Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

04/04/2019 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:03:44 PM Start
03:04:37 PM HB98
03:08:36 PM Department of Public Safety, Commissioner,
05:25:29 PM HB115
05:42:50 PM HB118
05:52:25 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 118 OFFENDER REENTRY PLANNING BY CORRECTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner Amanda Price, Dept. of Public Safety
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 115 ABSENTEE VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 98 PROPERTY CRIME; MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT TOOLS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 98(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                 
              HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                          April 4, 2019                                                                                         
                            3:03 p.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Zack Fields, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Co-Chair                                                                                
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 98                                                                                                               
"An  Act relating  to aggregation  of crimes  under theft  in the                                                               
second degree;  relating to fraudulent  use of an  access device;                                                               
and relating  to the crime  of possession of motor  vehicle theft                                                               
tools."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 98(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 115                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to absentee voting; and providing for an                                                                       
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 118                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the duties of the commissioner of                                                                           
corrections; and relating to planning for prisoner reentry."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 98                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: PROPERTY CRIME; MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT TOOLS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) CLAMAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
03/15/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/15/19       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/02/19       (H)       STA AT 4:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/02/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/02/19       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/04/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 115                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ABSENTEE VOTING                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TUCK                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
03/27/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/27/19       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/02/19       (H)       STA AT 4:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/02/19       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
04/04/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 118                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OFFENDER REENTRY PLANNING BY CORRECTIONS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) FIELDS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
03/29/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/29/19       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/04/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA PRICE, Commissioner Designee                                                                                             
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointed commissioner of the                                                               
Department of Public Safety (DPS).                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
JOEL JACKSON                                                                                                                    
Organized Village of Kake                                                                                                       
Kake, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the confirmation hearing                                                                
on Commissioner Price.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                              
KRIS PITTS                                                                                                                      
Maine                                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support during the                                                                          
confirmation hearing on Commissioner Price.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
ROBYN LANGLIE                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Testified  in   support   during   the                                                             
confirmation hearing on Commissioner Price.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
BRENT JOHNSON                                                                                                                   
Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA)                                                                                      
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Testified  in   support   during   the                                                             
confirmation hearing on Commissioner Price.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
MARK SPRINGER, Chairman                                                                                                         
Marijuana Control Board (MCB)                                                                                                   
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  during the  confirmation hearing                                                             
on Commissioner Price.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                              
MARTHA MERRILL                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Testified  in   support   during   the                                                             
confirmation hearing on Commissioner Price.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
SHAUN KUZAKIN                                                                                                                   
Public Safety Employee's Association (PSEA)                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Testified  in   support   during   the                                                             
confirmation hearing on Commissioner Price.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 115, as prime sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
GAIL FENUMIAI, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Elections (DOE)                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB                                                             
115.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:03:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ZACK FIELDS  called the  House  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 3:03 p.m.   Representatives Story,                                                               
Wool, Vance, Kreiss-Tomkins, and Fields  were present at the call                                                               
to order.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
        HB 98-PROPERTY CRIME; MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT TOOLS                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
3:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 98, "An Act relating to  aggregation of crimes                                                               
under theft in  the second degree; relating to  fraudulent use of                                                               
an  access device;  and relating  to the  crime of  possession of                                                               
motor vehicle theft tools."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:05:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  moved to adopt the  committee substitute                                                               
(CS)  for HB  98, Version  31-LS0626\U, Radford,  4/3/19, as  the                                                               
working  document.   There  being  no  objection, Version  U  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:05:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY commented  that she  supports the  proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:06:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS opened  public testimony  on HB  98, Version  U.                                                               
After  ascertaining that  no  one wished  to  testify, he  closed                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:06:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  moved  to  report the  CS  for  HB  98,                                                               
Version  31-LS0626\U,  Radford,  4/3/19, out  of  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, CSHB  98(STA) was reported out  of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:06:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:07 p.m. to 3:09 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
^Department of Public Safety, Commissioner,                                                                                     
           Department of Public Safety, Commissioner                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
3:08:36 PM                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be confirmation hearings.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:09:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA PRICE, Commissioner Designee,  Department of Public Safety                                                               
(DPS), in  response to the request  that she be sworn  in for the                                                               
committee  hearing testimony,  stated that  she does  not believe                                                               
she  should be  subjected to  any request  or recommendations  in                                                               
which other  commissioner designees [have not]  been requested to                                                               
participate; therefore, she declined taking an oath.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  shared  that  Alaska  has  been  awarded  the                                                               
opportunity to serve as host  for the National Trooper Conference                                                               
in the fall of 2020; it is a great opportunity to highlight                                                                     
the great work of the  Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT), the Alaska                                                               
State   Troopers  (AST),   and   the   Public  Safety   Employees                                                               
Association  (PSEA) and  will be  used in  a recruitment  effort.                                                               
Alaska   also   has  been   awarded   the   conference  for   the                                                               
International Association of Women  Police, which will take place                                                               
in  Anchorage in  September 2019.    She mentioned  that she  has                                                               
received  47 recommendations  from  the  retention specific  work                                                               
group; DPS is working to  implement them; and employee engagement                                                               
in that  activity has increased  morale.  She relayed  that April                                                               
is   Sexual  Assault   Awareness  Month;   DPS  has   joined  the                                                               
legislature's  efforts  in  "lifting   up"  survivors  of  sexual                                                               
violence.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:11:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked for  a description  of the  duties of                                                               
the commissioner of DPS.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  stated that the commissioner  of DPS provides                                                               
overall   policy   and   management  to   the   department;   the                                                               
commissioner oversees the divisions,  boards, and councils within                                                               
the  agency;  the  commissioner works  with  the  legislature  to                                                               
ensure  that  the  governor's  and  the  department's  goals  and                                                               
initiatives are being  moved forward and to  ensure that adequate                                                               
resources are  in place for  all the divisions in  the department                                                               
to complete their missions.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked if there  are any additional duties of                                                               
the commissioner.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  relayed that what  she stated is  the summary                                                               
provided  by DPS.   She  continued  by saying  that she  provides                                                               
direct  policy  support  and   direction  to  division  directors                                                               
including the colonels of both AWT  and AST.  The colonels direct                                                               
operations; her  role is to  ensure that there are  adequate laws                                                               
in  place,   strategic  planning  in  place,   and  adequate  and                                                               
strategically placed  law enforcement personnel.   She added that                                                               
she monitors timelines  in the delivery of services,  such as for                                                               
the Division  of Fire and  Life Safety  (DFLS).  In  summary, her                                                               
role is strategic planning and administration.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked to know the  administration's current                                                               
mandate specific to the needs of Alaska public safety.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered that Governor [Michael  J.] Dunleavy                                                               
has not given her a mandate  but has indicated areas of interest.                                                               
He has identified public safety as  a priority; he expects to see                                                               
an  increase  in the  number  of  law enforcement  personnel,  an                                                               
improved response  to rural public  safety, and a  strategic plan                                                               
to address rural public safety.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  stated  that   she  is  looking  for  more                                                               
definition of  the commissioner's  role, what  the administration                                                               
hopes  to  achieve  with the  position,  and  the  qualifications                                                               
Commissioner  Price  brings  to  the position  to  fulfill  those                                                               
expectations.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  offered  that  she  and  the  governor  have                                                               
discussed  the  need  in  Alaska   to  address  the  obvious  and                                                               
unacceptable  rates  of  sexual  violence.    She  mentioned  her                                                               
experience  as executive  director of  Standing Together  Against                                                               
Rape  (STAR),  working  with  the  Special  Victim's  Unit  (SVU)                                                               
[Anchorage Police Department (APD)],  the Crimes Against Children                                                               
Unit  (CACU)  [APD], the  Alaska  Bureau  of Investigation  (ABI)                                                               
[DPS],  and statewide  response to  sexual assault.   She  stated                                                               
that the  governor did  not give her  a mandate  but specifically                                                               
asked that she  develop and determine an  appropriate response to                                                               
the epidemic of  sexual violence and the role  of law enforcement                                                               
in this  response.   She highlighted  the following:   partnering                                                               
with  other  agencies  to improve  law  enforcement;  ensuring  a                                                               
victim-centered  law  enforcement  response that  allows  DPS  to                                                               
respond quickly  and that encourages survivors  to maintain trust                                                               
in  their law  enforcement personnel  and their  criminal justice                                                               
system;  improving  all elements  along  the  spectrum of  sexual                                                               
violence; supporting the investigative  capacity, which will lead                                                               
to more  effective referrals to  the Department of Law  (DOL) and                                                               
more opportunity to  hold offenders accountable.   She added that                                                               
due to  the sheer volume of  sexual violence and offenses  in the                                                               
state, it is a priority.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether Commissioner Price  has prior                                                               
experience in law enforcement.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  responded  that  she  is  not  a  sworn  law                                                               
enforcement officer;  however, she has worked  laterally with law                                                               
enforcement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked  under what  authority  Commissioner                                                               
Price is wearing the badge that she wears.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE answered  that the badge is from  DFLS, and it                                                               
is  the  commissioner's  badge.    She  said  that  AS  18.65.280                                                               
provides  that  the  commissioner  of  DPS  is  exempt  from  the                                                               
statutory   requirements   that    pertain   to   standards   for                                                               
certification  of  police  officers;   the  DPS  commissioner  is                                                               
considered  a commissioned  officer  by virtue  of the  position;                                                               
however,  there is  no  requirement for  her to  be  armed or  to                                                               
intervene in any activity.  She  stated that she has not received                                                               
Alaska Law Enforcement  Training (ALET) and does not  elect to do                                                               
so.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:17:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY referred  to Commissioner  Price's previous                                                               
testimony  [2/26/19   House  State  Affairs   Standing  Committee                                                               
meeting] in which  she said she cannot commit  to adding capacity                                                               
to ABI  to focus on missing  and murdered indigenous women.   She                                                               
asked what the  commissioner can commit to doing  to address this                                                               
serious injustice.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   responded  that  she  does   not  have  the                                                               
opportunity  at  this  time  to  definitively  commit  to  adding                                                               
positions to ABI with the  focus on Alaska's missing and murdered                                                               
indigenous girls and women.  She  stated that she must assess the                                                               
challenges, and with the state's  limited number of officers, she                                                               
must place them  in the areas of greatest need.   She shared that                                                               
although  she does  not have  the additional  officers, she  will                                                               
commit to addressing the issue with  ABI.  She offered that there                                                               
