Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/11/2020 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:04:01 PM Start
01:04:37 PM Commission on Judicial Conduct
01:23:41 PM HB290
01:39:25 PM HB287
02:59:09 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
- Public Defender, Samantha Cherot
- Commission on Judicial Conduct, Todd Fletcher
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 290 ALTERNATIVE TO ARREST: MENTAL HEALTH CTR. TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ HB 287 VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 11, 2020                                                                                         
                           1:04 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Public Defender                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Samantha Cherot - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Todd Fletcher - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 290                                                                                                              
"An  Act  establishing an  alternative  to  arrest procedure  for                                                               
persons  in  acute  episodes  of   mental  illness;  relating  to                                                               
emergency detention  for mental  health evaluation;  and relating                                                               
to licensure of crisis stabilization centers."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 287                                                                                                              
"An  Act requiring  background investigations  of village  public                                                               
safety  officer applicants  by the  Department of  Public Safety;                                                               
relating  to  the  village public  safety  officer  program;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 290                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ALTERNATIVE TO ARREST: MENTAL HEALTH CTR.                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) CLAMAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/24/20       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/24/20       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/06/20       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/06/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/06/20       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/11/20       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 287                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KOPP                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
02/24/20       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/24/20       (H)       TRB, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/26/20       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/26/20       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/03/20       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/03/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/03/20       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
03/05/20       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/05/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/05/20       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
03/10/20       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/10/20       (H)       Moved CSHB 287(TRB) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/10/20       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
03/11/20       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SAMANTHA CHEROT, Appointee                                                                                                      
Public Defender Agency                                                                                                          
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony on her appointment as                                                                  
public defender.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES MCKEE                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony during the confirmation                                                                
hearing for the public defender.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CASHION, Attorney                                                                                                          
Cashion Gilmore, LLC                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony during the confirmation                                                                
hearing for the public defender.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CARRIE JOKIEL, President                                                                                                        
ChemTrack Alaska                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony during the confirmation                                                                
hearing for the public defender.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JEFF ROBINSON, Attorney                                                                                                         
Ashburn & Mason P.C.                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony during the confirmation                                                                
hearing for the public defender.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TODD FLETCHER, Appointee                                                                                                        
Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony on his appointment to the                                                              
Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SOPHIE JONAS, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the proposed committee substitute                                                              
for HB 290 on behalf of Representative Claman, prime sponsor.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOANNA CAHOON, Attorney                                                                                                         
Disability Law Center of Alaska                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony in support of HB 290.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KEN TRUITT, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered a PowerPoint presentation on HB
287, on behalf of Representative Chuck Kopp, prime sponsor.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MELANIE BAHNKE, President                                                                                                       
Kawerak, Inc.                                                                                                                   
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony in support of HB 287.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WILLARD MAYO                                                                                                                    
Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                                                                        
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony in support of HB 287.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order at 1:04  p.m.  Representatives Claman, Drummond,                                                               
Stutes,  and   LeDoux  were  present   at  the  call   to  order.                                                               
Representatives  Shaw and  Vance arrived  as the  meeting was  in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
^Public Defender                                                                                                                
                        Public Defender                                                                                     
^Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                 
                 Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
1:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
the  Confirmation  Hearings  for  the  Public  Defender  and  the                                                               
Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:04:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony  on the confirmation hearing                                                               
for the public defender.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:05:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SAMANTHA  CHEROT, Appointee,  Public Defender  Agency, Department                                                               
of  Administration,  offered  testimony  on  her  appointment  as                                                               
public defender.   She stated that she is  currently the director                                                               
of the Public  Defender Agency.  She said that  she is an Alaskan                                                               
who grew up in Anchorage.   She stated that her mother raised her                                                               
as a  single mother  from the  time she was  eight years  old and                                                               
instilled  in  her  a  strong work  ethic,  independence,  and  a                                                               
commitment to giving back to those  in need.  She stated that she                                                               
is married to an Alaskan, has  been married for 13 years, and has                                                               
a  two-year-old son.   She  explained  that after  growing up  in                                                               
Alaska, she completed her undergraduate  and law school education                                                               
in California,  and then she initially  practiced employment law,                                                               
primarily   employment  law   litigation,  and   training  public                                                               
governmental  employees and  governmental entities.   She  stated                                                               
that  she represented  school  districts, sheriff's  departments,                                                               
counties,  and cities,  and she  really  enjoyed the  work.   She                                                               
expressed that  she was  called  back to  Alaska,  as it  is home                                                               
for her  and her husband.   She said  that since she  returned to                                                               
Alaska in 2009, she has  primarily worked for the Public Defender                                                               
Agency.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHEROT expressed that she  wanted to represent clients, serve                                                               
those  in  need  who  face   great  challenges,  and  try  cases;                                                               
therefore,  she  spent  three years  in  the  criminal  division,                                                               
primarily handling  felony cases,  and she  said that  she gained                                                               
extensive trial experience  there.  She stated that  she then had                                                               
additional  time  in  private  practice at  the  small  law  firm                                                               
Cashion  Gilmore,   LLC,  where  she  worked   for  prior  public                                                               
defenders  who were  mentors  to her.   She  said  that she  then                                                               
continued  in criminal  defense practice,  mostly state  practice                                                               
throughout Alaska,  handling divorce, custody, and  other general                                                               
civil litigation cases.  She stated  that in 2015 she returned to                                                               
the Public Defender Agency, because  of her commitment to working                                                               
with  families toward  family reunification,  and she  joined the                                                               
Civil Division  where she worked for  four years.  She  said that                                                               
during that  time she primarily  represented parents in  child in                                                               
need of  aid (CINA) cases, and  she pointed out that  the parents                                                               
in some  of those cases were  teenagers.  She said  that she also                                                               
represented  individuals  in   commitment  proceedings  who  were                                                               
facing  forced  medication   petitions,   commitment  involuntary                                                               
commitments,   and  individuals  struggling  with  mental  health                                                               
challenges.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHEROT expressed  that  it  had been  a  great privilege  to                                                               
represent the individuals that she had  served and to see so many                                                               
come out on  the other side for the better  as more empowered and                                                               
safer parents,  with the right  programming and services,  and to                                                               
see  people   rejoin  their  communities,  find   stability  with                                                               
substance  abuse  treatment,  maintain  sobriety,  manage  mental                                                               
health issues,  reunify with their children,  and maintain stable                                                               
employment and housing.   She expressed that she is  proud of the                                                               
programs in place  to do that work with clients  on the front end                                                               
as well.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHEROT  expressed that it  was a difficult decision  to apply                                                               
for the  position of  director, as she  had anticipated  it would                                                               
take her  from a lot of  her case work.   She said that  she does                                                               
still  have  some clients  and  cases  as  director, but  she  is                                                               
primarily tasked  with overseeing the agency's  13 offices around                                                               
the state,  which are fully  staffed with over 100  attorneys and                                                               
over 70  staff members.   She said  that as she  had anticipated,                                                               
her employment  law background, background in  training attorneys                                                               
in  the Criminal  Division and  Civil  Division, and  supervising                                                               
experience has been valuable to her  in her role as the director.                                                               
She  stated that  her focus  is on  efficiency and  effectiveness                                                               
while  not compromising  constitutional and  ethical mandates  to                                                               
clients, how  to be  most creative  with resources,  and tackling                                                               
great retention  and recruitment challenges.   She explained that                                                               
the agency  has been more  creative with  recruitment strategies,                                                               
but it continues to lose  experienced attorneys.  She stated that                                                               
it is hiring bright new eager  attorneys, but with that comes the                                                               
need for  resources and training.   She said that she  is pleased                                                               
to say that the vacancy rate  has decreased since she assumed her                                                               
role, but she recognized that  there are many challenges and hard                                                               
work ahead.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES MCKEE offered tangential comments.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:12:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CASHION,  Attorney, Cashion Gilmore, LLC,  offered testimony                                                               
during  the confirmation  hearing for  the public  defender.   He                                                               
stated that he worked with Ms.  Cherot as a trial attorney in her                                                               
days as a public defender and  in private practice.  He expressed                                                               
that Ms. Cherot stands out as  someone with the unique ability to                                                               
