Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/02/1995 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE February 2, 1995 8:00 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James Representative Scott Ogan Representative Ivan Ivan Representative Brian Porter Representative Caren Robinson Representative Ed Willis MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Joe Green COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HJR 5:Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to terms of legislators PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 81:"An Act relating to the preservation of public facilities and to appropriations for annual maintenance and repair, periodic renewal and replacement, and construction of public facilities. HEARD AND HELD * HB 47:An Act relating to the crime of unlawful evasion. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER GENE THERRIAULT, Representative Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 421 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: 465-4797 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statementfor HJR 5 KAY BROWN, Representative Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 517 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: 465-4998 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 47 GERALD W. BAILEY, Director Gastineau Human Services 5597 Aisek St., Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182 Telephone: 780-4338 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered support for HB 47 KATHERINE BOGS GRAY, Vice President of Operations Allvest, Inc. 600 Barrow Suite 200 Anchorage, Alaska, 99501 Telephone: POSITION STATEMENT: Offered support for HB 47 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HJR 5 SHORT TITLE: LIMITING TERMS OF STATE LEGISLATORS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT, Rokeberg, Porter, Green, Bunde JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 17 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 17 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 17 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 01/18/95 73 (H) COSPONSOR(S): GREEN 01/19/95 86 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE 02/02/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 47 SHORT TITLE: UNLAWFUL EVASIONS CLASS A MISDEMEANOR SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BROWN,Robinson JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 33 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 33 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 33 (H) STA, JUD, FIN 02/02/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 81 SHORT TITLE: PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC FACILITIES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/13/95 42 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 42 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 42 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE 01/24/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/24/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 01/26/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/26/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 01/31/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/02/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-7 SIDE A Number 000 The meeting of the House State Affairs Standing Committee was called to order by Chair Jeannette James at 8:04 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives James, Ogan, Willis, Robinson, Ivan and Porter. Members absent were Representative Green. CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES stated there was a quorum present. The meeting was being teleconferenced with Anchorage. She announced that we would be hearing the bills in the order of HJR 5, HB 81, and HB 47, as there would be a teleconference on HB 47, starting at 9:30 a.m. She called Representative Gene Therriault to testify as the sponsor of HJR 5. HSTA - 02/02/95 HJR 5 - LIMITING TERMS OF STATE LEGISLATORS Number 010 REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, SPONSOR OF HJR 5, stated he had a short sponsor statement to read into the record, and then he would be pleased to answer questions. He said that since the resolution had been introduced, he had had somewhat of a change of heart, and he would like to speak about his proposed committee substitute. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that the blank CS #9-LS0226/F, dated 1-24-95, proposes to limit the terms of legislators in relation to regular sessions, as opposed to limiting them in relation to calendar years, as suggested by the original draft of HJR 5, as prefiled. He said the work draft proposes that a legislator may not serve more than 12 full consecutive regular sessions. He stated that a person may not again serve in the legislature, either by election or appointment, until at least two consecutive regular sessions have elapsed. He said that special session would not count, or would time served filling a vacancy by appointment. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated that Alaska's voters have overwhelmingly chosen to support term limits with regards to the U.S. Congress with 1994s ballot measure #4, which passed with 62 percent of the votes. He further stated that Alaskans have demonstrated their support for term limits on the municipal level, with several communities adopting some form of term limits for local elected officials. He said HJR 5 will give voters the chance to change the state Constitution, to limit the terms of state legislators. He said that term limits are a positive legislative reform, guaranteeing a flow of new legislators and new ideas. He said the popularity of term limits demonstrates that career politicians are not desirable. He said term limits will also level the playing field for challengers facing incumbents whose power is derived mainly from seniority. He said that placing a constitutional amendment limiting the terms of state legislators on the ballot was long overdue in his judgment. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said the changes proposed in the committee substitute are an attempt to try and go from limiting the number of calendar years that you can serve, to something more clear, the number of sessions that a legislator can serve. He said that going with calendar years created a problem, because the first year of legislative service is not a full calendar year, as legislators are sworn into office after the first of the year. With this in mind, the question arose as to when to start counting years in office. Did the first year count or not? He said that was why he decided to count sessions, as that was the time that legislators spent in the capital drafting legislation. