Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/22/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:35:30 PM Start
01:36:16 PM Confirmation Hearing: Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
01:47:34 PM HB49
01:51:36 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Confirmation Hearing: Select Committee on TELECONFERENCED
Legislative Ethics
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 49 CRIMES; SENTENCING;MENT. ILLNESS;EVIDENCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 22, 2019                                                                                         
                           1:35 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING: SELECT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 49                                                                                                               
"An  Act relating  to  criminal law  and  procedure; relating  to                                                               
controlled  substances;   relating  to  probation;   relating  to                                                               
sentencing;  relating  to   reports  of  involuntary  commitment;                                                               
amending  Rule  6,  Alaska  Rules   of  Criminal  Procedure;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  49                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRIMES; SENTENCING;MENT. ILLNESS;EVIDENCE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/20/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/22/19       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
H. CONNER THOMAS                                                                                                                
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during his confirmation hearing.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at 1:35  p.m.   Representatives LeDoux,  Wool,                                                               
Kopp,   and  Claman   were  present   at  the   call  to   order.                                                               
Representative Eastman arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
^Confirmation Hearing: Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                                                   
  Confirmation Hearing: Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                                              
                                                                                                                              
1:36:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
a  confirmation  hearing  for  Chief  Justice  Joel  H.  Bolger's                                                               
appointment  to  a  public  seat   on  the  Select  Committee  of                                                               
Legislative Ethics, H. Conner Thomas.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:36:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   CLAMAN   opened   public  testimony   on   Mr.   Thomass                                                                
appointment.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
H. CONNER THOMAS,  said he has lived in Nome,  where he practices                                                               
law,  for  40  years.   He  said  he  has  served on  the  Select                                                               
Committee  on Legislative  Ethics since  1999 and  would like  to                                                               
serve  another term.   He  said he  has enjoyed  his time  on the                                                               
committee and believes it to be important work.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:38:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  for  Mr. Thomass   opinion on  the                                                               
ideal mix of lawyers and non-lawyers on the committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:38:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMAS  said it was important  to have a mix  though he could                                                               
not offer  a formula for the  ideal mix.  He  praised the broader                                                               
perspective brought  to the debate by  the committee's non-lawyer                                                               
members.   He said he  felt the current  mix   two  attorneys and                                                               
three non-attorneys - is good.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:40:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  about  changes  over Mr.  Thomass                                                                
tenure  in the  speed  at  which complaints  are  handled by  the                                                               
committee.   He  asked Mr.  Thomass   opinion on  the matter  and                                                               
whether he felt the process should be sped up or slowed down.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:40:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN noted  Mr.  Thomas need  not  answer any  questions                                                               
about potential statutory changes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:41:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMAS said  there have  been times  when the  committee has                                                               
been slower  than it should be.   He attributed this  slowness to                                                               
staffing  issues.     He  said  there  was  at   least  one  full                                                               
legislative  session during  which  the committee  was not  full,                                                               
which he  said made it  difficult to comply with  the committees                                                                
statutory  requirements.    He   added  it  can  periodically  be                                                               
difficult for the committee to  assemble because some members are                                                               
legislators.   He noted that  in-person meetings are  required to                                                               
deliberate  complaints.    He  said  he  did  not  recommend  any                                                               
particular changes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:42:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  referenced Chief Justice  Bolger's letter                                                               
of  appointment in  which the  Chief  Justice noted  that no  one                                                               
applied  last year  to serve  on  the committee  as an  alternate                                                               
public  member.    He  asked  why the  committee  is  finding  it                                                               
difficult to fill that vacancy.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN said he would not  allow that question.  He said Mr.                                                               
Thomas is not involved in the advertising of the open position.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:44:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   CLAMAN   closed   public  testimony   on   Mr.   Thomass                                                                
appointment.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:44:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  thanked Mr.  Thomas for his  long commitment                                                               
to Nome,  to Alaska Legal  Services, and to the  Select Committee                                                               
on Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:45:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN commented that  it is fortunate Mr. Thomas                                                               
has long  been willing to serve  in this position.   He suggested                                                               
inquiring  about what  encourages Mr.  Thomas to  serve so  as to                                                               
glean information  about why it  has proven difficult  to attract                                                               
applicants for the empty position.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:45:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN recognized  Mr. Thomas's  willingness to  serve for                                                               
two decades  on the committee.   He acknowledged that  Mr. Thomas                                                               
has been renominated by multiple chief justices.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:46:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX thanked Mr. Thomas  for his twenty years on                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:46:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  reminded members that signing  the reports                                                               
regarding  appointments  to  boards  and commissions  in  no  way                                                               
reflects  individual  members'  approval or  disapproval  of  the                                                               
appointees, and that the nominations  are merely forwarded to the                                                               
full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
        HB  49-CRIMES; SENTENCING;MENT. ILLNESS;EVIDENCE                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:47:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  49  "An   Act  relating  to  criminal  law  and                                                               
procedure;  relating   to  controlled  substances;   relating  to                                                               