handle  complex  issues  and  situations  and  is  articulate  in                                                               
advancing whatever her  position might be when it  comes to those                                                               
issues.   He  said that  he worked  as a  public defender  for 13                                                               
years and  some of those  years overlapped  with Ms. Cherot.   He                                                               
stated that he  thinks Ms. Cherot is uniquely  well positioned to                                                               
be  public  defender,  because  she  has  an  extensive  criminal                                                               
background  as  well as  a  civil  background, which  is  unusual                                                               
within the Public Defender Agency.   He stated that Ms. Cherot is                                                               
a leader at the Public Defender  Agency on a statewide basis, and                                                               
she is  highly respected  by her colleagues.   He  expressed that                                                               
her significant  work history at  the agency will serve  her well                                                               
in her ability to  act as the public defender.   He said that she                                                               
is an extremely  gracious person who is very well  attuned to the                                                               
perspective  of  others, and  she  will  be able  to  effectively                                                               
advocate for the  Public Defender Agency and  engage in difficult                                                               
decision making, which  may well be on the  horizon for budgetary                                                               
reasons.  He  summarized that Ms. Cherot is  very reasonable, and                                                               
he  expressed that  he thinks  the  position that  she adopts  on                                                               
behalf of  the agency will be  a position that all  sides will be                                                               
able to understand.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:14:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARRIE  JOKIEL, President,  ChemTrack  Alaska, offered  testimony                                                               
during the  confirmation hearing  for the  public defender.   She                                                               
stated that she  has known Ms. Cherot personally for  years.  She                                                               
expressed that  she was  thrilled when they  served on  the Young                                                               
Womens  Christian  Association (YWCA)  Alaska Board  of Directors                                                               
together.   She  said that  she had  served as  president of  the                                                               
board for  two years,  and when  Ms. Cherot  joined the  board in                                                               
2016,  she was  quickly put  into the  role of  president of  the                                                               
board  because   she  showed  strong  leadership   skills.    She                                                               
expressed that  she was impressed  with how Ms. Cherot  handled a                                                               
lot of  the board commitments  and some of the  internal workings                                                               
going  on at  YWCA at  the time.   She  said that  she found  Ms.                                                               
Cherot to  be practical and  fair, and that  she showed a  lot of                                                               
leadership.   She  stated  that  she was  easy  to  follow and  a                                                               
natural leader  of the YWCAs   mission of eliminating  racism and                                                               
empowering women.   She summarized that she has  known Ms. Cherot                                                               
since high  school, and she  is excited to see  the opportunities                                                               
in front of her and honored to speak on her behalf.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:15:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF ROBINSON, Attorney, Ashburn  & Mason P.C., offered testimony                                                               
during  the confirmation  hearing for  the public  defender.   He                                                               
stated that he has  been a partner at his firm  for 3.5 years, in                                                               
private practice  for approximately  five years, and  before that                                                               
had overlapped with  Ms. Cherot at the Public  Defender Agency in                                                               
Anchorage  for  approximately 5  years.    He expressed  that  he                                                               
thinks Alaska is  getting the  best of the best   with Ms. Cherot                                                               
and, as  had indicated in  Ms. Cherot's testimony,  the appointee                                                               
has a  depth of experience, is  from Alaska, has been  in private                                                               
practice  on both  the criminal  and  civil side,  and knows  all                                                               
areas of the agency, including the  Civil Division, Criminal                                                                    
Division,  and  the  rural  offices.   He  stated  that  she  has                                                               
supervised personnel  across the  board and was  one of  the most                                                               
respected trial attorneys  in the division when  he worked there.                                                               
He  summarized that  he unequivocally  supports her  confirmation                                                               
and  looks forward  to  Ms. Cherot  running  the Public  Defender                                                               
Agency for a long time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:17:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN, after  ascertaining that there was no  one else who                                                               
wished to  testify, closed public  testimony on  the confirmation                                                               
hearing for the public defender.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:18:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TODD  FLETCHER,   Appointee,  Commission  on   Judicial  Conduct,                                                               
offered  testimony  on  his  appointment  to  the  Commission  on                                                               
Judicial  Conduct.   He stated  that he  was born  and raised  in                                                               
Anchorage, works as  the branch manager at  Wells Fargo Advisors,                                                               
is  an  eagle scout,  has  been  married  to  his wife  Lisa  for                                                               
approximately 25 years, and has  two kids who attend Diamond High                                                               
School.    He expressed  that  his  interest  in serving  on  the                                                               
Commission on  Judicial Conduct is  to work with both  judges and                                                               
attorneys to ensure that the  ethics in Alaskas  court system are                                                               
held to the  highest standard.  He stated that  observing how the                                                               
process works has been very  interesting and, as a public member,                                                               
he believes he is of value to the  board.  He said that he enjoys                                                               
reading and listening  to the information presented  on each case                                                               
and helping to  make the best decision to help  the board address                                                               
any of the publics concerns with the judicial system.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:19:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked Mr. Fletcher  whether this was a reappointment                                                               
or whether  he was  appointed several months  prior and  had been                                                               
serving subject to the confirmation process.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLETCHER  replied that  he was  appointed several  months ago                                                               
and has participated in meetings already.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony  on the confirmation hearing                                                               
for the Commission on Judicial  Conduct.  After ascertaining that                                                               
there  was  no  one  who  wished to  testify,  he  closed  public                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:21:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   thanked  Mr.  Fletcher   for  offering                                                               
himself  to  public service  and  remarked  that his  application                                                               
pointed out that  his preference had been to serve  on the Alaska                                                               
Mental  Health Trust  Authority over  the Commission  on Judicial                                                               
Conduct.   She asked him  to speak to why  he wanted to  serve on                                                               
the  Mental  Health Trust  Authority  and  asked whether  he  was                                                               
satisfied  with  his  service   on  the  Commission  on  Judicial                                                               
Conduct.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLETCHER  replied that it had  been presented to him  to have                                                               
an  opportunity on  the  Mental Health  Trust  Authority, but  it                                                               
ended up  that since he is  a board member for  the University of                                                               
Alaska (UA)  Foundation, there would  be a conflict  of interest.                                                               
He  said that  the  opportunity  to serve  on  the Commission  on                                                               
Judicial  Conduct  came   up  after  ,  which   he  described  as                                                               
 fantastic.    He  expressed that  he really  enjoys what  he can                                                               
bring to  the table and is  excited to learn the  process of what                                                               
takes place on  the Commission on Judicial Conduct.   In response                                                               
to  a follow  up  question,  he clarified  that  the conflict  of                                                               
interest arose  from his service  on the board of  the University                                                               
of Alaska (UA) Foundation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:22:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  stated that  the House  Judiciary Standing                                                               
Committee  had  reviewed  the qualifications  of  the  governors                                                                
appointees and  recommends that the following  names be forwarded                                                               
to a  Joint Session for  consideration:  Samantha  Cherot, Public                                                               
Defender;  Todd Fletcher,  Commission on  Judicial Conduct.   She                                                               
said that  this did not reflect  intent by any of  the members to                                                               
vote for or against these  individuals during any further session                                                               
for the purposes of confirmation.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
        HB 290-ALTERNATIVE TO ARREST: MENTAL HEALTH CTR.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:23:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 290,  "An  Act  establishing an  alternative  to                                                               
arrest  procedure  for  persons   in  acute  episodes  of  mental                                                               
illness;  relating  to  emergency  detention  for  mental  health                                                               
evaluation;  and relating  to licensure  of crisis  stabilization                                                               
centers."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:24:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  passed the gavel  to Representative Stutes  for the                                                               
duration of the bill presentation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:24:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   remarked  that  there  was   a  proposed                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) for HB  290, which would  be presented                                                               
by  the  bills  sponsor,  Chair  Claman,  and his  staff,  Sophie                                                               
Jonas.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN,  as prime sponsor  of HB 290, introduced  his staff                                                               
as the  person who would  walk the committee through  changes for                                                               
consideration under a proposed committee substitute.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:24:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SOPHIE  JONAS, Staff,  Representative Matt  Claman, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Claman,  prime sponsor,                                                               
explained  changes  that  would  be  made to  HB  290  under  the                                                               
proposed  committee  substitute  (CS)  for HB  290,  Version  31-                                                               
LS1513\K, Marx, 3/10/20 ("Version K").   She stated that the bill                                                               
title  would  be  amended  to  insert   acute  behavioral  health                                                               
crisis  in place  of  acute episode of mental  illness,  in order                                                               
to  reflect a  more accurate  definition of  the population  that                                                               
crisis stabilization centers seek to serve.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. JONAS said  that Section 1, subsection (a),  would be amended                                                               
to use the term  acute  behavioral health crisis,  and subsection                                                               
(b)  would  be  amended  to  read   emergency  custody  under  AS                                                               
47.30.705  and  deliver  the person  to  a  crisis  stabilization                                                               
center  because the amended language  more narrowly describes the                                                               
alternative  in   this  subsection.    She   stated  that  former                                                               
subsection  (c) would  be removed  because the  language in  that                                                               
section  is  redundant  to  the  language in  Section  4  of  the                                                               
proposed legislation.   She stated that  subsection (d), formerly                                                               
subsection (e), would be amended to  add subsection (a) or (b) of                                                               
this section  for clarity.   She  explained that  subsection (g),                                                               
formerly  subsection  (h), would  be  modified  for clarity,  and                                                               
subsection (h)  would be  a new  subsection, which  would confirm                                                               
that prosecutors  can charge a  person with an  underlying crime,                                                               
