Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

02/15/2019 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:01:53 AM Start
09:04:34 AM SB20
09:04:34 AM Department Review: Law
09:38:48 AM Department Review: Corrections
10:26:27 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Departmental Review Continued:
- Law
- Corrections
- Military & Veterans Affairs
- Judiciary
-- Items Below Removed from Agenda --
- Natural Resources
- Environmental Conservation
- Fish & Game
- Labor & Workforce Development
- Commerce, Community & Economic Development
- Administration
- Revenue
- Education & Early Development
- University
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 15, 2019                                                                                          
                         9:01 a.m.                                                                                              
9:01:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Stedman   called  the  Senate   Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 9:01 a.m.                                                                                                   
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Natasha von Imhof, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                             
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Donna  Arduin, Director,  Office of  Management and  Budget;                                                                    
Anna  Kim, Administrative  Services Director,  Department of                                                                    
Law,  Office of  Management and  Budget; Ed  Sniffen, Deputy                                                                    
Attorney   General,   Department   of  Law;   Sylvan   Robb,                                                                    
Administrative    Services     Director,    Department    of                                                                    
Corrections, Office  of Management and Budget;  Kelly Goode,                                                                    
Deputy    Commissioner,     Department    of    Corrections;                                                                    
Representative Tammie Wilson.                                                                                                   
SB 20     APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
          SB 20 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
SENATE BILL NO. 20                                                                                                            
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;  making appropriations  under art.  IX,                                                                    
     sec. 17(c),  Constitution of the State  of Alaska, from                                                                    
     the constitutional  budget reserve fund;  and providing                                                                    
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
9:04:34 AM                                                                                                                    
^DEPARTMENT REVIEW: LAW                                                                                                       
9:04:34 AM                                                                                                                    
DONNA  ARDUIN, DIRECTOR,  OFFICE OF  MANAGEMENT AND  BUDGET,                                                                    
introduced herself.                                                                                                             
9:05:51 AM                                                                                                                    
ANNA  KIM, ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES DIRECTOR,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                    
LAW, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT and BUDGET, introduced herself.                                                                       
9:06:08 AM                                                                                                                    
ED  SNIFFEN, DEPUTY  ATTORNEY  GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT OF  LAW,                                                                    
introduced himself.                                                                                                             
Ms.  Kim  discussed  the  presentation,  "State  of  Alaska,                                                                    
Office of Management and Budget;  FY 2020 Governor's Amended                                                                    
Budget;  Presentation  to   the  Senate  Finance  Committee;                                                                    
February 15,  2019; Director Donna  Arduin" (copy  on file).                                                                    
She highlighted slide 2, "Department of Law."                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman asked for a funding comparison.                                                                                
Ms. Kim explained the funding comparison.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Stedman asked how many  chairs were full in keeping                                                                    
the constant position count.                                                                                                    
Ms. Kim detailed the numbers of the divisions.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked  about  what  would  be  considered                                                                    
Ms. Kim deferred to Mr. Sniffen.                                                                                                
Mr. Sniffen looked  at slide 3, "FY  2020 Budget: Department                                                                    
of Law."                                                                                                                        
9:10:14 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Wielechowski  noted the  request for all  exempt and                                                                    
partially  exempt   employees  to  support   the  governor's                                                                    
agenda.  He asked  for  the number  of  employees that  were                                                                    
terminated due to the governor's request.                                                                                       
Mr.  Sniffen replied  that there  were three  positions that                                                                    
were let go as a result of the transition.                                                                                      
Senator Wielechowski  wondered how many  were let go  in the                                                                    
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
Mr. Sniffen replied three.                                                                                                      
Senator Wielechowski asked why they were let go.                                                                                
Mr. Sniffen did not have that information.                                                                                      
Senator Wielechowski requested that information.                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman felt that the  question could be considered                                                                    
later. He  requested the expected demands  on the department                                                                    
if there was a new crime bill package.                                                                                          
Mr. Sniffen  stated that positions  had been added  the year                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked  for  information  about  the  long                                                                    
distance plea bargaining in the rural areas.                                                                                    
Mr. Sniffen agreed to provide that information.                                                                                 
9:17:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Kim addressed  slide 4,  "FY2020 Budget:  Department of                                                                    
Law Snapshot":                                                                                                                  
     ? Fully support Civil Division through billing of                                                                          
