Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

03/05/2020 08:00 AM TRIBAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:05:44 AM Start
08:06:21 AM HB287
08:38:56 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
           HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON TRIBAL AFFAIRS                                                                          
                         March 5, 2020                                                                                          
                           8:05 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Bryce Edgmon, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative John Lincoln                                                                                                     
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL  NO. 287, "An Act  requiring background investigations                                                               
of village public safety officer  applicants by the Department of                                                               
Public  Safety; relating  to the  village  public safety  officer                                                               
program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 287                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KOPP                                                                                              
02/24/20       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/24/20       (H)       TRB, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/26/20       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/26/20       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/03/20       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/03/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/03/20       (H)       MINUTE(TRB)                                                                                            
03/05/20       (H)       TRB AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
KEN TRUITT, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  287   on   behalf   of                                                             
Representative Kopp, prime sponsor.                                                                                             
MICHAEL NEMETH, Public Safety Coordinator                                                                                       
Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided  information and answered questions                                                           
during the hearing of HB 287.                                                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:05:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TIFFANY ZULKOSKY  called  the House  Special Committee  on                                                             
Tribal Affairs  meeting to  order at  8:05 a.m.   Representatives                                                               
Edgmon, Lincoln, Ortiz, and Zulkosky  were present at the call to                                                               
          HB 287-VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER GRANTS                                                                       
8:06:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be   HOUSE   BILL  NO.   287,   "An   Act  requiring   background                                                               
investigations  of village  public safety  officer applicants  by                                                               
the Department of  Public Safety; relating to  the village public                                                               
safety officer program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
8:07:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   287,  Version  31-LS1486\G,  Radford,                                                               
3/3/20, as the working document.                                                                                                
8:07:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY objected, for the purpose of discussion.                                                                         
8:07:31 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 8:07 a.m.                                                                                 
8:07:52 AM                                                                                                                    
KEN  TRUITT,  Staff,  Representative  Chuck  Kopp,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Kopp,  prime sponsor of                                                               
HB  287, explained  the  changes  that would  be  made under  the                                                               
proposed  CS.    He  explained  how  there  came  to  be  another                                                               
committee  substitute in  the committee  packet,  Version E,  but                                                               
told  the committee  that  it  was identical  to  Version G  [and                                                               
ensuing discussion refers  to Version G].  He  noted that another                                                               
document  in  the committee  packet  was  from the  work  group's                                                               
report.   In Appendix  II were changes  the Department  of Public                                                               
Safety (DPS)  had been intending to  make but had decided  to put                                                               
on hold.                                                                                                                        
MR. TRUITT directed the committee  to the current statute for the                                                               
VPSO program, AS 18.65.670.   He explained that the language that                                                               
would be deleted  by Version G would be the  duties and functions                                                               
listed in subsection (a), following  "safety officers" on page 4,                                                               
line 3, of the original bill,  through line 18.  Those duties and                                                               
functions would be  moved to a new statutory section  on page 14.                                                               
The  next change  reflected the  deletion of  subsection (e),  on                                                               
page 5,  lines 17-23.   He explained  that the sponsor  wanted to                                                               
remove   overly  prescriptive   and   pejorative  language   from                                                               
regulation  and   felt  that   grantee  organizations   can  best                                                               
determine the kind of agreements  want to have between themselves                                                               
and the villages.                                                                                                               
8:13:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY  said concerns  she  had  expressed at  the  last                                                               
committee hearing on HB 287 had been addressed.                                                                                 
8:14:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. TRUITT clarified  that subsection (f) was  the new subsection                                                               
(e), which  addressed the  discussion that had  been held  at the                                                               
