Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/08/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:34:37 PM Start
01:37:05 PM Confirmation Hearings
02:47:21 PM SB54
02:58:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Attorney General, Jahna Lindemuth
Department of Public Safety, Walt Monegan
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 54 CRIME AND SENTENCING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 8, 2017                                                                                          
                           1:34 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator John Coghill, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Public Safety                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Walt Monegan                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Attorney General of the State of Alaska                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Jahna Lindemuth                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
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."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  54                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRIME AND SENTENCING                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/10/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/10/17       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/17/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/17/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/17/17       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/24/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/24/17       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/01/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/01/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/17       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/03/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/03/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/03/17       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/06/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/06/17       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/08/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JAHNA LINDEMUTH, Attorney General Designee                                                                                      
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the position of                                                                
Attorney General, Alaska Department of Law.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WALT MONEGAN, Commissioner Designee                                                                                             
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the position of                                                                
Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JORDAN SHILLING, Staff                                                                                                          
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Described the changes between version O and                                                              
version R of SB 54.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:34:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR JOHN COGHILL called the Senate Judiciary Standing                                                                       
Committee meeting to order at 1:34 p.m. Present at the call to                                                                  
order  were  Senators Wielechowski,  Kelly,  Costello,  and  Chair                                                              
Coghill.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^Confirmation Hearings                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                     CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
            Attorney General of the State of Alaska                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
1:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  announced the  first order of  business would  be a                                                              
confirmation   hearing  for  the   governor's  appointee   to  the                                                              
position  of   Alaska  Attorney  General.  He   welcomed  Attorney                                                              
General  Designee  Jahna  Lindemuth  and  asked  her  to  make  an                                                              
opening statement.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:37:26 PM                                                                                                                    
JAHNA LINDEMUTH,  Attorney General Designee, Alaska  Department of                                                              
Law (DOL),  advised  that she was  born and  raised in  Anchorage,                                                              
attended law  school at the  University of California  Berkley and                                                              
graduated in  the top 10  percent of her  class in 1997.  When she                                                              
returned to  Alaska she clerked  for Alaska Supreme  Court Justice                                                              
Robert Eastaugh  for one  year. Until  she accepted this  position                                                              
six  months  ago, she  spent  her  entire  career working  at  the                                                              
practice now known  as Dorsey and Whitney LLP  ultimately becoming                                                              
managing  partner  of  the  Anchorage  office.  She  had  a  large                                                              
commercial  litigation   practice  and  did  a  lot   of  attorney                                                              
malpractice defense.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
In 2015  the firm  took on  an Alaska  Innocence Project  case for                                                              
the Fairbanks Four.  That year she spent more than  1,000 hours of                                                              
pro bono  work for that and  some other cases. She  described that                                                              
work as  a call to  public service. That  is largely  what brought                                                              
her to  this position. After the  Fairbanks Four case  she applied                                                              
for  a position  on the  Alaska Supreme  Court. She  met with  the                                                              
Alaska Judicial  Council and was  recommended for the  short list.                                                              
She  interviewed  with  the  Governor  last  April,  but  was  not                                                              
selected  for  the  position. Several  weeks  later  the  Governor                                                              
asked her to take  the position of Attorney General.  It felt like                                                              
the right time  to make a change  and she accepted the  offer. She                                                              
said it has been an honor to serve the state in this role.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:40:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER joined the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:42:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  asked if she  is a servant  to the Governor  or the                                                              
people of Alaska, and how she balances those two things.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY  GENERAL LINDEMUTH  said she  serves at  the pleasure  of                                                              