even if a police officer  takes him/her to a crisis stabilization                                                               
center.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. JONAS  stated that  currently a  prosecutor must  authorize a                                                               
decision  not to  arrest under  Title 18,  and Section  2 of  the                                                               
proposed   CS   would   be   amended   to   require   prosecution                                                               
authorization of a decision to divert to crisis intervention.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. JONAS  said that  Section 3  would be  amended to  remove the                                                               
word   other  before   evaluation center   and before   treatment                                                               
center.   Additionally, the CS  would identify the three types of                                                               
facilities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. JONAS stated  that former Section 6 would  be deleted because                                                               
it  is not  required, and  the  definition would  be provided  in                                                               
regulations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. Jonas stated that Section  6, formerly Section 7, would amend                                                               
AS  47.32.900, Section  22, to  expand the  definition of  crisis                                                               
stabilization  centers to  include  23-hour crisis  stabilization                                                               
centers, crisis residential centers, and subacute facilities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  JONAS stated  that  Section 7,  [paragraph]  (22), would  be                                                               
amended to  allow the  Department of  Health and  Social Services                                                               
(DHSS)   flexibility  in   the  timeline   of  licensing   crisis                                                               
stabilization  centers,   should  the  need  arise   before  full                                                               
licensure under this Act is available.   She added that Section 7                                                               
refers to the uncodified law of the State of Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:28:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked  for a written copy  of the changes                                                               
Version  K would  make  to HB  290.   She  expressed  that it  is                                                               
difficult to follow along flipping back and forth.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:28:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  replied  that  his  staff  would  get  it  to  the                                                               
committee after the meeting.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:28:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked how an arresting  officer determines                                                               
whether he/she  is addressing an  emotional or  behavioral health                                                               
crisis.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  replied that, under  existing law,  police officers                                                               
have the authority to take  an individual who is greatly disabled                                                               
to   an  involuntary   commitment;  therefore,   police  officers                                                               
currently have training in terms  of dealing with people who have                                                               
psychiatric issues.   He  said that what  he learned  from  ride-                                                               
alongs   was that  more  of these  types of  people  make up  the                                                               
population  police officers  deal with  on a  regular basis.   He                                                               
added that  the officers have  training and experience,  in terms                                                               
of assessing  whether an individual  might be  more appropriately                                                               
dealt  with in  a  crisis stabilization  environment rather  than                                                               
jail.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES recollected  that a  bill had  been passed                                                               
[House  Bill 16,  passed  in 2017,  during  the Thirtieth  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature], which provided  for disabled people, mentally                                                               
disabled  or   otherwise,  to  have   a  stamp  on   their  state                                                               
identifications  or drivers   licenses indicating  that they  are                                                               
disabled;  therefore,  a police  officer  would  be able  to  see                                                               
whether an  individual has a  history of disability  when looking                                                               
at identification.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN remarked  that he thinks that bill  made it optional                                                               
to  receive a  stamp identifying  a disability  so that  families                                                               
could have the option, but it would not be mandatory.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:30:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES passed the gavel back to Chair Claman.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:30:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 290, Version  31-LS1513\K, Marx, 3/10/20,                                                               
as a work draft.  There  being no objection, Version K was before                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:31:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN re-opened public testimony on HB 290.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOANNA  CAHOON,  Attorney,  Disability   Law  Center  of  Alaska,                                                               
offered testimony in  support of HB 290.  She  expressed that the                                                               
Disability Law  Center (DLC) appreciates  the introduction  of HB
290, and she indicated enthusiasm for  the Crisis Now Model.  She                                                               
stated  that HB  290  would  provide for  a  much needed  23-hour                                                               
stabilization  center to  keep people  with acute  mental illness                                                               
out of correctional facilities.  She  expressed that it is a good                                                               
idea to  have an alternative to  not make an arrest  in the first                                                               
place.   She  commented that  individuals in  Alaska with  mental                                                               
illness end up in correctional  facilities, even though they have                                                               
not  been engaged  in criminal  activities pursuant  to emergency                                                               
detention by  a police officer.   She said that when  there is no                                                               
available facility, such as when there  is a wait list for Alaska                                                               
Psychiatric  Institute (API)  admission, officers  may feel  like                                                               
there  is  nowhere to  take  someone  other than  a  correctional                                                               
facility, and  HB 290  would provide  an important  option, which                                                               
she said she thinks is a  good thing; however, she expressed that                                                               
if  someone were  not  stabilized within  23  hours, there  would                                                               
still be  the issue of  insufficient capacity to  provide 72-hour                                                               
evaluations under Alaska statutes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CAHOON  explained  that  this  could  still  allow  for  the                                                               
situation where  individuals, who  have not  been charged  with a                                                               
crime,  stack  up  in inappropriate  facilities  waiting  for  an                                                               
evaluation.   She said  that the Crisis  Now Report  recommends a                                                               
23-hour recliner  center and a short-term  inpatient facility for                                                               
individuals that  are not stabilized  within 23 hours.   She said                                                               
that  DLC thinks  that in  the future  it will  be imperative  to                                                               
increase  the  capacity  to perform  evaluations  by  considering                                                               
mechanisms  for  licensing  a   two-  to  five-day  facility,  as                                                               
outlined in the Crisis Now  Report, and designating that facility                                                               
to  provide 72-hour  evaluations.   She  summarized  that HB  290                                                               
would  be  a  step  in  the  right  direction,  embrace  the  new                                                               
promising   Crisis   Now   Model,   and   move   Alaska   towards                                                               
decriminalizing mental illness.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:34:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN noted for context that  Ms. Cahoon, with DLC, is the                                                               
lead counsel  on the  lawsuit that has  been brought  against the                                                               
State  of Alaska,  regarding staffing  at  API and  the issue  of                                                               
people being taken to prison rather than API.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:35:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN, after  ascertaining that there was no  one else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 290.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:35:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  announced that  HB  290  would  be held  over  for                                                               
further review.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:36:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:36 p.m. to 1:39 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HB 287-VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[Contains discussion of HB 221.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:39:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 287, "An Act  requiring background investigations                                                               
of village public safety officer  applicants by the Department of                                                               
Public  Safety; relating  to the  village  public safety  officer                                                               
program;  and providing  for  an effective  date."   [Before  the                                                               
committee was CSHB 287(TRB).]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEN  TRUITT,  Staff,  Representative  Chuck  Kopp,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, offered a PowerPoint  presentation CSHB 287(TRB), on                                                               
behalf  of Representative  Kopp, prime  sponsor.   He noted  that                                                               
Representative Kopp  was presenting a  bill in the  House Finance                                                               
Committee at that time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  stated that the  proposed legislation  represents the                                                               
culmination  of  the  Joint  Legislative  Village  Public  Safety                                                               
Officers  working group,  which  was called  to explore  possible                                                               
changes  and provide  recommendations to  the legislature  on the                                                               
Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO)  program.  He explained that                                                               
the working  group was  formed by  legislative leadership  in May                                                               
2019, and the working group  members were:  Senator Click Bishop,                                                               
Senator Mike Shower,  Representative Bryce Edgmon, Representative                                                               
George  Rauscher,   and  Co-Chairs   Senator  Donald   Olson  and                                                               
Representative Chuck Kopp.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:42:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT,  referencing slide 4 of  the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
stated  that  9 out  of  10  of  the grantee  organizations  that                                                               
currently   run  the   VPSO   program   are  essentially   tribal                                                               
governments.   He said  that the Central  Council of  the Tlingit                                                               
and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska  ("Tlingit & Haida"), is on its                                                               
own merit  a federally  recognized tribes, and  all of  the other                                                               
groups, except  for the Northwest  Arctic Borough,  are nonprofit                                                               
organizations  that were  formed  as  state chartered  nonprofits                                                               
when  the state  did  not  recognize tribes  and  would not  have                                                               
formal   relationships  with   tribes;  therefore,   they  formed                                                               
nonprofit corporations in  order to apply for, and  run, the VPSO                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:42:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT,  referencing slide 5 of  the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
said that the  assignment of the working group  was to coordinate                                                               
with stakeholders, look at the  issues that came forward, and try                                                               
to   find solutions  to turn  over.    He said  that the  working                                                               
group was  active from August 2019  to December 2019, and  it met                                                               
twice in January to review and adopt the draft report.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:43:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked,  referencing   slide  4  of  the                                                               
PowerPoint presentation,  how the Northwest Arctic  Borough was a                                                               
tribal government, as mentioned earlier by Mr. Truitt.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  replied  that  9   of  the  10  groups  were  tribal                                                               
governments, in addition to the  Northwest Arctic Borough and, in                                                               
response to a follow up  question, confirmed that Tlingit & Haida                                                               
is a federally recognized tribe.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:44:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   LEDOUX   asked   whether  Kodiak   Area   Native                                                               
Association is a tribal government.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT   answered  that  it   is  a  consortium   of  tribal                                                               
governments,  which  he said  is  true  of  many of  the  grantee                                                               
organizations on the list.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:44:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT,  referencing slide 7 of  the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
