Legislature(2017 - 2018)ADAMS ROOM 519

03/30/2018 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:45 pm --
Moved CSHB 212(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                   HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                       March 30, 2018                                                                                           
                          2:50 p.m.                                                                                             
2:50:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Foster  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 2:50 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Paul Seaton, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Les Gara, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Jason Grenn                                                                                                      
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative  Neal Foster,  Sponsor; Jane  Pierson, Staff,                                                                    
Representative Neal  Foster; Tim Mearig, School  Finance and                                                                    
Facilities, Department  of Education and  Early Development;                                                                    
Sylvan    Robb,   Deputy    Commissioner,   Department    of                                                                    
Administration;   Fate   Putnam,  Commissioner,   Commercial                                                                    
Fisheries Entry  Commission (CFEC),  Department of  Fish and                                                                    
Game;  Patrick  Fitzgerald,  Staff,  Representative  Harriet                                                                    
Drummond;  Nancy   Meade,  General  Counsel,   Alaska  Court                                                                    
System; Representative  Harriet Drummond,  Sponsor. Katheryn                                                                    
Monfreda,   Chief,  Criminal   Records  and   Identification                                                                    
Bureau, Department of Public Safety.                                                                                            
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Kerry Boyd,  Superintendent, Yukon Koyukuk  School District,                                                                    
Eagle River; Tara Rich, Legal  and Policy Director, American                                                                    
Civil  Liberties  Union  (ACLU) of  Alaska,  Anchorage;  Tim                                                                    
Hinterberger,  Self, Anchorage;  Amy Jackman,  Keep Cannabis                                                                    
Legal, Kenai.                                                                                                                   
HB 212    REAA & SMALL MUNI SCHOOL DISTRICT FUND                                                                                
          CSHB 212(FIN) was REPORTED out of committee with                                                                      
          a   "do   pass"   recommendation  and   with   one                                                                    
          previously published zero fiscal note: FN1 (EED).                                                                     
HB 231    CFEC: BD. SALARY;STAFF CLASSIFIED SERVICE                                                                             
          HB 231 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HB 316    RESTRICT ACCESS MARIJUANA CRIME RECORDS                                                                               
          HB 316 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster reviewed the meeting agenda.                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 212                                                                                                            
     "An  Act relating  to funding  for school  construction                                                                    
     and  major maintenance;  and relating  to the  regional                                                                    
     educational attendance area  and small municipal school                                                                    
     district fund."                                                                                                            
2:52:01 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster passed the gavel to Co-Chair Seaton.                                                                            
2:52:23 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:52:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEAL  FOSTER, SPONSOR, provided  detail about                                                                    
the  bill. He  reported that  HB 212  expanded the  Regional                                                                    
Education Attendance  Area (REAA)and small  municipal school                                                                    
district fund  to include major  maintenance in  addition to                                                                    
new  school  construction. The  bill  would  save the  state                                                                    
money by  reducing the  need for  replacement. The  bill was                                                                    
supported by  the Coalition for Education  Equity, which was                                                                    
a coalition  comprised of several  school districts  and was                                                                    
heavily  involved in  the Kasayulie  decision. He  asked his                                                                    
staff to continue.                                                                                                              
JANE  PIERSON, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE NEAL  FOSTER, provided                                                                    
an explanation  of changes in  the new  Committee Substitute                                                                    
     Section 1 from  version D is eliminated  from version U                                                                    
       The new CS supports  keeping the two lists for school                                                                    
     construction   and  major   maintenance  as   they  are                                                                    
     currently in statute.                                                                                                      
     Section  2  is new,  amending  AS  14.11.030(b) to  add                                                                    
     clarifying  language  that  it is  the  unexpended  and                                                                    
     unobligated  balance of  the fund  that may  not exceed                                                                    
     Section 3  Adds a  new subsection AS  14.11.030(e) that                                                                    
     states  that  not more  than  20  percent of  the  fund                                                                    
     available  for appropriation  from the  REAA and  small                                                                    
     municipal school  district fund  may be used  for major                                                                    
     maintenance projects.                                                                                                      
Ms. Pierson  cited the two  spreadsheets that  were included                                                                    
in  members' files;  "With School  Debt Program  Reinstated"                                                                    
and  "Without  School  Debt  Program  Reinstated"  (copy  on                                                                    
file). She  continued to  address the  bill with  a prepared                                                                    
     The  school construction  and  major maintenance  grant                                                                    
     programs  were  the   only  significant  programs  that                                                                    
     provided funding  for new construction,  renovation, or                                                                    
     major maintenance  without bonding capacity.  A healthy                                                                    
     and continued grant program for construction and                                                                           
     major  maintenance provided  a vetted  solution to  the                                                                    
     funding for high priority  major maintenance needs such                                                                    
     as  boilers, roofs,  and  other  important systems  and                                                                    
     safety measures in schools.                                                                                                
Ms. Pierson  furthered that in  2010 the  legislature passed                                                                    
SB 237  - School Construction &  Costs [CHAPTER 93 SLA  10 -                                                                    
06/21/2010], which  established the  REAA and in  2013, five                                                                    
small  municipal districts  were included  in the  fund. The                                                                    
program  was a  success and  greatly reduced  the number  of                                                                    
schools  on   the  school   construction  grant   list.  She                                                                    
explained that the  funding was based on the  amount of debt                                                                    
outstanding for municipal schools  adjusted by the amount of                                                                    
money spent  on REAA schools  and by the percent  of student                                                                    
population.  The  method  provided  a  consistent  level  of                                                                    
