Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532
03/28/2017 09:00 AM FINANCE
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SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE March 28, 2017 9:05 a.m. 9:05:15 AM CALL TO ORDER Co-Chair MacKinnon called the Senate Finance Committee meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair Senator Anna MacKinnon, Co-Chair Senator Click Bishop, Vice-Chair Senator Mike Dunleavy Senator Peter Micciche Senator Donny Olson Senator Natasha von Imhof MEMBERS ABSENT None ALSO PRESENT Senator John Coghill, Sponsor; Jordan Shilling, Staff, Senator John Coghill; John Skidmore, Director, Criminal Division, Department of Law. PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE Jeff Edwards, Executive Director, Parole Board, Department of Corrections. SUMMARY SB 54 CRIME AND SENTENCING SB 54 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration. SB 55 OMNIBUS CRIME/CORRECTIONS SB 55 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration. SENATE BILL NO. 54 "An Act relating to crime and criminal law; relating to violation of condition of release; relating to sex trafficking; relating to sentencing; relating to probation; relating to the pretrial services program; and providing for an effective date." 9:05:45 AM SENATOR JOHN COGHILL, SPONSOR, relayed that SB 54 was born as the result of necessary corrections to SB 91. He explained that SB 91 had been a broad and sweeping bill that encompassed many areas of the criminal justice system. He said that there had been both pushback and feedback from the passage of SB 91. He stated that the Criminal Justice Commission had been tasked to study the feedback and supply recommendations to the legislature. He noted that the commission had made recommendations in January 2017, which had been included in both SB 54 and SB 55. He explained that SB 54 would be the vehicle for policy, while SB 55 would focus on more technical issues. He described the context of SB 54, which was that the commission had been asked to craft recommendations based on data based, data driven research, and across a variety of disciplines in the criminal justice system. He said that in the process if feedback it had been discovered that public safety and public condemnation had not been addressed to the degree that the public felt that it should have been. The commission had taken public testimony, which had informed some of the recommendations. He related that the commission had presented the recommendations in February 2017, which was when the bills had been drafted. He stated that SB 54 dealt with the 4 major issues of penalties for C felonies, 4th degree theft, violations of conditions of release, and citation law. 9:10:12 AM Senator Coghill stated that as the commission considered the drivers, there had been political tension and consternation. He lamented that the opioid epidemic in the state was a heavy burden for the people of Alaska. He felt that the epidemic was resulting in increased theft, and a vigilante pushback from residents. He opined that the budget crisis had made it more difficult to put more police on the streets both at the state and local levels. he said that there were fewer prosecutors that could take cases expeditiously, or even at all. He noted that the Alaska Court System had changed the bail schedule. He stressed that the people of Alaska had lost confidence in reform due to the previously mentioned reasons. Senator Coghill stated that the recommendations in SB 54 would change major policy decisions that were geared toward anecdotal testimony from police and the public. He said that the policy changes would give police the tools to deal with everything from the violations of conditions of release, C felonies, and other citation law. He relayed that the Department of Law had testified in front of the commission about the violations of conditions of release, 4th degree theft, and C felonies. He shared that the commission had not accepted the totality of the recommendation for the department. He related that after the commission released their report the department approached the Senate Judiciary Committee with a strong case that the penalty for C felonies should be significantly increased, and that a better tiered system should exist for 4th degree theft. He admitted that there had been tension over whether to offer behavior changing methodologies to criminals or punishment. 9:14:45 AM JORDAN SHILLING, STAFF, SENATOR JOHN COGHILL, discussed the presentation "Senate Bill 54 - An Overview," (copy on file). Mr. Shilling showed Slide 2, "SB 91": · Implements an evidence-based pretrial system. · Focuses prison space on serious and violent offenders. · Strengthens probation and parole supervision. · Improves reentry programming. · Ensures oversight and accountability. · Reinvests in programs proven to reduce recidivism and protect public safety. Co-Chair MacKinnon clarified that the SB 91 under discussion had been passed during the 29th legislative session. 