pointed out  a rough timeline  of how the working  group started,                                                               
adopted  the report  on January  24,  and introduced  HB 287  one                                                               
month later.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:44:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT,  referencing slide 9 of  the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
pointed out  the timeline of  the full working  group activities.                                                               
He  stated  that  the  timeline   shows  that  only  two  of  the                                                               
activities were  working group convened and  called meetings, and                                                               
those were the  first working group meetings  with the Department                                                               
of Public  Safety (DPS) and  VPSO management personnel,  and next                                                               
was the listening session approximately  one month later with the                                                               
VPSO  grantee organizations.   He  said that  work was  done with                                                               
DPS,  specifically  Kelly  Howell,  about  whether  DPS  and  the                                                               
commissioner would like  to be at the listening  session with the                                                               
VPSO grantee  organizations.   He said that  it was  decided that                                                               
DPS would not  participate in the meeting for the  sake of candor                                                               
in  the discussion  between  the working  group  and the  grantee                                                               
organizations.   He pointed out  that the rest of  the activities                                                               
of the full working group shown  on the slide were invitations by                                                               
different groups  to have  members of  the working  group attend.                                                               
He said that the Northwest  Arctic Borough extended an invitation                                                               
to the working group to  its public safety commission, which many                                                               
members were  able to attend.   He  stated that the  Tribal Unity                                                               
Caucus  invited  the  working  group to  its  annual  meeting  in                                                               
December 2019,  in Anchorage.   He said  that the final  two full                                                               
working group convened  meetings were the meetings  to review the                                                               
draft report and adopt the report.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:46:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  whether the  working group  met with                                                               
any  past  or  current  VPSOs,  to  get  a   boots-on-the-ground                                                                
perspective.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  replied that if he  understood Representative Vances                                                                
question  to mean  people who  were formerly  employed as  VPSOs,                                                               
then  the  answer would  be  no.   In  response  to  a follow  up                                                               
question regarding  whether the  working group  had met  with any                                                               
current VPSOs, he  said that when the working group  had met with                                                               
all 10  of the VPSO  grantee organizations, the  coordinators who                                                               
manage  the  programs  within   the  grantee  organizations  were                                                               
present, and many of those personnel are certified VPSOs.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT, referencing slide 11  of the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
stated that in addition to  the full working group, the co-chairs                                                               
met  with  the  Alaska  Federation   of  Natives  (AFN)  planning                                                               
committee  and were  then on  a panel  during the  AFN convention                                                               
with  congressional   delegation  senators,  the   U.S.  attorney                                                               
general, and Commissioner  Price from DPS.  He said  that the co-                                                               
chairs also  attended a public  safety listening session  in Nome                                                               
with  the  U.S. Department  of  the  Interior, Bureau  of  Indian                                                               
Affairs (BIA).                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:48:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES remarked  that she  assumed that  when Mr.                                                               
Truitt  was   referring  to  co-chairs,   he  was   referring  to                                                               
Representative Kopp and Senator Olson.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT confirmed that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  remarked that  the last  activity that  the co-chairs                                                               
participated in was  a meeting of the  VPSO grantee organizations                                                               
in January  2020, which included  all the leadership from  the 10                                                               
grantee organizations, as well as  the VPSO program personnel who                                                               
manage  the VPSO  program within  those organizations.   He  said                                                               
that the meeting was an invitation extended to the co-chairs.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:49:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT, referencing slide 12  of the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
explained  that he  would be  walking the  committee through  the                                                               
report that was  adopted by the working group.   He said that the                                                               
working  group broke  the report  into  long-term and  short-term                                                               
recommendations.   He  expressed  that  by his  characterization,                                                               
these recommendations are not comprehensive,  but are issues that                                                               
were presented  during the groups   work and appeared to  be more                                                               
significant than what  could be accomplished in a  90- to 100-day                                                               
session.   He  stated that  four of  the recommendations  address                                                               
having closer and more formal  relations with tribal governments.                                                               
He said that  this would result in closer  relationships with the                                                               
federal agencies that fund tribal governments.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT explained that during  the listening sessions in Nome,                                                               
the  co-chairs spent  time talking  to  representatives from  the                                                               
BIA, the U.S.  Department of the Interior (DoI),  and the federal                                                               
Office of  the Attorney General,  and it  was relayed to  the co-                                                               
chairs  that  if  Alaska had  closer  formal  relationships  with                                                               
tribal  governments, then  it would  increase the  opportunity to                                                               
access federal  funds for things  like law  enforcement training;                                                               
however,  there would  not be  much interest  in investing  those                                                               
federal funds if  the state was not in  a productive relationship                                                               
with tribes and tribal governments.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  stated that the  second long-term  recommendation was                                                               
to  explore the  idea  of a  state version  of  the Indian  Self-                                                               
Determination and Education Assistance  Act, which is the federal                                                               
law from  which the  term  compacting   and other  social service                                                               
programs are  derived in the Lower  48.  It was  also recommended                                                               
to take a  longer look at the  VPSO program itself and  how it is                                                               
structured, potentially  creating career ladders within  the VPSO                                                               
program.   He explained  that as  it stands  in the  VPSO program                                                               
currently, there is a single  VPSO certification.  He stated that                                                               
during the meeting with the  VPSO grantee organization leadership                                                               
in  January,  it  was  recognized   in  general  terms  what  the                                                               
appropriation is for  the VPSO program, but it didnt   in any way                                                               
attempt  to capture  the  true cost  of  what full-public  safety                                                               
would be  in rural  Alaska.   He said  that there  needs to  be a                                                               
realization of  what that cost  would be so  that there can  be a                                                               
sense  of how  much  of  that cost  is  being  funded to  provide                                                               
services.  He summarized that  these recommendations seemed to be                                                               
topics  that would  take more  time than  the compressed  interim                                                               
schedule allowed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:53:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHAW   remarked  that  one  of   the   catch-22s                                                                
associated with  the VPSO program,  and making  statutory changes                                                               
to provide higher levels of training  to bring the VPSO levels of                                                               
training to the  equivalent and pay of a state  trooper, is VPSOs                                                               
leaving  to take  positions in  municipal law  enforcement or  as                                                               
troopers.  He explained that  approximately four years prior, the                                                               
Public  Safety Training  Academy  had increased  its training  to                                                               
allow  VPSOs to  carry weapons,  and  once that  training was  in                                                               
place, it  was found that the  VPSOs were moving on  to municipal                                                               
police departments and the state troopers.   He expressed it is a                                                               
dilemma that in  the VPSO community.  He asked  whether there was                                                               
a possible resolution to this issue.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  answered  that  Representative   Shaw  made  a  good                                                               
observation, and to his knowledge  that is something that already                                                               
happens.  He expressed that for  that reason, this topic is under                                                               
the    long-term   recommendations,    because   there    is   an                                                               
acknowledgement  that this  will be  a potential  issue; however,                                                               
there is no  good answer for how  to address it at  this point in                                                               
time.   He  said that  the  recruitment efforts  within the  VPSO                                                               
organizations look  locally first,  because someone  recruited in                                                               
the community in  which he/she lives is more likely  to stay, and                                                               
this could potentially  be a solution.  He expressed  that he was                                                               
not certain  how far that would  go as a solution,  and answering                                                               
the question further would just be speculating.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:56:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT, referencing slide 13  of the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
explained  that  the  short-term  recommendations  can  be  found                                                               
within HB  287, which was the  purpose of keeping them  as short-                                                               
term recommendations,  as the  hope is that  they are  items that                                                               
can  be  moved  in  one  legislative session.    He  stated  that                                                               
recommendation 1  came from the  first meeting the  working group                                                               
had with  the commissioner of  DPS, which was  to take a  look at                                                               
the VPSO  statute and update it  if the working group  found that                                                               
the current statute was not  meeting the expectations of what the                                                               
legislature might  have for the VPSO  program.  He said  that the                                                               
commissioner and  her staff made  it very clear, in  the appendix                                                               
of the  working group report,  that the commissioner and  DPS had                                                               
no vision  for the  VPSO program, would  look exclusively  to the                                                               
legislature  to provide  the  vision for  the  VPSO program,  and                                                               
would be happy to implement  whatever the legislature enacts into                                                               
statute for  the VPSO  program.  He  said that  DPS characterized                                                               
itself as  a grant management  agency for the  VPSO organization,                                                               
and  that it  merely  implemented statutes  and  carried out  the                                                               
mission  and vision  as  the  legislature put  out  for the  VPSO                                                               
program.    He said  that  that  is why  HB  287  was before  the                                                               
committee,  because it  was inspired  from the  meeting with  the                                                               
commissioner.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  stated that  one of the  statements from  the meeting                                                               
with the commissioner and her staff  was that the VPSO program is                                                               
broken and  cannot be fixed,  and that the VPSO  organizations as                                                               
nonprofits are unable  to manage a law  enforcement police power.                                                               
He explained  that it was  essentially the answer of  the working                                                               