funding  for  REAA  and small  municipal  school  districts'                                                                    
school  construction and  addressed the  concerns raised  in                                                                    
the  Kasayulie   case.  She  furthered  that   in  2015  the                                                                    
legislature passed  SB 64 -  School Bond  Debt Reimbursement                                                                    
[CHAPTER 3 SLA  15 - 04/24/2015], which  placed a moratorium                                                                    
on   school  projects   employing   debt  reimbursement   as                                                                    
authorized  by local  voters until  July 1,  2020. Currently                                                                    
due   to  an   increase  in   applications  for   the  major                                                                    
maintenance grant  funding list  the bill expanded  the REAA                                                                    
funding  which was  beneficial for  rural and  urban Alaska.                                                                    
She elaborated  that by including  major maintenance  to the                                                                    
REAA  fund other  non-REAA projects  could take  priority on                                                                    
the major maintenance list.                                                                                                     
2:57:52 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Gara  MOVED  to  ADOPT  the  proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for  HB  212, Work  Draft  30-LS0741\U  (Laffen,                                                                    
3/29/18). There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                          
Co-Chair Foster  summarized that  the bill  did not  ask for                                                                    
additional funding,  it merely changed  how the pie  was cut                                                                    
and  how  the  funds   were  allocated.  He  explained  that                                                                    
currently  the  funding  was   only  authorized  for  school                                                                    
construction for  REAA schools  and the bill  requested that                                                                    
the money  could also fund major  maintenance. He emphasized                                                                    
that the bill did not request more money.                                                                                       
Representative  Wilson asked  for  the  definition of  major                                                                    
maintenance. Ms. Pierson replied  that the definition was in                                                                    
AS 14.11.013. She read the following from the statute:                                                                          
     (A) avert imminent danger or correct life-threatening                                                                      
          (B)   house  students   who  would   otherwise  be                                                                    
          unhoused;  for  purposes   of  this  subparagraph,                                                                    
          students are  considered unhoused if  the students                                                                    
          attend school in temporary facilities;                                                                                
          (C) protect the structure of existing school                                                                          
          (D) correct building code deficiencies that                                                                           
          require major repair or rehabilitation in order                                                                       
          for the facility to continue to be used for the                                                                       
          educational program;                                                                                                  
          (E) achieve an operating cost savings;                                                                                
          (F) modify or rehabilitate facilities for the                                                                         
          purpose of improving the instructional program;                                                                       
          (G) meet an educational need not specified in (A)                                                                     
           - (F) of this paragraph, identified by the                                                                           
Ms. Pierson  indicated that  the projects  had to  cost over                                                                    
$25  thousand.  Representative   Wilson  asked  whether  the                                                                    
funding applied  to any district  or only REAA  schools. Ms.                                                                    
Pierson  replied that  the funding  applied to  REAA schools                                                                    
and  the small  municipal  districts. Representative  Wilson                                                                    
spoke about the state's other  project list for school major                                                                    
maintenance  that included  many urban  schools. She  stated                                                                    
that REAA schools  on the state major  maintenance list that                                                                    
were funded  through the REAA  fund would move off  the list                                                                    
and allow other schools to advance on the list.                                                                                 
3:00:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Pierson  replied that a  major maintenance  list existed                                                                    
and was included  in members' packets (copy  on file) titled                                                                    
"Attachment  4 Major  Maintenance List  FY 19  Final," which                                                                    
included the  Department of Education and  Early Development                                                                    
(DEED)   Capital  Improvement   Projects  (FY   2019)  Major                                                                    
Maintenance Grant Fund. Representative  Wilson was trying to                                                                    
connect  the  dots  and  understand  the  project  list  Ms.                                                                    
Pierson was  referring to.  She used an  example with  a top                                                                    
listed school  being a REAA  school and inquired  whether it                                                                    
could  use  funding  from  the REAA  fund  versus  using  an                                                                    
Undesignated  General  Fund  (UGF) only  appropriation.  Ms.                                                                    
Pierson replied in the affirmative.                                                                                             
Representative   Tilton   asked   whether  there   was   any                                                                    
prioritization    of   maintenance    versus   new    school                                                                    
construction  and  if  so, she  wondered  why.  Ms.  Pierson                                                                    
explained  that the  reason the  CS included  that not  more                                                                    
than  20 percent  of the  fund  available for  appropriation                                                                    
from the REAA  and small municipal school  district fund may                                                                    
be used  for major  maintenance projects  was to  ensure the                                                                    
priority   was  new   school  construction.   The  provision                                                                    
specified "up to 20 percent"  because at times of new school                                                                    
construction utilizing 20 percent might not be possible.                                                                        
Representative Tilton  asked for  the average lifespan  of a                                                                    
school building  covered by the  bill. Ms.  Pierson deferred                                                                    
to  the  Department  of   Education  and  Early  Development                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Gara recalled  that in  some cases  it had  been                                                                    
easier to move  up the major maintenance list  if the school                                                                    
district  had more  resources  to justify  its  need in  the                                                                    
application,  leaving  districts  with  less  funding  at  a                                                                    
disadvantage on the list. He  asked whether the scenario had                                                                    
been  a  concern.  Ms.  Pierson  responded  that  the  Major                                                                    
Maintenance  Grant  Fund  was   a  grant  program  requiring                                                                    
applications.  She pointed  to  AS  14.11.011 that  outlined                                                                    
application   requirements.  She   agreed   that  a   better                                                                    
application proposal could improve  the chances of rising on                                                                    
