserted  that a  lifetime                                                                    
revocation   was    always   consecutive.    She   requested                                                                    
clarification of  the legislative intent concerning  how DMV                                                                    
was expected to proceed.                                                                                                        
5:32:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wilson  understood   that  the   DMV  could                                                                    
sanction licenses over the per-view of the court.                                                                               
Ms. Thomas  responded that  any time  a person  was arrested                                                                    
for  DUI  the  criminal  action would  start  based  on  the                                                                    
officers  sending paperwork  to  the court  and the  license                                                                    
could be  administratively revoked. The DMV  was bound under                                                                    
the law by the time periods for revocation as the court.                                                                        
Representative  Wilson  asked  if  the DMV  would  revoke  a                                                                    
person's license  that had  been arrested  for DUI  but then                                                                    
had been found innocent by the court.                                                                                           
Ms.  Thomas  stated  that  DMV and  the  court  operated  in                                                                    
parallel lanes. She said that  the administrative action was                                                                    
completely  separate  from  the criminal  matter,  so  there                                                                    
could   be    times   when    the   license    was   revoked                                                                    
administratively even with the criminal action negated.                                                                         
5:34:28 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN  MINARD,   MAT-SU  HEALTH  FOUNDATION,   WASILLA  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  stated that  the  majority  of inmates  at                                                                    
Goose  Creek  Correctional   Center  suffered  from  various                                                                    
behavioral health  issues, and  would be released  back into                                                                    
the Mat-Su  community. She  testified in  support of  SB 64.                                                                    
She  believed  that it  was  time  to rethink  how  criminal                                                                    
justice dollars were being spent  and the outcomes that they                                                                    
yield.  She relayed  appreciation  for the  increase in  the                                                                    
felony   threshold   for   property   related   crime,   the                                                                    
institution of  a 24/7 sobriety program,  institution of the                                                                    
Probation  Accountability  with Certain  Enforcement  (PACE)                                                                    
program focusing  on transitional and  pre-release services,                                                                    
employment and  housing. She applauded that  the requirement                                                                    
for DOC to conduct a  risk needs assessment on all offenders                                                                    
that had been  sentenced to 30 days or  more, establishing a                                                                    
fund  for treatment  programs  that  contribute to  reducing                                                                    
recidivism  and  credit  for   time  served  in  residential                                                                    
substance  abuse treatment  programs  were all  incorporated                                                                    
into the legislation.                                                                                                           
5:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
[Co-Chair Stoltze allowed the caller  to testify early on SB                                                                    
VICKI   WALLNER,   STOP    VALLEY   THIEVES,   PALMER   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified on  SB 56.  She stated  that the                                                                    
people in her  area were tired of having  theft affect them.                                                                    
She  asserted that  the  thefts were  fueled  by drugs.  She                                                                    
understood the reasons for the  bill, but suggested that the                                                                    
basic premise of  the bill was incorrect. She  felt that the                                                                    
bill  would  not be  effective  towards  reigning in  prison                                                                    
growth.  She  said  in her  experience  nearly  every  thief                                                                    
brought  before  the  court  was  pled  out  to  misdemeanor                                                                    
charges  that were  secondary charges  and were  not charged                                                                    
with a  felony offense. She  reiterated that the  drugs were                                                                    
driving the crime in her area.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Stoltze queried  the  testifier's  opinion on  the                                                                    
threshold for felony theft.                                                                                                     
Ms. Wallner  replied that the  system needed to  be examined                                                                    
and improved.                                                                                                                   
5:47:08 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES  NOBLE,   SELF,  PRUDHOE  BAY   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of SB  108, which  he understood  was                                                                    
going  to be  independent of  SB  64. He  relayed his  story                                                                    
about being  accused of stalking and  domestic violence. The                                                                    
charges had been dismissed, but  the record still remains on                                                                    
CourtView.  He opined  that the  record  on CourtView  could                                                                    
still   be   viewed  by   the   public   which  had   caused                                                                    
embarrassment and hardship.                                                                                                     
5:51:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  MEW,  ANCHORAGE   POLICE  DEPARTMENT,  ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support   of  SB   64.  He                                                                    
referenced his  letter, which detailed  his position  on the                                                                    
legislation and  could be found  in member packets  (copy on                                                                    
file). He believed that the  Municipality of Anchorage would                                                                    
be able to handle the increase in court cases.                                                                                  