group to  say that it  was rejecting  that position, it  does not                                                               
believe  the  VPSO  program  is   broken,  and  it  fundamentally                                                               
believes that operating police forces  is not beyond the scope of                                                               
what these  tribal governments and  organizations are  capable of                                                               
doing.  He said that the scope  of the statute is to increase the                                                               
effectiveness  of  the VPSO  program,  rather  than say  that  it                                                               
cannot be salvaged.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:59:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHAW asked  whether the  direction the  BIA might                                                               
have gone  in upgrading training  and police powers,  with Native                                                               
organizations   outside  of   Alaska,   was   being  taken   into                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  replied that this  was an excellent  observation, and                                                               
that essentially  that is  who the co-chairs  were talking  to on                                                               
the trip to  Nome with the BIA, U.S. Department  of the Interior.                                                               
He  said  that  it  was  this  training  specifically  which  was                                                               
mentioned,  and which  could be  brought to  Alaska; however,  as                                                               
long as Alaska held an  antagonistic stance and did not recognize                                                               
tribes, it would not be inclined to invest in that training.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:00:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN remarked  that during  the previous  administration                                                               
there were  significant efforts taken to  recognize tribes, which                                                               
the  current  administration  has  not  embraced  with  the  same                                                               
efforts.    He asked  whether  the  BIA  had indicated  that  the                                                               
earlier efforts would have been  sufficient to bring the training                                                               
to Alaska or whether it was a more ambiguous discussion.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  answered that he was  not present at the  meeting and                                                               
had  not  heard  either  Senator  Olson  or  Representative  Kopp                                                               
comment to that detail, but he  said that he thinks that the fact                                                               
an  administration  could  walk   away  from  those  efforts  was                                                               
probably what  was referred to  when the co-chairs  were informed                                                               
of  ways  that  the  BIA  would be  interested  in  having  those                                                               
partnerships and offering that training.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN remarked  that based on Mr.  Truitts  testimony, the                                                               
response of the  commissioner was that DPS had no  vision for the                                                               
VPSO program and  was looking for the legislature  to provide the                                                               
vision.    He   asked  how  the  committee  should   view  a  DPS                                                               
commissioner who says she has no  vision for the program when the                                                               
BIA suggests  there may be  a way  to get assistance  in training                                                               
officers if there is recognition of  tribes.  He asked whether it                                                               
should  be concluded  that DPS  is not  interested in  partnering                                                               
with the  BIA, for  purposes of training  police officers,  or at                                                               
least that DPS  does not have a vision for  that and is depending                                                               
on the legislature to provide that vision.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT replied that DPS  made these statements about the VPSO                                                               
program during the  first working group meeting,  and the meeting                                                               
in Nome  that the  co-chairs attended  occurred six  weeks later.                                                               
He expressed that he could not answer  what DPS may or may not be                                                               
interested in  doing, but he  pointed out  that there was  a long                                                               
period of time between those two concepts occurring.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:02:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  remarked that  she had just  recently begun                                                               
learning about  the Alaska Native  Claims Settlement  Act (ANCSA)                                                               
and some  specific differences between Alaska  Natives and tribes                                                               
in the  Lower 48,  and she  said that  her understanding  is that                                                               
Alaska Natives do  not have the same legal  land jurisdictions as                                                               
tribes  in the  Lower  48.   She  expressed  that  this might  be                                                               
something  that  needs  to  be   considered  when  ensuring  that                                                               
whatever  is  done  with  the   VPSO  program  does  not  counter                                                               
agreements that  have been made.   She said her  understanding of                                                               
what is allowed is not clear;  she thinks the tribes in the Lower                                                               
48  have  complete, legal,  and  lawful  jurisdiction over  their                                                               
land, which  is not the same  for Alaska Natives.   She expressed                                                               
that  she thinks  this is  a sticky  issue when  it comes  to the                                                               
VPSOs  authority, and  she asked  whether it  is accurate  to say                                                               
that the only authority the VPSOs  have comes from the state, not                                                               
from the tribes.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT answered that that  is correct on nearly all accounts.                                                               
He  explained  that  the  topic was   parked   in  the  long-term                                                               
recommendations  because  issues  of jurisdiction,  even  in  the                                                               
Lower 48 where  there are defined borders  for reservations, have                                                               
different  jurisdictions  for  the  level  of  crimes  and  civil                                                               
actions committed.   He explained that the  U.S. government takes                                                               
jurisdiction over  all major  crimes in   Indian country   in the                                                               
Lower  48, and  states are  left with  either no  jurisdiction or                                                               
concurrent jurisdiction  for misdemeanor offenses.   He said that                                                               
is the same for tribes that  would have a reservation; they would                                                               
not have jurisdiction over major  crimes within their reservation                                                               
borders  and  would  have  misdemeanor  jurisdiction  over  their                                                               
members, but not necessarily over  nontribal members who might be                                                               
committing crimes in Indian country.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  whether the  only Indian  country in                                                               
Alaska is Metlakatla.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. Truitt replied  that that is the only  reservation in Alaska,                                                               
but Indian country  is a broader term that includes  land that is                                                               
in trust,  and there are over  1 million acres of  allotment land                                                               
that  are held  in trust  by the  U.S. government  for individual                                                               
tribal citizens.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:05:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHAW   remarked  that   one  of  the   things  he                                                               
appreciates   about  Representative   Vance   is   that  she   is                                                               
inquisitive and  well versed on  most of the  discussed subjects,                                                               
and he  expressed that it  is good to listen  to what she  has to                                                               
say and follow  up on it.   He stated that the  VPSO program came                                                               
about in the  late 1970s, and he started working  at DPS in 1983,                                                               
when the  VPSO program was  still relatively  new.  He  said that                                                               
one of the  major issues DPS has had since  the implementation of                                                               
the  VPSO program  is jurisdiction.    He explained  that it  has                                                               
always  come  down  to  the  VPSOs  having  limited  jurisdiction                                                               
because they do  not have a border or city  limits, unlike Indian                                                               
country or reservations.  He said  that when he was at the Public                                                               
Safety  Training   Academy,  approximately  half  a   dozen  VPSO                                                               
training programs were  sent out to villages.   He expressed that                                                               
he  thinks the  jurisdictional hardship  will continue  to be  an                                                               
issue until  the tribal organizations,  or the state,  decide how                                                               
to establish tribal  jurisdiction or a reservation  of some kind.                                                               
He said that this has been an issue  for 30 years and he is still                                                               
hopeful for some resolution.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:07:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX, [referencing  HB  221],  remarked that  a                                                               
bill  was  coming up  on  Friday  that  would propose  the  state                                                               
recognize  tribes  recognized by  the  federal  government.   She                                                               
asked whether all the problems  focused around jurisdiction would                                                               
go away if  the proposed legislation were to pass  and be enacted                                                               
into law.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:08:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  answered  that   he  liked  Representative  LeDouxs                                                                
optimism.   He stated  that it  is not an  accident that  the [HB
221]  precedes HB  287,  but it  would  not resolve  jurisdiction                                                               
questions.  Referencing a comment  made earlier by Representative                                                               
Vance, he said  that it was established in a  case that the ANCSA                                                               
reserve lands, or the lands  given to the ANCSA corporation, were                                                               
not Indian  country.  He said  that basically closed the  door on                                                               
the question of  whether those lands would be  Indian country and                                                               
have tribal  jurisdiction over Indian  country.  He said  that it                                                               
was the  Baker v.  John case that  established that  tribes, even                                                             
without a  land base, still  have jurisdiction over  their tribal                                                               
citizens.   He said that it  might be beyond what  he is prepared                                                               
to   comment   on  authoritatively,   but   it   will  be   state                                                               
jurisdiction, as  the VPSO program is  a state program.   He said                                                               
that some  of the changes  in the proposed legislation  are being                                                               
recommended  to  remove   any  clarity  that  a   VPSO  might  be                                                               
authorized to  enforce any tribal  law.  He explained  that there                                                               
is  no  intent   in  the  proposed  legislation   for  the  VPSOs                                                               
themselves to be  enforcing tribal law, not that it  might not be                                                               
something proposed  in the future,  but it  does not exist  in HB
287.   He  reiterated that  these  were parked  in the  long-term                                                               
recommendations, as it will take longer to sort through.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  stated that  he could not  imagine a  scenario, since                                                               
there  is no  land base  for tribes  where the  complexities that                                                               
exist  on reservations  in the  Lower  48 would  be presented  in                                                               
Alaska.   He explained that in  the Lower 48 a  reservation might                                                               
have land that  is not owned by  a tribe, and there  is no tribal                                                               
jurisdiction over those lots of land within the reservation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked how  the proposed  legislation would                                                               
change   anything,  when   certain  communities   currently  have                                                               
determined to  banish someone,  or if someone   lands there  in a                                                               
plane,  and  they think  that  that  person  is  up to  not  good                                                               
things,  they  basically physically put  them back on  the plane.                                                               
She  asked  whether the  VPSOs  have  anything  to do  with  that                                                               
currently and,  if the  proposed legislation  were to  pass, what                                                               
the VPSOs role would be.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:12:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN remarked that he  thinks they were now talking about                                                               
the bill that would be on  the floor that coming Friday [HB 221],                                                               
as opposed to HB 287.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  answered that  [HB 221] was  drawn very  carefully to                                                               