the  list.  However,  she  pointed   to  the  current  major                                                                    
maintenance list  and noted that the  first, fifth, seventh,                                                                    
eighth, fourteenth, sixteenth,  and seventeenth schools were                                                                    
all REAA.                                                                                                                       
3:04:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Gara  did not  want  a  REAA  school to  not  be                                                                    
included on  the major maintenance  list if REAA  funds were                                                                    
diminished   and  guessed   that  was   also  the   sponsors                                                                    
intention. He  deduced that the  bill's purpose was  to find                                                                    
an  "easier source  of funding"  for some  major maintenance                                                                    
but  not remove  REAA  schools from  the  list. Ms.  Pierson                                                                    
answered in  the affirmative and  noted that was  the reason                                                                    
the sponsor  wanted only one  list. She detailed  that there                                                                    
was a  cap on the  REAA small  municipal school fund  of $70                                                                    
million. She indicated  that in 2011 some  funding was moved                                                                    
out of the fund and it  would be "advantageous" to use funds                                                                    
for maintenance.                                                                                                                
Representative  Tilton restated  her  question regarding  an                                                                    
average current  building life span to  help understand what                                                                    
the maintenance level was.                                                                                                      
TIM  MEARIG, SCHOOL  FINANCE AND  FACILITIES, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                    
EDUCATION AND  EARLY DEVELOPMENT, answered that  no standard                                                                    
life span  for schools existed.  The district used  50 years                                                                    
as an  average. Representative  Tilton asked whether  the 50                                                                    
years applied to all school  districts. Mr. Mearig responded                                                                    
that  it was  difficult to  speak to  average life  spans of                                                                    
individual  buildings  but  overall   the  state  strove  to                                                                    
achieve 50 years of life for school facilities.                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Seaton   asked  for  clarification.   He  wondered                                                                    
whether  the answer  applied to  REAA buildings.  Mr. Mearig                                                                    
replied that he  was speaking about the  average lifespan of                                                                    
the buildings. He had details  on the average age of schools                                                                    
but was referring to average lifespan.                                                                                          
Representative Guttenberg  asked how the list  was upgraded.                                                                    
He looked  at the  order of  the list  and asked  why school                                                                    
number 4 that was  at the cut off in the  prior year was not                                                                    
always  the  first  on  the  list  the  following  year.  He                                                                    
inquired  how the  ranking took  place. Mr.  Mearig answered                                                                    
that  all  the projects  were  ranked  against a  series  of                                                                    
criteria by points, which  determined priority. He furthered                                                                    
that if  a project that was  introduced in a given  year had                                                                    
points exceeding  other projects  previously on the  list it                                                                    
would   out  rank   the  prior   year's  priority   schools.                                                                    
Representative  Guttenberg  noted  that  priorities  changed                                                                    
from year to  year. He asked if a school  was given a chance                                                                    
to redo its grant application from one year to the next.                                                                        
3:10:10 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Mearig responded  that  every year  a  district had  an                                                                    
opportunity  to  apply  for  the  grant.  He  reported  that                                                                    
several  years  ago  the  department  allowed  districts  to                                                                    
extend  the previous  year's application  for an  additional                                                                    
year, so they would not have  to invest in a new application                                                                    
every  year. The  scores from  the prior  year were  carried                                                                    
over  for one  additional year,  but the  district would  be                                                                    
able to  write a  new application  with better  or different                                                                    
information  in an  attempt to  elevate the  project on  the                                                                    
Co-Chair Seaton OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
KERRY BOYD,  SUPERINTENDENT, YUKON KOYUKUK  SCHOOL DISTRICT,                                                                    
EAGLE RIVER  (via teleconference),  spoke in support  of the                                                                    
legislation and believed it would  help her school district.                                                                    
The bill  would potentially allow  for the backlog  of major                                                                    
maintenance projects  to be addressed.  She stated  the need                                                                    
for the major maintenance grants  to be funded. She reported                                                                    
that  the governor  had requested  $70 million  in HB  282 -                                                                    
Approp: Capital Budget Contingent  on Tax. She asked whether                                                                    
the  funding would  be included  in the  capital budget  and                                                                    
asked the committee to pass HB 212.                                                                                             
Representative  Guttenberg  asked  Ms.  Boyd  to  provide  a                                                                    
geographic   description  of   the   Yukon  Koyukuk   school                                                                    
district.  Ms.   Boyd  complied  and  noted   that  she  was                                                                    
presently  in  the  Eagle  River   office.  She  listed  the                                                                    
districts  that  included  six  urban  areas  in  Fairbanks,                                                                    
Wasilla, Delta  Junction, and Juneau.  The ten  rural remote                                                                    
schools in  the district  were spread  out over  70 thousand                                                                    
square miles;  most were accessed  by airplane and  two were                                                                    
accessible  via road.  The district  had some  older schools                                                                    
and that were addressed through the major maintenance list.                                                                     
Co-Chair Seaton CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
Representative Wilson  MOVED to REPORT CSHB  212(FIN) out of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
There being NO OBJECTION, CSHB  212(FIN) was REPORTED out of                                                                    
committee  with  a "do  pass"  recommendation  and with  one                                                                    
previously published zero fiscal note: FN1 (EED).                                                                               
3:15:23 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
3:18:21 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries                                                                        
     Entry Commission; and providing for an effective                                                                           
3:18:27 PM                                                                                                                    
FATE  PUTNAM,   COMMISSIONER,  COMMERCIAL   FISHERIES  ENTRY                                                                    
COMMISSION (CFEC),  DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND  GAME, provided a                                                                    
PowerPoint   presentation  titled   "CSHB  231(FSH)   Alaska                                                                    