is a  great deal of  work underway, including a  partnership with                                                               
the  University  of  Alaska   Anchorage  Justice  Center  (UAAJC)                                                               
evaluating  all homicides  in the  state from  a descriptive  and                                                               
analytical  perspective.    She  offered that  this  study  is  a                                                               
precursor  to   identifying  ways   to  strengthen   and  improve                                                               
policies; the results  may indicate a gap in service  or areas of                                                               
greater  need  and, therefore,  prompt  her  to focus  additional                                                               
resources on these concerns.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  expressed her concern for  families waiting                                                               
for  information.    She  asked about  the  commitment  to  those                                                               
families.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  stated  that  DPS has  only  one  cold  case                                                               
investigator; she does not know what  DPS will do in the next six                                                               
months to support  the cold case unit.  She  offered that DPS has                                                               
the Missing Persons Clearinghouse  (MPC) that is actively worked.                                                               
She cited the  recent solving of the 25-year-old  homicide case -                                                               
the murder  of Sophie Sergie -  as evidence that DPS  never stops                                                               
working on cold  cases.  She said that historically  DPS has been                                                               
committed to continuing to work every  case in MPC to the best of                                                               
its ability.  It  is a difficult decision to not  be able to move                                                               
more officers  into ABI; however, she  hopes to be able  to do so                                                               
as DPS builds up staff.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  stated that  attention  on  this issue  is                                                               
critically important.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:21:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked Commissioner  Price to state the Alaska                                                               
Police  Standards Council  (APSC) requirements  for certification                                                               
as a police officer in Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  replied that she would  provide the committee                                                               
with the certification  requirements.  She offered  that there is                                                               
a  training requirement  within  12 months;  she  would not  meet                                                               
those  requirements,  because  she  has  not  attended  the  ALET                                                               
Academy.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked whether she  would be willing to attend                                                               
some of the trainings required of officers.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE said that she would love to do that.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked Commissioner  Price to state  her last                                                               
job in state government.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   responded  that  her  last   job  in  state                                                               
government was as a policy advisor for Governor Bill Walker.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked her to  discuss the job and  the terms                                                               
of departure.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered that the  governor and she  had some                                                               
great  successes;  it  was  a brand-new  position;  she  and  the                                                               
governor  developed  expectations  for   the  position;  and  the                                                               
expectations shifted.  She said  that the original premise of the                                                               
position  was   to  work  across   departments  to   improve  law                                                               
enforcement  response  and collect  data  on  how the  state  was                                                               
addressing  incidences  of  domestic  violence,  sexual  assault,                                                               
stalking, harassment,  and other challenges.   She expressed that                                                               
the  position  had  no  direct   focus;  the  governor  was  very                                                               
passionate about  those issues and  wanted to look for  ways that                                                               
the state could  improve how it addressed those  challenges.  She                                                               
relayed that her  tenure in the position had ups  and downs.  She                                                               
had  tremendous successes  working  with  Alaska Housing  Finance                                                               
Corporation (AHFC)  and the Alaska  Network on  Domestic Violence                                                               
and  Assault (ANDVSA)  to mediate  a potential  lawsuit regarding                                                               
disparate  treatment by  landlords.    This work  led  to a  gold                                                               
standard  of  policies  and  protections  for  domestic  violence                                                               
survivors  living in  rental  facilities.   She  was involved  in                                                               
several similar  but lower  profile projects.   She  launched the                                                               
statewide  audit   for  sexual   assault  kits,  which   was  the                                                               
precipitating factor  for the current  Alaska Sexual  Assault Kit                                                               
Initiative (AK-SAKI).  She has  been told by Brad Myrstol [Ph.D.,                                                               
associate professor] with  UAA Justice Center that  next year the                                                               
research  project  will  bear  fruit   and  be  the  single  most                                                               
important  and critical  research regarding  sexual violence;  it                                                               
will  be able  to influence  and inform  policy in  the state  as                                                               
never before.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE stated that the  challenges [for her position]                                                               
came with Senate  Bill 91 [passed during  the Twenty-Ninth Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, 2015-2016, and signed  into law 7/11/16].  She                                                               
was not  a proponent  of Senate  Bill 91  and had  grave concerns                                                               
from  the perspective  of  her partners  -  the Anchorage  Police                                                               
Department  Employees Association  (APDEA),  Victims for  Justice                                                               
(VFJ), and  many of the  victim service agencies  receiving state                                                               
funding.   These agencies  expressed an  overwhelming frustration                                                               
that their  concerns were not being  heard by the governor.   She                                                               
stated  that  her  role  was  to convey  these  concerns  to  the                                                               
governor,  which created  internal dissent.   She  explained that                                                               
when  a  senior policy  advisor  expresses  concerns regarding  a                                                               
policy  that  the governor  supports,  it  creates a  challenging                                                               
dynamic.  She relayed that she  and the governor "were not on the                                                               
same page" regarding public safety,  and several of his proposals                                                               
she  vehemently did  not support;  therefore,  continuing in  her                                                               
position no longer made sense.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked whether  there was  something specific                                                               
in Senate Bill 91 that she did not support.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  replied that she  was not the  policy advisor                                                               
for Senate  Bill 91;  however, her biggest  concern was  what she                                                               
heard from individuals in her  partner agencies that the governor                                                               
was not responsive to their concerns.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL offered that  her departure from her position                                                               
was before  Senate Bill  91 was  signed into law.   He  asked for                                                               
confirmation  that the  concern  was before  the legislation  was                                                               
enacted based on anticipation of having problems with it.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE answered  that the concerns came  about at the                                                               
inception  of  the  Alaska  Criminal  Justice  Commission  (ACJC)                                                               
[created  by the  Alaska State  Legislature in  2014] or  shortly                                                               
thereafter.   She acknowledged that APD  did not have a  voice in                                                               
the  commission at  that  time;  therefore, she  did  not have  a                                                               
significant role regarding  Senate Bill 91; her role  was to pass                                                               
information on to the governor.   She maintained that she and the                                                               
governor did align  on many issues:  she gave  the example of the                                                               
Yukon-Kuskokwim  Health  Corporation  (YKHC) hospital  in  Bethel                                                               
that  had discontinued  seeing sexual  assault  survivors in  the                                                               
facility due  to budgetary reasons  and, therefore,  were sending                                                               
these   individuals   to   Anchorage;  she   and   the   governor                                                               
collaborated on a state response.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:30:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL offered  that certain trends, such  as a rash                                                               
of murders in Fairbanks, have  been attributed to Senate Bill 91;                                                               
however, he was unable to make  the connection.  He asked whether                                                               
some  events have  been misidentified  as attributable  to Senate                                                               
Bill 91 or  whether there were instances in which  the passage of                                                               
the bill had positive ramifications.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  acknowledged  that   there  was  a  negative                                                               
characterization of the  bill by the public based on  the rise in                                                               
crime and concern  for safety.  She stated that  crime was on the                                                               
rise prior  to the implementation of  the legislation; therefore,                                                               
the legislature  was not the  only factor leading to  an increase                                                               
in crime in  the state.  She expressed that  many people identify                                                               
Senate  Bill 91  as a  contributing factor.   She  said that  her                                                               
perspective  is   that  whether  the  legislature   is  or  isn't                                                               
effective,  there  is much  concern  from  the public  about  the                                                               
legislation;  people  have declared  a  multitude  of ills  as  a                                                               
result of Senate Bill  91, and there is a lack  of trust with the                                                               
legislation.   She  asserted  that the  bills  introduced by  the                                                               
[current] governor [SB  32, SB 33, SB 34, SB  35] will adequately                                                               
provide  the  tools  to  rebuild   trust  among  law  enforcement                                                               
personnel.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:32:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked whether Commissioner  Price left the Walker                                                               
administration under her own volition.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered, "I'm going  to say, no. ...  It was                                                               
clear that it wasn't working."   She said that she knew she would                                                               
be   leaving;  she   and  the   governor  had   many  challenging                                                               
conversations;   she  was   not  happy   in  her   position;  and                                                               
administration personnel were not happy  with her.  She explained                                                               
that she was frustrated; however,  she was working on AK-SAKI and                                                               
had every  intention of  completing that work.   She  stated that                                                               
Scott Kendall,  who was the  governor's chief of staff  for about                                                               
three months during  the time of her tenure, called  her into his                                                               
office, and  together they decided it  was time for her  to leave                                                               
her position.   Mr. Kendall  mentioned that his  discussions with                                                               
the governor supported this decision.   She offered her continued                                                               
support  regarding a  federal  grant; he  thanked  her for  being                                                               
gracious;  they shook  hands; and  after a  couple of  additional                                                               
hours in her office, she left.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  relayed  that  the answer  she  just  gave  was                                                               
inconsistent  with previous  testimony, which  was that  she left                                                               
because of differences over Senate Bill 91.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE expressed her belief  that the two answers are                                                               
not  disparate; her  involvement collecting  adversarial comments                                                               
regarding Senate Bill 91 was one  of the reasons she failed to be                                                               
influential within the Walker administration.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS related  that  her testimony  before the  Senate                                                               
Finance Committee  was that she  left [her position]  because she                                                               
didn't share  the governor's  vision.  He  asked her  whether she                                                               
thought  she was  asked to  resign because  she didn't  share the                                                               
governor's  vision  or  because  of work  ethic  and  other  work                                                               
performance issues.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE responded  that it is her belief  that she was                                                               
asked  to leave  for a  variety of  reasons.   She said  that the                                                               
deputy chief  of staff, who  worked with  her for two  years, has                                                               
testified in  her support and  identified a positive  work ethic.                                                               
She stated that  the chief of staff for two  years, Jim Whitaker,                                                               
has  offered to  testify.   She  maintained that  no  one in  the                                                               
administration, including  Chief of  Staff Whitaker and  Chief of                                                               
Staff  Kendall,  communicated  to  her any  concerns  about  work                                                               
performance or ethic.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:35:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  Commissioner Price  whether she  had ever                                                               
presented work  as her own  that not her  own during her  time as                                                               
special advisor with the Walker administration.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied, "To the  best of my ability to answer                                                               
that  question,   no."    She  acknowledged   that  she  forwards                                                               
information  to other  people; therefore,  there were  times when                                                               
she copied and pasted information  from other agencies to pass on                                                               
in  an  informational  brief.    She  maintained  that  in  these                                                               
instances, she did not claim the work as her own.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  for a  description of  qualifying factors                                                               
that are required of a police officer in Alaska.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE replied  that one  must be  21 years  of age,                                                               
undergo  a  background  check, and  have  a  general  educational                                                               
development (GED) certificate or high school diploma.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:37:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY stated  that  Representative Kopp  proposed                                                               
legislation providing  an option  for police  officers to  join a                                                               
defined benefit retirement  plan.  She asked if  DPS supports the                                                               
proposed legislation.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied  that DPS has not taken  a position on                                                               
the proposed legislation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked what  Commissioner Price has  done to                                                               
improve  the   problem  of  recruitment  and   retention  of  law                                                               
enforcement officers.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   stated  that   the  retention   work  group                                                               
delivered  its findings.   She  offered to  share a  copy of  the                                                               
findings  with the  committee.   She said  that she  aggregated a                                                               
list   of   the   group's   recommendations.      Some   of   the                                                               
recommendations are  currently underway  and some  are long-term.                                                               
One   recommendation  involves   issuing   a   written  list   of                                                               
expectations  in the  pathway  to promotion  to  the position  of                                                               