     services (-$750.0 GF//+$750.0 I/A)                                                                                         
     ? Statewide Support  Executive Branch 50 percent                                                                           
     Reduction (-$190.1 GF)                                                                                                     
        Criminal and Civil Divisions        Fully Funding                                                                       
     Positions Added in SLA2018 (+$307.6 GF)                                                                                    
Co-Chair von  Imhof asked what  the final bullet  meant, and                                                                    
what the money would be used toward.                                                                                            
Ms. Kim replied that eight  positions were added in the year                                                                    
prior, but  were not  fully funded.  The money  fully funded                                                                    
the positions in the current year.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  surmised that  the  travel  and  fully                                                                    
funded  positions offset  each other.  She wondered  whether                                                                    
the $1.1 million in SB  32 for prosecutors and support staff                                                                    
was  not added  to  the  budget until  the  bill passed  the                                                                    
Ms. Kim replied in the affirmative.                                                                                             
9:20:55 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Wielechowski remarked  that  the Criminal  Division                                                                    
had seen many cuts, and  the Attorney General testified that                                                                    
those  cuts lead  to the  inability to  prosecute over  5000                                                                    
criminals. The legislature had restored  a few positions the                                                                    
year  prior,  but  nowhere  near   the  previous  level.  He                                                                    
wondered  how  the  level  would be  reached  to  not  allow                                                                    
criminals to run free without  the positions restored in the                                                                    
Criminal Division.                                                                                                              
Mr. Sniffen  recalled that testimony,  and noted  that there                                                                    
were a  number of positions that  were let go. The  goal was                                                                    
to slowly  add the prosecutors  over time, and  that process                                                                    
would continue.                                                                                                                 
Senator  Wielechowski stressed  that there  were new  crimes                                                                    
that needed  to be  prosecuted, so the  level was  not being                                                                    
reached. He  wondered whether there were  enough prosecutors                                                                    
to prosecute all the crimes in the state.                                                                                       
Mr. Sniffen  replied that the  cases would be  prosecuted to                                                                    
the fullest  extent of the  law. He remarked that  the crime                                                                    
package would provide prosecutors with more tools.                                                                              
Senator Micciche  announced that  he estimated  that backing                                                                    
out the changes, and examined  the policy calls, there would                                                                    
be a $60 million to $80 million shift.                                                                                          
Ms. Arduin  replied that all  the departments worked  on the                                                                    
fiscal note  to determine what  may happen. The  fiscal note                                                                    
may change in the process.  She noted that if more resources                                                                    
were needed, there would be a request.                                                                                          
9:25:41 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Hoffman stressed that the  key statement was "within                                                                    
the given resources."                                                                                                           
Ms.   Arduin  replied   that  all   the   agencies  in   the                                                                    
administration was  to live within the  resources. The crime                                                                    
bills   might   cause    some   confusion,   because   those                                                                    
appropriations were  not in  the budget.  The appropriations                                                                    
would  come  with  the  passage  of  the  crime  bills,  and                                                                    
increase  resources  for  the   agencies  according  to  the                                                                    
increased activities.                                                                                                           
Senator   Wilson   requested   information  about   the   24                                                                    
Mr. Sniffen agreed to provide detailed information.                                                                             
9:30:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator   Bishop    noted   that   the    departments   were                                                                    
communicating with  each other.  He wondered whether  it was                                                                    
said that if the legislature  felt that there should be more                                                                    
money, that the administration would accept that money.                                                                         
Ms. Arduin  replied that  she could  not provide  an answer,                                                                    
rather would leave that for the governor to analyze.                                                                            
Senator  Bishop noted  that the  legislature  had passed  an                                                                    
omnibus crime  bill. He  did not believe  that the  money or                                                                    
time was given  to see if that bill would  work. He remarked                                                                    
that there was  a desire to respond to the  concerns. He did                                                                    
not want to "low ball" the number.                                                                                              
Senator  Wielechowski  recalled  that the  Attorney  General                                                                    
would start  approving plea  bargains, and  wondered whether                                                                    
that was a new policy.                                                                                                          
Mr. Sniffen agreed to provide further information.                                                                              
Co-Chair Stedman asked for a high level answer.                                                                                 
Mr. Sniffen replied that when  a case was prosecuted with an                                                                    
opportunity to  review the case,  and decide to  settle. The                                                                    