Commercial  Fisheries  Entry  Commission." dated  March  30,                                                                    
2018  (copy  on  file).  He   began  on  slide  2  Titled  "                                                                    
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission":                                                                                         
     The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) is a                                                                      
     regulatory and quasi-judicial agency that is tasked                                                                        
     Limit  entry  of  participants  and  vessels  into  the                                                                    
     commercial fisheries                                                                                                       
     Issue  and transfer  annual commercial  fishing permits                                                                    
     and vessel licenses                                                                                                        
     Adjudicate  appeals  of  actions including  denials  of                                                                    
     applications and transfers                                                                                                 
     Study,  analyze,  and  report   on  the  economics  and                                                                    
     stability of commercial fisheries                                                                                          
  Ensure reliable and timely access to fishery data; and                                                                        
     Promote   the   conservation    and   sustained   yield                                                                    
     management of Alaska's commercial fishery resource                                                                         
     Assess  demerit  points   against  or  suspend  fishing                                                                    
     privileges  of  permit   holders  for  convictions  for                                                                    
     violations of commercial fishing laws                                                                                      
Mr. Putnam  explained that the CFEC  licensed all commercial                                                                    
fisheries,  whether  limited   or  open.  Limited  fisheries                                                                    
amounted  to 68  and  open  fisheries totaled  approximately                                                                    
200.  The CFEC  charged .04  percent per  year of  ex-vessel                                                                    
income on  each licensee  and was  calculated retroactively.                                                                    
He noted that the CFED had  not limited a fishery since 2004                                                                    
but could,  based on monitoring conservation  and management                                                                    
data.  The fisheries  data the  CFED collected  was compiled                                                                    
into  reports and  shared with  different various  state and                                                                    
federal   agencies  such   as  the   National  Oceanic   and                                                                    
Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA)  and the  National Marine                                                                    
Fisheries Service  (NMFS). He indicated that  fisheries were                                                                    
a sustainable  resource providing  a return year  after year                                                                    
and  the CFEC  monitored  biomass data  to ensure  resources                                                                    
sustainability   as  mandated   by  the   constitution.  The                                                                    
directive  to  assess  demerit points  was  adopted  by  the                                                                    
legislature in 1998 for salmon  fisheries and the commission                                                                    
suspended other  fisheries permit  holders via  court order.                                                                    
The court  had the  ability to  suspend fishing  licenses in                                                                    
all other areas.                                                                                                                
3:22:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SYLVAN    ROBB,   DEPUTY    COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                    
ADMINISTRATION, moved to  slide 3 titled "What  HB 231 Does"                                                                    
and addressed what the bill would do as follows:                                                                                
     ? Reduces number of commissioners of the CFEC from                                                                         
          three to two                                                                                                          
     ? Changes compensation for commissioners:                                                                                  
          Commissioner  serving  as  chair retains  a  Range                                                                    
          Pay for second commissioner  is reduced to a Range                                                                    
          24 ($7225/month)                                                                                                      
     ? Removes the CFEC staff from exempt service and                                                                           
          assigns them to classified service                                                                                    
          Division   of   Personnel/Labor   Relations   will                                                                    
          perform   a   classification   study   and   place                                                                    
          positions on appropriate classified pay scale                                                                         
          Current CFEC  staff will  not receive  a reduction                                                                    
          in paytheir   pay will be  "frozen" until  the pay                                                                    
          scale catches up to the newly classified position                                                                     
          New CFEC staff will start at the new Range/Step A                                                                     
          Staff will  be represented by  appropriate unions                                                                     
          Supervisors  Union  (SU)  and  General  Government                                                                    
          Unit (GGU)  or Confidential  Employees Association                                                                    
Ms. Robb advanced to slide 4 titled "Why is HB 231 Needed":                                                                     
         Caseload is lighter                                                                                                 
               Decisions  from the  CFEC have  declined over                                                                    
         Save money                                                                                                          
               Align commissioners to similar ranges of                                                                         
               similar positions (OAH, Hearing Officers)                                                                        
               Align staff with similar positions in                                                                            
               classified service                                                                                               
Ms. Robb mentioned the organizational chart on slide 5                                                                          
titled "Current CFEC Organizational Chart".                                                                                     
Vice-Chair   Gara  asked   whether   there  were   decisions                                                                    
commissioners  had  to make  that  involved  a tie  breaking                                                                    
Mr. Putman  directed attention to  page 2, Section 6  of the                                                                    
      Sec. 6. AS 16.43.110 is amended by adding a new                                                                           
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
     (f) In case  of a tie vote between  commissioners in an                                                                    
     adjudicatory  proceeding, the  decision of  the hearing                                                                    
     officer  is the  final administrative  decision of  the                                                                    
     commission subject to review  by a superior court under                                                                    
     AS 44.62 (Administrative 22 Procedure Act).                                                                                
Mr.  Putman  elaborated  that  adjudicatory  decisions  were                                                                    
initially  made  by  hearing  officers.  In  the  event  the                                                                    
current commissioner Dale  Kelly and he could  not arrive at                                                                    
consensus the  decision of the  hearing officer  would stand                                                                    
subject to  appeal by  the Superior  Court and  possibly the                                                                    
Supreme   Court.  Historically,   hundreds  of   cases  were                                                                    
appealed to the Superior Court and  70 cases moved on to the                                                                    
