Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/14/1994 01:35 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE March 14, 1994 1:35 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman Senator George Jacko Senator Dave Donley Senator Suzanne Little MEMBERS ABSENT NONE OTHERS PRESENT Senator Johnny Ellis COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 24 Supporting the governor's decision to authorize a suit against the United States government for violating the Alaska Statehood Act. HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 28 Relating to requesting the Governor to direct the Attorney General to undertake all available means to have the partial settlements agreed to by the state in Cleary v. Smith and the court orders issued in that case that impose required conditions of confinement and continued monitoring and oversight of the correctional system by the courts dissolved or modified. SENATE BILL NO. 220 "An Act amending schedule IIA of the schedules of controlled substances applicable to offenses relating to controlled substances to add the drug methcathinone, commonly identified as `cat.'" HOUSE BILL NO. 65 "An Act relating to the improvement of state finances through reduction of operating costs of certain state agencies and establishment of certain fees; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HCR 24 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION. HCR 28 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION. SB 220 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/9/94. HB 65 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION. WITNESS REGISTER Mel Krogseng, Staff Assistant Representative Ramona Barnes State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HCR 24 & HCR 28. Cheri Jacobus, Chief Assistant Attorney General Department of Law 1031 W. 4th, Ste 200 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1994 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HCR 24. Clarence W. Worth Juneau Police Officer Criminal Division 210 Admiral Way Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 220. Randy Crawford, State Trooper Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, Alaska 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 220. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-16, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HCR 24 (SUPPORT SUIT AGAINST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT) and invited MEL KROGSENG, Staff Assistant to the sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES to review the bill. SENATOR TAYLOR noted the bill before the committee was CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 24(JUD) am. MS. KROGSENG explained HCR 24 supports the governor's decision to authorize a suit against the United States government for violating the Alaska Statehood Act and the Alaska Statehood Compact. She read the Sponsor Statement: "When the Alaska Statehood Act was crafted, Congress guaranteed all attributes of sovereignty that were granted to all other states under the Constitution to Alaska. However, over the past few years, the terms of the Alaska Statehood Act have been violated by the Congress. These violations include withdrawal from development nearly 80% of federal land from which Alaska was to derive mineral royalties. Alaska is also the only state not allowed to sell her oil resources abroad. We are a sovereign state and we must not let our sovereignty be violated. The Statehood Act was an agreement between Congress and the People of Alaska and it cannot unilaterally be changed. We must stand up for our rights now and in the future." MS. KROGSENG indicated the pamphlet provided by the governor's office entitled DEFENDING ALASKA'S STATEHOOD COMPACT goes into greater detail with some of the violations of the Act. She deferred the remainder of the testimony to CHERI JACOBUS, Chief, Attorney General for the Department of Law who is handling the case for the State of Alaska. Number 049 SENATOR DONLEY asked why PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH did an Executive Order allowing the export of 250 thousand barrels a day of California crude, but did not do a similar act for the State of Alaska. MS. JACOBUS thought the only answer could come from PRESIDENT BUSH, but she thought SENATOR DONLEY had hit upon an important factor, that Alaska has been singled out for unique treatment. She claimed no other state, or court, has had a case such as the oil export ban, where one state has so clearly been discriminated against. She had no knowledge of PRESIDENT BUSH'S reason. SENATOR DONLEY asked MS. JACOBUS if she had consulted with MR. JOHN KATZ, Special Counsel for State/Federal Relations, as to the timing of the filing of the lawsuit, in relation to the potential of PRESIDENT BUSH considering an Executive Order during the period of time before the export act was reauthorized by Congress. MS. JACOBUS explained the decision to file the lawsuit, and the timing, was actually made by the governor's office in consultation with ATTORNEY GENERAL COLE. She said it was not filed without the concurrence and the support of the governor's office in discussion with MR. KATZ. SENATOR DONLEY asked MS. JACOBUS if MR. KATZ had given any information on PRESIDENT BUSH'S position on potential executive orders during the gap when the export act was in place. MS. JACOBUS said MR. KATZ had not given her any specific information as to exactly what he was hearing from PRESIDENT BUSH, bus she indicated discussions with the governor's office as well as ATTORNEY GENERAL COLE. SENATOR DONLEY asked if she had ever inquired of people in the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, or the BUSH Whitehouse why they didn't do an executive order such as was done in California for Alaska. Number 100 MS. JACOBUS explained there had been many conversations with the Department of Energy, and she said the department was currently doing a study on the impact of the oil export ban of areas such as California and Washington State. She claimed the Department of Energy has long been in support of allowing Alaska to export its oil. MS. JACOBUS said she has not had conversations with the Department of Justice other than with respect to the case itself, but she assured SENATOR DONLEY everyone was negotiating with the BUSH Administration, and has continued with the current administration. SENATOR