ensure that it preserved the  current status of the law regarding                                                               
tribes  in Alaska.   He  expressed that  it would  not create  or                                                               
expand any  new powers for  tribes, diminish  state jurisdiction,                                                               
or reduce the states  authority  over natural resources; it would                                                               
simply  acknowledge the  status of  the  law as  declared by  the                                                               
Alaska Supreme Court and acknowledged  by the attorney general of                                                               
the state.   He  explained that  it would  not affect   the plane                                                               
situation   referred to  earlier  by Representative  LeDoux.   He                                                               
said that he  thinks activities such as  banishment occur because                                                               
of an overall  lack of law enforcement presence,  whether that be                                                               
VPSOs or troopers.  He said  that he thinks those kinds of things                                                               
have happened  in Alaska  for a  long time, but  he said  that he                                                               
thinks the vastness  of the state and lack of  law enforcement in                                                               
that space  allow for that  kind of activity  to occur.   He said                                                               
that  if HB  287  were  to pass  with  expanded  VPSO powers  and                                                               
duties, and  it was possible  to bring  on more VPSOs,  then that                                                               
kind of presence  might have a positive effect on  those kinds of                                                               
activities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:15:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked  for clarification on slide  12 of the                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation, and  she asked  Mr. Truitt  to describe                                                               
what the  federal Public Law  280 (PL-280)  state is and  what it                                                               
means about concurrent criminal jurisdiction.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:15:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  replied that  PL-280  was  passed  in the  1950s  by                                                               
Congress  and  gave  six  different  states  concurrent  criminal                                                               
jurisdiction.   He  said that  he had  mentioned earlier  that in                                                               
non-PL-280  states, the  federal government  retains jurisdiction                                                               
for  major  crimes,  and  states   and  tribes  share  concurrent                                                               
jurisdiction  depending  on who  the  actor  and victim  are  for                                                               
misdemeanor crimes.   He said that PL-280 gave  the PL-280 states                                                               
full  criminal  jurisdiction;  therefore, Alaska  does  not  hold                                                               
exclusive  jurisdiction for  major  crimes,  which are  basically                                                               
felonies against a  person.  He said that Alaska  does not have a                                                               
federal presence in Indian country for any crimes that occur.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:16:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked Mr. Truitt to  identify a state in  which the                                                               
federal  government  has  retained that  jurisdiction  for  major                                                               
crimes.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT answered that Arizona is one of those states.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN commented  that  if  a major  crime  occurred on  a                                                               
reservation in Arizona,  then the state could  not prosecute that                                                               
crime; it  would have to be  prosecuted federally.  In  Alaska, a                                                               
crime in  a village on  trust  land  would have to  be prosecuted                                                               
by the state and the federal government could not prosecute.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT confirmed that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:17:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether Mr. Truitt  thinks this could                                                               
be why  the BIA is  reluctant to  help with the  federal training                                                               
for VPSOs.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT replied that he thinks  that is possible but could not                                                               
speak exactly  to what the BIAs   reluctance would be.   Based on                                                               
the trainings he  attended on the federal budget  during his time                                                               
as a tribal  administrator, he said the BIA does  not request law                                                               
enforcement or  tribal court  money in  PL-280 states  because it                                                               
views PL-280 as absolving it  from any responsibility towards law                                                               
enforcement  and court  systems.    He said  that  tribes take  a                                                               
different view on that topic.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:18:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   remarked  that   in  states   that  have                                                               
concurrent  criminal  jurisdiction  with  a  tribe,  the  federal                                                               
government  is not  involved, and  she asked  whether the  tribes                                                               
have criminal jurisdiction                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT replied  that concurrent  jurisdiction  would be  for                                                               
misdemeanor offenses; therefore, a  PL-280 state has jurisdiction                                                               
for major  crimes, and,  by federal statute,  tribes do  not have                                                               
jurisdiction  for  major  crimes; therefore,  reservation  police                                                               
forces would have misdemeanor  criminal jurisdiction for offenses                                                               
that occurred within their borders.   He said that a PL-280 state                                                               
has   concurrent  misdemeanor   jurisdiction   and  major   crime                                                               
jurisdiction with the tribe in that state.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked  whether a tribe would  have to adopt                                                               
 some  laws   in  order  to  have  jurisdiction  for  misdemeanor                                                               
matters.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT answered  that's correct.   He  stated,  Tribes  that                                                               
have a  land base in  the Lower 48  will have their  own criminal                                                               
code, just like the state has its criminal code.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked whether Alaskas  tribes  do not have                                                               
a land base, except for Metlakatla.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  replied   that  is  correct,  and  he   said  it  is                                                               
complicated.  In response to  a follow-up question, he reiterated                                                               
that this topic  is parked in the  long-term recommendations and,                                                               
further, with the state having  ignored tribes for so many years,                                                               
these issues have not been confronted.   He said that with a case                                                               
saying that ANCSA lands are  not Indian country, the situation is                                                               
simpler and  more complicated at  the same time;  simpler because                                                               
if there  is no  land base  then most of  the tribes,  except for                                                               
Metlakatla, are not going to  have criminal jurisdiction, because                                                               
there are no  borders for that.  He reiterated  that this was one                                                               
of  the holdings  from  Baker v.  John, and  he  said it  becomes                                                             
jurisdiction   for    tribes,   civil   in    nature,   regarding                                                               
relationships  that tribal  members have  amongst themselves  for                                                               
domestic  relations, child  custody, child  protection, adoption,                                                               
and other similar things.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:21:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  remarked that  she was  being bold  and was                                                               
asking the following question with  respect and sensitivity.  She                                                               
said  that it  had been  said several  times that  the state  has                                                               
ignored  the tribes  over the  years.   She said  that, regarding                                                               
federal law, the state doesnt   necessarily need to recognize the                                                               
tribes  in the  sense that  the federal  government already  has.                                                               
She said that  the tribes exist as tribal  governments because of                                                               
a  working  relationship  with the  federal  government  and  the                                                               
trust, and  the state  has a different  relationship in  which it                                                               
just  needs to  respect that  the tribal  governments exist  in a                                                               
government   to   government   relationship  with   the   federal                                                               
government and work to bring that  respect to the forefront.  She                                                               
asked Mr.  Truitt what he  means, in  terms of legality,  when he                                                               
says the tribes have been ignored by the state.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  answered that by   ignored  he means  ignored, denied                                                               
the existence  of, claimed as  having no existence in  that form,                                                               
and having no  standing in that form.  He  explained that when he                                                               
started  working in  the Office  of the  Attorney General  during                                                               
former  Governor Tony  Knowles   administration,  the word  tribe                                                               
could not  be written on  a state letterhead, because  tribes did                                                               
not exist, and  by putting the word on state  letterhead it might                                                               
suggest that  tribes actually exist in  the state.  He  said that                                                               
there are  quotes from  the attorneys  who gave  presentations on                                                               
the  history  of  federal  Indian   law  and  policy  in  Alaska,                                                               
pertaining  to  HB  221,  in the  House  Tribal  Affairs  Special                                                               
Committee,  pointing  out that  there  are  Alaska Supreme  Court                                                               
opinions stating  that tribes  do not  exist in  this state.   He                                                               
reiterated that that is what he means by ignored.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:25:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked whether the  Baker v. John case  changes some                                                             
of that.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT replied that he believes so.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  what the Baker v. John case  said about state                                                             
recognition  of tribes  and whether  the supreme  court had  said                                                               
what the constitution says about recognizing tribes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT answered yes, and he  said that he thinks that that is                                                               
the  acknowledgement proposed  by HB  221, that  while it  is the                                                               
supreme courts  role to declare  what the law is, the legislature                                                               
has a  role in  declaring what the  policy of the  state is.   He                                                               
said that  while the executive  branch has agreed with  the legal                                                               
reasoning of  the Baker v. John  case, it is not  the branch that                                                             
sets policy for the state, it  is the legislature that does that.                                                               
He  said   that  if  HB   221  were  enacted,  as   predicted  by                                                               
Representative  LeDoux,  it would  be  an  acknowledgment of  the                                                               
legislature taking  its policy powers under  the constitution and                                                               
declaring it the policy of the state.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked whether there  was some level at  which, when                                                               
legislators swear  to uphold the constitution,  in recognition of                                                               
separation of  powers, they  are acknowledging  the power  of the                                                               
supreme court  to tell them  what the law  is.  He  asked whether                                                               
they should  be able to follow  it if the supreme  court has said                                                               
that this is what the  constitution says, without needing to pass                                                               
a statute saying, We believe you.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  responded that he  thinks that is one  very plausible                                                               
interpretation of Alaskas constitutional government.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:27:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX remarked  that the  discussion had  turned                                                               
towards HB 221,  which would be heard on that  coming Friday, and                                                               
asked whether its  passage would help to get  Alaska more federal                                                               
money.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT answered  that  when  he was  working  in the  tribal                                                               
health systems  tribal health compact,  up until 2012, the annual                                                               
value of  the federal health  compact was just under  $1 billion.                                                               
He said  that was  $1 billion dollars  of healthcare  spending in                                                               
Alaska that the  Department of Health and  Social Services (DHSS)                                                               