9:15:58 AM Mr. Shilling turned to Slide 3, " SB 91 (cont.)": Reforms expected to reduce the prison population by 13% over 10 years. Projected to save $380 million. Reinvests $99 million over 6 years into pretrial supervision, victims' services, violence prevention, substance abuse treatment, and re-entry services. Co-Chair MacKinnon asked if the projected savings over 10 years included capital costs. Mr. Shilling clarified that the $380 million was premised on sending inmates out-of-state, which would be an operating cost. 9:17:29 AM Senator von Imhof asked whether a particular inmate demographic was being targeted for reduction. Mr. Shilling stated that SB 91 had focused largely on non- violent offenders, and that there were a number of exceptions to the policies that excluded violent and serious offenders from being eligible for certain provisions of the bill. 9:18:20 AM Mr. Shilling displayed Slide 4, "AK Crime Rates (1987 - 2016)," which showed 6 graphs detailing the crime rates per 100,000 in Alaska from 1986 to 2015, in the following categories: · All Crime · Violent Crime · Rape · Homicide · Aggravated Assault · Robbery Mr. Shilling contended that the perception that crime had increased in the state because of SB 91 was not supported by data. He argued that crime began increasing in the state in 2015, before the introduction of SB 91, but coinciding with the rise of the opioid epidemic in the state, mixed with the economic recession. 9:19:11 AM Mr. Shilling spoke to Slide 5, "SB 54 Summary": 1. Violation of Conditions of Release (VCOR) 2. Sex Trafficking 3. C-Felony Sentencing 4. Sex Offender Probation 5. A-Misdemeanor Sentencing 6. B-Misdemeanor Sentencing (Theft 4) 7. No Valid Operator's License (NVOL) 8. Municipal Authority 9. Pretrial Risk Assessments 9:19:49 AM Mr. Shilling reviewed Slide 6, "Violation of Conditions of Release (VCOR) (Sections 1, 2, 9)": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Reclassify VCOR as an arrestable, detainable violation, rather than a misdemeanor. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Return VCOR to a misdemeanor punishable by 0-5 days active imprisonment. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Per ACJC 2017 recommendation. Mr. Shilling expanded that in 2015 the commission had recommended that VCOR be downgraded to a violation, which had been enacted through SB 91, but would be returned to a misdemeanor under SB 54. He said that the change would ensure that offenders were held in jail awaiting a bail review hearing in the underlying offence. 9:21:17 AM Mr. Shilling showed Slide 7, "Sex Trafficking (Sections 3, 4, 5, 13, 14, 18)": ACJC Recommendation (2015) N/A ACJC Recommendation (2017) Repeal loophole created by HB 349 and address over- broadness of sex trafficking statutes. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Per ACJC 2017 recommendation. Mr. Shilling noted that the changes that were made to sex trafficking laws under SB 91 had not been recommendation of the commission but were inserted by the house in 2016. He lamented that the insertion of the language had created a loophole in statute whereby a sex-trafficker could avoid prosecution. He said that SB 54 would repeal the loophole created through in insertion of HB 348 into SB 91, while striking the balance originally intended by SB 91. 9:23:05 AM Mr. Shilling discussed slide 8, "C-Felony Section 6": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Establish a presumptive range of 0-18 months suspended imprisonment for first-time felony offenders. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Establish a presumptive range of 0-90 days active imprisonment for first-felony offenders. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Establishes presumptive range of 0-365 days active imprisonment for first-felony offenders. Mr. Shilling related that the purpose for the original recommendation had been to provide community supervision, allow the offender to maintain ties to their community, and to assure that the offender would be complying with the conditions of release. He said that the commission heard numerous reports during the interim that the provision did not effectively express community condemnation. 9:24:36 AM Mr. Shilling showed Slide 9, "Sex Offender Probation Section 7": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Establish a maximum probation term length of 5 years for felony sex offenders. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Require sex offenders serve a period of probation as part of their sentence. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Establishes mandatory minimum probation term lengths for felony sex offenders: · 15 years for an unclassified felony · 10 years for an A or B felony · 5 years for a C felony Mr. Shilling said that SB 54 established minimums, which had not been reinstated by the previous legislature. 