the Governor,  but is  always cognizant that  she also  serves the                                                              
people. The  department provides  legal representation to  all the                                                              
state  entities other  than the  university and  railroad. One  of                                                              
the  main issues  in representation  is to  keep in  mind who  the                                                              
client is  in any particular matter,  she said. She  described the                                                              
three  hats she  wears as  attorney general.  She is  the top  law                                                              
enforcement  officer  in the  state,  she is  the  manager of  the                                                              
Department  of  Law,  and  she  is  a  member  of  the  Governor's                                                              
cabinet.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The Governor is  the top elected official she responds  to and she                                                              
views  that role in  a fairly  traditional way.  She provides  the                                                              
legal  analysis, advice  and framework  for the  governor to  make                                                              
the policy  call. She said she  doesn't want to make  policy calls                                                              
because  she  is not  an  elected  official.  She opined  that  is                                                              
consistent  with the  ethical rules  that lawyers  face when  they                                                              
involve the client in decision making.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL said  attorneys  general in  the  past have  issued                                                              
opinions  that carry  nearly the  weight of law.  Most recent  was                                                              
the  opinion regarding  the state's  taxing authority  on the  gas                                                              
pipeline. He asked if she had reviewed that opinion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL LINDEMUTH answered no.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL encouraged  her to look at it because  that issue is                                                              
likely  to come up  this session.  He asked  her understanding  of                                                              
her  role as  an advocate  for the  public and  what she  believes                                                              
legislators can do better.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  LINDEMUTH replied  consumer  protection  rights                                                              
and antitrust  cases  are for the  protection  of the public.  She                                                              
noted that  the Department of Law  recently hired someone  who she                                                              
believes  will   revitalize  the  area  of   consumer  protection.                                                              
Regulatory  affairs  for utilities  also  fall within  the  public                                                              
interest arena and the Department of Law takes this seriously.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  asked her perspective  on improving  the collection                                                              
of restitution for victims.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY  GENERAL LINDEMUTH  said  the Department  of  Law is  not                                                              
required  under   the  constitution  and  statutes   to  undertake                                                              
restitution for victims  and as a budgetary matter  it was cut for                                                              
this  year. The  Court  System decided  to  take that  on and  she                                                              
believes  it  will  likely  result  in a  better  result  for  the                                                              
public. Judges  will be  able to  deal with  it on a  case-by-case                                                              
basis when the defendant is before the judge.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL   asked  her  to   think  about  ways   to  improve                                                              
restitution and what the legislature can do to help.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:51:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL asked  Attorney General Lindemuth to  talk about the                                                              
reasons that the Department of Law has had to refuse some cases.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL LINDEMUTH  said a variety of issues  are going on                                                              
with public safety  while Senate Bill 91 changes play  out. One of                                                              
the  larger  pieces is  that  prosecutions  are down  because  the                                                              
Department  of Law  has had  to  cut prosecutors.  "That's one  of                                                              
those direct  correlations - the  fewer prosecutors you  have, the                                                              
less crime  that you  can prosecute." The  department asked  for a                                                              
flat  budget this  year  in  the hope  that  it would  not  impact                                                              
services. In large  part the hope was that this  legislature would                                                              
develop a  plan for fiscal  certainty for  the state and  then the                                                              
department would  come back and  talk about what laws  should look                                                              
like going forward to address public safety.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  said the  conversation needs  to take place  sooner                                                              
rather   than  later.   He  added   that  he   already  had   some                                                              
conversations  about  the budget  because  public  safety must  be                                                              
addressed properly.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:54:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MEYER asked  her  to discuss  why,  as one  of the  first                                                              
things she did as  attorney general, she joined other  states in a                                                              
suit against ExxonMobil over the issue of climate change.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY  GENERAL LINDEMUTH  clarified that  the amicus brief  was                                                              
on the issue  of states' rights, not whether  ExxonMobil should be                                                              
investigated for  issues related  to climate change.  The question                                                              
in that case  was whether an  outside company could go  to another                                                              
jurisdiction  to  challenge  the subpoenas  and  investigations  a                                                              
state puts  forward in an  investigation of that  outside company.                                                              
Basically, can  a Texas  court tell her  as attorney  general what                                                              