sergeant  and  above;  this  helps to  avoid  the  perception  of                                                               
leadership  being a  "good old  boys  club"; and  it affords  the                                                               
opportunity  for officers  to meet  the  requirements that  would                                                               
allow  them  to move  through  the  pathway  and have  access  to                                                               
promotion  opportunities.   She  stated that  some  of the  other                                                               
recommendations would be  more difficult to implement.   One such                                                               
recommendation  is   the  creation   of  an   internal,  in-house                                                               
psychologist to address emotional  and mental well-being fit-for-                                                               
duty requirements  in terms of  trauma-informed response  after a                                                               
critical  incident.    She  mentioned  another  recommendation  -                                                               
implementing command  climate surveys  - to determine  from field                                                               
personnel  how a  commander is  performing and  whether there  is                                                               
effective communication within the  department.  She offered that                                                               
she has  implemented a DPS  quarterly to share  information about                                                               
the work being done throughout  the department.  She relayed that                                                               
DPS  has requested  volunteer employees  to review  the operating                                                               
procedures   manual   (OPM),   to  identify   ways   to   improve                                                               
psychological   services,  critical   incident  debriefing,   and                                                               
improve the employee recognition program.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked the commissioner how  she is tracking                                                               
the situation of untested rape kits.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   answered  that   the  AK-SAKI   work  group                                                               
continues  to meet.    They have  prioritized  the effort,  which                                                               
involves  ensuring  there  is  adequate  material  to  be  tested                                                               
through deoxyribonucleic  acid (DNA) analysis and  an anticipated                                                               
result from  the analysis.  The  kits continue to be  sent out to                                                               
the external  lab as per the  federal grant that was  secured for                                                               
the initiative.   She expressed her concern that  DPS address its                                                               
internal policies  to ensure that  in 10  years it is  not facing                                                               
another [rape kit]  backlog.  She offered  her understanding that                                                               
legislation  has been  introduced regarding  mandatory submission                                                               
of kits; AST and AWT  have voluntarily adopted a 30-day mandatory                                                               
submission  policy;  and the  UAAJC  research  component has  the                                                               
potential  of providing  lawmakers an  opportunity to  strengthen                                                               
laws relating to sexual assault.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  the   commissioner  what  her  main                                                               
priorities will be in her role.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  responded  that  her  main  priority  is  an                                                               
adequate,  trained  workforce  to provide  the  mission  critical                                                               
services  of  law  enforcement and  life  and  safety  preventive                                                               
activities  throughout  the  state.   She  maintained  that  DPS,                                                               
outside of  AST and  AWT, has experienced  a tremendous  lapse in                                                               
morale over previous years due  to a variety of circumstances; an                                                               
aggregate total of factors has  negatively impacted the morale of                                                               
the department.   She emphasized that she cannot  improve how DPS                                                               
provides  public  safety  services  without  a  healthy,  trained                                                               
workforce, and that is her number one priority initially.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:43:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked for  comment on  Alaska's performance                                                               
in providing adequate public safety to rural communities.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE offered  her belief that Alaska  is failing in                                                               
providing adequate public safety to  rural communities.  She said                                                               
that  she thinks  there is  a tremendous  opportunity for  DPS to                                                               
improve   how   it  provides   services;   there   needs  to   be                                                               
collaborative,  collective  conversations among  DPS,  lawmakers,                                                               
and other partners throughout the  state to develop and determine                                                               
what the  minimum standard of  public safety and  law enforcement                                                               
response should  look like in  the rural communities  and beyond.                                                               
She  maintained  that there  is  no  research, documentation,  or                                                               
support to inform DPS as  to what adequate staffing levels should                                                               
be in order to meet any standard  in the state - urban, rural, or                                                               
otherwise.  She said that there is tremendous work to be done.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked how the  commissioner sees the Village                                                               
Public   Safety  Officer   (VPSO)  program   working  under   her                                                               
leadership.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE expressed her belief  that the VPSO program is                                                               
a  critical  factor  in  addressing   rural  public  safety;  the                                                               
mechanism by  which the program  is currently operating  needs to                                                               
be addressed to ensure it  is efficient and effective.  Currently                                                               
DPS is experiencing the lowest number  of VPSOs it has had in the                                                               
past 10  years; the  state needs to  identify the  expectation in                                                               
terms of  public safety  for communities and  work to  meet those                                                               
expectations.  She  offered that DPS has made  great headway with                                                               
the current  grant agreements:   allowing the  [non-profit Native                                                               
corporation]  grantees  more  autonomy  in  hiring  and  spending                                                               
funds;  minimizing  the  challenging   costs  of  regulation  and                                                               
administration; and  reducing the amount  of time VPSOs  are away                                                               
from their villages  for ALET training from 15 weeks  to 6 weeks.                                                               
She  maintained  that DPS  has  made  significant changes  in  an                                                               
attempt to support the grantees  and their ability to recruit and                                                               
retain officers; however,  with the short amount of  time she has                                                               
been in the position, she is  unsure of the next steps beyond the                                                               
improvements that she has made for fiscal year 2020 (FY 20).                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked whether  Commissioner Price  has been                                                               
able to meet with the VPSO program grantees.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered that she  has met with  large groups                                                               
of  grantees  but not  individually.    She participated  in  the                                                               
Alaska  Federation  of Natives  (AFN)  legislative  event and  is                                                               
available to attend  other such events as requested.   Her office                                                               
is   in  regular   communication  with   the  grantees,   program                                                               
coordinators, and VPSOs.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked  Commissioner Price  to  relate  the                                                               
scope of her authority as commissioner and as "top cop."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE responded that technically  the top cop in the                                                               
state is the attorney general.   She stated that the commissioner                                                               
of DPS  is a  civilian administration  position, although  it has                                                               
historically been filled by a  law enforcement professional.  She                                                               
relayed that  she is  the ultimate  signatory authority,  such as                                                               
for  a  waiver  for  a  VPSO  grantee  to  give  someone  with  a                                                               
misdemeanor  conviction  Criminal  Justice  Information  Services                                                               
(CJIS) security  clearance.  She  stated that she is  the signing                                                               
authority  on  the  decisions  regarding  day-to-day  operational                                                               
needs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked whether  as  a  civilian, she  gives                                                               
credentials to law enforcement officers.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied  that under statute, she  is no longer                                                               
a civilian.   She  explained that  it is  the APSC  that provides                                                               
certification;  the council  is made  up of  a variety  of police                                                               
officers from throughout the state;  it issues and revokes police                                                               
officer certifications.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked  the commissioner what her  role is in                                                               
relation to the council.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE answered that she does  not have a seat on the                                                               
council;  Deputy   Commissioner  Michael  Duxbury  sits   on  the                                                               
council.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  acknowledged the  commissioner's experience                                                               
with  sexual  assault  issues;  however,  she  offered  that  the                                                               
position entails  so many more  issues; Alaska is facing  some of                                                               
the steepest  increases in crime  in the  nation.  She  asked the                                                               
commissioner to  relate her experiences regarding  issues outside                                                               
of sexual assault.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  replied that  DPS has division  directors who                                                               
are   responsible  for   the   operational   components  of   law                                                               
enforcement; Colonel  Barry Wilson  is the  director of  AST, and                                                               
Colonel Doug  Massie is director of  AWT.  She said  that the two                                                               
directors are  assigned the  authority for  operational direction                                                               
of funds and resources to  address drugs, vehicle theft, property                                                               
crimes, homicides,  ABI, and  more; they are  part of  her senior                                                               
leadership team; they meet with  her regularly; they brief her on                                                               
a variety of  issues; and they provide direction  and feedback on                                                               
how their activities fit into DPS's strategic plan.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  relayed  that  as someone  who  has  managed                                                               
several  organizations, she  recognizes that  being removed  from                                                               
day-to-day  detailed conversations  presents opportunities.   She                                                               
gave examples of her role  supporting law enforcement operations:                                                               
She conferred with a rapid  DNA [analysis] company and approved a                                                               
pilot  project, which  would train  troopers to  process DNA  and                                                               
identify a  suspect in 90 minutes  using in a machine  that could                                                               
be carried  in a patrol  car.   The new executive  director under                                                               
the High Intensity  Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)  grant has been                                                               
hired; the  HIDTA executive  board is an  aggregate group  of law                                                               
enforcement professionals  from around  the state; with  20 years                                                               
of experience  with grant management and  distribution, they will                                                               
be  awarding grants  in an  effort  to meet  strategic goals  and                                                               
planning;   this  work   will   directly  relate   to  the   drug                                                               
interdiction forces  currently in DPS.   She concluded  by saying                                                               
that her role  is managing at a high level  all the components of                                                               
DPS and  ensuring the necessary  communication to  take advantage                                                               
of opportunities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:52:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  expressed her  concern that  a commissioner                                                               
coming  into the  position as  a civilian  with no  public safety                                                               
experience  and   having  much  more  experienced   personnel  as                                                               
subordinates, could influence morale in the department.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE responded  that she disagrees that  she has no                                                               
experience  in public  safety at  all; she  has worked  with SVU,                                                               
CACU, ABI, and with thousands  of response cases alongside of the                                                               
men  and women  who  serve in  [public safety]  and  have a  deep                                                               
understanding  of  law  enforcement.    She  suggested  that  the                                                               
committee ask  her supporters and  review the letters  of support                                                               
and  endorsements  from PSEA.    She  stated  that she  has  been                                                               
humbled and honored by the  tremendous outpouring of support from                                                               
troopers, fire  marshals, deputy  fire marshals,  shelter program                                                               
personnel,  the  manager  of  the   sex  offender  registry,  and                                                               
information  technology  (IT)  staff.   She  mentioned  that  she                                                               
herself  had  doubts  about  being  a civilian  in  the  role  of                                                               
commissioner.   She  relayed that  what  she has  heard from  the                                                               
department collectively  and loudly  is overwhelming  support for                                                               
her.  She  passed on a comment  by AST Captain Ron  Wall that she                                                               
is the best commissioner that DPS  has had.  She offered that she                                                               
has  received  support specifically  because  she  is not  a  law                                                               
enforcement personnel.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:55:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   FIELDS  asked   why   commissioners  obtain   security                                                               
clearances through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   PRICE    answered   that   the    primary   reason                                                               
commissioners obtain  a CJIS clearance  is to have access  to law                                                               
enforcement sensitive information.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  if  the CJIS  clearance  would relate  to                                                               
information about emergency response or terrorism incidents.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  replied  that  there   is  a  need  for  the                                                               
commissioner   to  have   clearance   in  order   to  engage   in                                                               
conversations involving law enforcement sensitive information.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked whether she  thinks it would be helpful for                                                               
a  commissioner to  be  able  to coordinate  in  the  event of  a                                                               
terrorist  attack  or  another emergency  response  situation  in                                                               
which one  would need  a secret security  clearance to  engage in                                                               
those conversations.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   PRICE  responded   that   since   the  prior   two                                                               
commissioners  did  not  have active  security  clearance  -  Top                                                               
Secret (TS) or otherwise - her answer is no.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked Commissioner Price  if she has  a security                                                               
clearance with the FBI.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered that  she does  not have  a TS  or a                                                               
Sensitive Compartmented  Information (SCI) clearance.   She added                                                               
that she would not have it  even if she applied, because it takes                                                               
months to obtain.  In  response to Co-chair Fields, she confirmed                                                               
that she did  not apply for a TS/SCI clearance  because it is not                                                               