DONLEY didn't think he had received an answer to his question, so he reiterated his question as to whether MS. JACOBUS ever asked anyone in the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, or the BUSH Administration why they did it for California but didn't do it for Alaska. She said she did not ask. SENATOR DONLEY said this was a very important question. He explained, while he supports the lawsuit, he didn't support the timing of the lawsuit. In a dialogue among the committee members and MS. JACOBUS, they discussed statute of limitations as to what kind, the litigation of the statutes, and the relevance of when the statute of limitations were filed. She concluded by explaining she was not a party to the negotiations between the governor's office and the Congressional Delegation. Number 150 SENATOR DONLEY thought it was a mistake to not have her involved fully with those doing the legal process. MS. JACOBUS clarified the timing of the lawsuit was arranged by the Congressional Delegation and MR. KATZ, and she understood the negotiations were ongoing. SENATOR DONLEY was not satisfied with the reasoning as presented by MS. JACOBUS, and she maintained she did not know why the Bush Administration made their decision when it was made. MS. JACOBUS said she did not understand the significance of the questions by SENATOR DONLEY on the timing of the lawsuit. SENATOR DONLEY said there needed to be testimony by MR. KATZ, but MS. JACOBUS didn't see how this would be related to the support of the two lawsuits. SENATOR DONLEY said his concern had to do with the timing of the lawsuits, not with the content of the lawsuits. SENATOR DONLEY said he would appreciate the opportunity to talk to MR. KATZ, because he thought all routes in the discussion led to him. SENATOR DONLEY indicated he had some serious doubts about the timing of one of the lawsuits, that the State would have gotten an Executive Order out of PRESIDENT BUSH if we hadn't sued him on the subject. Number 205 In answer to a question from SENATOR TAYLOR, SENATOR DONLEY explained there was a recommendation from the Department of Energy to lift the ban, but the Department of Justice said "no," because there was on going litigation. MS. JACOBUS objected to this line of judgment and said she did not understand the thrust of his question about whether the lawsuit was brought before the decision had been made by the Whitehouse. She reviewed her discussion with the governor's office and JOHN KATZ that the decision had already been made to not lift the ban, which was the impetus for the lawsuit. She continued to confront some of the arguments about the lawsuits with her understanding and apologized for her misunderstanding of the earlier questions. SENATOR DONLEY said he still wanted to talk to MR. KATZ about the timing of the lawsuit, and he thought it was an important question to the Judiciary Committee, since questions will be asked. SENATOR TAYLOR was not sure of the extent MR. KATZ would be willing to reply or disclose confidential discussions with his "boss." He said he would contact MR. KATZ for the information and announced the bill would be held over until next week. SENATOR DONLEY reiterated his support for the substance of the lawsuits, and he only wanted to know about the timing of the specific suit. SENATOR TAYLOR directed his aide to find out when MR. KATZ was available for teleconference. SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HCR 28 (GET CLEARY ORDERS DISSOLVED OR CHANGED) and invited MEL KROGSENG, Staff Assistant to the sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES, to review the legislation. Number 249 MS. KROGSENG explained HCR 28 was introduced to relieve some of the burden the Department of Corrections has encountered due to the Cleary Final Settlement Agreement and Order, and she quoted from the Position Paper: "In the early 1980's, several inmates incarcerated in Alaska's correctional institutions sued the state alleging that some if not all of the conditions of their confinement were unconstitutional. Although the Superior Court found no conditions of confinement at that time to be unconstitutional, it did find that the conditions might become unconstitutional at some future unspecified date. Despite the fact that the plaintiffs failed to present any proof of unconstitutional conditions of confinement, the court decided, and in some cases the state agreed, to allow the court to dictate the conditions of confinement either through the settlement agreements of the court's orders and decisions. This agreement required the department to hire and pay for monitors (at no small cost) to ensure that the conditions of the agreement were being met. Since the time the lawsuit was first filed, any potential unconstitutional conditions have been rectified and continued court intervention is unnecessary. With the state's declining revenue picture, we can no longer continue to provide more than is constitutionally required. HCR 28 urges the Governor to direct the Attorney General to take whatever steps are necessary to dissolve or modify the Cleary partial settlement agreements, court orders, and decisions in this case." MS. KROGSENG presented a list of 12 simple items that are required by Cleary to do, that are not constitutionally mandated. She explained the Department of Corrections thinks some of the items should be done, but they should not be required by a court order to do them. She listed some of the items such as: gate money of $150 per prisoner, a Mental Health Forensic Unit separate from the state psychiatric hospital, the purchase of eye glasses for prisoners who have been incarcerated 15 days or longer, and she said they were required to provide telephones. MS. KROGSENG referred to page 29 of the settlement agreement and directed the committee's attention to #5, "The department may not monitor the telephone call of a pre-trial detainee, ..." It was pointed out by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the floor debate monitoring could have prevented the Eagle River mail bombing. She explained many of the court orders are very costly and some should be modified or eliminated, and she quoted JERRY LUCKHAUPT, attorney for legislative legal counsel, as saying there have been two recent Supreme Court decisions which have allowed modification or dissolution based on declining state revenues. Number 303 