Supreme Court.                                                                                                                  
3:27:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Gara  asked  if  there  was  a  reason  for  two                                                                    
commissioners  instead of  one. Mr.  Putman replied  that he                                                                    
had  been on  the commission  for four  months; there  was a                                                                    
tremendous amount of work and  he was very pleased there was                                                                    
a second commissioner. He spoke  to the balance made between                                                                    
the two  commissioners due to  their backgrounds;  Ms. Kelly                                                                    
with extensive  fisheries experience and Mr.  Putnam who was                                                                    
an attorney. He  believed reducing the number  from three to                                                                    
two  was feasible.  He related  that the  transfer decisions                                                                    
the commissioners  made were  difficult and  it was  best to                                                                    
utilize "two minds".                                                                                                            
Representative Wilson asked how  many cases historically had                                                                    
been  overturned  by  the  commissioners  from  the  hearing                                                                    
officer's administrative  decisions and  how many  cases had                                                                    
the court overturned.  Mr. Putman did not have  the data. He                                                                    
detailed  that 2  or 3  cases out  of the  70 Supreme  Court                                                                    
cases  were  overturned.  In addition,  the  Superior  Court                                                                    
often  remanded decisions  back  to the  commission and  the                                                                    
commission  could make  a  redetermination  of its  decision                                                                    
that went back to  the Superior Court. Representative Wilson                                                                    
asked  if the  commission  was necessary  when ultimately  a                                                                    
licensee  could use  the courts.  Mr. Putman  responded that                                                                    
the   legislature  had   initially  determined   that  three                                                                    
commissioners  were  necessary  to  weigh  and  balance  the                                                                    
important decisions  that were derived from  a multimillion-                                                                    
dollar industry.                                                                                                                
3:32:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson  referred to page  2 of the  bill. The                                                                    
bill  specified  that  without two  commissioners  a  single                                                                    
commissioner  may exercise  all the  powers and  perform all                                                                    
the duties  of the  commission. Mr.  Putman replied  she was                                                                    
referencing Section 2  beginning on page 1,  lines 1 through                                                                    
3. He elucidated  that the intent of the  provision was only                                                                    
on  condition   of  a  vacancy.  The   section  allowed  the                                                                    
commission to continue to function.                                                                                             
Representative   Wilson  thought   the  interpretation   was                                                                    
concerning.  She  deduced that  a  commissioner  may not  be                                                                    
appointed, and it would not  be the fault of the commission.                                                                    
She  spoke to  the salary  ranges  listed in  the bill.  She                                                                    
wondered if  pay increases applied.  Ms. Robb  answered that                                                                    
the  pay would  increase over  time due  to step  increases.                                                                    
Representative  Wilson asked  if  the commissioner  designee                                                                    
was currently employed  by the state and  would the starting                                                                    
salary  be   commensurate  with  the   individual's  current                                                                    
salary.  Ms. Robb  believed  she was  asking  if the  person                                                                    
would retain  their current step  if their range  was higher                                                                    
than  the  starting  salary  listed.  She  answered  in  the                                                                    
affirmative.  Representative Wilson  wondered why  they were                                                                    
unionizing  employees. She  had  heard the  only reason  for                                                                    
unions were because  of bad employers. She  wondered why the                                                                    
staff  would  be unionized.  She  wondered  if there  was  a                                                                    
problem.  Ms. Robb  replied in  the  negative. She  detailed                                                                    
that  the reason  for the  classification was  the positions                                                                    
were  similar   to  jobs  that  currently   existed  in  the                                                                    
classified service  and the change was  appropriate based on                                                                    
the principle of "like pay for like work".                                                                                      
3:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wilson  requested   a   chart  to   further                                                                    
understand the pay scale  for non-unionized individuals. She                                                                    
wanted to compare the current  pay and how it would increase                                                                    
over time. She also requested the information on appeals.                                                                       
Co-Chair  Seaton  spoke  to the  testimony  about  a  person                                                                    
retaining their  steps when  transferring to  a commissioner                                                                    
position. He thought that if  a person was currently working                                                                    
at a lower  range the starting salary would begin  at a step                                                                    
A of Range 24. Ms. Robb answered in the affirmative.                                                                            
Representative  Ortiz  asked for  a  summary  of the  bill's                                                                    
impact. Ms. Robb  answered that the bill  reduced the number                                                                    
of  commissioners from  three to  two. In  addition, HB  231                                                                    
reduced the  pay range of  the commissioner who was  not the                                                                    
chair  and  moved the  commission's  staff  from the  exempt                                                                    
service  to  the  classified service.  Representative  Ortiz                                                                    
asked if the  net impact would drive down the  cost at CFEC.                                                                    
Ms. Robb  responded in the affirmative.  She reiterated that                                                                    
the current staff would be held harmless in terms of pay.                                                                       
3:38:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Pruitt  asked  for  the  current  number  of                                                                    
positions. Mr.  Putman referred to the  organizational chart                                                                    
on  slide  5.  He  answered that  there  were  22  positions                                                                    
however,  one  of the  three  commissioners  were vacant,  a                                                                    
legal  specialist,  executive   secretary,  clerk,  and  the                                                                    
research  department  was  vacant. Currently,  15  employees                                                                    
remained.  He  expected the  commission  to  operate at  the                                                                    
reduced  level  except  for  possibly  hiring  one  research                                                                    
Representative Pruitt  asked if employees had  asked to have                                                                    
their status changed. Ms. Robb  answered that there had been                                                                    