and  the  legislature  did  not  have to  appropriate  for.    He                                                               
expressed  that this  is probably  one of  the most  advanced and                                                               
developed compacts  in the entire  country, when it comes  to the                                                               
Self-Determination Act in compacting, and  it is without question                                                               
the largest  in terms of dollars,  having grown to twice  what it                                                               
was in  2012 with  the passage  of the Affordable  Care Act.   He                                                               
stated  that the  purpose  of  HB 221  was  not  to acquire  more                                                               
federal funds for the state, but it could be an outcome of it.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked what the exact purpose of HB 221 is.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT answered  that Representative Kopp could  speak to the                                                               
purpose better,  as it is  his bill, but  he thinks the  heart of                                                               
the  proposed legislation  is that  it  is known  that there  are                                                               
issues  of brokenness  throughout  Alaska; they  can  be seen  in                                                               
suicide, sexual  assault, and domestic  violence rates.   He said                                                               
that when  a sovereign fundamentally  looks to a group  of people                                                               
and says  that it doesnt   exist, or the peoples   preferred form                                                               
of identity  has no  form of  existence, authority,  standing, or                                                               
value,  it can  only help  to contribute  to the  brokenness seen                                                               
throughout  the state  and in  rural Alaska.   He  expressed that                                                               
maybe, by  telling people that  their preferred form  of identity                                                               
is  valuable, changes  will be  seen; maybe  there will  be fewer                                                               
suicides and sexual assaults.   He summarized that he thinks that                                                               
is the purpose of the legislation proposed under HB 221.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:30:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT,   returning  discussion  to  agenda   item  HB  287,                                                               
referenced slide  13 of the  PowerPoint presentation.   He stated                                                               
that  recommendation  2  was  to   find  a  way  to  create  more                                                               
flexibility  for  the  grantee  organizations.   He  stated  that                                                               
recommendation 3  was to  restore VPSO  funding levels  to fiscal                                                               
year 2018 (FY 18) levels.  He said  that FY 18 was an easy fiscal                                                               
year to point to, because there  had been a $3 million decrement,                                                               
the legislature added  it back in, and it was  then vetoed again.                                                               
He said that  everyone acknowledges that the  current fiscal year                                                               
will be  different than what FY  18 was, but the  working groups                                                                
perception was that if it  could create more flexibility and less                                                               
bureaucracy in  the management  of the  VPSO program,  then there                                                               
would  not be  lapsed  funding and  the money  could  get out  to                                                               
create better circumstances for  law enforcement in rural Alaska.                                                               
He said  that recommendation 4  was the concept to  fund unfunded                                                               
mandates.   He noted that it  started out in the  draft report as                                                               
an  elimination  of  the  unfunded mandates  but  turned  into  a                                                               
funding of  the unfunded mandates.   He explained that  there are                                                               
several   unfunded   mandates,   one    of   which   relates   to                                                               
recommendation 5 as  well.  He said that there  was an artificial                                                               
cap  for  several years  on  what  the  grant  would pay  on  the                                                               
indirect rate for  the organizations, as well  as restrictions on                                                               
allowed use  of the grant money.   He said that  recommendation 4                                                               
was to try to create as much flexibility for those mandates.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:32:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  remarked that recommendation 5  looks like                                                               
a good idea in theory, but she is  not sure how it would turn out                                                               
in practice.   She stated that  her recollection is that  some of                                                               
the  grantee  organizations  have  indirect  costs  which  seemed                                                               
reasonable,  but  there  were  some   indirect  costs  that  were                                                               
astronomical.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:34:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT remarked that HB 287  proposes a 35 percent cap on the                                                               
indirect rate,  so it  would fund  up to 35  percent.   He stated                                                               
that   he  thinks   the  average   for   the  different   grantee                                                               
organizations was  between 32 and  33 percent, which  is standard                                                               
considering overhead expenses for organizations.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  continued that  recommendation  6  was to  move  the                                                               
financial  grant  management  to   the  Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community and  Economic Development (DCCED).   He said  that this                                                               
was  something   that  staff  on  the   House  Finance  Committee                                                               
mentioned  to  him  had  been  looked at  the  previous  year  as                                                               
something that might be done.   He said that recommendation 7 was                                                               
to  maintain  operational   advisory,  training,  and  experience                                                               
requirement  oversight  at  DPS;  in other  words,  to  keep  the                                                               
operational  part  of  this  a  DPS  program.    He  stated  that                                                               
recommendation  8  was  to  create  a  consultation  process  for                                                               
negotiating rule-making  changes in  the VPSO  program.   He said                                                               
that  recommendation  9 was  to  make  use  of the  current  VPSO                                                               
program regulations as a starting  point for the new legislation.                                                               
He  expressed that  there are  several reasons  for that,  one of                                                               
which  was that  it seems  to be  the easiest  path forward  with                                                               
staff rather than  creating a brand new program.   Another reason                                                               
was that it was the intent of  the working group to not upend the                                                               
VPSO program.  He summarized  that the short-term recommendations                                                               
would update  the statutes to  provide a clearer  law enforcement                                                               
vision and  mission for the  program, create more  flexibility in                                                               
getting funding  to the organizations, move  the money management                                                               
to  DCCED,  and  keep  things  working  as  they  had  been,  but                                                               
hopefully better and more efficiently.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:36:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHAW referenced  recommendation 6  [regarding the                                                               
moving  of  grant  management  to  DCCED]  and  recommendation  9                                                               
[regarding  the  operationalization  of   the  VPSO  program  and                                                               
facilitation of  grant management  within DCCED].   He questioned                                                               
why the  grant management would be  put under DCCED and  not DPS,                                                               
when the program at hand pertains to public safety.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  pointed to  recommendation 7,  which pertains  to the                                                               
operational aspect  [of the VPSO  program] being within  DPS, and                                                               
he  indicated  that   recommendations  7  and  9   "are  to  work                                                               
together."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:38:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked what the  indirect costs are  for the                                                               
organizations that  require 35 percent,  considering that  DPS is                                                               
doing the training and things like that.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT replied  that indirect cost is a  concept that federal                                                               
grantees have,  which includes anyone  who receives a  grant from                                                               
the federal  government, and this  is negotiated with  the agency                                                               
providing  the  grant; for  tribal  governments  it is  typically                                                               
between one  or two  different agencies.   He explained  that the                                                               
indirect rate represents  the fact that when  the U.S. government                                                               
delivers  a service  or program,  there are  centralized agencies                                                               
within  the federal  government for  Information Technology  (IT)                                                               
services, Human Resources (HR)  services, payroll, retirement and                                                               
health care  benefits, and  other services  that are  required to                                                               
deliver a  federal program with  federal employees, and  they are                                                               
not absorbed  by the agency that  is delivering the service.   He                                                               
said that  if those  services are contracted  out to  a different                                                               
entity  that is  not  the federal  government,  that entity  will                                                               
incur centralized  services for  payroll, finance,  management of                                                               
benefits, legal services, insurance  services, and other costs in                                                               
the management of  delivery of the services.   He summarized that                                                               
that is  what an  indirect rate represents,  and Alaska  does not                                                               
get  the  benefit  of  the  Department  of  Administration  (DOA)                                                               
managing payroll and benefits.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether  one of the  proposed changes                                                               
to CSHB 287(TRB)  was to acquire separate  insurance coverage for                                                               
the VPSOs.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT confirmed that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE,  regarding   the  previous  question  from                                                               
Representative Shaw, proffered that  she had asked Representative                                                               
Kopp why  DCCED should  manage the grants,  and he  had explained                                                               
that DCCED is  equipped to handle and  distribute grants, whereas                                                               
DPS is best equipped to handle operations.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:42:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX remarked  that  she thinks  when the  VPSO                                                               
program  started,  long  ago, it  was  not  administered  through                                                               
grants and  the VPSOs were  state employees.   She asked  why the                                                               
VPSOs would not be made employees  of the state as state troopers                                                               
are,  considering  that  public   safety  is  a  mandatory  state                                                               
function.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:43:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRUITT  replied that  he thinks  some of  the people  who are                                                               
online for testimony  could address that question,  but he thinks                                                               
that part  of the answer is  that the troopers would  never staff                                                               
the way  that the VPSO programs  are staffed.  He  explained that                                                               
there could  be one  VPSO in  a village, or  two VPSOs  for eight                                                               
villages, and getting to the  metric for staffing law enforcement                                                               
in  most municipalities  for 24/7/365  coverage  would require  5                                                               
personal control  members (PCMs) for  24-hour staffing.   He said                                                               
that he  thinks that  the short  answer is that  the VPSOs  are a                                                               
good deal,  as it would take  five troopers to take  the place of                                                               
one VPSO.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:44:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  remarked that he  thinks Representative  LeDoux was                                                               
correct that the VPSOs were  originally state employees.  He said                                                               
that he thinks another part of  the decision to try to create the                                                               
grant functions was  based on the thought that the  state is less                                                               
efficient; therefore, if  the program is contracted  out, then it                                                               
would be  more efficient and effective.   He remarked that  he is                                                               
not sure whether history supports that analysis, looking back.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:45:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked whether the  VPSOs would have  to be                                                               