SENATOR LITTLE questioned the lawsuit method to be used to get the conditions in the Cleary Settlement thrown out. MS. KROGSENG explained it wasn't a lawsuit, it was to ask the Attorney General to look at what it would take to modify or dissolve, but until it was decided what would be required, it would be difficult to make a decision to modify or dissolve. MS. KROGSENG quoted a conversation with an inmate presently on parole, who said corrections was broke, and was impacting Cleary. He said there were few incentives or motivation in the system for inmates to want to become responsible citizens. He used the lack inmate correctional industries as an example of what could be done to promote a responsible attitude among the inmates. She reviewed other methods used in the federal prisons, as described by the inmate, to bring about more responsible behavior. SENATOR LITTLE, in reference to one of the resolves which directs the attorney general to dissolve or modify the partial settlement agreements ..., asked what available means would be under taken. MS. KROGSENG said she had no idea, and she reviewed the lack of participation by the court in the original case. She thought the legislature agreed to too much that might have been curbed by the court. Number 350 SENATOR DONLEY explained this was a revolving area of the law, and he described some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions as far as changes to earlier decisions or agreements in this area. He also explained why he thought the resolution was well drafted. SENATOR DONLEY moved to pass HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 28 (GET CLEARY ORDERS DISSOLVED OR CHANGED) from committee with individual recommendations. Without objections, so ordered. SENATOR TAYLOR introduced SB 220 (ADD "CAT" TO SCHEDULE IIA DRUG LIST) to committee and invited the sponsor, SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS, to explain his bill. SENATOR TAYLOR noted the bill before the committee was CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 220(STA). SENATOR ELLIS explained the bill proposed to add to the list of controlled subsistence in schedule IIA the substance known as methcathinone, or "cat." He also explained it was highly addictive and an easy to manufacture substance. He was shocked to find cat was not currently an illegal drug in the State of Alaska, and he explained the extreme dangers of the drug. SENATOR ELLIS claimed there was considerable support in law enforcement around the state as well as the anti-drug community. SENATOR TAYLOR noted that CLARENCE WORTH of the Juneau Police Department and MARGOT KNUTH from the Criminal Section of the Department of Law present and in support of the legislation. SENATOR TAYLOR invited MR. WORTH to testify. MR. WORTH explained he has been a police officer for eight years, and for three years working exclusively with drug cases here in the Juneau area. He described being horrified at the realities of drug abuse and addiction, and as a result, he has dedicated his career to trying to educate kids about drugs. MR. WORTH said methcathinone is fairly recent in Juneau, and he has sent for additional information from the Alaska State Trooper Intelligence Unit in Anchorage. He also received information from the Western States Information Network, which is an information dissemination network working with police departments in the Western United States. MR. WORTH explained cat is easier to manufacture than an other of the controlled substances, can be made over night, can be made with very few laboratory supplies such as glass jars, rubber tubes, and a source of heat. He further explained it can be made from chemicals that are readily available including things such as draino, battery acid, epsom salts, and various paint solvents. He believes it is more addictive than cocaine and people can become hooked the second time they try it, which ranks it with crack cocaine with the power of addiction. MR. WORTH described cat as changing the personality of the user, being used for binging, and selling for about $100 per gram. For a $500 investment in supplies, the return could be $20 thousand, and he described the potential for being very damaging to our society. Number 415 Next to testify was RANDY CRAWFORD, a First Sergeant with the Troopers, permanently assigned to the director's office. He has a continuous work history in Alaska, and he said the bill was supported by the Alaska State Troopers. He reiterated the ease of manufacture and the terrible consequences, but he explained Alaska typically falls a couple of years behind in some of the designer drugs. He explained it was prohibited Outside in most states and he predicted the committee members would not want to see it in Alaska. MR. CRAWFORD explained the user groups Outside are college age students, but it has begun to permeate industries where there is a high degree of physical effort involved, such as the previous use of amphetamines by people who stay up for a great length of time. He said there were these kinds of markets in Alaska, and he offered to answer questions. SENATOR TAYLOR indicated MS. KNUTH had signed in and advised the Criminal Division of the Department of Law supports the bill. SENATOR HALFORD and SENATOR DONLEY suggested moving CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 220(STA) with a unanimous DO PASS. Without objections, so ordered. SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HB 65 (FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION OF STATE GOVERNMENT), the old fee's bill of last year BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR. SENATOR LITTLE asked how it came to be referred to the Judiciary Committee, and SENATOR HALFORD suggested sending the bill from committee without comment. SENATOR TAYLOR answered questions by SENATOR LITTLE and his reasons for agreeing to hear the bill. SENATOR TAYLOR called for a vote on SENATOR HALFORD'S move to pass CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 65(FIN) (FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION OF STATE GOVERNMENT). SENATORS TAYLOR, JACKO, and HALFORD voted to send the bill on to the next committee of referral, and SENATORS LITTLE and DONLEY voted to keep it in committee. SENATOR TAYLOR stated the bill would be sent to the next committee. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m. by SENATOR TAYLOR.