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said he didn't count special sessions, because legislators could end up expiring their terms faster, if we had more than one session per year. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT explained that if a legislator is appointed to fill a vacant seat, this does not count as one of the allowed twelve sessions. He said that according to this resolution, if a legislator switches from the House of Representatives to the Senate and is in the middle of his/her Senate term upon reaching the twelve session limit, then they would have to leave office at the end of that term. He said that by putting the limit on the number of terms served, it prevented a legislator from bouncing back and forth between the House and Senate, and to thus avoid expiring their term in either body. He said any combination that adds up to twelve consecutive sessions, would be the limit allowed. Once reaching that limit, a legislator would only have to step out for two consecutive terms before being allowed to run again. He said his main purpose in proposing this resolution, was to break the incumbent's advantage by showing the public that other people could do the job effectively. He said if the incumbent sits out for the required two sessions, runs for office again and gets elected, then that was fine. Number 125 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON asked for verification that what was considered a full regular session was just that 120 day period, and not the 19th legislature, as an example. She further asked if he thought it was good idea for someone who had run some combination of House and Senate seats, be required to quit in the middle of a term. She said she thought that it would place a disadvantage on this legislator to be able to get elected, as the public would know that they would not be able to complete their term. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said he had picked 12 years, because it was divisible by both two years and four years. He said a person who is elected to the Senate or the House and serves their career in the same body, will not experience any difficulty with this legislation. He said that a legislator, who chooses to switch between the House and the Senate will know that this could lead to a situation where they might end up only being able to serve a partial Senate term. He further stated he didn't believe that it would end up being that much of a disadvantage, as a person who runs for the House knows they are only going to serve for two years. He said that a person who runs for the Senate and knows they will only serve for two years, will not be any worse off than if he ran for the House. He also stated that the Senate is reorganized every two years anyway, and so it really would not be a disadvantage to a Senator who was only serving two years. CHAIR JAMES stated she assumed that someone else would run for the remaining time of the term, and that it would be in a different legislature, and so not be a problem. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated that it would be the same as if someone was appointed to serve the remainder of a Senate term. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated she was not opposed to this bill, but she was curious if there really was a problem with turnover in the legislature. She explained that a few days earlier, former Senator Arliss Sturgelewski, while speaking to the legislature, had said that she hardly recognized any one of the current legislators. Thus, Representative Robinson was questioning whether there really was a problem. She said she was curious if he had done any research on this issue. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded that he had looked at how others were handling this issue, and had found that it was actually very mixed. He said that some of them allowed 8 years in the House and 8 years in the Senate, for a total of 16 years. Others only allowed a total of 8 years, and that there was considerable controversy over whether 8 or 16 years was more desirable. Thus, he had opted to go with 12 years, which was divisible by both 2 and 4, as a compromise between 8 years and 12 years. He also said this would affect very few Alaskan legislators, as most of them leave elected office before they serve 12 years. He said when he had gotten elected, approximately 50 percent of the House was brand new. He said that it was designed mainly for the exception to the rule. He said he felt this was good public policy because it allowed the constituents to see that someone else could fill the position and do an adequate job. He also thought that elected officials should step out of office, because it was easy to lose your focus after serving too long. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON verified that Representative Therriault had not done any research as to whether there was an Alaskan problem with term limits. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT replied that he had not. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if this created a disadvantage to minority groups. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT replied that he hadn't done any research on this question, but he couldn't see how it would be. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER asked if someone who ran for the Senate, and because of term-limits was unable to finish their term, whether this vacancy would be filled by appointment or election. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded that he had envisioned an election, but he really was not sure. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied he thought that legally, this vacancy would have to be filled by appointment. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT explained that currently, if a Senator leaves office, then this seat is filled by election. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated that technically this seat would be retained by the Senator until their term expired at the end of the year, which would be after the election. CHAIR JAMES said that currently we hold an election for an office, which continues to be held by its former occupant after the election, until their term expires at the end of the year. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER agreed, but said he thought that they might have to specifically say that this was the intent of this bill. Number 295 REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS stated that he agreed with the concept of term limits, and this was a strong desire of his constituents. He said he had made a campaign promise to support legislation for term limits. He said though, that he was concerned with the idea of eliminating someone from office before they had finished their term. He thought that this could really disadvantage this person at election time, as his opponent could use it against him. He also wondered how Representative Therriault felt about having it apply to those who were already in the legislature. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded that the problem with that concept was there could be a situation where someone might get elected on the same ballot where this was approved, and then be ineligible to serve. Because of this, he felt it was cleaner to start from scratch. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS commented at least one state makes an exception for someone who gets elected as a write-in candidate. He wondered whether it would be possible to make that exception if this passed. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that it was not, because this bill required a legislator to sit out for two consecutive sessions, upon reaching the 12-year limit. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated she was concerned whether the benefits of term limits would outweigh the loss of institutional memory that would occur as legislators were forced to retire. She also stated that sometimes she thought that the legislature wrote laws and changed the constitution when there really was not a problem. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT replied there had just been a poll on that issue, in that in the last election, the voters voted 62 percent in favor of term limits, even though that placed the state of Alaska at a distinct disadvantage due to our loss of seniority. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked what other states had experienced, as they lost there more seasoned legislators, due to term limits. She said that all new legislators turn to their more senior members for advice. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded he also was concerned about this, and that was one of the reasons he had settled on 12 years. He said he agreed that the learning curve of new legislators was steep and long. He said though, he thought that with as much rotation as there was in the legislature over 12 years, he didn't think there would be that much loss of institutional knowledge. He further pointed out that a legislator was only required to sit out for two years, and he didn't think there would be that much problem over such a short period of time. Number 394 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN thought this was a very good bill, and he thought that a legislator who wished to switch from the House to the Senate would plan their strategy to be able to serve a full term in the Senate by sitting out at an earlier time. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said this was a good point, that any time a legislator sits out for two years, the clock is reset, allowing them another 12 years to expire. CHAIR JAMES said she has some reservations about term limits as to their effectiveness, but the people were really in support of the concept. She said the question was whether legislators were there to serve the will of the people or their own personal agenda, and she thought they should serve the will of the people. She said her biggest concern was that when she was a freshman legislator, she looked for support from those longer term legislators for historical knowledge. She pointed out though, that the Legislative Research agency was there to answer those types of questions, and the legislature was thus able to overcome this loss of institutional knowledge. She said she thought that 12 years was plenty long enough for anyone to serve in the legislature, and she planned to support this resolution. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT pointed out there was a revised fiscal note on this resolution which recognized that this would take effect in 1997, not 1996. He also said this had additional referrals to the Judiciary and Finance committees. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that the committee pass this resolution unanimously, with individual recommendations. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objection. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT asked whether the committee had officially adopted the workdraft for the committee substitute. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER withdrew his previous motion and asked that the committee adopt the committee substitute for HJR 5, version F, dated 1-24-95, as the working document. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objection. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. Number 452 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved to pass the committee substitute for HJR 5, version F, with individual recommendations. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objection. Hearing none, CS HJR 5 moved out of committee. HSTA - 02/02/95 HB 81 - PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC FACILITIES CHAIR JAMES announced that the next bill for discussion was HB 81. She asked if there was anyone present who wished to testify on this bill. As there was no one who wished to testify, she said she had not planned to move this bill out of committee without further testimony, but she was not totally opposed. She said she would accept comment from the committee on this bill. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated she also was not opposed to moving this bill out of committee, but she would like more explanation as to the fiscal note of this bill. CHAIR JAMES said that was another reason why this bill couldn't move out of committee yet, as they did not yet have a current fiscal note. She said the fiscal note would amount to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities calculating the cost of deferred maintenance, divided into 15 years, to spread the way that would be funded by a capital appropriation. She said the other part of the bill that she considered equally important, was the life-cost basis of the ongoing repair and maintenance that would be required as an operating expense to not get in a delinquent maintenance situation again. She said the life-cost basis of calculating was based on the current value of the building. She said there was a rule of thumb on how much money was to be spent on maintaining the building each year, and also in setting money aside for replacement and renewal. For example, heating systems, which only have a certain lifetime, which may be less than the lifetime of the building. She said the main purpose of this bill was to get people to recognize this needed maintenance, as they could not force a future legislature to make an appropriation for this expense. She said that dedicated funds were not allowed. She said this bill would make the information available. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there was any requirement that a certain percentage be set aside each year, as currently many facilities were allowed to independently decide this for themselves, and there was no consistency. She said this was why different facilities were in various states of needed maintenance. Number 543 CHAIR JAMES said this bill specifically specifies a cost-life analysis and this was a pretty common method. She further stated that Representative Robinson's comments were absolutely right. She said different facilities had different maintenance programs and they each had different levels of success with the maintenance of their buildings. She said she would like to make sure that our facilities are maintained and that would be determined by a very scientific method. She said one of the reasons the university has such a large backlog of maintenance is that the legislature funds the university, but they are allowed to spend the monies as they see fit. She said that over a period of time, they have opted to spend their monies on programs and other things, as opposed to maintenance. She said the state needed to protect its assets and make them last as long as possible, even though this may not be very fun or exciting. She said that her biggest goal of this legislation was to make the information available, so that people understood what the needs were. Number 569 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if there was any prohibition against creating a law which required that any capital project must be funded proportionately to account for ongoing repair and maintenance. CHAIR JAMES said this was not possible, because the legislature was prohibited from setting aside dedicated funds. She said the reason against dedicated funds was that the legislature preferred to fund things that were more popular than maintenance. She said the other thing to consider was that the state had a health-safety issue with employees who were working in unsafe buildings. She said this forced the state to fund a large capital project which usually costs more than if they had set money aside for maintenance. She said she assumed that if they followed this plan, they would set aside funds for maintenance in the operating budget, but the amount for renewal and replacement would probably be a capital appropriation. She said if the money was set aside each year, the money would be there when something major needed to be replaced. She said she would like to hold this bill until a later date so the people who would be involved could give testimony. She announced that on February 17, 1995, she would be attending the facilities maintenance conference. Number 608 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN asked what type of restrictions this would place on the rural areas. He asked if it would place any further limitations on rural areas who need to build an increasing number of structures for their growing population. CHAIR JAMES explained that this bill would only apply to specific agencies who may or may not be delinquent in their maintenance responsibilities. If an agency or community was not delinquent in their maintenance, then this bill would not have any affect on them. Number 630 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated that sometimes it was cheaper to build a new building than to renovate the old one because of changes in code requirements and other factors. CHAIR JAMES explained that this would be part of the evaluation process of those who would be charged with evaluating the status of the building. She said if it was found that the building was so deficient that it was cheaper to build new construction, then this would be part of the recommendation. She said she thought that if we were keeping closer track of the maintenance, then we would have less of these types of situations occurring. She further stated she thought that it was somewhat premature to try and push this bill through at this time as they needed more testimony from the public and the Administration, and she would like to hold it over until after February 17,1995. HSTA - 02/02/95 HB 47 - UNLAWFUL EVASIONS CLASS A MISDEMEANOR Number 658 CHAIR JAMES called for Representative Brown to come up and testify on HB 47, as she was the sponsor. REPRESENTATIVE KAY BROWN, SPONSOR OF HB 47, said she introduced this bill in response to concerns about halfway houses in her district in downtown Anchorage. She said in her district, they had the majority of these types of facilities for the entire state concentrated in a rather small area. She said a few instances had occurred that had raised concerns as to whether the penalty was harsh enough to deter people from walking away from these facilities. She said that right now we have the crime of unlawful evasion which has two degrees. She said the higher degree applies to people serving for a felony offense. The lower degree, which carries a Class B misdemeanor classification, is for the people who are serving time for a misdemeanor offense. She said she had been told that a Class B misdemeanor charge for unlawful evasion in the second degree is not considered a serious enough offense for law enforcement to want to prosecute on that basis. She stated that typically, even if a conviction was gotten, there would probably not be any jail time assigned, as it is considered the lowest of offenses. She said this bill would combine the two degrees of unlawful evasion into a single crime of unlawful evasion, carrying the Class A misdemeanor, which could carry a penalty of up to a year's assigned jail time. She further stated there were two amendments to HB 47. She said amendment 1 would correct a drafting omission in the concealed weapons permit law. Under the current statute, AS 18.65.705(4), the citation is made to AS 11.56.350, which is the statute for unlawful evasion in the second degree, the Class B misdemeanor, but not to 11.56.340, which is unlawful evasion in the first degree. She said HB 47 would include unlawful evasion as one of the misdemeanor crimes that would cause ineligibility for a concealed weapon permit. People convicted for this offense would not be able to get a concealed weapon permit for five years. She said amendment two would be included in page 2, line 17, and would add the crime of unlawful evasion to the list of crimes for which there is a mandatory minimum sentence. She said the mandatory minimum for unlawful evasion, Class A misdemeanor, would be 180 days of jail time. She said she had been told that even if there was a separate penalty for Class A misdemeanor, it still wouldn't be as much of a deterrent as HB 47 to know that there is the possibility of an automatic sentence. She said that with HB 47, law enforcement would still have to go to court and get a conviction, but that at least it would be an automatic sentence of 180 days. She said this bill would make the law of the state of Alaska the same as the law of the municipality of Anchorage. She said this amendment was made at the request of some citizens of Anchorage. She said in summary, there should be stronger deterrents to prevent people from walking away from halfway houses. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN further noted that the fiscal notes on HB 47 were zero fiscal notes. GERALD W. BAILEY, DIRECTOR OF GASTINEAU HUMAN SERVICES, said he would urge the committee to support and pass HB 47. He said the halfway house in Juneau contained both the state halfway house and also the city misdemeanor jail facility. He said they had more problems with their misdemeanor prisoners than they did with their state felony prisoners. He said over the past few years, they had had five or six walkaways. He said that misdemeanors don't have as long of a sentence to start with and so they see that much of a deterrent to walking away from the facility. He said that prosecutors were very reluctant to prosecute for unlawful evasion. He said his point was that misdemeanors do not see the threat of sanctions for walking away and it would be a bigger deterrent if they did know that they would be prosecuted and that there was a mandatory sentence. Number 865 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if the people primarily walking away were misdemeanors or felons. MR. BAILEY stated they were primarily felons. He said they had had two state probationer felons who had walked away. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if he was satisfied with the classification of prisoners that he was receiving at his facility. MR. BAILEY replied that he was. He said he knew that there was some concern with the higher risk offenders that were being assigned to halfway houses, but the reality was that the felons assigned to them were much less of a behavior problem for them because they had more to lose. He said they were aware of this and knew the difference between the halfway house and the prison. He said they would rather be in the halfway house. Thus, they were, in general, more cooperative. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if his facility had problems with overpopulation. MR. BAILEY said that because of the way the contracts were written, they didn't have a population problem with the state inmates, but they sometimes reached capacity prisoners from the city. He said they tried to schedule the prisoners time to avoid this problem. TAPE 95-7, SIDE B Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked what type of misdemeanor inmates they had in these facilities. What type of crimes were they committing? MR. BAILEY said it could be basically anything from domestic violence to assaults. He said the very violent offenders were not usually assigned to the halfway house. Number 025 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked whose responsibility it was to retrieve inmates who had walked away from the facility. MR. BAILEY said they work with the Juneau Police Department and the prosecutor, but they don't restrain inmates trying to walk away. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if a prisoner who had walked away was in for domestic violence, if they notified the victim. MR. BAILEY replied that in many cases they did not know who the victim was. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked what the procedure was for dealing with a prisoner who had walked away after they were caught. MR. BAILEY replied they do not go back to the halfway house, but are sent to the Lemon Creek prison. Number 065 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated the bill would move the Class B misdemeanor up to a Class A misdemeanor. He asked if the existing penalty for violation of the Class A misdemeanor was a mandatory 180-day sentence. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN stated the existing penalty was the same as the penalties for Class A misdemeanors, in general. She said this could be a maximum of up to one year in jail and a possible fine of $5,000. The current Class B misdemeanor was up to 90 days in jail and up to a possible fine of $1,000. She said there was not enough deterrent for the Class B misdemeanor. CHAIR JAMES announced that the teleconference was ready. She asked if Katherine Bogs Gray was on the line. KATHERINE BOGS GRAY, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS, ALLVEST, INC., announced by teleconference that she supervised that operation of the state's four largest community residential centers. She said these centers contained both felons and misdemeanor offenders. She said she strongly believed that in order for these programs to be effective and for the communities in which these facilities are located to support them, there must be stronger sanctions for a prisoner who walks away. She said the Department of Corrections considered someone a walk away if they left either the facility or their place of assigned employment. She said that enforcement of a standard was imperative to the effective control of this type of facility. She said that during fiscal year 1992, there were 49 walk away prisoners from Allvest Inc., out of 45,351 inmates. In 1993, there were 23 out of over 63,000 inmates. In 1994, there were 68 out of 89,531 inmates. She said that for the first half of this year, there were 38 walk away prisoners out of 59,633 inmates. These represent both misdemeanor and felony offenders. She said it had been her experience that misdemeanors were more likely to walk away from these facilities than felons. She said these programs were based on the premise that privileges are awarded for responsible behavior and inmates taking responsibility for their actions. She said that for these programs to be truly effective, there must be appropriate sanctions for walking away. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was anyone else in Anchorage who wanted to testify. There was no one else at that time. She asked if anyone wanted to make a motion regarding amendment #1. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS moved to adopt amendment number 1. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any discussion regarding amendment number 1. Number 155 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER wanted to remind the committee that this was the amendment which would prevent an individual who had violated the unlawful evasion law from obtaining or retaining a concealed carry permit. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objection to the passage of amendment number 1. Hearing, the amendment passed. She asked if anyone wanted to move to adopt amendment number 2. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS said that he would move to adopt amendment number 2. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any discussion regarding amendment number 2. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said that he would object to amendment number 2. He said he had to wonder about the proportionate reality of sentencing someone to a mandatory 180 days that might have only been in the facility originally for a lesser amount, such as 72 hours. He said that right now, the law provides the option of sentencing an individual up to 90 days for a misdemeanor who walks away. He said he would suspect that the misdemeanors who walk away are the newer prisoners who do not yet have an appreciation for the system, or people who regardless of the deterrent, just don't get the message anyway. He said that today one of the most serious problems of correctional facilities was overcrowding. He was concerned that an analysis of the benefits would show that they would be overshadowed by the problem of prison overcrowding. He said he just could not support this amendment. Number 200 REPRESENTATIVE BROWN stated that she shared some of those same thoughts that Representative Porter expressed. She said she would have to ask how these types of facilities fit into our overall prison management system. She said she represented an area of downtown Anchorage where there was an enormous concentration of these types of facilities. She said the people in this area are reaching the level of tolerance, and there was an increasing level of concern among people that she represented. She said she felt that if you could give some type of tool to the people who were running these facilities, that this was where this would have the most value of a deterrent. She said where she lived, people were just not feeling safe anymore. She said we just needed to find the right balance of where these facilities fit into our overall corrections system, because they do alleviate some of the prison overcrowding. She said she would leave it to the discretion of the committee to decide where that balance needed to be. CHAIR JAMES asked if this amendment would alter the zero fiscal note of this bill. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN said she did not know if this would raise the level of prosecution to warrant a new fiscal note, but it was meant to be more of a deterrent and a management tool for the manager of the facility. She thought that we might defer this question to the Department of Law as they had developed the fiscal note. CHAIR JAMES asked if she was saying that even if there was a mandatory sentence, and that if prosecutors still did not prosecute, then this amendment would have very little fiscal impact. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN thought that with this scenario, they would just send the prisoner to prison to finish their original sentence. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was not a difference in price between housing prisoners in prison verses the halfway house. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN agreed, saying that the average price of housing prisoners in prison amounted to about $110.00 per day, whereas the average cost of housing them in a halfway house was between $50 and $60 a day. She said where an extra cost might come in was when you had a prisoner who had an extra 180 days added to his sentence because he had walked away. She said he was told that morning, that that would probably be a consecutive sentence. She said a judge might have the discretion to make it a concurrent sentence. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER disagreed, saying he thought that it would probably have to be a consecutive sentence, and so cost more. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she thought that even if it was concurrent, they would still be required to go to prison and that would still be a deterrent. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN agreed. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON emphasized that this was meant to be a tool to help deter walkaways, and a help to more effectively manage the facility. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said his problem with this was that because of the lack of enthusiasm for prosecuting these offenses, all that a halfway house could say was that it was a chance they could be sent to jail for 180 days. He said they could already say there was a chance they would be sent to jail for 90 days. He said he thought that it was inappropriate to create a law that would not be enforced. He said this message gets out to the prisoners, and that was worse than not having the law in the first place. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if this would not have been a remedy to a situation that had occurred in Anchorage, where an escapee got a car and killed someone. She thought this might have been a deterrent to them escaping in the first place. CHAIR JAMES announced that amendment number 2 was on the floor for a vote. She asked if there was any objection. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER objected. CHAIR JAMES asked for a roll-call vote. Representative Ogan voted no, Representative Ivan voted no, Representative Porter voted no, Representative Robinson voted yes, Representative Willis voted yes, Chair James voted no. The vote was four to two in opposition to this amendment. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if they should consult with the Department of Law to try and come up with a lower mandatory sentence time. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he would certainly consider any alternative solution to crime problems, either here or in the Judiciary committee. He said the problem though was that the most frequent misdemeanor visitor to the facility would be charged with Driving Under the Influence, who usually have the lowest amount of recidivism. He said this showed that the current system was working. He said though that unfortunately now, because of prison overcrowding, these prisoners have to wait to serve their sentence. He said this ruins the deterrent effect and the more of these types of laws that we enact, the worse the situation is getting. Number 339 REPRESENTATIVE BROWN said she was comfortable with the committee's decision on this amendment. She said she had brought it forward at the request of the halfway house in Anchorage, but had some reservations herself. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON requested that the bill be passed with individual recommendations. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objection. Hearing none, HB 47 was passed. ADJOURNMENT CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at 9:34 am.