9:26:19 AM Mr. Shilling spoke to Slide 10, "Class A Misdemeanors Sections 8, 11, 12": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Establish 0-30 day presumptive sentencing range, allowing 0-1 year for aggravators, including repeat criminal history. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Add an aggravating factor for class A misdemeanors that allows a 0-60 day sentence for defendants with one prior similar conviction and 0-1 year for third or subsequent convictions. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Per ACJC 2017 recommendation with the addition of a 5- year "look back" period. Mr. Shilling elaborated that prosecutors had expressed concern that the escalation in sentencing would occur on the third, rather than the second conviction, which had led to the 2017 commission recommendation. 9:27:55 AM Mr. Shilling showed Slide 11, "Theft 4 (Section 10)": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Reduce first- and second-time theft offenses under $250 to non-jailable misdemeanors, and 0-5 days suspended imprisonment for third or subsequent offenses. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Provide for 0-10 days active imprisonment for third or subsequent offenses. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Provides for 0-5 days active imprisonment for a second offense, and 0-10 days active imprisonment for third or subsequent offense. Mr. Shilling relayed that in 2015 the commission had found that more than half of the theft 4 offenders stole items values at around $50, mostly alcohol and toiletries, and served an average of 23 days in prison - post conviction. Considering research on low-level offenders, and the desire to redirect low-level offenders to other alternatives than prison, the commission made the 2015 recommendation. The commission received feedback that asserted that offenders had become emboldened by the provision in SB 91, which led to the revised 2017 recommendation, and eventually the Senate Judiciary CS of SB 54. Co-Chair MacKinnon asked whether there had been discussion regarding job loss and loss of housing for offenders who were incarcerated. Mr. Shilling recalled that there had been research done on the destabilizing and mildly criminogenic effects of detaining low-level, non-violent offenders beyond 24 hours. he noted that the research had been specific to drug offenses. He believed that the latest policy was intended to express community condemnation and to provide a deterrence effect to theft. 9:31:07 AM Mr. Shilling spoke to Slide 12, "No Valid Operator's License(NVOL) (Section 15)": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Reclassify driving with a suspended license (DWLS) to a violation when the underlying suspension is not related to DUI. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Reclassify driving without a valid license to an infraction. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Per ACJC 2017 recommendation. 9:32:13 AM Mr. Shilling discussed Slide 13, "Municipal Authority Section 16": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Restrict municipalities from incarcerating beyond the penalty that can be imposed under state law. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Clarify that the restriction does not apply to non- criminal offenses. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Per ACJC 2017 recommendation. Mr. Shilling shared that there had been some confusion in Anchorage about the recommendation; the 2017 recommendation clarification made clear the restriction. 9:33:06 AM Mr. Shilling viewed Slide 14, " Pretrial Risk Assessments Section 17": ACJC Recommendation (2015) Assess each defendant for risk prior to a pretrial release decision. ACJC Recommendation (2017) Limit assessment requirement to only defendants in custody after arrest. SB 54 (Senate Judiciary CS) Per ACJC 2017 recommendation. 9:34:06 AM Mr. Shilling showed Slide 15, " SB 54 Summary": 1. Violation of Conditions of Release (VCOR) 2. Sex Trafficking 3. C-Felony Sentencing 4. Sex Offender Probation 5. A-Misdemeanor Sentencing 6. B-Misdemeanor Sentencing (Theft 4) 7. No Valid Operator's License (NVOL) 8. Municipal Authority 9. Pretrial Risk Assessments Senator Olson asked whether there had been sufficient time to observe the effects of SB 91. He suggested that making changes before the effects of SB 91 had been fully realized might be premature. Senator Coghill stated that the matter was under ongoing discussion. He said that the commission was conducting ongoing reports. He notes that there were parts of SB 91 that had yet to be implemented. He relayed that public confidence was driving the current desire for change to SB 91. 