she  can and  can't  do under  Alaska  law? She  said  she has  no                                                              
position on  the larger  issue of whether  those states  should be                                                              
investigating ExxonMobil.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MEYER asked  if she supports changes to  the Ninth Circuit                                                              
Court of Appeals.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH said  she has  litigated in  the Ninth                                                              
Circuit and  she doesn't think that  court is amenable  to many of                                                              
the  state's  rights  issues Alaska  brings  against  the  federal                                                              
government. She noted  that is one reason that  Alaska joins cases                                                              
in other  states when it decides  to challenge federal  issues. As                                                              
a state  attorney general she doesn't  have a position  on whether                                                              
that circuit  should be  broken into  two, she  said. It's  more a                                                              
federal issue.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  asked her  to comment  on the potential  settlement                                                              
between Ahtna  Corporation and the  state [downgrading  the right-                                                              
of-way designation] from an R.S. 2477 to a 17-B easement.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH said  that litigation was  ongoing for                                                              
9  years and  about 3-4  months  before trial  the  state filed  a                                                              
pleading asking  the court to stay  the case to allow  the parties                                                              
to  talk further  about settlement.  While a  settlement isn't  in                                                              
place, there has  been enough negotiation for her  to be confident                                                              
that the litigation could be put off.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
She said that while  the attorney general has the  power to settle                                                              
cases, her approach  is to involve the clients. In  this case four                                                              
departments and  the governor's office  are involved so  she wants                                                              
all four commissioners  and the governor engaged  in talking about                                                              
the  framework and  the potential  terms. Her  role is  to make  a                                                              
recommendation  and give  the  legal framework  and  the pros  and                                                              
cons. She said there  are risks and benefits to  every action, but                                                              
everyone  felt comfortable  that  they  could reach  a  settlement                                                              
within the framework that was discussed.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Because negotiations  are ongoing  and litigation is  pending, she                                                              
said she  can't discuss  the details  of the settlement.  However,                                                              
she is  mindful of  the state's interest  in protecting  access to                                                              
the 24  mile right-of-way from Copper  Center to Klutina  Lake and                                                              
making sure  that the  things the  state considers most  important                                                              
are  part  of   the  settlement.  She  cautioned   that  there  is                                                              
compromise with  any settlement and she  hopes that at  the end of                                                              
the day  Alaskans will look  at this as  a win-win.  Neither party                                                              
will get everything it is asserting.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH explained  that Ahtna was  challenging                                                              
whether the R.S.  2477 right-of-way corridor even  exists. Even if                                                              
it does exist  they were challenging  the scope of use  - what the                                                              
state and  the public can do  on that right-of-way. A  little over                                                              
two years ago Judge  Guidi entered what she considers  a bad order                                                              
saying you  can drive from  point A to point  B, but you  can't do                                                              
anything along the  way. That would really limit  access. She said                                                              
she didn't want  to get into the particulars of her  advice to the                                                              
clients, but  she believes  that settling  to achieve  access does                                                              
benefit Alaskans.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
She advised  that rolling  the dice and  going to litigation  will                                                              
result in an all-out  win or an all-out loss.  That's something to                                                              
weigh,  she said,  because  an all-out  loss  would be  a loss  of                                                              
access  for  every  R.S. 2477  right-of-way  corridor  across  the                                                              
state. In  part because of Judge  Guidi's order, she  didn't think                                                              
this was the case to make that challenge.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH said that once there  is a settlement,                                                              
she would  be happy to talk  through the particulars of  the terms                                                              
and  her  thoughts  about  why   a  settlement  in  that  case  is                                                              
beneficial.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:04:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY  emphasized  that   he  didn't  want  the  attorney                                                              
general to  reach a  win-win solution. "Your  client is  the State                                                              
of Alaska and I  want you to win on this; and that  should be your                                                              
approach."  He asked  if she  had "pulled  the pin"  on the  April                                                              
24th or April 27th court date.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL LINDEMUTH said yes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KELLY asked  what advice  the agencies  involved in  this                                                              
litigation had and if they felt they had a good case.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH replied there were a  lot of different                                                              
people involved from  the four departments and all  the voices and                                                              
