Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/01/1994 09:10 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE March 1, 1994 9:10 a.m. TAPES SFC-94, #22, Side 1 (000-end) SFC-94, #22, Side 2 (000-end) SFC-94, #24, Side 1 (000-end) SFC-94, #24, Side 2 (575-515) CALL TO ORDER Co-chair Drue Pearce convened the meeting at approximately 9:10 a.m. PRESENT In addition to Co-chairs Pearce and Frank, Senators Kelly, Kerttula, and Rieger were present. Senators Jacko and Sharp arrived soon after the meeting began. ALSO ATTENDING: Senator Mike Miller; Senator Dave Donley; John Sandor, Commissioner, Dept. of Environmental Conservation; Margot Knuth, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Dept. of Law; Bob Poe, Director, Information and Administrative Services, Dept. of Environmental Conservation; Mike Conway, Director, Division of Spill Prevention and Response, Dept. of Environmental Conservation; Diane Schenker, Special Assistant, Dept. of Corrections; Mike Greany, Director, Legislative Finance Division; Dave Parish, Exxon Company, USA; Jerry McCune, Cordova District Fishermen United, and United Fishermen of Alaska; Russell Heath, Alaska Environmental Lobby; Ginny Faye, private citizen; and aides to committee members and other members of the legislature. ALSO PARTICIPATING VIA TELECONFERENCE: Mary Shields, Gen. Manager, Northwest Technical Ser. - Anchorage Ken Freeman, Resource Development Corporation - Anchorage Walt Furnace, Gen. Manager, Alaska Support Industry Alliance - Anchorage Ardie Gray, Alaska Oil and Gas Alliance - Anchorage Patti Saunders, Alaska Center for the Environ. - Anchorage Tom Lakosh - Anchorage Larry Smith, Kachemak Resource Institute - Homer Mike O'Meara - Homer Martin King, The Alliance - Fairbanks Randy McGovern - Fairbanks Wayne Coleman, RCAC, Prince William Sound - Kodiak Mary Forbes, Audubon Society - Kodiak Bill Frazer, The Alliance - Kenai Bill Stamps, The Alliance - Kenai Gerald Brookman - Kenai SUMMARY INFORMATION SB 24 - EXTEND MAXIMUM PERIOD OF PROBATION Discussion was had with Sen. Donley, Margot Knuth, and Diane Schenker. The bill was then REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation and zero fiscal notes from the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Law, and the Court System, as well as an indeterminate note from the Dept. of Corrections. SB 215 - OIL/HAZARDOUS SUBS. RELEASE RESPONSE FUND Discussion was had with the Commissioner and staff from the Dept. of Environmental Conservation, those listed at the above-cited teleconference sites, and Dave Parish, Jerry McCune, and Ginny Faye. The bill was then HELD in committee for additional consideration. SB 251 - COMM'L FISH LOANS FOR CERTAIN OBLIGATIONS Scheduled, but not heard this date. SB 252 - POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY Discussion was had with Senator Miller. CSSB 252 (Jud) was subsequently REPORTED OUT of committee with a unanimous "do pass" recommendation and zero fiscal notes from the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Administration (Office of Public Advocacy and Public Defender), Dept. of Corrections, and Dept. of Law. SB 24 EXTEND MAXIMUM PERIOD OF PROBATION Co-chair Drue Pearce directed that SB 24 be brought on for discussion. SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, sponsor of the legislation, came before committee. He explained that the bill reflects a recommendation from the sentencing commission. It is also part of the Governor's anti-crime package. It extends the available period of probation in criminal matters from five to ten years. Once an individual leaves a correctional facility, there is currently no means of supervising him or her for more than five years. Evidence indicates that the recidivism rate for certain crimes (sex offenses were noted as an example) is reduced by a longer period of probation. While treatment programs for rehabilitation of sex offenders have not proven to be effective, longer term supervision tends to prevent recidivism. The proposed bill represents a tool that could be used by the criminal justice system to protect the public. Senator Donley noted that since fiscal impact would occur five years hence, fiscal notes are zero. He acknowledged that the change in law could result in costs as individuals are placed on longer periods of probation. Those costs could be negated by judges who elect, in non-mandatory sentencing cases, to utilize a longer period of supervised probation in the community rather than longer sentences. The proposed bill passed the House in the last legislature, but died in Rules without coming to a floor vote. There has been no expressed opposition to the bill. (Senators Sharp and Jacko arrived at this time.) Senator Rieger inquired concerning the difference between probation and parole. MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Dept. of Law, briefly came before committee in response to the question but deferred comment to staff from the Dept. of Corrections. DIANE SCHENKER, Special Assistant, Dept. of Corrections, explained that in Alaska probation/parole officers supervise both probation and parole. Supervision is thus similar. The parole board sets the conditions of supervision for an individual on parole. Conditions are individually tailored to the offender. For someone on probation, the court sets the conditions at sentencing. Neither parole nor probation has an inherently higher level of supervision. Discussion followed between Senator Rieger and Ms. Schenker regarding the role of presumptive sentencing. Senator Sharp referenced comments from parole/probation officers that