prosecutors  made that  decision  within the  bounds of  the                                                                    
9:35:23 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman wondered  whether substantial savings would                                                                    
be expected if there were more plea bargains.                                                                                   
Mr. Sniffen  replied that  the issue  of saving  money would                                                                    
enter into the discussion when determining a plea bargain.                                                                      
Co-Chair  Stedman  remarked  that if  there  were  budgetary                                                                    
pressure  related  to bargaining,  he  would  rather have  a                                                                    
supplemental request.                                                                                                           
Ms.  Arduin stressed  that the  department  stated that  the                                                                    
budget was not related to the plea bargains.                                                                                    
Senator Hoffman stated  that in order to  keep Alaskans safe                                                                    
with  the  financial  means available  would  utilize  their                                                                    
budget on a priority basis.                                                                                                     
^DEPARTMENT REVIEW: CORRECTIONS                                                                                               
9:38:48 AM                                                                                                                    
SYLVAN  ROBB, ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES DIRECTOR,  DEPARTMENT                                                                    
OF CORRECTIONS, OFFICE OF  MANAGEMENT and BUDGET, introduced                                                                    
KELLY    GOODE,   DEPUTY    COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                    
CORRECTIONS, introduced herself.                                                                                                
Ms. Robb  looked at slide  6, "FY2020 Budget:  Department of                                                                    
Corrections."  She  looked at  the  top  of the  bars  which                                                                    
showed the changes  in the budget. She shared  that the grey                                                                    
represented federal funding. She  stated that the change was                                                                    
due to  an increase in  federal man days. She  remarked that                                                                    
there were more inmates in  the institutions paid for by the                                                                    
federal  government. She  stated  that  there were  steadily                                                                    
increasing numbers in federal man  days since 2013, with the                                                                    
exception  of 2015.  She  looked at  the  green bars,  which                                                                    
represented  other   funding.  She  shared  that,   for  the                                                                    
department, the majority of the  other funding was comprised                                                                    
of the  PFD criminal  funds. She  explained that  those were                                                                    
funds  from  PFD awarded  to  the  department from  the  PFD                                                                    
applications that  were ineligible to apply.  That money was                                                                    
used to offset the healthcare cost.                                                                                             
9:40:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked  for  explanation  of  the  general                                                                    
Ms. Robb replied that the  department did not have much DGF,                                                                    
and  only  had a  small  number  of  fees. She  stated  that                                                                    
inmates  were  charged a  copay  for  health insurance,  and                                                                    
there  were  some other  small  fees.  She shared  that  the                                                                    
department was approximately 89 percent UGF funded.                                                                             
Senator Micciche  looked at the  issue of  transparency, and                                                                    
asked that  each department provide  the split out  from UGF                                                                    
and DGF.                                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Stedman stated  that the request had  been given to                                                                    
OMB, and it was hoped that they would modify their charts.                                                                      
Senator  Micciche felt  that continuing  to discuss  the fee                                                                    
for service  option, there was  a discouraging  of potential                                                                    
for  services that  folks may  choose to  help fund  through                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stedman  felt  that  there  was  a  difference  of                                                                    
opinion,  and  wanted  to  focus  on  the  schedule  of  the                                                                    
Senator Hoffman  wondered whether the department  could give                                                                    
a  general overview  of where  the state  is on  overcrowded                                                                    
facilities. He  remarked that  the Yukon  Kuskokwim facility                                                                    
was  probably  close  to  twice the  capacity  than  it  was                                                                    
designed.  He wanted  to know  the  overall capacity  versus                                                                    
what the facilities were at.                                                                                                    
9:46:02 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman  felt that the  question was  applicable in                                                                    
the next slide.                                                                                                                 
Ms. Robb continued to look  at the funding comparison in the                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman queried the position comparisons.                                                                              
Ms. Robb addressed the position comparisons on the slide.                                                                       
9:49:22 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Robb highlighted slide 7,  "FY2020 Budget: Department of                                                                    
Corrections Snapshot":                                                                                                          
     ? Funding for Video Court Hearing Institutional                                                                            
     Staffing (+$969.6 GF and +10 PFTs)                                                                                         
     ? Reduce Authority Due to the Elimination of the                                                                           
     Professional Conduct Unit (-$1,199.7 GF and -5 PFTs)                                                                       
     ? Transition at least 500 inmates to out of state                                                                          
     facilities (-$12,802.5 GF)                                                                                                 
     ? Close a Sentenced Wing of the Wildwood Correctional                                                                      