a necessary component for the position of commissioner of DPS.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS stated  that members of the  media have submitted                                                               
Alaska Public Records Act (APRA)  requests related to allegations                                                               
of  plagiarism, absenteeism,  and misleading  testimony regarding                                                               
the reason for her departure  from the Walker administration.  He                                                               
asked whether  she knew why  the administration has  not complied                                                               
with the requirements of APRA.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  responded that  she  was  not aware  of  the                                                               
request.   She  stated  that she  would be  happy  to answer  any                                                               
questions that the committee has.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked the commissioner  if she was aware that the                                                               
governor's staff  had corresponded  with at  least one  member of                                                               
the media  and repeatedly stonewalled  an APRA request  made over                                                               
two months ago.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied that she  was aware of an APRA request                                                               
but not of the  list of allegations.  She was  aware of a request                                                               
related  to plagiarism  but was  not party  to any  conversations                                                               
with the governor's staff about the release of information.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:58:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked how many  VPSOs there were and how many                                                               
live in the villages in which they work.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied 43 and  said that the majority live in                                                               
villages and/or  village hubs.   She mentioned that  Fairbanks is                                                               
the only  urban area with  VPSOs and VPSO coordinators,  and they                                                               
serve the surrounding area.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked  her to comment on  VPSO applicants who                                                               
have  misdemeanor  convictions  and  her  ability  to  waive  the                                                               
background  check  for  them.    He  asked  whether  waiving  the                                                               
background check has been an issue with hiring VPSOs.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE answered  that  through  the grant  agreement                                                               
with the  grantees, when  there is a  denial for  CJIS clearance,                                                               
the  VPSO   director  will  request  a   waiver,  barring  felony                                                               
convictions  and several  other violation  categories.   She said                                                               
that at the request of the  grantee and if the grantee feels that                                                               
there  were extenuating  circumstances, she  can choose  to waive                                                               
the CJIS clearance decline.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked her to  comment on any  policy changes                                                               
recently making VPSO applicants ineligible.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  explained that there was  a significant shift                                                               
in 2015,  when there were conversations  about potentially arming                                                               
VPSOs and doing so became a  statutory opportunity.  At that time                                                               
DPS  made the  decision to  require VPSOs  undergo the  stringent                                                               
background  check  that  troopers  undergo and  attend  the  full                                                               
academy training in Sitka.  She expressed her understanding that                                                                
these two  requirements were very  prohibitive in the  ability to                                                               
recruit and retain individuals for  the VPSO program, because the                                                               
individuals were [then]  well qualified to work  for other police                                                               
departments.  They  would attend the full ALET  academy, serve as                                                               
VPSOs, and  receive VPSO certification, which  made them eligible                                                               
to  transfer  to  a  police  department.   She  stated  that  the                                                               
grantees  indicated to  her that  adding an  expansive background                                                               
check and full ALET training was prohibitive.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked her for her opinion on the issue.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE opined that VPSOs  don't have a need to attend                                                               
the full  ALET academy training;  therefore, DPS is  reducing the                                                               
requirement to  only include the  statutorily mandated  240 hours                                                               
of training - or 6 weeks in the  academy.  She stated that DPS is                                                               
not creating a new academy  but re-aligning the curricula so that                                                               
the first 6 weeks provide the VPSOs with all that they need.                                                                    
She offered  that the fall academy  will be the first  one to try                                                               
this out.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   PRICE   continued   by  saying   that   with   the                                                               
introduction of the  grant agreement for FY 20,  DPS is returning                                                               
to the  grantees the background  check authority.  She  said that                                                               
AST and  DPS will no  longer be completing the  background checks                                                               
unless  the grantee  requests it.   The  grantees asked  for this                                                               
authority;  they are  still bound  by  statutes and  regulations;                                                               
however, they have indicated that this  will help them be able to                                                               
recruit.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:04:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked whether any issues  were identified in                                                               
her own background check.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE replied,  no.   She underwent  a fingerprint-                                                               
based  background check  at  the state  level,  completed by  the                                                               
Western Identification  Network (WIN),  which was automated  by a                                                               
metric identification system.   She also was  checked through the                                                               
FBI's  Next Generation  Identification (NGI)  system; the  report                                                               
from  that  system grants  clearance  based  on criminal  justice                                                               
repository  information submitted  by  criminal justice  agencies                                                               
and all information  housed by the FBI.  After  these checks, she                                                               
was  granted full  and unrestricted  access to  all DPS  criminal                                                               
justice systems.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  what  the number  one  issue was  for                                                               
officer retention  as revealed by  the retention work group.   He                                                               
mentioned  that  legislators  have   heard  a  great  deal  about                                                               
officers being trained at no  small expense to the state, working                                                               
five years,  then leaving.   He  asked for  her comments  on that                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   responded  that   when  she   directed  the                                                               
workgroup to  complete the task,  she asked them  specifically to                                                               
exclude salary or  benefits in the conversations.   She explained                                                               
that   the  reason   she  did   that  was   because  she   wanted                                                               
recommendations for which she  could affect change, acknowledging                                                               
that salary and benefits were  not under her authority to change.                                                               
She stated  that there was not  one recommendation at the  top of                                                               
the  list  of  recommendations; however,  the  consistent  thread                                                               
running through  the report  was the sense  of not  being valued,                                                               
poor   communication   by    leadership,   inadequate   training,                                                               
inadequate  tools and  equipment, and  command not  understanding                                                               
everyday  work.   She  said,  "It  was  sort of  an  overwhelming                                                               
'nobody  cares.'"   She  maintained that  fixing  this issue  was                                                               
easy:     mandating  her  command   staff  to  do   post  visits;                                                               
designating command visits as  mission critical, thereby, lifting                                                               
the travel  restrictions; employing officer wellness  in terms of                                                               
psychological and mental health; and  attending to secondary - or                                                               
vicarious - trauma.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:07:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked whether  "salary and benefits"  is the                                                               
most  important issue,  even though  it isn't  something she  can                                                               
affect directly.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  answered  that  the decisions  made  by  the                                                               
legislature to  increase pay  7.5 percent  and an  additional 7.5                                                               
percent pending  approval during the  current session has  made a                                                               
difference in encouraging troopers to  stay.  She stated that the                                                               
results  of the  Commissioned Employee  Engagement Survey  (CEES)                                                               
indicated  that  pay  and/or benefits  would  neither  cause  the                                                               
respondent to  stay in the  job nor  cause them to  leave his/her                                                               
job.  She  stated that salary and benefits is  an important prong                                                               
in the  ability to  recruit and retain  officers; however,  it is                                                               
not the  only prong.  She  maintained that it doesn't  matter how                                                               
much you pay employees or what  their benefits look like; if they                                                               
are  miserable and  they are  not  valued, they  are unlikely  to                                                               
stay.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:09:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked Commissioner Price  if she has  current or                                                               
recent personal financial issues.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE answered  that she had a  foreclosure a little                                                               
over  one year  ago.   As a  result of  her husband  being in  an                                                               
accident  and being  relieved from  duty as  an Anchorage  police                                                               
officer,   her  family   experienced   a  significant   financial                                                               
challenge.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked whether she understands  why a significant                                                               
financial problem could be a disqualifier for police officers.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied that she  understands that it could be                                                               
a disqualifier  potentially for TS/SCI clearance;  however, it is                                                               
not a  prohibitive factor for  receiving those clearances;  it is                                                               
one factor that is considered.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  whether she  believes that  she could  be                                                               
hired and certified  as a trooper, and whether  she has undergone                                                               
a trooper background check.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE responded  that she does not know  if there is                                                               
a difference between her background  check and one for a trooper.                                                               
She offered that  she has not been polygraphed,  and troopers are                                                               
polygraphed.   She suspects that  troopers are subject  to checks                                                               
that she has not undergone.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked  for confirmation that she  has not applied                                                               
for a TS/SCI clearance.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  answered, "Just  like  all  of my  troopers,                                                               
correct, I have not."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:11:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS stated that  making the VPSO program more                                                               
functional has  been a  subject of interest  for everyone  in the                                                               
legislative  and   executive  branches.    He   stated  that  his                                                               
observation is that  a great deal of attention  has been directed                                                               
toward the relationship  between DPS and the grantees.   He asked                                                               
how many times Commissioner Price  has met with the leadership of                                                               
the non-profit grantees during her tenure as commissioner.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE reiterated that she  has met with large groups                                                               
of grantee  representatives - five  or six  at a time  - multiple                                                               
times.   She has  participated in  the AFN  legislative quarterly                                                               
meeting.  She committed to  Will Mayo [Executive Director, Tribal                                                               
Government  and Client  Services] that  she would  participate in                                                               
any events  upon request and has  done so.  She  relayed that she                                                               
plans  to  attend the  next  meeting  between  DPS and  the  VPSO                                                               
commander and his staff of  coordinators; she will be introducing                                                               
the  changes  to  the  grant agreement  recommended  by  DPS  and                                                               
solicit feedback.  She acknowledged  that she has not met one-on-                                                               
one  with every  grant administrator  or non-profit  grantee CEO;                                                               
she has met with them in group settings with their lobbyist.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked her  to describe  the relationship                                                               
between  DPS  and  the  regional  non-profit  grantees  from  her                                                               
perspective.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   explained  that  it  is   a  very  troubled                                                               
relationship; it is not troubled  because of who the commissioner                                                               
is or  because of who sits  in the legislature.   There have been                                                               
multiple attempts  by DPS commissioners and  the legislature over                                                               
the past 20 years to  address challenges within the VPSO program.                                                               
She said that  the fact that she is a  direct speaker has created                                                               
a new dynamic  of discomfort; her hope is that  when she explains                                                               
the   recommended  changes   with   the   grantees,  her   direct                                                               
communication style and clear desire  to improve the program will                                                               
mitigate that stress.  She pointed  out that she has a supportive                                                               
administration; [former]  Commissioner [Walt] Monegan  tried very                                                               
diligently  to   restructure  the  VPSO  program;   however,  the                                                               
administration did  not support  moving in  that direction.   She                                                               
reiterated  that  it   is  a  challenged  program;   she  is  not                                                               
responsible  for the  challenges;  and the  legislative body  and                                                               
different  commissioners have  requested audits.   She  expressed                                                               
her desire  to address  the challenges  and figure  out a  way to                                                               
mitigate and  minimize them -  not necessarily to  strengthen the                                                               
program but to  ensure that the state is responding  to its rural                                                               
communities in the most responsible way possible.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:16:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked for the commissioner  to relay the                                                               
changes to the VPSO program.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE reviewed the changes  as follows:  1) reducing                                                               
training time  from the full  ALET [16-week] training to  6 weeks                                                               
by  realigning   the  curricula;   VPSOs  can   attend,  generate                                                               
relationships  with  other   trainees,  receive  the  statutorily                                                               
required  240  hours,  then  return   to  their  communities;  2)                                                               
returning  the authority  for  completing  background checks  for                                                               
hire   to  the   grantees;   and  3)   returning   some  of   the                                                               
responsibility,  authority, and  determination to  make decisions                                                               
about allocation of funds to  the grantees, but still maintaining                                                               
state oversight.  She added  that these changes will be presented                                                               