some interest from current employees.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Foster OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Foster CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Foster  announced that amendments were  due by 5:00                                                                    
p.m. on Tuesday April 3, 2018.                                                                                                  
HB  231  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 316                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to the sealing of certain court                                                                           
      records; restricting the publication of certain                                                                           
     records   of  convictions   on  a   publicly  available                                                                    
     website; relating to public  records; and amending Rule                                                                    
     37.6, Alaska Rules of Administration."                                                                                     
3:41:00 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICK FITZGERALD, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE HARRIET DRUMMOND,                                                                    
explained  the bill.  The legislation  was designed  to seal                                                                    
the court  records of  people who  were convicted  of simple                                                                    
possession  of marijuana  prior to  legalization. He  voiced                                                                    
that the  burden of a  lifelong criminal record  for persons                                                                    
convicted  of a  crime that  was currently  legal kept  them                                                                    
from achieving their full potential.  The intent of the bill                                                                    
did not  remove the  records of serious  criminal offenders.                                                                    
The purpose  of the bill  was to eliminate  restrictions and                                                                    
barriers  that   may  be   keeping  Alaskans   from  gaining                                                                    
employment,   finding   housing,  qualify   for   schooling,                                                                    
advancing in  certifications, or  reaching a  higher quality                                                                    
of life. He characterized the  legislation as a "jobs bill".                                                                    
He  furthered   that  the   voter  initiative   to  legalize                                                                    
marijuana had  been in effect for  three years. Legalization                                                                    
created  prosperous  small  business  owners  and  generated                                                                    
millions  in  revenue  for  the  state.  Many  Alaskans  had                                                                    
benefited  from legalization  and the  bill would  eliminate                                                                    
the barriers  for some  Alaskans from  becoming "productive"                                                                    
and "contributing members of society".                                                                                          
Mr.  Fitzgerald reviewed  the  sectional  analysis (copy  on                                                                    
     Sec. 1  AS 12.62.160                                                                                                       
     Stating that  an agency  may not  release records  of a                                                                    
     criminal  case  to  the public  if  the  defendant  was                                                                    
     charged  with  possession  of  a  controlled  substance                                                                    
     schedule VIA.                                                                                                              
     Schedule VIA  definition: AS 11.71.190 (a)  a substance                                                                    
     shall be  placed in schedule  VIA if it is  found under                                                                    
     AS 11.71.120  to have  the lowest  degree of  danger or                                                                    
     probable danger to the person or public.                                                                                   
     (b) marijuana is a schedule VIA controlled substance.                                                                      
     Person had  to have been 21  years or older at  time of                                                                    
     Sec. 2  AS 22.35(040)                                                                                                      
     Is amended  by adding: AS 22.35.040  Confidential court                                                                    
     records. A court  record of a criminal case  is will be                                                                    
     made  confidential if  defendant was  convicted of  VIA                                                                    
     possession  through  state  or  local  ordinance  as  a                                                                    
     stand-alone charge.                                                                                                        
     Sec. 3  AS 40.25.120                                                                                                       
     Every person has a right  to inspect a public record in                                                                    
     the  state,  including   public  records  in  recorders                                                                    
     offices  except:   (18)  Records  of  a   schedule  VIA                                                                    
     possession for less than once  ounce if it was a stand-                                                                    
     alone charge. Defines  that a person must  have been 21                                                                    
     or older for the confidentiality to apply.                                                                                 
     Sec. 4                                                                                                                     
     Alters indirect  court rule amendment "Alaska  Rules of                                                                    
     Administration"  by limiting  public access  to certain                                                                    
     case records.                                                                                                              
     Sec. 5                                                                                                                     
     States that  because of section  four of this  act must                                                                    
     receive  2/3 majority  vote in  each  house because  of                                                                    
     Article IV Sec. 15 of the Alaska State Constitution.                                                                       
     Sec. 6                                                                                                                     
     Provides effective date for 120 after bill signing.                                                                        
3:45:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Seaton  did not see  the words "standalone"  in the                                                                    
bill but  noted that Mr.  Fitzgerald had mentioned  them. He                                                                    
cited  page  4 of  the  bill,  subparagraph (18),  lines  19                                                                    
through  23 as  the new  provision  the bill  was adding  to                                                                    
existing statute. Mr. Fitzgerald  pointed to the language in                                                                    
lines 22 through  23 "was not convicted of  any other charge                                                                    
in that case."                                                                                                                  
Representative Wilson  provided the scenario of  someone who                                                                    
initially received  higher charges but was  convicted of the                                                                    
lower  offense in  a  plea bargain.  She  asked whether  the                                                                    
conviction of  simple possession  would completely  seal the                                                                    
record.  Mr. Fitzgerald  replied  that if  the courts  plead                                                                    
down to a  simple possession only charge there  was a reason                                                                    
for doing so and the  individual should not be discriminated                                                                    
against. Representative  Wilson provided an example  where a                                                                    
person received  a driving under  the influence (DUI)  and a                                                                    
marijuana charge.  She asked if  the DUI charge  was dropped                                                                    
and the  person was convicted  of simple possession  the DUI                                                                    
would  also  be  removed.  Mr.  Fitzgerald  replied  in  the                                                                    
negative.  Representative Wilson  did not  believe that  was                                                                    
what the  bill language said.  She read from the  bill [page                                                                    