5:54:51 PM                                                                                                                    
QUINLAN   STEINER,   DIRECTOR,   PUBLIC   DEFENDER   AGENCY,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION  (via teleconference), spoke to                                                                    
the issue of  felony theft. He pointed out  to the committee                                                                    
that in some  cases the felony is committed by  a very young                                                                    
person  who made  one mistake.  He said  that handling  such                                                                    
cases a  misdemeanor could  promote a  referral for  drug or                                                                    
alcohol treatment, or other issues  that could be related to                                                                    
the criminal  conduct. He thought  that there were  parts of                                                                    
the  bill that  successfully promoted  rehabilitation, which                                                                    
would ultimately reduce recidivism.                                                                                             
5:57:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson asked how  the overloaded court system                                                                    
related to the overpopulation of prisons.                                                                                       
Mr. Steiner  replied that individual  cases cost  more, took                                                                    
longer,  and resulted  in longer  jail  sentences. He  added                                                                    
that   the  cases   were   accompanied  by   post-conviction                                                                    
petitions to  revoke probation and  began to spiral  at that                                                                    
point.  He said  that it  was difficult  to get  out of  the                                                                    
system once in  it. He stated that  the treatment components                                                                    
of  the bill  had the  potential  to affect  real change  in                                                                    
recidivism  rates. He  asserted that  there was  significant                                                                    
data that  reported that strong  rehab programs  resulted in                                                                    
less crime and stronger communities.                                                                                            
5:58:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wilson  asked   how  many   prisoners  were                                                                    
currently in prison waiting for trial.                                                                                          
Mr. Steiner  replied that he  could provide  the information                                                                    
at a later date.                                                                                                                
5:59:37 PM                                                                                                                    
KATE  BURKHART,   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  ADVISORY   BOARD  ON                                                                    
ALCOHOLISM  AND  DRUG ABUSE,  testified  in  support of  the                                                                    
bill.  She spoke  to  the  provisions in  SB  64 that  would                                                                    
promote  the screening,  assessment, treatment  and recovery                                                                    
supports for  people in the  custody of corrections  and the                                                                    
criminal  justice  system  as  a  mechanism  for  preventing                                                                    
recidivism  and   promoting  a  return  to   a  healthy  and                                                                    
productive  life. She  said that  the  establishment of  the                                                                    
24/7 sobriety  program as an option  statewide was supported                                                                    
by  the  board.  She  relayed  that  the  program  had  been                                                                    
reported to create  some financial burden for  people out on                                                                    
bail and probation  but that it kept people  sober, and that                                                                    
they  did not  reoffend. She  furthered that  the board  was                                                                    
supportive of the provisions for  the PACE program. She said                                                                    
that the board  thought that the element  of the legislation                                                                    
that promoted  the screening  of individuals  in corrections                                                                    
for  fetal  alcohol  spectrum   disorders  and  brain  based                                                                    
disorders,  as  well  as  the   assessment  for  health  and                                                                    
educational  needs, was  extremely  important. She  stressed                                                                    
that in order  for people to maintain  recovery and sobriety                                                                    
they had  to function  well in all  aspects of  their lives;                                                                    
integral to the success of treatment was case management.                                                                       
6:04:43 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA  RIEGER, COOK  INLET TRIBAL  COUNCIL (CITC),  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke to  reentry into  society after                                                                    
incarceration.  She  said  that the  council  supported  the                                                                    
legislation  because it  would  provide  new innovations  to                                                                    
reverse the  state's recidivism rates. She  relayed that the                                                                    
state's  new prison  system would  soon  be beyond  capacity                                                                    
unless the state found a  way to address the substance abuse                                                                    
and addiction  that lead to  parole violations.  She offered                                                                    
specific support for evidence  based practices; the 24/7 and                                                                    
PACE  programs, and  the Justice  Commission and  Recidivism                                                                    
Reduction  Fund. The  council supported  the section  of the                                                                    
bill  that   would  clarify  credit   for  time   served  in                                                                    
residential   programs.  This   legislation  would   provide                                                                    
important new  innovations to turn around  Alaska recidivism                                                                    
rates, save money,  and make the state safer.  CITC has been                                                                    
operating  Chanlyut,   a  rehabilitation  program   for  men                                                                    
recently  released from  prison,  homelessness or  substance                                                                    
abuse, for  the past six  years. Chanlyut is modeled  on the                                                                    