troopers if they went back to being state employees.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:45:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRUITT  answered that  taking  a  deeper  look at  the  VPSO                                                               
programs   operations  is  under the  long-term  recommendations,                                                               
because  of  the  reasons that  Representative  LeDoux  had  just                                                               
raised.    He   said  that  HB  287,  and   the  nine  short-term                                                               
recommendations,  is  just an  acknowledgment  that  some of  the                                                               
issues are  going to take  more than one  interim to take  on and                                                               
answer in depth.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:45:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW  asked whether  there was a  VPSO coordinator                                                               
online, because if  so he/she might be able to  answer several of                                                               
the committee's questions.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on HB 287.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:46:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MELANIE BAHNKE,  President, Kawerak,  Inc., offered  testimony in                                                               
support of HB 287.   She stated that Kawerak, Inc.  is one of the                                                               
contractors for  the VPSO  program and  is also  part of  a group                                                               
called the  Alaska Regional Coalition,  which is a group  of four                                                               
Native  tribal regional  nonprofits and  one regional  tribe that                                                               
represent  65,000  Alaskans  and   100  rural  communities,  from                                                               
Ketchikan  to Kotzebue.   She  said that  the coalition  provides                                                               
services  to  everyone  in  its   communities,  not  just  Alaska                                                               
Natives.   She said that one  of the top coalition  priorities is                                                               
regional  equity in  budgeting  and policy,  and  the VPSO  rural                                                               
justice  issue is  a prime  example  of what  regional equity  in                                                               
budgeting means,  as Alaska  residents are  equal to  one another                                                               
and state  services should be  available to  residents regardless                                                               
of  where they  reside.   She  stated that  several services  are                                                               
already provided through state grants  and contracting with DHSS,                                                               
DPS, the  Department of  Law (DOL),  the Department  of Education                                                               
and Early Development (DEED), the  Department of Transportation &                                                               
Public Facilities  (DOT&PF), and the Department  of Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC).   She stated  that the coalition is  a proven                                                               
partner with the  state for delivery of services  in rural Alaska                                                               
where  the state  has no  presence.   She expressed  that HB  287                                                               
would:   create a new  path forward; create opportunity  for more                                                               
effective   rural   public   safety;   embrace   innovation   and                                                               
localization of public safety services;  uphold the expanded role                                                               
of  todays  VPSO  compared to  the beginnings  of the  program 40                                                               
years ago; and  codify existing best practices  so everyone could                                                               
get back  to focusing on the  mission.  She restated  her support                                                               
of the proposed legislation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:48:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  remarked  that  Ms.  Bahnkes   presence                                                               
throughout state government is noted  and appreciated.  She asked                                                               
how many VPSOs  Kawerak, Inc. supports and how  many villages are                                                               
in its region.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:49:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAHNKE answered  that it currently has 7 VPSOs  and serves 15                                                               
villages; therefore, fewer than half  of the villages have a VPSO                                                               
in place.  She expressed that  this a reason HB 287 is necessary,                                                               
and  flexibility is  needed to  offer structure  for the  program                                                               
that could afford itinerant traveling  VPSOs for communities that                                                               
need  a stop-gap  situation  or the  ability  to have  two-weeks-                                                               
on/two-weeks-off schedules.  She stated  that the current statute                                                               
is interpreted  by the administration as  limiting expenditure of                                                               
state  resources  on personnel  and   fringe,   so no  equipment;                                                               
therefore, if  there is a VPSO  with a flat tire,  then resources                                                               
from the  state grant cannot be  spent to replace the  tire.  She                                                               
said that communities  are expected to provide  their own holding                                                               
cells and flexibility is needed to  deliver the VPSO program in a                                                               
way that  will allow it  to succeed and provide  equal protection                                                               
to rural residents, in terms of public safety.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked whether those seven  VPSOs are all                                                               
that Kawerak,  Inc. is  authorized or funded  for, or  whether it                                                               
has vacancies.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAHNKE  answered that Kawerak,  Inc. is currently  funded for                                                               
five VPSOs; two  new VPSOs, who are training at  the academy, are                                                               
being  funded with  a  supplemental  grant from  the  state.   In                                                               
response to a  follow-up question, she stated  that Kawerak, Inc.                                                               
is based in Nome, Alaska.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:51:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLARD  MAYO, Tanana  Chiefs  Conference,  offered testimony  in                                                               
support of HB 287.   He stated that he has been  the chair of the                                                               
VPSO   Tribal  Grantee   Caucus,   which  is   comprised  of   10                                                               
organizations that are current grantees  of the VPSO program.  He                                                               
said  that he  is the  executive director  for the  Alaska Tribal                                                               
Unity  Caucus,  which  is  the  statewide  inter-tribal  advocacy                                                               
organization, and he is employed  at the Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                               
overseeing a department that includes  the VPSO program.  He said                                                               
that he is  a tribal citizen of the Native  village of Tanana and                                                               
had worked in  the village corporation in the past  on the tribal                                                               
council, served as a volunteer  firefighter and search and rescue                                                               
pilot,  and often  acted  in a  role of  a  public safety   pinch                                                               
hitter.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO  stated that the  current law made sense  initially, and                                                               
the idea was  to hire local recruits in villages  who lived there                                                               
already and knew the area, culture,  and people.  He said that he                                                               
could  remember that  there  were 15  or 16  VPSOs  early in  the                                                               
contract for the  Tanana Chiefs Conference, and  they were nearly                                                               
all local  to their  villages.  He  said that  initially recruits                                                               
were available,  but that is no  longer the case, and  it is very                                                               
difficult to find VPSOs.  He  said that many of the initial VPSOs                                                               
burned  out quickly  due  to  the stresses  related  to the  24/7                                                               
schedule,  arresting relatives  and  friends in  the villages,  a                                                               
lack of  holding cells,  and operating  equipment in  the extreme                                                               
cold.   He  summarized that  the proposed  legislation is  really                                                               
needed,   and  the   provisions  under   it  would   provide  the                                                               
flexibility needed to operate a successful program.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:54:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked how  many VPSOs the  Tanana Chiefs                                                               
Conference employs and in how many villages they are deployed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO replied that the  Tanana Chiefs Conference currently has                                                               
[37] communities  to cover and  4 VPSOs stationed in  4 villages.                                                               
He said that  there is one VPSO  in the academy.   He stated that                                                               
the 4 current  VPSOs are in villages that happen  to have housing                                                               
that  they  can  provide  and  holding cells  and  offices.    He                                                               
explained  that all  the  other communities  do  not have  office                                                               
space or  housing.  He stated  that of the other  communities, 28                                                               
villages  have  no available  housing  for  an officer,  10  have                                                               
office space but 24  do not, and 10 have holding  cells but 14 do                                                               
not.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked whether any of  those villages are                                                               
road accessible.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO  replied that  25 percent  of the  37 villages  are road                                                               
accessible, which is 7 or 8  villages.  He said that the officers                                                               
are in a mixture of remote and road villages.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked   whether  the  troopers  provide                                                               
service to those villages that  are accessible on the road system                                                               
or whether those villages still need VPSOs.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO  answered that there  is an instance  of a trooper  in a                                                               
sub-regional area, stationed in Tok,  and he/she will move around                                                               
several  villages.   He said  there  is a  VPSO in  one of  those                                                               
villages who helps with locals  and can occasionally assist other                                                               
villages.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  how many  citizens are  served in                                                               
all the villages by the Tanana Chiefs Council.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO replied that the  four officers currently employed serve                                                               
an average of approximately 500 to 700 people.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  clarified that  she was asking  how many                                                               
people  are represented  in  all the  communities  of the  Tanana                                                               
Chiefs Council.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO responded that there  are approximately 10,000 people in                                                               
the 37 communities.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:58:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN closed public testimony on HB 287.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:58:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that HB 287 would be held over for                                                                       
further review.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:59:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:59 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Public Defender Appointment - Samantha Cherot Resume 3.11.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
Public Defender Appointment - Samantha Cherot Letters of Support Receieved by 3.10.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
Commission on Judicial Conduct Appointment - Todd Fletcher Resume 3.11.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290 Work Draft Committee Substitute v. K 3.10.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 ver. S 2.24.2020.PDF HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Sponsor Statement v. S 3.6.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Sectional Analysis v. S 3.6.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Supporting Document - Mat-Su Health Foundation Letter 3.5.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Supporting Document - Crisis Now Alaska Consultation Report 12.13.2019.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Additional Document - DHSS Mental Health Continuum of Care (Individuals 18 Years and Older) 3.6.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Additional Document - DHSS Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care (Individuals 12 Years and Older) 3.6.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Additional Document - DHSS Mental Health Continuum of Care (At-Risk Children & Adolescents Ages 0-21) 3.6.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Fiscal Note DHSS-HFLC 2.28.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Fiscal Note DHSS-MS 2.28.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Fiscal Note DPS-AST 2.28.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 290 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 2.28.2020.pdf HJUD 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 290
HB 287 v. O 3.11.2020.PDF HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/18/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/20/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 287
HB 287 Sponsor Statement v. K 3.3.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/18/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/20/2020 1:00:00 PM
HTRB 3/3/2020 8:00:00 AM
HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
HB 287 Sectional Analysis v. O 3.11.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/18/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/20/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 287
HB 287 PowerPoint Presentation HJUD 3.11.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 287