as recommendations, and  DPS will discuss them  with the grantees                                                               
collaboratively.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  reiterated that there  would be a  meeting in                                                               
late April  [2019], at which  DPS will  be meeting with  the non-                                                               
profit grantee  staff, VPSO coordinators,  and AST  program staff                                                               
to  collaborate on  the FY  20 grant  agreements.   She confirmed                                                               
that  the  meeting will  be  the  first  with all  the  mentioned                                                               
participants since she became commissioner.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:19:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked Commissioner  Price about the scope of                                                               
her authority, specifically as a  civilian taking the position of                                                               
the commissioner and assuming the duties of an officer.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   answered  that   statutorily  she   is  now                                                               
identified  as  a  commissioned officer;  however,  she  has  not                                                               
assumed  the duties  of an  officer, since  she has  not received                                                               
officer training.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  the commissioner  whether she  could                                                               
waive a misdemeanor upon grantee request.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   PRICE   responded   that  she   cannot   waive   a                                                               
misdemeanor, as  that is a  criminal justice system matter.   She                                                               
can  waive  the  decline  that  DPS  has  placed  on  hiring  the                                                               
individual [with a misdemeanor].                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked if her understanding  is correct that                                                               
Commissioner Price is statutorily a law enforcement officer.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  responded  that  she has  not  attended  the                                                               
academy  training  to   be  an  AST,  because   the  position  of                                                               
commissioner is  a civilian administration  position.   She added                                                               
that DPS  is much more than  just AST.  She  listed the divisions                                                               
of DPS.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VANCE   asked    for   confirmation   that   the                                                               
Commissioner's  experience is  in  domestic  violence and  sexual                                                               
assault advocacy.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  replied that  she has more  than 20  years of                                                               
experience  in   managing  a  variety  of   organizations,  which                                                               
included   fiscal   responsibility,  operational   administrative                                                               
strategic  development,  personnel  development and  growth,  and                                                               
anything to  do with securing successful  resources and directing                                                               
day-to-day operations.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked for the  number of officers  that the                                                               
state needs.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE replied  that the  number is  unknown because                                                               
the state has never adequately  reviewed, researched, or provided                                                               
data  on how  many  officers  Alaska should  have  to provide  an                                                               
adequate law  enforcement presence.   She relayed that  there are                                                               
40  authorized vacant  position control  numbers (PCNs);  DPS has                                                               
filled 18 of  those positions with the academy  that is currently                                                               
in  session; and  the remaining  20 will  be filled  by the  fall                                                               
academy.   She stated  that after  all the  PCNs are  filled, she                                                               
will  seek  supplemental  funding to  hire  additional  troopers;                                                               
having all the authorized PCNs filled  does not mean that DPS has                                                               
adequate staffing.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:23:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE expressed  her appreciation  for the  ideas                                                               
and  changes   that  the  commissioner  is   implementing.    She                                                               
maintained that it is the job  of legislators to determine if the                                                               
commissioner is  qualified to  fulfill that  role and  respond to                                                               
anything that might occur in  the future.  She asked Commissioner                                                               
Price to tell  the committee how she is qualified,  given she has                                                               
no law enforcement training or direct experience.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   PRICE  maintained   that   she  is   exceptionally                                                               
qualified for  the position of commissioner,  and law enforcement                                                               
is not  required.  She stated  that DPS has hundreds  of years of                                                               
law   enforcement  experience   collectively   through  the   law                                                               
enforcement personnel  who make up  about half of  DPS employees.                                                               
She  explained that  DPS needs  a leader  who understands  how to                                                               
grow  the  department into  an  effective  highly performing  law                                                               
enforcement and  prevention component for  the state in  order to                                                               
address  crime.   It  needs someone  who  understands budget  and                                                               
finances  and  can  ensure  that  appropriated  funds  are  being                                                               
adequately utilized to  carry out the mission.   She relayed that                                                               
she has a very strong recruitment  unit under the direction of an                                                               
excellent lieutenant  and sergeant who  report to a  talented 30-                                                               
year colonel  with AST.  She  asserted that DPS has  adequate law                                                               
enforcement; what it  doesn't have are troopers who  can manage a                                                               
department; troopers make great  troopers but not great managers,                                                               
because it is not what they are trained to do.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked  whether,   as  the  leader  of  the                                                               
department,  she should  be held  to  the same  standards as  her                                                               
subordinates.  She clarified by  saying that Alaska public safety                                                               
officers have  a strict  set of guidelines  for conduct  that the                                                               
public and  the academy expect them  to follow; she asked  if the                                                               
commissioner was projecting those  expectations in her management                                                               
and recruitment process.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered, no,  she does  not need  to qualify                                                               
with a  firearm like a  trooper or climb a  rope or over  a fence                                                               
like a  trooper must be able  to do at the  academy; commissioner                                                               
is  a civilian  position.   She emphasized  that, of  course, she                                                               
needs to  reflect the  standards that DPS  has for  all employees                                                               
and those which all state employees should reflect.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked the  commissioner to relate  the code                                                               
by which the troopers live.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  answered  that  on  the  badge  is  loyalty,                                                               
integrity, courage.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:26:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked for  the average length  of stay  of a                                                               
state trooper.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE answered  that  DPS has  a tremendously  high                                                               
number of senior  staff who have served 20-plus years.   She said                                                               
that  this is  concerning  for  the state  because  they will  be                                                               
eligible for retirement  within a few years.   She mentioned mid-                                                               
range employees  who have served  between 10-20 years.   She said                                                               
that she didn't  know the average tenure; however,  DPS is losing                                                               
those with  0-10 years from the  department at a much  more rapid                                                               
pace.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  referred  to her  testimony  regarding  the                                                               
survey in  which only  20 percent listed  salary and  benefits as                                                               
the  top concern.   He  asked how  many of  the respondents  were                                                               
under [Public  Employees' Retirement  System (PERS)] Tier  IV and                                                               
how  many have  been  around for  10-20 years.    He offered  his                                                               
understanding that there are many  experienced employees about to                                                               
retire, and employees  just coming in are not  staying very long.                                                               
He asked whether the survey  separated the Tier IV responses from                                                               
Tiers I, II, and III.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  acknowledged that being a  challenge with the                                                               
survey; someone  under Tier II  with 20 years might  not consider                                                               
benefits  as  impactful.    She   maintained  that  she  supports                                                               
troopers  and, anecdotally,  AST  and all  Alaska peace  officers                                                               
indicate that  a return to  defined benefits would  be beneficial                                                               
to them.   She  said that  she has yet  to see  an analysis  of a                                                               
return to defined  benefits that meets the needs  of troopers and                                                               
the needs of the state in this fiscally challenged time.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL relayed  that legislators  have heard  about                                                               
the  [retirement  benefits] issue  in  the  context of  troopers,                                                               
firefighters, and  many other  state employees.   He said  he was                                                               
surprised to hear  one commissioner mention that it  was an issue                                                               
for his/her  department.  He asked  how many of the  troopers who                                                               
entered  the academy  in  the last  ten years  [have  left].   He                                                               
suggested that if  that number is high, and they  are all Tier IV                                                               
hires, then  that may identify the  problem.  He stated  that he,                                                               
too, is  concerned about the  finances of the state;  however, if                                                               
it costs  $200,000 to train  a trooper  and five years  later the                                                               
trooper leaves and  the state must pay another  $200,000 to train                                                               
another trooper, then fiscally it might be worth the investment.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE   answered  that  she  does   not  have  that                                                               
information;  however,  DPS has  done  an  analysis and  she  can                                                               
provide the data.   She stated that the common  goal is a strong,                                                               
healthy, well-supported law enforcement force for the state.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  maintained  that  although  management  and                                                               
"rank-and-file"  do not  always agree,  everyone should  agree on                                                               
this  issue, in  order  to  fulfill the  goals  of retention  and                                                               
keeping employees happy and wanting to stay.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:31:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  referred to  Commissioner Price's  resume, which                                                               
states  as follows:   "Proven  leadership success  both statewide                                                               
and nationally in  non-profit management ...."  and  asked her to                                                               
describe her experience in national non-profit management.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  answered that  she managed  multiple national                                                               
non-profit  organizations.   She highlighted  one -  the American                                                               
Heart Association  (AMA) -  for which  she received  the national                                                               
"newcomer  of  the  year"  award at  a  national  conference  for                                                               
improving  the  scope  of  services   provided  to  rural  Alaska                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  asked  whether  historically  DPS  has  carried                                                               
funded, unfilled positions on its balance sheet.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  responded  that her  understanding  is  that                                                               
every year  there has been approved  PCNs in the budget  that DPS                                                               
has not had the opportunity to fill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   FIELDS    asked   whether   she   agrees    with   the                                                               
characterization  that  the  funding for  77  unfilled  positions                                                               
constitutes a "slush fund."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied  that she finds the  term "slush fund"                                                               
wildly offensive - both to the  legislative body and to DPS.  She                                                               
stated that to her, slush fund  means misuse of funds, and she is                                                               
certain that  such a fund  would be detected by  the legislature.                                                               
The funds from the unfilled PCN  positions are being used to fund                                                               
necessary  and  critical personal  services  for  overtime.   She                                                               
maintained  that DPS  could  do  a better  job  of providing  the                                                               
legislature  information  about where  and  how  funds are  being                                                               
spent.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS stated  that  it is  his  understanding that  it                                                               
takes up to  eight months to perform new  hire background checks.                                                               
He  asked  whether she  thought  it  would  be difficult  to  ask                                                               
someone to  stay unemployed  for half a  year while  he/she waits                                                               
for a possible job.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE agreed  and answered that it  is difficult for                                                               
AST and AWT as well.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked for the  number of VPSO  applications with                                                               
pending background checks.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE replied, "It's four."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  expressed his understanding  that the  number is                                                               
several times that number.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE answered,  "I can  definitively say  it's not                                                               
several time more than that."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS mentioned  that the  commissioner has  stated on                                                               
record that the  VPSO program is not following  statute and asked                                                               
her  if  she   is  aware  of  the   legislative  intent  language                                                               
supporting  more  flexibility  for  funds  in  order  to  address                                                               
unfunded mandates, recruitment, and retention.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE answered, "Yes, I was."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  the commissioner  to  comment on  special                                                               
projects  that   were  denied  by   the  department   related  to                                                               
recruitment  and  retention  of  VPSOs and  how  those  decisions                                                               
aligned with the legislative intent language.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  replied  that since  Governor  Dunleavy  has                                                               
taken  office, there  have been  zero  declined special  projects                                                               
related to the VPSO program.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  asked whether  she  know  how long  the  intent                                                               
language has been in place for grantees to use these funds.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE expressed her  belief that the intent language                                                               
was put  forth by  the legislature  during the  [Thirtieth Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  2017-2018]; the  VPSO commander  made changes                                                               
in the way funding was  allocated and forward funded the grantees                                                               
at the beginning of the grant cycle in FY 19.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:35:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  referred to  her testimony  that someone                                                               
in the department had characterized  her as the best commissioner                                                               
he had  seen.  He  asked her  to relate the  accomplishments that                                                               
have occurred through  her leadership in her four  to five months                                                               