4, subparagraph (18), lines 19 through 23]:                                                                                     
     (18) records of  a conviction under AS  11.71.060, or a                                                                    
     municipal   ordinance   with  similar   elements,   for                                                                    
     possession of  less than  one ounce  of a  schedule VIA                                                                    
     controlled substance  if the defendant was  21 years of                                                                    
     age or older  at the time of commission  of the offense                                                                    
     and  was not  convicted of  any other  charges in  that                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  surmised  that  in  the  case  of  a                                                                    
combined charge where  the person was only  convicted of the                                                                    
marijuana  charge both  the charge  and conviction  would be                                                                    
sealed. Mr. Fitzgerald responded that  it was rare for a DUI                                                                    
charge  to  plea down  to  simple  possession of  marijuana.                                                                    
Representative  Wilson did  not care  what rarely  occurred.                                                                    
She deduced that there could  be five charges and everything                                                                    
else  would  be  sealed  along with  the  simple  possession                                                                    
3:49:33 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY MEADE, GENERAL COUNSEL,  ALASKA COURT SYSTEM, answered                                                                    
that Section  2, which  applied to  the court  record worked                                                                    
the  same   way  as  Representative   Wilson's  hypothetical                                                                    
scenario. The bill applied to a conviction and not charges.                                                                     
Representative  Wilson used  a domestic  violence charge  in                                                                    
place  of the  DUI  example and  deduced  that the  domestic                                                                    
violence  charge  would  disappear  because  there  were  no                                                                    
exemptions regarding other charges.  Ms. Mead replied in the                                                                    
affirmative  and added  that the  conviction related  to all                                                                    
the  charges  in the  case  and  maintained that  all  would                                                                    
become  confidential.  She  was  unaware of  how  often  the                                                                    
scenario  occurred. Representative  Wilson  wondered if  the                                                                    
idea  for  the legislation  was  because  marijuana was  now                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIET DRUMMOND,  SPONSOR, replied that when                                                                    
the  marijuana initiative  had been  brought forward  it had                                                                    
been decided not  to include the expungement  feature in the                                                                    
bill. She  noted that other  states had  legalized marijuana                                                                    
had  adopted the  measure in  HB 316  and believed  that the                                                                    
governor of Vermont  had expunged the records  of 200 people                                                                    
when  marijuana became  legal and  California was  beginning                                                                    
the expungement process.                                                                                                        
Representative Wilson  thought that the same  argument could                                                                    
apply to felony crimes that  were lowered to misdemeanors in                                                                    
prior criminal reform legislation.                                                                                              
Representative  Drummond believed  that  they were  covering                                                                    
new  territory  with  the  legalization  of  marijuana.  She                                                                    
stated  that  it  had  always been  illegal  to  steal.  She                                                                    
elaborated  that marijuana  had been  legal for  three years                                                                    
and many were profiting from  the industry. She had heard of                                                                    
situations where minors with  simple possession charges were                                                                    
applying to  military academies but  could never  remove the                                                                    
charge  from   their  records   that  created   a  permanent                                                                    
impediment to their  lives. The bill applied  only to adults                                                                    
with  simple  possession. Representative  Wilson  understood                                                                    
the goal of  the bill, but she was concerned  there could be                                                                    
other  charges  accompanying  a  marijuana  conviction.  She                                                                    
maintained her  belief that the  bill did not  apply equally                                                                    
to other  charges that were  lowered. She thought  there may                                                                    
be  other safety  issues in  the current  bill language  but                                                                    
would consider amendments to correct the issues.                                                                                
Co-Chair  Foster asked  if there  were additional  items Mr.                                                                    
Fitzgerald wanted to cover.                                                                                                     
Mr. Fitzgerald addressed the changes  contained in the House                                                                    
Judiciary Committee  version of the bill.  He indicated that                                                                    
the  CS eliminated  the  date of  convictions  prior to  the                                                                    
legalization  date of  February 24,  2015 and  included that                                                                    
"all  charges  had  been   encompassed"  in  the  provision.                                                                    
Additionally, the legislation  specified that the provisions                                                                    
applied to individuals 21 years of age or older.                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
3:55:52 PM                                                                                                                    
TARA  RICH,  LEGAL  AND   POLICY  DIRECTOR,  AMERICAN  CIVIL                                                                    
LIBERTIES   UNION   (ACLU)   OF   ALASKA,   ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  shared  that  she  had  submitted  written                                                                    
comments  to the  committee  (copy on  file).  She spoke  in                                                                    
support of the bill. She related  that she had not heard any                                                                    
discussion  regarding what  sectors  of  the population  the                                                                    
bill would apply  to. The ACLU had  performed research based                                                                    
on the arrest  rate for simple marijuana  possession but was                                                                    
not able to discern the  data for conviction rates. The data                                                                    
showed that  from 2008 through  2013 African  Americans were                                                                    
twice as likely to be  arrested for marijuana possession and                                                                    
Alaska  Native and  American  Indians were    more than  1.5                                                                    
times  as likely  to be  arrested  for marijuana  possession                                                                    
than whites.  She concluded  that marijuana  possession laws                                                                    
were  routinely enforced  disproportionately against  people                                                                    
of color and was systematized in  the war on drugs. The bill                                                                    
sought to achieve equity in an unjust system.                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson   questioned  why  the   person  that                                                                    
"pleaded  out" or  was convicted  of simple  possession that                                                                    
was  illegal at  the time  "should have  no more  punishment                                                                    
because  of  that." Ms.  Rich  replied  with an  explanation                                                                    
about  the   distinction  between  pleading  guilty   and  a                                                                    