successful  Delancey  Street  program from  California,  and                                                                    
operates on the principle that  learning a strong work ethic                                                                    
and  responsibility  for  others  is key  to  turning  lives                                                                    
around, without  the use of professional  staff. Chanlyut is                                                                    
a 24/7  residential program located in  Anchorage. Since the                                                                    
start of the  program, CITC has saved the  state millions of                                                                    
dollars by  housing residents who otherwise  would have been                                                                    
in a corrections facility, and has many success stories. Of                                                                     
the residents who have entered  Chanlyut since January 2009,                                                                    
70% have  not reoffended after  leaving the program.  Key to                                                                    
the  positive  impact  of  the  program  is  both  the  work                                                                    
component and  complete responsibility each man  has for the                                                                    
maintenance  of  the house  and  the  program. Given  CITC's                                                                    
experience, the opportunities offered  in CSSB 64 cud) align                                                                    
with Chanlyut and its operations.                                                                                               
6:07:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze spoke to the PTSD provision in the bill.                                                                       
6:08:30 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  JESSEE, ALASKA  MENTAL  HEALTH  TRUST, ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of the  bill. He said                                                                    
that the bill  contained the best strategies  to achieve the                                                                    
goals  set out  to  the departments  by  the legislature  in                                                                    
order to  curb recidivism  rates and other  problems related                                                                    
to criminal  justice. He believed  that the creation  of the                                                                    
Criminal  Justice  Commission  was  necessary.  He  strongly                                                                    
supported the current version of the legislation.                                                                               
6:10:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY  GEDDES, SELF,  ANCHORAGES (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of the legislation.  She believed that  the bill                                                                    
advanced  the  state in  the  process  of seeking  the  most                                                                    
effective  methods for  its  criminal  justice dollars.  She                                                                    
shared that,  currently, 2  out of  3 prisoners  returned to                                                                    
custody within the  first 3 years of release.  She felt that                                                                    
the Criminal  Justice Commission  was necessary in  order to                                                                    
determine the best  methods for the use  of criminal justice                                                                    
funding. She noted that Alaska's  prisons would be operating                                                                    
at full capacity by 2016,  despite the addition of the Goose                                                                    
Creek Correctional Center.                                                                                                      
6:13:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
CSSB 64(JUD)  was HEARD  and HELD  in committee  for further                                                                    
6:15:13 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
6:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 56(JUD)                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to certain crimes involving                                                                               
     controlled substances; and providing for an effective                                                                      
6:16:51 PM                                                                                                                    
LOI  RICKER,  STOP   VALLEY  THIEVES  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified about  her personal  experience dealing  with drug                                                                    
addicts and  the thefts  that they  commit. She  opined that                                                                    
she  could no  longer hire  men who  have been  incarcerated                                                                    
because  she could  not trust  them not  to steal.  She said                                                                    
that beyond the initial  monetary theft there was additional                                                                    
fear created  by the actions  of drug addicts. She  said she                                                                    
took  her offender  to  court and  the  case was  dismissed,                                                                    
which   made  her   feel   unsupported.   She  opposed   the                                                                    
legislation. She felt  she had been unfairly  treated by the                                                                    
court system  during her court  case. She stressed  that the                                                                    
drug problem in her part of the state was an epidemic.                                                                          
Co-Chair  Stoltze commended  Stop Valley  Thieves for  their                                                                    
effective use of social media.                                                                                                  
6:23:13 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK  ALLEN, DIRECTOR,  OFFICE  OF  PUBLIC ADVOCACY,  PALMER                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke in support of  the legislation.                                                                    
He pointed  out that  the state's  drug policy  had remained                                                                    
the same  since the Nixon  Administration. He felt  that the                                                                    
status quo of the last 40  years had not been successful. He                                                                    
believed that  the legislation  was a  well-reasoned, common                                                                    
sense  reform  that  would  benefit  many  his  clients.  He                                                                    
believed that the  bill would give the  chance of redemption                                                                    
to people who  made the foolish decision to  possess a small                                                                    
amount  of  drugs. The  lifelong  consequences  of a  felony                                                                    
conviction were  far-reaching and  severe. He  asserted that                                                                    
the programs outlined  in the bill were working  in 13 other                                                                    
states, without compromising public safety.                                                                                     