9:35:31 AM Senator Olson Thought that it could be wasteful to spend money changing legislation that was still in its infancy, although he understood the drive for increased public safety. Senator Coghill stated that incarceration levels would likely increase under SB 54, in varying ranges. He lamented the tension between scofflaw and public confidence in the law, and the ability to deter offenders and rehabilitate them through programmatic change. 9:37:28 AM Senator Dunleavy asked to review Slide 3. He wondered what had contributed to the apparent crime surge in 1995. Mr. Shilling replied that he had not examined the spike in crime for that time. He detailed that the data on the slide was broken into two reports, separated by property offences and violent offences. He offered to provide additional details at a later date. Senator Dunleavy noted that there was a spike in crime happening around 2012 or 2013 as well. He asked whether Mr. Shilling had any information on the crime surge during that timeframe. Mr. Shilling responded that he did not have any thoughts to offer but would research the matter and provide detail at a later date. 9:39:18 AM Senator Micciche referred to Article 1, Section 12 of the Alaska Constitution: Section 12. Criminal Administration Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Criminal administration shall be based upon the following: the need for protecting the public, community condemnation of the offender, the rights of victims of crime, restitution from the offender, and the principle of reformation. Senator Micciche noted that the section did not provide a minimum dollar amount. He thought the changed that had been made in SB 91 no longer followed constitutional expectation. He thought that the changes proposed in SB 54 were necessary. Senator Coghill agreed that Article 1 applied to the conversation surrounding public confidence, which he believed was important for public safety. He opined that a lack of prosecutors and law enforcement had also posed a challenge to public confidence. He said that the crux of the problem was how to rehabilitate offenders while still expressing public condemnation and holding people accountable for their actions. 9:42:40 AM Senator Micciche wondered how the law could be effectively and clearly presented to law enforcement so that they understood all the tools available to them for public safety. Senator Coghill considered that the courts, the police, and the public were observing the committee's work and any changes that might be made to policy. He spoke of support for the police and the need for an intolerance for laxity in the law. He believed in the practice of a deliberative and democratic legislative process. He lamented that he had battled people that had targeted SB 91, and had misinformation, but that there were people working in order to craft the best possible policy. He emphasized that Alaska could not afford an increase in prisons, troopers, or prosecutors. He hoped that a comprehensive fiscal plan put forth by the legislature would enable the state to meet constitutionally required responsibilities. 9:45:40 AM Senator von Imhof referred to the third bullet point on Slide 2 · Strengthens probation and parole supervision. Senator von Imhof said that she had heard that parole had changed for offenders that allowed for leniency; probation for 1st degree murder had been lowered from 10 years to 2 years. Mr. Shilling stated that there had been many misconceptions about the parole changes made through SB 91. He clarified that the point at which a convicted murderer became parole was after serving one-third of their sentence, which was the practice before SB 91, and remained the current practice. He furthered that upon serving one-third of their sentence the offender would be eligible for a discretionary parole hearing - the parole board would have the opportunity to grant or deny the request. He explained that a provision of case law allowed the parole board the ability to delay the next discretionary parole hearing by 10 years. He suggested that the Department of Law could provide further clarification. He shared that SB 91 made available to offenders the ability to apply for discretionary parole 2 years following a denial. 