     Center (-$6,000.0 GF and -46 PFTs)                                                                                         
     ? Statewide Support  Executive Branch 50 percent                                                                           
     Travel Reduction (-$71.2 GF)                                                                                               
9:54:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Micciche stressed  that the  population of  inmates                                                                    
that   would  not   move  out   of   state  would   increase                                                                    
dramatically. He  felt that the decisions  were made without                                                                    
corrections professionals.                                                                                                      
Ms. Robb  replied that there  were a number of  factors that                                                                    
went  into considering  the facilities.  She  stated that  a                                                                    
number of  facilities had a  number of  unsentenced inmates,                                                                    
so  closing facilities  with  unsentenced inmates  increased                                                                    
cost, because transportation costs were added.                                                                                  
Senator Micciche felt that the  response made less sense. He                                                                    
stressed that the facility open made more sense.                                                                                
10:00:15 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman   remarked  that   there  would   be  many                                                                    
questions in subcommittee on that issue.                                                                                        
Senator Wielechowski  remarked that  there were  many people                                                                    
in the  news who have said  that being sent to  out of state                                                                    
prisons  is like  sending them  to a  crime university.  The                                                                    
criminals learned  all new  types of  ways to  commit crime,                                                                    
and brought those  lessons back to Alaska.  He stressed that                                                                    
it  was  a bad  idea  to  send  inmates  out of  Alaska.  He                                                                    
remarked that  Ms. Arduin had  past experience  with private                                                                    
prison groups.  He wondered whether she  had any discussions                                                                    
with any private prisons, that  she had a relationship with,                                                                    
about housing Alaska inmates.                                                                                                   
Ms. Arduin replied that she  had no connections with private                                                                    
prisons and she did not have any conversations with them.                                                                       
Senator  Wielechowski wondered  whether  the department  had                                                                    
any  conversations with  any  out-of-state facilities  about                                                                    
housing Alaska inmates.                                                                                                         
Ms.  Robb replied  that the  conversations  were only  about                                                                    
whether beds were available.                                                                                                    
Senator  Wilson noted  no changes  in the  Judicial services                                                                    
line item, and wondered whether there  was a still a plan to                                                                    
have video court funding in  FY 20 and the implementation in                                                                    
FY 21.                                                                                                                          
Ms. Robb  understood that the  change in the law  still said                                                                    
that Courts "may" use videoconferencing instead of "shall."                                                                     
Senator  Wilson noted  that  in the  Matsu  there were  four                                                                    
prison  facilities.  He queried  the  intent  of the  Palmer                                                                    
Correctional Facility.                                                                                                          
10:05:04 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Robb replied  that there was no decision  made to reopen                                                                    
the  Palmer Correctional  Facility, and  the department  was                                                                    
currently gathering the cost of that facility.                                                                                  
Senator Wilson  asked about  the maintenance  and facilities                                                                    
of Highland Correctional Facilities.  He noted that facility                                                                    
had  seen some  problems,  and  did not  like  that the  TLC                                                                    
program had been eliminated.                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman queried the description of the program.                                                                        
Senator   Wilson  shared   that   TLC   was  a   faith-based                                                                    
recidivism-reduction program.  He felt that the  rate was so                                                                    
reduced,  and  did not  see  anything  about reductions  for                                                                    
substance   abuse    and   additional   services    in   the                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman  wondered if Senator Wilson  wanted to know                                                                    
the status of the program.                                                                                                      
Senator  Wilson  stated that  he  wanted  to know  why  good                                                                    
programs were moved out of the prisons.                                                                                         
Ms.  Robb  stated  that  TLC  was  moved  to  the  Anchorage                                                                    
Correctional Center.  The 37  men were  moved with  the men.                                                                    
The  program was  not discontinued,  rather  it allowed  the                                                                    
commissioner to  bring the  program to  the women  housed in                                                                    
the Highland Correctional Center.                                                                                               
Co-Chair von Imhof wondered  whether each commissioner would                                                                    
be participating and present in the subcommittee meetings.                                                                      
Ms.  Arduin  replied that  she  could  not speak  for  every                                                                    
commissioner, but assumed  that there would be  work as they                                                                    
are scheduled to be present at the meetings.                                                                                    
Co-Chair von  Imhof queried a  plan for implantation  of all                                                                    
the structural changes  that were being brought  for each of                                                                    
the  departments.   She  remarked   that  there   were  many                                                                    