parole is not revoked for two and three time felony offenders while they are awaiting trial on yet another charge. Ms. Schenker advised that the court makes the decision as to whether or not probation is revoked. The department may file petitions to revoke based on the offender's behavior. Due to over crowding, the department attempts to use every alternative other than a full revocation and return to incarceration. Further discussion followed between Senator Sharp and Ms. Schenker regarding actions that can be taken by a parole officer when an offender commits an additional crime while on parole or probation. Ms. Schenker reiterated that any action is subject to court review. Senator Donley stressed that the probationary or parole period is when financial restitution is made to victims. Since monthly restitution payments are often small, the current five-years are often are not sufficient to pay the debt in full. Discussion followed between Senator Kerttula and Ms. Schenker regarding the "burn out" rate for probation officers and department replacement needs. Speaking to costs of the proposed bill, Ms. Schenker voiced inability to estimate the impact. It is difficult to estimate how many cases might result in probation for ten years. She advised that the department could reduce the fiscal note to zero if the extended period of probation would be unsupervised. She indicated that, at the present time, an individual on probation for five years is generally not supervised for the full five years. After one, two, or three years, the individual is either going to make it, or he or she has violated parole and been returned to jail. Misdemeanants are always placed on unsupervised probation. Ms. Schenker voiced department concern that it may incur liability if it does not supervise offenders during the last five years of ten-year probation. Senator Kerttula attested to future need for additional probation/parole officers. Senator Jacko concurred in concern for fiscal implications resulting from the extension. Ms. Schenker attested to difficulties associated with attempting to estimate the cost. Senator Donley noted that nothing in the bill compels a high level of supervision. It will be up to the judge to make an assessment for each case. Ms. Schenker again voiced concern that the department may incur additional liability if statutes do not clarify that the extended period is unsupervised. If that is not clear, the department would be "hard pressed" to "make it unsupervised." Senator Sharp voiced concern regarding what appears to be broad application of the extension at the discretion of the judge. Senator Donley noted that current statutory provisions require five years probation/parole for "every kind of crime . . . ." He stressed that the proposed bill would be an effective tool and one of the only tools for diminishing recidivism of sex offenders. Co-chair Pearce called for additional testimony on the bill. None was forthcoming. Senator Kerttula MOVED for passage of SB 24 with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, SB 24 was REPORTED OUT of committee with an indeterminate fiscal note from the Dept. of Corrections and zero notes from the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Law, and Court System. Co-chairs Pearce and Frank and Senators Kerttula and Rieger signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Senators Jacko and Kelly signed "no recommendation." Senator Sharp signed "do not pass." SB 252 - POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY Co-chair Pearce directed that SB 252 be brought on for discussion. SENATOR MIKE MILLER, sponsor of the legislation, came before committee and referenced CSSB 252 (Judiciary). He advised that the bill is supported by all departments, and he noted accompany zero fiscal notes. At the present time, the production and selling of child pornography is a crime, but possession is not. This is a loophole that should be closed for the sake of consistency. Under the proposed bill, possession of child pornography would be a class B misdemeanor. Need for the bill was highlighted by staff at the Dept. of Corrections. Co-chair Pearce inquired concerning the penalty for a class B misdemeanor. Senator Miller advised of 90 days in jail plus a fine of up to $5,000. Senator Kerttula voiced his understanding that lack of an immediate effective date is intended to give 90-day notice to those who might possess this type of material. Co-chair Pearce called for additional testimony. None was forthcoming. Senator Kerttula MOVED for passage of CSSB 252 (Jud) with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, CSSB 252 (Jud) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a unanimous "do pass" recommendation accompanied by zero fiscal notes from the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Corrections, Dept. of Law, and Dept. of Administration (one from the Public Defender Agency and the other from the Office of Public Advocacy). SB 215 OIL/HAZARDOUS SUBS. RELEASE RESPONSE FUND Discussion was had with Senator Miller, Commissioner John Sandor, Mike Conway, Bob Poe, Jerry McCune, Dave Parish, Ginny Faye, and individuals listed at the beginning of these minutes as present at teleconference sites. A transcript of testimony on SB 215 was prepared and is on file in the office of the Senate Finance Committee Secretary, Room 520, State Capitol Building, Juneau, Alaska (465-2618) and may be obtained through that office or the Legislative Finance Division, P. O. Box 113200, Juneau, Alaska 99811-3200, (465- 3795). ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:55 a.m.