9:47:56 AM Co-Chair MacKinnon requested that the Department of Law speak to the issue of misinformation concerning parole. JOHN SKIDMORE, DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, stated that he had heard the issue discussed multiple times during town hall meetings throughout the state. He agreed that SB 91 had not changed when a person became eligible for discretionary parole for murder in the first degree. He explained that the change that had occurred in SB 91 was to specify in statute how frequently an individual was to have a discretionary parole hearing after their initial hearing. He said that there had been no requirement under previous statutory law. 9:50:28 AM Co-Chair MacKinnon asked whether Jeff Edwards from the parole board could speak to Senator von Imhof's question. JEFF EDWARDS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PAROLE BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (via teleconference), did not have any contrary information to offer, and stated that the board, before SB 91, had a rule that applicants had to wait 10 years to reapply after denial. He relayed that SB 91 limited that wait time to 2 years, in which the person could come back before the board to make their case. Senator von Imhof queried the rationale behind the change form 10 years to 2 years. Mr. Shilling stated that AS 33.16.130, subsection c, directed that the board "may" schedule a subsequent parole hearing at the time of denial within 2 years after the first parole eligibility. Senator von Imhof felt that the change made the public uncomfortable and hoped that some background on the conversations that led to the change could be brought back before the committee. 9:53:00 AM Senator Micciche asked whether Mr. Skidmore would be available later in the day to take questions. Co-Chair MacKinnon answered in the affirmative. She elaborated that he would be before the committee as invited testimony during the 1:30 pm meeting. Co-Chair MacKinnon solicited further questions on the legislation. She noted that public hearing would be taken on the bill at 1:30 pm. She discussed further housekeeping. SENATE BILL NO. 55 "An Act relating to criminal law and procedure; relating to controlled substances; relating to sentencing; relating to the period of probation; relating to revocation, termination, suspension, cancellation, or restoration of a driver's license; relating to parole; relating to the duties of the Department of Corrections and the Department of Health and Social Services; and providing for an effective date." 9:54:01 AM Senator Coghill offered a sponsor statement for SB 55: Senate Bill 55 makes technical revisions to the criminal justice reform package passed by the legislature in 2016, pursuant to recommendations made by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. Technical revisions are necessary to provide clarity and improve implementation. 9:54:58 AM Mr. Shilling reviewed the document "Senate Bill 55 Sectional Summary - Omnibus Crime/Corrections": Section 1 AS 11.46.280(d) - Issuing a bad check. Removes inadvertent inflation-adjustment of $25,000. Section 2 AS 11.46.285(b) - Fraudulent use of an access device. Removes inadvertent inflation-adjustment of $25,000. Section 3 AS 11.46.730(c) - Defrauding creditors. Removes inadvertent inflation-adjustment of $25,000. Section 4 AS 11.71.050(a) - Misconduct involving controlled substances in the fourth degree Eliminates penalty overlap for possession of less than an ounce of a VIA controlled substance and excludes two forms of felony possession of a controlled substance from the offense of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree, to conform to MICS 2 and 3. Section 5 AS 12.55.011(b) - Victim and community involvement in sentencing. Clarifies that the court shall only provide the form to the victim if practicable. Section 6 AS 12.55.015(a) - Authorized sentences; forfeiture. Provides explicit authority to the court to suspend an entry of judgment. Section 7 AS 12.55.045(l) - Restitution and compensation. Ensures that a restitution order is not discharged and remains enforceable when a proceeding is dismissed under a suspended entry of judgment. 9:56:57 AM Mr. Shilling continued to discuss the Sectional Summary: Section 8 AS 12.55.078(a) - Suspended entry of judgment. Clarifies that the court may not impose a sentence of imprisonment in a suspended entry of judgment. Section 9 AS 12.55.078(d) - Suspended entry of judgment. Clarifies when the court shall discharge and dismiss proceedings in a suspended entry of judgment and clarifies that a person who has successfully completed probation and the requirements of a suspended entry of judgment is not convicted of a crime. Section 10 AS 12.55.078(f) - Suspended entry of judgment. Clarifies that the crimes for which SEJ may not be used are the crimes currently charged, not prior convictions. Section 11 AS 12.55.090(c) - Granting of probation Clarifies that the maximum probation term for a felony sex offense is 15 years, while all other unclassified felonies have a maximum probation term of 10 years. Section 12 AS 18.65.865(b) - Service of process; forms for petitions and orders; fees; warnings; notification; and pending civil or criminal actions. Updates the maximum fine that may be imposed under this section to conform to an increase in the maximum fine for a class A misdemeanor. Section 13 AS 18.66.130(d) - Specific protective orders. Updates the maximum fine that may be imposed under this section to conform to an increase in the maximum fine for a class A