probation;  relating  to  sentencing;   relating  to  reports  of                                                               
involuntary  commitment;   amending  Rule  6,  Alaska   Rules  of                                                               
Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN   read  from   the  following   prepared  statement                                                               
[original punctuation provided].                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Before we take up HB 49, I'd like to share my concerns                                                                     
     about two topics:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     First,  I   was  troubled  to  learn   that  yesterday,                                                                    
     Governor Dunleavy  refused to  fill an  Alaska Superior                                                                    
     Court  vacancy  in Palmer  as  required  by the  Alaska                                                                    
     Constitution and  state law.  Article IV, Section  5 of                                                                    
     the  Alaska Constitution  states:  "The governor  shall                                                                    
     fill any vacancy in an  office of supreme court justice                                                                    
     or superior  court judge  by appointing  one of  two or                                                                    
     more  persons  nominated   by  the  judicial  council."                                                                    
     Alaska  Statute  22.15.170.  requires the  Governor  to                                                                    
     select a judge from that list within 45 days.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The oath that  I take to serve in  this office requires                                                                    
     that I swear to uphold  "the Constitution of the United                                                                    
     States and  the Constitution  of the State  of Alaska."                                                                    
     The Governor took the same oath to serve as Governor.                                                                      
     The authors  of Alaska's Constitution believed  that it                                                                    
     was  important to  have judges  who were  honest, fair,                                                                    
     impartial,  intelligent,  experienced in  applying  the                                                                    
     law, and  committed to  following the  rule of  law. To                                                                    
     achieve this,  framers of our  Constitution established                                                                    
     a  merit selection  system for  choosing  judges and  a                                                                    
     retention  election system  for  retaining them.  Merit                                                                    
     selection  ensures that  the Council  has conducted  an                                                                    
     apolitical evaluation  of the  applicant's professional                                                                    
     qualifications  and  every  judge  is  among  the  most                                                                    
     qualified for that position.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     By  refusing  to  select from  the  list  of  qualified                                                                    
     candidates  nominated  by  the  Judicial  Council,  the                                                                    
     Governor is failing to  uphold the Alaska Constitution.                                                                    
     The  Governor's  inaction  in unprecedented  in  Alaska                                                                    
     history.  Both  Gov.  Hickel and  Gov.  Murkowski  were                                                                    
     sometimes  unhappy with  nominations from  the Judicial                                                                    
     Council. But  each time, despite  their dissatisfaction                                                                    
     with the  choices before them, they  respected the Rule                                                                    
     of  Law  by  appointing  a judge  within  45  days,  as                                                                    
     required  by  law.  Governor  Dunleavy  has  failed  to                                                                    
     follow the Rule of Law.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Second,   I  am   troubled  by   the  news   of  travel                                                                    
     restrictions  placed  on  Quinlan Steiner,  the  Public                                                                    
     Defender. We recently learned at  a House State Affairs                                                                    
     Committee    hearing,    that   the    Department    of                                                                    
     Administration forwarded  Mr. Steiner's  travel request                                                                    
     to the  Governor's office and  the Governor's  Chief of                                                                    
     Staff  denied  all  travel for  the  remainder  of  the                                                                    
     legislative session.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     There appears to  be no precedent in  Alaska history in                                                                    
     which the Governor authorized  prosecutors to travel to                                                                    
     Juneau to testify on crime  bills, but refused the same                                                                    
     courtesy and privilege to the Public Defender.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Having the  perspective of both  the Department  of Law                                                                    
     and  the  Public  Defender  when  reviewing  any  bills                                                                    
     related to public safety is  crucial. And my experience                                                                    
     in  the capitol  has shown  me, again  and again,  that                                                                    
     [appearing in person] is an advantage.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN interjected and said,   I am reminded of a very                                                                    
experienced prosecutor who  once said to me that  one of the                                                                    
best parts  about the American  system of justice  is almost                                                                    
everyone who  is convicted is  guilty, and thats  a  part of                                                                    
having a two-sided perspective.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN continued reading from his prepared statement                                                                      
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Because  I  am firmly  committed  to  a fair  and  open                                                                    
     process  with  a  level field,  we  will  continue  our                                                                    
     hearing on House Bill 49 on Monday.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Moving  forward,  all  Anchorage-based staff  with  the                                                                    
     Administration  providing   testimony  on   any  public                                                                    
     safety bills  will only  be heard  telephonically until                                                                    
     the  Governor's office  decides to  approve the  Public                                                                    
     Defender's travel [to Juneau].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
[HB 49 was held over.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:51:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 1:51 p.m.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Select Committee on Legislative Ethics Appointment-H. Conner Thomas Resume 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
Select Committee on Legislative Ethics Appointment-H. Conner Thomas Letter of Support Chief Justice Bolger 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HB049 ver A 3.22.19.PDF HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Transmittal Letter 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Sectional Analysis ver A 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Bill Highlights 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Supporting Document-Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police Letter 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Additional Document-Senate Bill 91 GOA Bills Matrix 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note DHSS-PS 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note DPS-CJISP 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note DOA-OPA 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note DOA-PDA 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note DOC-IDO 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/27/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49
HB049 Fiscal Note JUD-ACS 3.22.19.pdf HJUD 3/22/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/25/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 49