previous hearing.   He  said the staffing  standard was  one VPSO                                                               
per village, and  appropriations would run out,  which would also                                                               
be  a limiting  factor on  how many  VPSOs an  organization might                                                               
get.  He said that the  "X" number of residents equals "Y" number                                                               
of VPSOs type of metric had not  been seen, but HB 287 captured a                                                               
metric:  if  a village needed a VPSO, the  request should specify                                                               
that in a grant application, and  at some point the funding would                                                               
dictate how much staff goes to the  regions.  He said that in the                                                               
spirit  of  allowing  the  grantee  organizations  to  have  more                                                               
flexibility, HB 287 put forth  a standard for staffing wherein if                                                               
a  village needed  more than  one VPSO,  "all you  have to  do is                                                               
8:18:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TRUITT told  the  committee that  the  current VPSO  statute                                                               
referred to  "rural areas"  but the term  "villages" was  used in                                                               
regulation.   He  added that  for the  sake of  clarity the  term                                                               
"rural areas"  should be removed.   He also said  that subsection                                                               
(e) no  longer existed [and thus  should also be removed  for the                                                               
sake of clarity].                                                                                                               
8:19:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON asked whether  changing "village" to "grant                                                               
recipient" would have any impact on consultation with tribes.                                                                   
8:19:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. TRUITT replied  that in terms of this  specific provision, it                                                               
had been decided to keep terms  at the "grant recipient" level to                                                               
avoid  confusion with  what make  sound like  "village law."   On                                                               
line 24 of  the same page, the consultation language  is from the                                                               
existing statute, he explained.   On the next page, the reference                                                               
to  the  commissioner  of  corrections is  meant  to  mirror  the                                                               
responsibility of the  departments that are involved  in the VPSO                                                               
program.   On page 14, line  9, the language reinforces  VPSO law                                                               
enforcement designation,  he added,  making peace  officer status                                                               
the same.                                                                                                                       
8:22:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LINCOLN  asked  whether the  description  of  the                                                               
scope  of  duties  would  include   time  spent  in  schools  and                                                               
explaining they were a resource to village youth.                                                                               
8:23:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. TRUITT said  he thought so, and they would  come back to that                                                               
question.  He  then moved onto the final new  concept on line 26,                                                               
which was the same as in  the trooper statute and referred to the                                                               
powers and duties  of a VPSO.  Something missing  from HB 287 was                                                               
the power  of VPSOs  to enforce the  Division of  Motor Vehicles'                                                               
(DMV's) traffic  laws, but  that would  be revisited,  Mr. Truitt                                                               
told the committee.                                                                                                             
8:25:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ   asked  whether  the   evaluation  process                                                               
currently took place under the guidelines for VPSOs.                                                                            
8:25:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. TRUITT  replied that it was  in the regulations but  could be                                                               
verified by [Aleutian Pribilof  Islands Association Public Safety                                                               
Coordinator] Michael Nemeth.                                                                                                    
8:26:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY removed  her objection to the motion  to adopt the                                                               
proposed CS for HB 287,  Version 31-LS1486\G, Radford, 3/3/20, as                                                               
a working document.  There  being no further objection, Version G                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
8:26:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  NEMETH,  Public  Safety Coordinator,  Aleutian  Pribilof                                                               
Islands   Association,   began    by   answering   Representative                                                               
Lincoln's  question that  the  community  policing aspect,  which                                                               
entailed visiting  schools, the  council office, the  clinic, and                                                               
talking  with  people,  is  some   of  the  most  important  work                                                               
conducted  by VPSOs.    One  of the  main  reasons  to have  fire                                                               
prevention  and   suppression  and  emergency   medical  services                                                               
participating in search and rescue,  Mr. Nemeth surmised, is that                                                               
the general  public did not know  what VPSOs did on  a day-to-day                                                               
basis.   There  was also  some confusion  in the  differentiation                                                               
between  VPSOs,  village  police   officers,  and  tribal  police                                                               
officers, which the  revised language might help to  clear up, he                                                               