6:24:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SETH  MCMILLAN,   ANCHORAGE  POLICE   DEPARTMENT  EMPLOYEES'                                                                    
ASSOCIATION,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), testified  in                                                                    
opposition  to  the  legislation.  He spoke  of  his  unique                                                                    
window  into the  world  and  lives of  a  spectrum of  drug                                                                    
addicts,  dealers, police  informants, and  drug enforcement                                                                    
collaborators state-wide. He  discussed the threshold limits                                                                    
for  each  type  of  drug  addressed  in  the  current  bill                                                                    
version. He  offered a rebuttal to  Senator Dyson's response                                                                    
to questions from  a March 18, 2014 public  hearing (copy on                                                                    
file). He  believed that the  threshold limits  should speak                                                                    
to the  economic aspects  specific to  Alaska. He  said that                                                                    
street drugs in  Alaska cost 5 times more than  a user would                                                                    
pay anywhere else  in the Lower 48. He  opined the financial                                                                    
incentive to bring wholesale purchase  drugs into Alaska and                                                                    
send them into  the street in small amounts  and at inflated                                                                    
prices that an Alaskan  addict would unquestionably pay for.                                                                    
He  stressed that  the destructive  nature  of addiction  to                                                                    
hard core drugs precluded  the addict from having legitimate                                                                    
employment and  from being an  earning and  taxpaying member                                                                    
of society.  He relayed that  the drive to obtain  the drugs                                                                    
made  addicts commit  property and  violent  crimes to  fund                                                                    
their  habit. He  closed  by speaking  to  the 2010  federal                                                                    
threshold  act, which  he believed  had made  it easier  for                                                                    
dealers to carry and sell  more drugs. He concluded that the                                                                    
establishment  of  threshold  limits  for  certain  hardcore                                                                    
drugs  would have  a severe  impact  on the  ability of  law                                                                    
enforcement to exercise discretion  and the fair application                                                                    
of drug  statues that already  had criminal court  rules and                                                                    
mitigating statutes in place  that recognized the difference                                                                    
between a drug distributer and a drug user.                                                                                     
6:35:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  clarified that Mr. McMillan  spoke for the                                                                    
police  department's employee  association and  not for  the                                                                    
department itself.                                                                                                              
Mr. McMillan replied yes.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair   Stoltze   stated   that  the   Anchorage   Police                                                                    
Department  and the  Mayor of  Anchorage had  not offered  a                                                                    
comment on the legislation.                                                                                                     
6:36:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY   GEDDES,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  that  she  had   represented  thousands  of  drug                                                                    
offenders in court.  She opined that the war on  drugs was a                                                                    
failure. She  believed that the  issue of drug abuse  in the                                                                    
state was a non-partisan one.  She shared that the number of                                                                    
Alaskan's being charged and convicted  as drug offenders was                                                                    
increasing  yearly; incarceration  for both  misdemeanor and                                                                    
felony  drug  offenses had  increased  by  63 percent  since                                                                    
2002.  She relayed  that the  average length  of stay  for a                                                                    
felon  in  2011  was  7.2 years.  The  increased  costs  and                                                                    
increased lengths  of stay had  not proven  statistically to                                                                    
be  effective  in reducing  recidivism.  She  said that  the                                                                    
national statistics had shown  that incarceration alone as a                                                                    
solution does not  work. She explained that  things that had                                                                    
been  shown  to  work included  intervention  and  community                                                                    
based  treatment. She  believed that  the legislation  would                                                                    
provide  an opportunity  for  meaningful rehabilitation  and                                                                    
reformation. She spoke to the  federal law as it compared to                                                                    
Alaska  law.  She  explained that,  on  the  federal  level,                                                                    
simple  possession for  most  drugs had  been  reduced to  a                                                                    
misdemeanor  and  there was  no  felony  conviction for  the                                                                    
simple possession  of drugs. She  said that Alaska  had many                                                                    
felony penalties  for the possession  of different  kinds of                                                                    
drugs.  She urged  the committee  dial  back sanctions  that                                                                    
were  expensive  and ineffective  and  allow  for a  greater                                                                    
emphasis on treatment opportunities.                                                                                            
6:43:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE WALSH, SELF, PALMER  (via teleconference), testified in                                                                    
opposition to SB  56. He believed that the passage  of SB 56                                                                    
would  send the  wrong  message to  young people  concerning                                                                    
drug use  and would lead  to future overdoses. He  said that                                                                    
the  bill was  a radical  proposal and  that California  and                                                                    
