Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/02/1995 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             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.                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              
                                                                               

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