Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/01/1994 09:10 AM FIN

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

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