Colorado  had been  wise to  pass on  drug re-classification                                                                    
when  similar measures  were proposed  in  2012. He  thought                                                                    
that the bar  had been placed too low for  the public safety                                                                    
implications  and   purported  benefits  of  the   bill.  He                                                                    
challenged the  idea that passing  the bill  would alleviate                                                                    
prison overcrowding.  He relayed  that in Alaska  courts, an                                                                    
offender  on probation  for  an offense  covered  by SB  56,                                                                    
without  significant criminal  history,  would receive  many                                                                    
chances  to straighten  out  while  under court  supervision                                                                    
before  facing  the  prospect of  a  felony  conviction.  He                                                                    
asserted that  there was already  a sentencing  mechanism in                                                                    
the  state  that  balanced  the   public  safety  impact  of                                                                    
addiction  to substances  against  the need  to provide  the                                                                    
chance to rehabilitate. He warned  that the bill could leave                                                                    
drug  addicts  on the  streets  unsupervised.  He said  that                                                                    
incarceration  for  a  considerable  amount of  time  was  a                                                                    
necessary and  valuable experience for people  with years of                                                                    
recovery behind them. He warned  that reducing the penalties                                                                    
for  offenses  would not  motivate  offenders  to begin  and                                                                    
complete treatment.                                                                                                             
6:52:05 PM                                                                                                                    
KATE BURKHART, ADVISORY BOARD ON  ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ABUSE,                                                                    
spoke in  support for  SB 56. She  testified that  the board                                                                    
did not  view the legislation  as a change in  public policy                                                                    
that would condone  or legitimize the use  of illicit drugs.                                                                    
She echoed  previous concerns  about addiction  fueled crime                                                                    
and deaths  due to  drug abuse. She  relayed that  the board                                                                    
did not  believe that  the bill  would further  those social                                                                    
problems.  She said  that the  board viewed  the bill  as an                                                                    
opportunity  to intervene  and shift  first and  second time                                                                    
offenders away from a lifestyle  fueled by drug abuse toward                                                                    
a lifetime  of recovery  and contribution to  community. She                                                                    
appreciated  that   the  bill  would  require   a  defendant                                                                    
convicted of misconduct involving  a controlled substance in                                                                    
the  5th  degree  would  be mandated  to  go  to  screening,                                                                    
evaluation,  referral,  and  treatment if  appropriate.  She                                                                    
asserted  that the  mandate  would a  first  or second  time                                                                    
offender  could   be  shifted  away  from   the  traditional                                                                    
incarceration  to rehabilitation  and community  management.                                                                    
She offered an example  that evidence of therapeutic justice                                                                    
was effective.                                                                                                                  
6:55:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  asked   whether  treatment  programs                                                                    
currently existed.                                                                                                              
Ms. Burkhart  replied that the  ASAP programs would  have to                                                                    
be modified to  meet the requirements of the  bill. She said                                                                    
that the  programs that  could be  funded by  the Recidivism                                                                    
Reduction Fund  in SB 64 would  be a way to  expand capacity                                                                    
to  meet the  needs  of people  referred  under the  changes                                                                    
contemplated in SB 56.                                                                                                          
6:57:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
CSSB 56(JUD)  was HEARD  and HELD  in committee  for further                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 104(FIN)                                                                                               
     "An Act relating to appropriations from the dividend                                                                       
     fund; creating the criminal fund; relating to                                                                              
     appropriations from the criminal  fund for payments for                                                                    
     crime victims,  operating costs  of the  Violent Crimes                                                                    
     Compensation Board, grants for  the operation of sexual                                                                    
     assault   response   teams    and   domestic   violence                                                                    
     intervention  projects,  and incarceration  costs;  and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
6:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Stoltze CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
6:59:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze discussed housekeeping.                                                                                        
CSSB 104(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                       
7:00:52 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 64 (H.FIN) Summary of Changes.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 (H.FIN) Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 (H.FIN) Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 64
SB 56 LAW Carpeneti Letter HFIN.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 56
SB 64 Support Fbks Chamber of Commerce.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 64
SB 104 FY 13 PFD Felons Memo.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 FY 14 Intialed Felons Memo.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 FY15 PFD Felons Memo - Initialed.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 PFD Criminal Fund - Historic Look (2).pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 PFD Criminal Fund - Historic Look.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 Response HFC Prescription Costs Letter.pdf HFIN 4/12/2014 5:00:00 PM
SB 104