in the position to warrant the characterization.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   PRICE   responded   that    she   is   sure   that                                                               
Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins could  find a  trooper who  called                                                               
her the worst commissioner also.   She offered a few non-tangible                                                               
accomplishments:   telling the recruitment  unit that they  are a                                                               
priority and  whatever they need  they will get;  calling command                                                               
staff  into the  office  to tell  them that  they  don't need  to                                                               
concern themselves with  the budget, as it is her  job.  She said                                                               
that historically they have been  trying to manage the budget; it                                                               
is not their job;  and she wants them [free] to  do their jobs of                                                               
operating    their   divisions.       She    mentioned   specific                                                               
accomplishments:   She commissioned a  staffing assessment  for C                                                               
Detachment  in Western  Alaska and  a staffing  assessment for  B                                                               
Detachment in  the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough.   Staffing                                                               
assessments  provide DPS  with a  clear picture  of the  staffing                                                               
levels appropriate  for a borough  based on its challenges.   She                                                               
stated that the assessments have  not been utilized and expressed                                                               
her belief  that the data  needs to  be reviewed to  inform where                                                               
DPS places troopers and to grow  the force.  She relayed that she                                                               
now  has  commissioned a  C  detachment  staffing assessment  for                                                               
Western Alaska,  which she said  is going to look  much different                                                               
than the previous  one because Western Alaska  struggles with the                                                               
highest rates  of sexual violence  in the  state.  The  number of                                                               
troopers  and  suggested training  hours  will  be different  and                                                               
adding in  allocated trooper time  will also change  the staffing                                                               
assessment.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS   asked   whether   in   summary,   the                                                               
commissioner would say that the  primary outcome of change in the                                                               
department in the  past four to five months has  been a "cultural                                                               
shift."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE responded,  "I serve  the men  and women  who                                                               
serve this department, and we  all serve the citizens of Alaska."                                                               
She expressed her  belief that it is that attitude  that has been                                                               
the primary pivot for change.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:39:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE expressed  a need  to address  some of  the                                                               
concerns that the  public has brought forward.   She offered that                                                               
the many rumors that have  been passed around should be addressed                                                               
head-on.    She   asked  the  commissioner  to   comment  on  her                                                               
involvement with  the Dunleavy  [gubernatorial] campaign  and her                                                               
transfer  to   the  [Edie]  Grunwald  campaign   [for  lieutenant                                                               
governor].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  answered  that  she was  a  deputy  campaign                                                               
manager for the Dunleavy campaign.   She left that campaign twice                                                               
-  once when  her father  passed away  - and  the second  time in                                                               
March or April [of 2018] when  she felt she was not contributing;                                                               
however, she was  clear when she left that she  continued to be a                                                               
Dunleavy  supporter.   She  relayed  that  her dear  friend  Edie                                                               
Grunwald was  running for lieutenant governor  and requested that                                                               
Commissioner Price provide support, which she did.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE   mentioned  that   the  use   of  Dunleavy                                                               
photographs   (photos)  in   the  Grunwald   campaign  gave   the                                                               
appearance that  he endorsed her  candidacy, when in fact  he had                                                               
not.  She asked the commissioner to comment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  responded that she could  not comment because                                                               
she  had  never  heard  the  rumor,  seen  the  photos,  or  seen                                                               
correspondence  from  candidate  Dunleavy to  candidate  Grunwald                                                               
about it.  She  said that it was the first time  she heard of the                                                               
accusation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  offered that the  reason for her  exit from                                                               
the Walker administration  - coming to an agreement  that it just                                                               
wasn't working  - sounds similar in  nature to her exit  from the                                                               
Dunleavy  campaign.   She  suggested that  the  commitment to  be                                                               
present and involved with whatever  administration with which she                                                               
is  working is  in question.   She  asked for  a comment  on that                                                               
point.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE asked  who was  questioning -  Representative                                                               
Vance or  a broader  scope.   She stated that  serving in  an at-                                                               
will,  appointed position  for an  administration has  a specific                                                               
set of challenges.  As an  administration moves forward it is not                                                               
unusual for that  administration to experience a  change in high-                                                               
level officials,  including the chief  of staff, deputy  chief of                                                               
staff,  herself, and  multiple  other members  who left  Governor                                                               
Walker's  administration during  the  time frame  that she  left.                                                               
She said  that it  does not  make sense  to continue  working for                                                               
someone,  with whom  you  believed you  could  affect change,  as                                                               
priorities change.  She stated that  she is not a politician; her                                                               
specific passion  is public safety  and improving  the conditions                                                               
of vulnerable populations;  and she didn't feel that  she had the                                                               
opportunity to  continue that  work under  Governor Walker.   She                                                               
emphasized that they had different  priorities; and she considers                                                               
him a kind and wonderful man.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE offered that  regarding Governor Dunleavy, the                                                               
fact  that  he appointed  her  as  commissioner designee  of  DPS                                                               
reflects   that  they   maintained   a   strong  and   supportive                                                               
relationship  during the  transition,  and he  was supportive  of                                                               
that  transition.   She said  that she  tends to  be conservative                                                               
when speaking about these types  of decisions that have been made                                                               
because she doesn't  see the benefit in  saying anything negative                                                               
about prior employers.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:44:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  mentioned  that  questions  have  surfaced                                                               
about travel duties under the Walker administration.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  replied that  some  of  her duties  included                                                               
travel through rural  Alaska as needed; for  example, [to Bethel]                                                               
at the governor's request to  address the situation she mentioned                                                               
previously regarding  YKHC.  She attended  many community council                                                               
meetings on  the governor's behalf;  she traveled  to Washington,                                                               
D.C.   to   provide   support   for   his   senior   advisor   on                                                               
intergovernmental  affairs,  who was  to  testify  at the  [U.S.]                                                               
Senate  Committee on  Indian Affairs;  she attended  the National                                                               
Criminal  Justice Association  (NCJA)  conference.   She  offered                                                               
that she did  not do much out-of-state travel,  because of travel                                                               
restrictions; her  travel was mainly  in-state travel  to Western                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VANCE   asked   the   commissioner   about   the                                                               
expectations  for   her  to  attend   all  the  workshops   at  a                                                               
conference.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PRICE  replied that  it depended on  the conference:                                                               
at some conferences  she was a presenter; some  conferences had a                                                               
variety   of  tracks   for  selection.      She  selected   those                                                               
presentations that  were most  relevant to  her work  and briefed                                                               
the chief of staff, governor, or deputy chief of staff.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  stated  that  her  intent  in  asking  the                                                               
questions  was  to give  her  the  opportunity  to speak  to  her                                                               
integrity and to the propaganda that has been put forth.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE stated  that  she has  had  a tremendous  and                                                               
humbling amount of support for  her confirmation as commissioner.                                                               
She relayed  that the  supporters include  a multitude  of active                                                               
and retired law enforcement professionals  who have known her for                                                               
a   decade,  and   not  people   who  participate   in  innuendo,                                                               
accusations, and  rumors.  They  include Governor  Walker's chief                                                               
of staff and deputy chief  of staff, forensic child interviewers,                                                               
the president  of the  Alaska Chapter  of Child  Advocacy Centers                                                               
(CACs), the former executive director  of VFJ, the former colonel                                                               
of  AST, the  PSEA,  and her  current staff.    She reminded  the                                                               
committee that DPS staff is not  a group who is given to offering                                                               
endorsements.   She  stated  that  she is  not  surprised by  the                                                               
accusations and  inuendo; none to  date have been  validated; the                                                               
mainstream media has not offered  such comments.  She said, "It's                                                               
certainly ... feels like it's in this bubble here of Juneau."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:49:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  mentioned that he would  like the administration                                                               
to forward on  to the committee the APRA response  to one or more                                                               
members of the media that  has been submitted regarding her prior                                                               
work issues.   He referred  to her testimony regarding  the chief                                                               
of  staff's support  for her  confirmation.   He  stated that  in                                                               
order to avoid breaching confidentiality  of personnel matters he                                                               
forwarded  the  request  [letter  dated 4/3/19  included  in  the                                                               
committee  packet]  from  the  former   chief  of  staff,  [Scott                                                               
Kendall,  under the  Governor  Bill  Walker administration,  from                                                               
December 2016  to December 2018]  that she voluntarily  waive her                                                               
personnel  privacy to  the  extent  that her  job  may have  been                                                               
covered by  the Alaska State  Personnel Act (ASPA [AS  39.25] and                                                               
the Alaska  Executive Branch  Ethics Act [AS  39.52]; he  has not                                                               
received  a response.   He  asked whether  she would  voluntarily                                                               
waive any  privacy obligations under  the Alaska  State Personnel                                                               
Act to  testify and hear  testimony from  previous administration                                                               
officials in this hearing or in subsequent public hearings.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PRICE  answered  that  she does  not  believe  that                                                               
accepting an  appointment to a position  within an administration                                                               
requires her to waive any  rights or protections that any citizen                                                               
is   afforded.      She  relayed   that   the   individual   that                                                               
Representative Fields  referenced has the full  authority to call                                                               
in on  his own behalf  and engage  in the public  and transparent                                                               
process if he wishes; he does not need her waiver.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:51:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  opened  public testimony  on  the  confirmation                                                               
hearing on the commissioner of DPS.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:51:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOEL JACKSON, Organized Village of  Kake, testified that he was a                                                               
former Village  Police Officer.   He offered his support  for the                                                               
VPSO program and  relayed concerns with Alaska's 911  system.  He                                                               
also  mentioned  the limitations  with  the  VPSO program  as  it                                                               
currently is and the delay in  AST response to an incident in the                                                               
village.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:57:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRIS  PITTS  testified  that  she  was  a  longtime  resident  of                                                               
Anchorage and  has known  Commissioner Price for  a decade.   She                                                               
stated  that  she  worked  in the  professional  world  with  the                                                               
commissioner providing  education to  statewide multidisciplinary                                                               
personnel, including  public safety professionals,  and providing                                                               
advocacy for sexual assault victims.   She described Commissioner                                                               
Price  as a  community leader,  proponent for  the entire  public                                                               
safety  community,  and  an  advocate  for  all  Alaskans.    She                                                               
referenced the high  rate of crime and sexual  assault in Alaska.                                                               
She relayed  that Commissioner Price's practical  and operational                                                               
experience  and dedication  will  bring about  much needed  long-                                                               
lasting  and   positive  change   that  Alaska's   public  safety                                                               
professionals deserve.   She  maintained that  Commissioner Price                                                               
will provide confident,  informed, and forward-thinking oversight                                                               
and policy direction.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:00:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBYN  LANGLIE  testified  that   she  worked  closely  with  the                                                               
commissioner as  an employee of  VFJ.  She maintained  that under                                                               
the   commissioner's   leadership,   STAR   grew,   made   better                                                               
connections  with law  enforcement, and  expanded services.   She                                                               
said that  when she, Ms.  Langlie, became the  executive director                                                               
of VFJ,  Commissioner Price  was working  for Governor  Walker on                                                               
crime   and  policy;   the   commissioner   was  respectful   and                                                               
professional;  Commissioner Price  tried  to  have Ms.  Langlie's                                                               
concerns about Senate Bill 91 heard by the governor.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LANGLIE described  the commissioner  as someone  who is  not                                                               
afraid  of conflict  or to  tackle controversial  or broad  scale                                                               
issues.  She  said that she is impressed  with the commissioner's                                                               
leadership skills and thinks that  having someone in the position                                                               
of commissioner,  who is not  a law enforcement  professional who                                                               
has come  up through  the ranks, is  refreshing.   She maintained                                                               