misdemeanor. Section 14 AS 28.15.165(e) - Administrative revocations and disqualifications resulting from chemical sobriety tests and refusals to submit to tests. Clarifies that the dismissal of all charges, regardless of prejudice, serves to meet the requirement of this section. Section 15 AS 44.19.645(g) - Powers and duties of the commission Requires the Department of Corrections to report certain data to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission regarding earned compliance credits for parolees. Section 16 AS 47.37.040 - Duties of the department. Authorizes the Alcohol Safety Action Program to accept referrals from the court for minor consuming/possession and similar offenses. Section 17 AS 33.16.120(h) - Rights of certain victims in connection with parole. Resolves a drafting error that requires the Department of Corrections to provide notifications for hearings that will not occur. Section 18 Uncodified law - applicability This section contains applicability provisions. Section 19 Uncodified law - applicability This section contains applicability provisions clarifying that no decisions made by the Board of Parole prior to January 1, 2017 that extended the period of supervision beyond the maximum release date are to be construed as invalidated by the passage of SB 91 (2016). There is further clarification that the earned compliance credit for parolees does not apply to time served prior to January 1, 2017. Section 20 Uncodified law - effective date This bill takes effect immediately. 9:59:43 AM Senator von Imhof asked about Section 5 and wondered whether the section referred to the form being provided to victims at the beginning of the sentencing process, or anytime during the process. Mr. Shilling assumed that the provision pertained to the time the sentence was imposed. Senator von Imhof understood that there could be circumstances where it would be difficult to contact victims for notification. She wondered how a victim's constitutional right to know about changes in an offender's status would be upheld. Mr. Shilling agreed that a victim did have the right to be appraised of the status of their offender. He informed the committee the Department of Corrections did notify victims of a change in offender custody status through the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) automated system. He clarified that the section in question was a new requirement under SB 91 for the court to provide the form if practicable. He believed that the language was meant to accommodate for the fact that many victims did not show up to, or be any part of, sentencing hearings. He said that it was not the primary function of the court system to keep contact information for victims, which made providing the form a challenge. 10:03:42 AM Senator Micciche referred to Section 4, and relayed that there had been complaints in his community of the increase in drug related crime, which he understood had begun long before the passage of SB 91. He noted that SB 91 was designed to rely on treatment and reinvestment but wondered how a person possessing a controlled substance could stand before a judge and be offered treatment, without first being arrested. Mr. Shilling explained that SB 91 did not prevent a person from being charged or convicted for misdemeanor drug possession. He furthered active imprisonment was not necessary for the court to impose a requirement that someone go to treatment. He added that there were mechanisms in place that allowed the court to require that someone get treatment and have consequences if they did not. He said that research had shown that enhancing criminal penalties was not an effective way of addressing drug epidemics. 10:05:39 AM Senator Micciche clarified his statement as being about a plan of action for dealing with the drug epidemic in the state. He stated that people being caught with small quantities of drugs should be offered treatment because it was only a matter of time before they turned to crime to support their addiction. 10:06:49 AM Co-Chair MacKinnon solicited further questions. Vice-Chair Bishop discussed the fiscal notes for SB 55. There was a new fiscal note from the Judiciary (OMB component 768), which was a zero-fiscal note. He reviewed additional zero fiscal notes: FN1 from the Department of Public Safety, FN 2 from the Department of Corrections, FN 3 from the Department of Administration, FN 4 from the Department of Health and Social Services, FN 5 from the Department of Administration, FN 6 from the Department of Administration, and FN 7 from the Department of Law. SB 55 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration. Co-Chair MacKinnon discussed housekeeping. ADJOURNMENT 10:09:38 AM The meeting was adjourned at 10:09 a.m.
|SB 55 - Sectional Summary (ver. N).pdf||
SFIN 3/28/2017 9:00:00 AM
|SB 54 Senate Bill 54 Presentation.pdf||
SFIN 3/28/2017 9:00:00 AM