correctional  facilities,  and  wondered  how  the  flow  of                                                                    
inmates would be within the different facilities.                                                                               
10:10:38 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Arduin  replied that there  was a plan to  address those                                                                    
details in the subcommittee process.                                                                                            
Senator  Hoffman remarked  that he  had requested  a general                                                                    
overview  of the  correctional  facilities.  He queried  the                                                                    
capacity   of  the   facilities,  and   whether  they   were                                                                    
overcrowded.  He queried  future  plans  for any  additional                                                                    
facilities in the upcoming four years.                                                                                          
Ms. Robb replied  that the facilities were at  an average 94                                                                    
percent  capacity  statewide.  She  stated  that  the  Yukon                                                                    
Kuskokwim was often near capacity.                                                                                              
Senator Hoffman wondered whether there  were plans to add an                                                                    
additional facility in the future.                                                                                              
Ms. Robb  replied that  there was currently  no plan  for an                                                                    
additional facility.  She stated that  the plan was  to send                                                                    
500 out of state, and  providing numbers on reopening Palmer                                                                    
Correctional Center.                                                                                                            
Senator Wielechowski asked whether  there was an analysis to                                                                    
determine if this was the most efficient system.                                                                                
Ms. Robb stated that  transporting prisoners to hearings was                                                                    
the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety.                                                                          
Co-Chair Stedman  asked about the status  of community jails                                                                    
in the budget proposal.                                                                                                         
Ms.  Robb replied  that  there were  15  community jails  in                                                                    
locations  with  no  institutions.  She  stated  that  those                                                                    
contracts were still in place.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Stedman asked  about the  money for  the community                                                                    
Ms. Robb stated  that it was essentially  unchanged from the                                                                    
previous year.                                                                                                                  
Senator  Olson  recalled   that  during  the  administration                                                                    
transition  period,  there  were resignations  requested  of                                                                    
some  of the  health professionals.  He stressed  that there                                                                    
was  a  nursing shortage.  He  wondered  how many  of  those                                                                    
health care providers were relieved of their duties.                                                                            
10:15:24 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman  also requested  the status of  the medical                                                                    
issues within the prison.                                                                                                       
Ms. Robb replied that nurses  were classified staff, so none                                                                    
of them  were asked to resign.  He stated that there  were a                                                                    
number of health professionals, and they were all retained.                                                                     
Senator Olson queried the status of the jail in Nome.                                                                           
Ms. Robb did not understand the issue.                                                                                          
Senator Olson wondered whether there  was a consideration of                                                                    
closing the jail.                                                                                                               
Ms. Goode stated that there  was no discussion about closing                                                                    
that jail.                                                                                                                      
Senator Bishop remarked that he  was the former commissioner                                                                    
of Department  of Labor and  Workforce Development,  and had                                                                    
worked  closely  to develop  job  training  programs in  the                                                                    
prisons. He  hoped to  see that  continue. He  remarked that                                                                    
Wildwood  had  assets  to expand  vocational  education  for                                                                    
inmates.  He   stressed  the   importance  of   the  inmates                                                                    
developing careers. He felt that  shutting down Wildwood was                                                                    
Senator Wilson  wondered whether  there would  be compliance                                                                    
with RIA funding.                                                                                                               
Ms. Robb agreed to provide further information.                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stedman asked for explanation of the program.                                                                          
Ms. Robb replied that it was the Rape Elimination Act.                                                                          
Senator Micciche  shared a  story about  when he  was mayor,                                                                    
and strongly  support the people  working in  public safety,                                                                    
and  correction officers  were  no  exception. He  requested                                                                    
that  the departments  notify  employees respectfully  about                                                                    
whether  they were  losing  their jobs.  He  asked that  the                                                                    
department conduct  a study  about how  to reduce  the costs                                                                    
for housing inmates in Alaska.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Stedman requested the cost of Goose Creek.                                                                             
Senator Micciche added that he  would like information about                                                                    
the existing facilities.                                                                                                        
SB  20  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
10:26:27 AM                                                                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 10:26 a.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
FY2020 Gov Amend Budget to SFC 2.15.19 Law DOC MVA JUD UPDATED.pdf SFIN 2/15/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 20