that Commissioner Price has more of the victim's perspective.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:03:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENT  JOHNSON,  Public   Safety  Employees  Association  (PSEA),                                                               
testified  that  he  is impressed  with  her  motivation,  drive,                                                               
abilities, and ideas in forward thinking.   He stated that he has                                                               
been involved with  public safety for almost 20  years; change is                                                               
very  difficult  for people  in  law  enforcement; however,  with                                                               
Commissioner Price  there is an opportunity  for positive change.                                                               
He  mentioned that  he was  appointed to  her employee  retention                                                               
work group; many  of his suggestions were put forward  and are in                                                               
the list  of recommendations.   He emphasized the speed  at which                                                               
Commissioner Price  organized the  group; the group  put together                                                               
the   recommendations  in   less   than  two   months;  and   the                                                               
recommendations are  already being implemented out  in the field.                                                               
He relayed that this effort  immediately caused a boost in morale                                                               
among DPS officers.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON offered  that Alaska  leads the  nation in  domestic                                                               
violence, sexual assault, and violence  against women.  He stated                                                               
that having someone  from the advocacy side of those  issues is a                                                               
great  opportunity  for  officers   to  learn,  see  a  different                                                               
perceptive, and  take a  different path.   He mentioned  that his                                                               
organization is  enthusiastic about having a  commissioner who is                                                               
not  from the  law  enforcement  field.   He  expressed a  common                                                               
belief  among officers  - that  Alaska's  DPS is  about 20  years                                                               
behind other such departments in  the country in policy, tactics,                                                               
and  equipment.   He  stated  that  in the  commissioner's  short                                                               
tenure, she  has addressed  all three areas,  and is  pushing the                                                               
department  forward rapidly  to catch  up  with the  rest of  the                                                               
nation.    He  maintained  that law  enforcement  throughout  the                                                               
country  uses  education and  research  to  drive their  policing                                                               
practices;  these tools  are  being utilized  in  Alaska for  the                                                               
first  time by  Commissioner  Price.   He  said,  "And  we as  an                                                               
organization  and  as  members  of  this  department  are  highly                                                               
excited for that opportunity to  join the twenty-first century of                                                               
law enforcement."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:07:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK   SPRINGER,  Chairman,   Marijuana   Control  Board   (MCB),                                                               
explained  that MCB  is charged  with protecting  the health  and                                                               
safety of  Alaskans through AS 17.38  and [3] AAC 306.  He stated                                                               
that  the board  has  encountered issues,  of which  Commissioner                                                               
Price is aware.  The  commissioner has the authority to authorize                                                               
what is needed  by the Alcohol & Marijuana  Control Office (AMCO)                                                               
investigators   to  perform   their  jobs.     There   are  seven                                                               
investigators - in Fairbanks, Anchorage,  and Juneau - to enforce                                                               
marijuana statutes and regulations.   The investigators are sworn                                                               
officers who, until  recently, have been considered  by the State                                                               
of Alaska  to be  peace officers.   They  all have  extensive law                                                               
enforcement and criminal investigation  experience; four are APSC                                                               
certified;  two have  out-of-state law  enforcement certification                                                               
with Alaska recertification;  and one is a  certified federal law                                                               
enforcement  officer.   He stated  that AMCO  inspectors are  not                                                               
boiler investigators.   Last year  AMCO received an audit  by FBI                                                               
on CJIS, which includes Alaska  Public Safety Information Network                                                               
(APSIN), National  Crime Information Center (NCIC),  and Atlantic                                                               
Research  Marketing   Systems  (A,R.M.S.),  and   passed  without                                                               
issues.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SPRINGER relayed  that on  12/1/18, AMCO  had its  access to                                                               
APSIN and A.R.M.S. cut off by  DPS.  The commissioner is aware of                                                               
this issue  and has not  taken any action to  reverse it.   It is                                                               
problematic for  the investigators  to do  their jobs  and raises                                                               
officer safety issues.  He  stated that all the investigators are                                                               
special  commissioned  officers at  the  request  of the  Alcohol                                                               
Beverage  Control   (ABC)  Board  and  MCO   under  statute;  the                                                               
commissions are  from DPS; three  of the  investigators requested                                                               
that their  commissions be renewed,  which has not happened.   He                                                               
mentioned  other  issues critical  to  [AMCO}  officer safety  as                                                               
follows:  officers across the state  are not permitted to use the                                                               
DPS  Alaska  Land  Mobile  Radio (ALMR)  System  talk  groups  to                                                               
communicate with  AST; officers  requested to  be allowed  to use                                                               
emergency   lights  on   their  vehicles,   which  DPS   has  not                                                               
authorized.  He  concluded by saying that  the AMCO investigators                                                               
do a  very important job for  the people of the  State of Alaska,                                                               
and the issues are worthy of the committee's attention.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:12:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  asked Mr.  Springer  if  he holds  the  law                                                               
enforcement seat on the board.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SPRINGER  responded  that  his seat  is  the  "rural  seat,"                                                               
however, he is the chairman of the board.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  asked  for the  reason  AMCO  investigators                                                               
would need  to be armed  or use emergency lights  when inspecting                                                               
alcohol and  marijuana businesses.   He said that in  his 25-plus                                                               
years  of experience  in such  a business,  he has  never had  an                                                               
incident in  which an investigator  needed to be armed  or arrive                                                               
with emergency lights.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SPRINGER answered  that  the emergency  lights  are not  the                                                               
light bars like on a  state-owned public safety response vehicle.                                                               
For an inspector who does a  "shoulder tap" at a liquor store and                                                               
a  bad situation  develops, he/she  might want  to use  emergency                                                               
lights; it  would not be  for a  routine license inspection.   He                                                               
stated that  the investigators are law  enforcement officers, and                                                               
these are common  law enforcement tools.  He  maintained that the                                                               
larger issue  is DPS not  considering the investigators  as peace                                                               
officers  and  commissioned  law enforcement  officers,  and  the                                                               
effect that has on officer safety.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:15:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARTHA MERRILL testified  that her husband, Andrew  Merrill, is a                                                               
17-year  AST,  currently a  captain  and  commander of  the  VPSO                                                               
program, and acting  commander of C detachment,  which is Western                                                               
Alaska.   Her husband has  described to  her the changes  at work                                                               
since Commissioner Price became commissioner:   when he speaks to                                                               
Commissioner  Price  he  feels  "his voice  is  heard";  she  has                                                               
committed  to being  responsible for  her own  decisions; she  is                                                               
attentive to  and overwhelmingly  supportive of the  VPSO program                                                               
and of  Mr. Merrill's goals  for the  program; and she  has taken                                                               
the  time to  listen to  Mr. Merrill  explain the  program.   She                                                               
offered that her husband has  said that Commissioner Price is not                                                               
superficial;  she is  thoughtful  and decisive.   She  maintained                                                               
that bringing  someone into the  position of commissioner  of DPS                                                               
without  direct "boots  on the  ground"  experience can  increase                                                               
morale in all the divisions.  She  said that she has not seen her                                                               
husband this excited about going  to work and attending meetings.                                                               
She asserted that Commissioner  Price routinely speaks eloquently                                                               
and respectfully in her professional life.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:20:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHAUN  KUZAKIN,  Public  Safety  Employee's  Association  (PSEA),                                                               
testified that  he has been an  AST for 19 years.   He reiterated                                                               
that  Commissioner Price,  immediately  upon  appointment by  the                                                               
governor, approached  PSEA and began  working to  improve morale.                                                               
She is approachable, intelligent,  does her homework, understands                                                               
DPS thoroughly, and is a good leader.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:22:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  closed  public testimony  on  the  confirmation                                                               
hearing  on  the  commissioner  of  DPS.    He  stated  that  the                                                               
nomination would be held over.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:23:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 5:23 p.m. to 5:25 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                     HB 115-ABSENTEE VOTING                                                                                 
                                                                                                                              
5:25:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 115, "An Act relating to  absentee voting; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:25:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CHRIS TUCK,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor  of HB  115, paraphrased  from the  sponsor statement  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill  115  would give  Alaskans  the  option  to                                                                    
     receive  absentee  ballots  by mail  for  future  state                                                                    
     elections.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Currently,  the   Permanent  Absentee  Voter   List  is                                                                    
     limited  to  Alaskans  that   reside  in  remote  areas                                                                    
     without  reasonable  access  to  an  in-person  polling                                                                    
     place,  disabled  voters who  ask  to  be designated  a                                                                    
     permanent  absentee voter,  and voters  whose permanent                                                                    
     residence  is  an  institution   serving  the  aged  or                                                                    
     persons with a disability.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill   115  would   preclude  the   Division  of                                                                    
     Elections  from  requiring  a   voter  who  chooses  to                                                                    
     receive an absentee ballot for  all future elections to                                                                    
     reapply  for an  absentee ballot  unless the  voter has                                                                    
     not  voted an  absentee  ballot for  a  period of  four                                                                    
     years  or  the  voter's previous  absentee  ballot  was                                                                    
     returned to the division as undeliverable.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Since  the 1960s,  absentee voting  has  been legal  in                                                                    
     most  states as  a way  for eligible  voters to  cast a                                                                    
     ballot  without   being  at  their   normal  designated                                                                    
     polling  place  on  Election Day.  The  federal  Voting                                                                    
     Rights Act  of 1970  included protections  for absentee                                                                    
     voters.  Currently, eight  states and  the District  of                                                                    
     Columbia allow permanent absentee voting.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill 115  would give voters the  option to always                                                                    
     receive an  absentee ballot without having  to fill out                                                                    
     an   application.  This   simple  change   to  Alaska's                                                                    
     absentee voting  system would  make absentee  voting in                                                                    
     Alaska more  convenient for those  who prefer  the ease                                                                    
     of casting a ballot through the mail.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Please  join me  in support  of House  Bill 115,  which                                                                    
     will strengthen our  representative democracy by making                                                                    
     it easier for Alaskans to cast a vote.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  referred  to  Hawaii's  voter  registration                                                               
application, which allows the applicant  to choose to always vote                                                               
by mail, unless  terminated by missing an election  or the ballot                                                               
is returned to Hawaii's Office of Elections.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:29:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  about the  mechanics of  voting under                                                               
the proposed legislation  - whether a voter's name would  be at a                                                               
polling  place if  they received  and  returned a  ballot to  the                                                               
Division  of Elections  (DOE)  by  mail.   He  asked whether  the                                                               
proposed legislation represents a precursor to "vote by mail."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK responded, "It can  be."  He added that under                                                               
HB 115,  voting by mail would  be an elective for  the individual                                                               
and not enforced  on everyone.  He mentioned that  he likes to go                                                               
to the polling  place to vote; however,  the proposed legislation                                                               
offers a convenience for voters.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked about the  process for applying for an                                                               
absentee ballot - by paper, online, or both.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAIL FENUMIAI,  Director, Division  of Elections  (DOE), answered                                                               
that currently DOE allows people  to vote absentee by applying by                                                               
mail, by facsimile (fax), or  through its on-line ballot delivery                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  referred to  the zero-fiscal note  (FN) and                                                               
asked whether  under HB 115,  there would be increased  costs for                                                               
automatically mailing out ballots for four years.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI replied that DOE  anticipates that under HB 115, the                                                               
increase would  be gradual.   It is  possible that the  number of                                                               
people  choosing to  vote by  mail would  become great  enough to                                                               
cause  DOE  to  reevaluate  and   possibly  request  a  budgetary                                                               
increase; however, at this time there is much uncertainty.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  for  the number  of absentee  voters                                                               
currently [participating] in statewide elections.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI  responded that  it fluctuates from  year to  year -                                                               
from a primary election to a general election.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked for a  general estimate to project the                                                               
fiscal impact.   She  pointed out that  when the  Municipality of                                                               
Anchorage implemented  its Vote By  Mail, the cost was  more than                                                               