conviction and  noted that the  state did not have  to prove                                                                    
guilt in  a plea agreement. She  indicated that particularly                                                                    
with low  level offences such  as simple possession,  it was                                                                    
easier for  people to plead  guilty to avoid  the disruption                                                                    
in  people's lives  through  incarceration.  She noted  that                                                                    
there  was   evidence-based  data  that   demonstrated  plea                                                                    
agreements  effectuated the  same harm  as a  conviction for                                                                    
people  of color  without asking  the state  to fulfill  its                                                                    
duty of  proving guilt.  Representative Wilson  restated her                                                                    
question and emphasized that the  person with the conviction                                                                    
broke  the  law  at  the  time.  Ms.  Rich  pointed  to  the                                                                    
disproportionate   level   of  policing   against   minority                                                                    
communities, which was well documented.  She added that on a                                                                    
national  level, despite  marijuana  use at  about the  same                                                                    
rate  as  Caucasians,  African Americans  were  nearly  four                                                                    
times more  likely to be arrested  for marijuana possession.                                                                    
She  voiced  that the  people  of  Alaska decided  that  the                                                                    
activity  was   not  criminal  and  coupled   with  systemic                                                                    
discriminatory enforcement, she  believed that the provision                                                                    
was  appropriate.  Representative  Wilson  did  not  believe                                                                    
police  officers in  Alaska were  targeting anyone  and were                                                                    
merely trying to uphold the state's laws.                                                                                       
4:02:14 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  HINTERBERGER,  SELF,  ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
reported that he had been  chair of the campaign to legalize                                                                    
marijuana.  He  supported  the bill.  He  relayed  that  the                                                                    
original  initiative  was  drafted as  straight  forward  as                                                                    
possible  to   maximize  the  chance   of  passage   of  the                                                                    
initiative.   Currently,   other   stated   that   legalized                                                                    
marijuana  adopted  measures  that   sealed  the  record  of                                                                    
individuals  with prior  marijuana convictions.  He believed                                                                    
that the  bill was "entirely consistent  with ballot measure                                                                    
Vice-Chair Gara  thanked Mr. Hinterberger  for his  work. He                                                                    
warned that currently in Alaska  law a student in possession                                                                    
of  marijuana on  school grounds  was subject  to a  Class A                                                                    
felony and  suggested that Mr. Hinterberger  consider acting                                                                    
to endorse statutory change in the future.                                                                                      
4:04:32 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY    JACKMAN    KEEP    CANNABIS   LEGAL,    KENAI    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  support of  the legislation.                                                                    
She shared  that she had  been the campaign manager  for the                                                                    
Keep Cannabis Legal campaign the  previous year. She thanked                                                                    
the  committee for  the opportunity  to  testify. She  hoped                                                                    
that the committee would consider  the wellbeing of everyone                                                                    
in  the state  and  keep an  open mind.  She  spoke about  a                                                                    
divided  society focused  on differences  that created  fear                                                                    
and judgement.  She believed that historically  cannabis had                                                                    
been   falsely  demonized.   She  voiced   issues  regarding                                                                    
corporations and did not consider  them equal to people. She                                                                    
favored a society built on  love and acceptance of marijuana                                                                    
use.  She listed  the medical  and  pleasurable benefits  of                                                                    
marijuana consumption  and termed it a  "miracle plant." She                                                                    
strongly  favored permanently  sealing the  records of  non-                                                                    
violent convictions based on cannabis.                                                                                          
Co-Chair Foster CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
Representative  Wilson asked  if a  representative from  the                                                                    
Department  of Public  Safety was  online.  She referred  to                                                                    
the fiscal  note and  wondered whether  the bill  sealed the                                                                    
records from the Department of Public Safety (DPS).                                                                             
KATHERYN    MONFREDA,    CHIEF,   CRIMINAL    RECORDS    AND                                                                    
IDENTIFICATION   BUREAU,   DEPARTMENT  OF   PUBLIC   SAFETY,                                                                    
responded that  the department  still questioned  whether it                                                                    
would receive the  sealed records from the  Court System for                                                                    
criminal justice and law enforcement purposes.                                                                                  
Representative   Wilson  thought   that   the  fiscal   note                                                                    
indicated that  the records  would be  removed from  the DPS                                                                    
system. She  asked for clarification. Ms.  Monfreda answered                                                                    
that  the records  would  be removed  from  release for  the                                                                    
limited purpose  of AS 12.62.160 (b)8  related to employment                                                                    
or licensing  purposes. The  records would  remain available                                                                    
for law enforcement and other purposes.                                                                                         
4:14:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson asked for further information about                                                                       
who had access to the information.                                                                                              
Co-Chair Foster gave an amendment deadline of the following                                                                     
Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.                                                                                                            
HB 316 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                              
4:16:46 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:17:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster reviewed the schedule for the following                                                                         
4:17:34 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 4:17 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 316 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB316 Sponsor Updated.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
Washington Post- Supporting Doc 1.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
Washington Post Supporting Doc 2.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
CSHB 231 (FSH) Explanation of Changes FINAL 3.27.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
CSHB 231 (FSH) Sectional Analysis FINAL 3.27.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB 231 Transmittal Letter 4.14.17.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
CSHB 231 (FSH) H FIN Presentation FINAL 3.30.18 .pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB 316 Supporting Doc ACLU to H-FIN re HB 316 (Final).pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB 212 CS version U.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 - Explanation of changes D to U 3.27.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 - Sectional version U.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 316 - Department of Law Concern 3.29.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB212model_wo SDR.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB212model_w SDR.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212