8:29:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY repeated  Representative Ortiz'  questions as  to                                                               
whether  DPS was  currently facilitating  site visits  to monitor                                                               
VPSO performance in compliance with state and federal law.                                                                      
8:29:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. NEMETH replied  that it varied from region to  region, and if                                                               
there  was an  issue with  a VPSO  there was  usually a  visit to                                                               
discuss compliance.   Mr.  Nemeth said  he had  not had  any such                                                               
visits in  his region on the  Aleutian chain, but he  believed it                                                               
was  within regulation  that  oversight  troopers provide  annual                                                               
visits,  which happened  in some  regions and  did not  in others                                                               
because of factors  such as weather and scheduling.   Villages on                                                               
the road system such as  Copper River, Bethel, and Kotzebue might                                                               
see more frequent visits, he added.                                                                                             
8:30:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ZULKOSKY said  she thought it underscored  the necessity of                                                               
the VPSO program  if an annual visit within  regulation could not                                                               
be completed.                                                                                                                   
8:31:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  NEMETH returned  to a  question about  capital projects  and                                                               
whether they were  required within the VPSO  grant process itself                                                               
or  separately.   He  said that  for  renovation or  construction                                                               
projects  related to  the village  public safety  office, funding                                                               
could  be requested  within  the grant  process or  by  way of  a                                                               
supplemental  funding request  coming  from the  grant budget  or                                                               
capital funds.   Mr. Nemeth  then clarified confusion  about VPSO                                                               
training hours,  the minimum of which  is 240 hours total.   This                                                               
number is "woefully  low," he said, as when he  attended the VPSO                                                               
academy it lasted  eight weeks, which was  significantly over 240                                                               
hours.   The "A-led" academy  at 16 weeks is  approximately 1,000                                                               
hours, he related.   In 2016 it  was 976 hours, and  a few things                                                               
have been  added, he  explained.   In recent  past DPS  decided a                                                               
transition  from   16  weeks  back   to  eight  weeks   would  be                                                               
undertaken.  He  related that 826 training hours  was the minimum                                                               
required  for  VPSOs  to  do  their jobs:    650  hours  for  law                                                               
enforcement training;  40 hours  for Emergency  Trauma Technician                                                               
(ETT) training;  40 hours for search-and-rescue  training; and 96                                                               
hours  for   rural  fire  protection  specialist   training  were                                                               
required by the Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC).                                                                         
8:35:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY confirmed  that it  was  the desire  of the  VPSO                                                               
grantees to move  forward with the additional  amount of training                                                               
hours.   She  then asked  whether there  had been  any challenges                                                               
with recruitment by increasing the  training hours or whether the                                                               
increased   training   hours   provided  better   certainty   for                                                               
individuals applying to the VPSO program.                                                                                       
8:36:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. NEMETH  said some believed  the additional training  would be                                                               
an issue  as far  as recruitment,  which is  why DPS  [scaled the                                                               
hours  back]  after  having  had conversations  with  two  of  10                                                               
entities.   He had  seen evidence  during a  recent presentation,                                                               
however, that showed  there were more officers  when the training                                                               
had been 16 weeks, he related.  More training for VPSOs was                                                                     
always better, he said.                                                                                                         
[HB 287 was held over.]                                                                                                         
8:38:56 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs meeting was adjourned at                                                                    
8:39 a.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 287 Presentation.pdf HTRB 3/3/2020 8:00:00 AM
HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
HB 287 Presentation Committee Member Version 3.2.2020.pdf HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
ATU HB287 Support letter.pdf HTRB 3/3/2020 8:00:00 AM
HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
HB 287 Sponsor Statement v. K 3.3.2020.pdf HJUD 3/11/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/18/2020 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/20/2020 1:00:00 PM
HTRB 3/3/2020 8:00:00 AM
HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
HB 287 Sectional Analysis ver K.pdf HTRB 3/3/2020 8:00:00 AM
HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
Fiscal Note Criminal Justice Information Systems Program.pdf HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
Fiscal Note CRA.pdf HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
Fiscal Note VPSO Program.pdf HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
Fiscal Note Training Academy.pdf HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287
G.pdf HTRB 3/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 287