$1 million - substantially more than in-person voting.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI  replied that  in the  2018 general  election, there                                                               
were  25,807 people  requesting a  ballot  by mail;  in the  2016                                                               
general  election,  there  were   31,499;  in  the  2014  general                                                               
elections,  there  were 31,282;  in  the  2012 general  election,                                                               
there  were 33,940;  in  the 2010  general  election, there  were                                                               
30,400; and the 2008 general election had 45,769.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:33:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked  for  clarification:   if  a  person                                                               
requested an absentee  ballot, it would automatically  be sent to                                                               
them for the next four years.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  responded  by saying  that  the  preference                                                               
would  be a  check box  for someone  to opt  to have  a permanent                                                               
absentee ballot.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  whether for  someone applying  for an                                                               
absentee ballot, his/her  name would be taken off  the voter list                                                               
in the  polling place or the  name on the mailed  ballot would be                                                               
cross-referenced against the names at the polling place.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI answered  that there are mechanisms  for marking the                                                               
precinct register, if  someone has voted already.   She expressed                                                               
her belief  that currently  DOE does not  have the  capability of                                                               
marking "requested  an absentee  by mail ballot."   She  said DOE                                                               
has checks and  balances in place to check  whether someone voted                                                               
a by-mail ballot  and at the polling place on  Election Day.  She                                                               
maintained that the  person's name would not be  removed from the                                                               
register;  the  register contains  every  eligible  voter in  the                                                               
precinct.    A person  requesting  a  by-mail ballot  may  change                                                               
his/her mind and go to a polling place instead.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  commented  that   she  highly  values  the                                                               
integrity  of  elections,  and   she  expressed  that  having  an                                                               
automatic  mail  out  for  four   years  by  checking  a  box  is                                                               
concerning.    She  offered  her belief  that  this  removes  the                                                               
accountability to make  a concerted effort to be  involved in the                                                               
voting process.   She suggested that having such a  check box for                                                               
receiving the  permanent fund  dividend (PFD)  for four  years is                                                               
abhorrent  to her,  because  she believes  that  the process  for                                                               
applying  for the  PFD should  be intentional  and should  ensure                                                               
residency and identification.   She offered that over-convenience                                                               
may encourage disengagement.  She  stated that she likes the idea                                                               
of reminding  people that it  is time  to vote; just  because the                                                               
ballot comes by mail does not  ensure engagement; and the cost of                                                               
printing and mailing is a concern to her.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK stated  that the intent of HB 115  is to make                                                               
voting  more   convenient;  because  of  that   convenience,  the                                                               
Anchorage    municipal    elections   received    much    greater                                                               
participation.   He added the  it provides convenience  to people                                                               
in  hospitals,   people  who  are  bed-ridden,   people  who  are                                                               
disabled, and people in rural Alaska,  who can only vote by mail.                                                               
He reiterated  the conditions under which  the permanent absentee                                                               
voting would be discontinued.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   agreed  to   invite  testimony   from  the                                                               
Municipality of  Anchorage Elections to provide  more information                                                               
on any election integrity issues as  a result of its Vote By Mail                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL,  in   response  to  Representative  Vance's                                                               
concern, commented that  one still must receive  the ballot, open                                                               
it up,  fill it out,  and mail  it back, therefore,  putting some                                                               
thought and time into voting.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  mentioned  that  the  mailed  ballot  is  quite                                                               
challenging.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS stated that HB 115 would be held over.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:41:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 5:41 p.m. to 5:42 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS passed the gavel to Co-Chair Kreiss-Tomkins.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
        HB 118-OFFENDER REENTRY PLANNING BY CORRECTIONS                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
5:42:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  announced  that   the  final  order  of                                                               
business would  be HOUSE BILL  NO. 118,  "An Act relating  to the                                                               
duties  of  the  commissioner  of corrections;  and  relating  to                                                               
planning for prisoner reentry."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:42:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS, as prime sponsor,  presented HB 118 with the use                                                               
of  a PowerPoint  presentation, entitled  "House Bill  118."   He                                                               
turned  to  slide  2, entitled  "Background,"  which  graphically                                                               
illustrates the  decline in Alaska  recidivism rates  by calendar                                                               
year [CY2011  - CY2015].   He reviewed  the bullet points  on the                                                               
slide, which read:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   • Reentry  provides   resources    for   citizens    to                                                                      
     successfully transition back in to our communities by                                                                      
     utilizing individualized case management, programming,                                                                     
     and support services                                                                                                       
   • Alaska has begun to see a steady decline in recidivism                                                                     
   • Reentry push began in 2010 and has spanned multiple                                                                        
     administrations                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS referred to slide 3, entitled "Offender                                                                         
Management Plans (OMPs)," and described them using the bullet                                                                   
points on the slide, which read:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   • Used as a Case Plan for coordination between the                                                                           
     Department of Corrections and Reentrant and Community                                                                      
     Providers                                                                                                                  
   • Case Plans are live documents developed after prisoner                                                                     
     intake and are updated prior to transition and release                                                                     
     into the community                                                                                                         
   • Prioritizes needs for citizens to have successful                                                                          
     transition out of incarceration                                                                                            
   • Based off of risk treatment assessment                                                                                     
   • Addresses                                                                                                                  
     • Medical treatment                                                                                                        
     • Mental health                                                                                                            
     • Housing needs                                                                                                            
     • Financial issues                                                                                                         
     • Job skills                                                                                                               
     • Life skills                                                                                                              
     • Education                                                                                                                
     • And more                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS pointed out that the more effective an OPM is                                                                   
the fewer people reenter incarceration through recidivism.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS moved to slide 4, entitled "Reentry Coalitions                                                                  
Across the State," and relayed the developments listed on the                                                                   
slide, which read:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   • Reentry Service: any service provided by a community                                                                       
     or state organization that serves individuals released                                                                     
     from the criminal justice system back into the                                                                             
     community                                                                                                                  
     • Reentry coalitions:                                                                                                      
        • Facilitate community   assessment   of   assets,                                                                      
          barriers, and gaps for returning citizens                                                                             
        • Develop  solutions    for   case    coordination                                                                      
          challenges using evidence based approaches                                                                            
        • Design and implement a  Comprehensive  Community                                                                      
          Reentry Plan                                                                                                          
        • Coordinate Offender Management Plans                                                                                  
     • Participants in Reentry Coalitions include Alaska                                                                        
        Division of  Public  Health,  Alaska  House  Finance                                                                    
        Corporation,  The  Salvation  Army,   Alaska  Native                                                                    
        Justice Center,  The Alaska  Labor Exchange  System,                                                                    
        Chanlyut,  Nine   Start   Education   &   Employment                                                                    
        Services,  Alaska  Mental  Health  Trust  Authority,                                                                    
        Southcentral Foundation, Partners for  Progress, and                                                                    
        Cook Inlet Tribal Council.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:46:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS referred to slide 5, entitled "Reentry                                                                          
Coalitions in Alaska," which shows the locations of reentry                                                                     
coalitions on the Alaska map and lists them as follows:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   • Coalitions in Anchorage, Matsu, Fairbanks, Juneau,                                                                         
     Kenai, Dillingham, Nome, Ketchikan                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS moved on to slide 6, entitled "What is currently                                                                
in law?" and reviewed the legal requirements, which read:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   • Reentry planning                                                                                                           
     • DOC must establish an institutional case plan for                                                                        
       every individual serving a term of 30 days or more                                                                       
        • DOC must establish a reentry plan for every                                                                           
        individual serving a term of 30 days or more                                                                            
      • DOC is required to work with prisoners within 90                                                                        
        days of their release  date in order to  establish a                                                                    
        written reentry plan                                                                                                    
     • We hope to build on long term planning for success                                                                       
        after release with this bill                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS turned to slide 7, entitled "House Bill 118," to                                                                
summarize HB 118, which read in part:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   • HB 118 requires that a written case plan take effect                                                                       
     within 90 days after a prisoner's sentencing                                                                               
   • HB 118 ensures that the DOC collaborates with                                                                              
     community reentry coalitions and other providers of                                                                        
     reentry services when developing a written case plan                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:48:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  about   the  growth  of  reentry                                                               
coalitions over the past 10 years.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS replied  that his  recollection is  that several                                                               
years ago when he worked for  the Department of Labor & Workforce                                                               
Development   (DOLWD),   the   only  active   community   reentry                                                               
coalitions were  in Southcentral  Alaska; now  they are  all over                                                               
the state.  There were  individuals and groups working on reentry                                                               
issues;  however, they  weren't organized  as reentry  coalitions                                                               
comprehensively   looking   at  wraparound   services,   housing,                                                               
substance abuse treatment, and employment in a community.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS continued to review slide 7, which read in part:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   • HB 118 establishes new metrics tracking the results of                                                                     
     the program that conducts assessments of the risks and                                                                     
     needs of offenders and a report presented to the                                                                           
     legislature that includes                                                                                                  
     • Number of prisoners provided written case plans,                                                                         
          percentage of target population that number                                                                           
        represents                                                                                                              
     • Number of written case plans initiated within the                                                                        
        preceding year                                                                                                          
     • Number of written case plans updated in the                                                                              
        preceding year                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS added  that data  will assist  in measuring  the                                                               
success of reentry programs -  giving the state an opportunity to                                                               
strengthen  programs or  make changes.   He  also added  that the                                                               
number of updated case plans speaks to how active the plans are.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:51:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL moved to adopt  the committee substitute (CS)                                                               
for HB 118, Version 31-LS0724\S,  Radford, 4/3/19, as the working                                                               
document.   There being  no objection, Version  S was  before the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS stated  that HB 118, Version  S, would be                                                               
held over.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:52:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 5:52                                                                  
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB118 ver M 4.1.19.PDF HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 CS ver S 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Sectional ver S 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Sponsor Statement 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Presentation 4.4.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Document - Alaska Economic Trends June 2017 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Document - Joint DHSS DOC Recidivism Reduction Report January 2019 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Fiscal Note DOC-IDO 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Letter of Support - AMHTA 4.4.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Letter of Support - Anchorage Reentry Coalition 4.11.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB098 Committee Substitute Work Draft ver U 4.4.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB098 CS ver U 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB098 Supporting Document-NFIB Letter 4.4.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
HB 98
Dept. of Public Safety Appointee Amanda Price - Resume.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
VPSO Program Update - Alaska Regional Coalition 4.3.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
2019-04-03 - Letter to Rep. Fields.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner Price - Letter of Support, Jim Whitaker 4.5.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM
Dept. of Public Safety Commissioner Price - Letter of Support, Marcia Davis 4.5.19.pdf HSTA 4/4/2019 3:00:00 PM