viewpoints were considered.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY  emphasized the importance  of R.S.  2477 rights-of-                                                              
way easements. He advised:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  don't want  you dropping  this case  and pulling  the                                                                   
     pin  before   we  get  involved   because  I'm   not  as                                                                   
     interested  in  process  or  win-win  or  anything  like                                                                   
     that. R.S.  2477 exists and  the problem we've  had over                                                                   
     the years  is getting governors  to assert. And  we need                                                                   
     to  make sure  all the  noise is  out of the  way as  we                                                                   
     assert  our state's  right on  R.S. 2477,  which is  the                                                                   
     federal law.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I'm not  going to claim to  know a lot about  this case.                                                                   
     I only heard about it  a few days ago, ¼  but it appears                                                                   
     as if you're  going to a settlement that  isn't going to                                                                   
     make  sense to  the State  of  Alaska. We  want to  make                                                                   
     sure  that what  we  have is  consistent  with what  was                                                                   
     given to us  in R.S. 2477 and not negotiated  to a point                                                                   
     where  we somehow  are accepting  less  than the  rights                                                                   
     the state was  given in ANCSA [the Alaska  Native Claims                                                                   
     Settlement Act of 1971].                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Point is,  we have R.S. 2477  rights. We need  to assert                                                                   
     those  rights and  we need  to make sure  that we  don't                                                                   
     diminish  what  R.S. 2477  means  in a  settlement  that                                                                   
     hopes to achieve a win-win.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     For   my  purposes   Mr.   Chairman,   as  far   as   my                                                                   
     participation  in  this committee,  I  need a  bunch  of                                                                   
     answers on R.S.  2477 before I will recommend  that your                                                                   
     name be forwarded.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:07:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  asked if Judge  Guidi's order affected  the federal                                                              
17-B easement.  His understanding  is the  state's right  would be                                                              
on the R.S. 2477 right-of-way easement.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH replied the R.S. 2477  easement is far                                                              
better that the  17-B easement for a variety of  reasons. The main                                                              
issue in  the Ahtna  case is  R.S. 2477.  She reiterated  that she                                                              
can't discuss  the terms  of the settlement,  but it's  not final.                                                              
She clarified  that this is not  an easement across  federal land.                                                              
It is an  easement across private  land so any court that  makes a                                                              
final  decision  on  the  case  will  consider  R.S.  2477  across                                                              
private land and the scope of use issues in that context.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL commented  on  the balance  between  the rights  of                                                              
private landowners  and the limited  access Alaskans have  to land                                                              
that traditionally had open access.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:10:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO  commented  on  the significance  of  R.S.  2477                                                              
right-of-way  easements  and the  impact  they  will have  on  the                                                              
state's  future.  She  asked Attorney  General  Lindemuth  if  she                                                              
sought input from  her counterparts in other western  states about                                                              
the best  approach  for fighting  for states'  rights on the  R.S.                                                              
2477 issue.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH said she  had not discussed  that with                                                              
other attorneys general.  Her focus has been on this  case and the                                                              
best outcome for the citizens of Alaska.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COSTELLO  expressed  surprise  at  the  answer  and  echoed                                                              
Senator Kelly's  comments, advising  her to take  a stand  and not                                                              
fear  failure. She  referred  to an  earlier  statement about  not                                                              
making  policy  calls and  asked  if  her  job is  different  than                                                              
elected attorneys general.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH said there  are pros and cons  to both                                                              
systems. A  concern she  has with an  elected attorney  general is                                                              
that  when money  enters  the system  there  could  be a  question                                                              
about  whether  one  entity  is  favored  over  another  based  on                                                              
campaign contributions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:15:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO  asked if  she  agrees that  as  a  member of  the                                                              
governor's cabinet she does influence policy.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH agreed  that as  a cabinet  member she                                                              
has the  opportunity to  influence policy  and when she  advocates                                                              
for legislation  she is making a  policy call. She  clarified that                                                              
when she  said she  doesn't set  policy it was  in the  context of                                                              
the  top law  enforcement officer.  It's when  she's wearing  that                                                              
hat that  she takes  the more traditional  view of offering  legal                                                              
advice  to  the client  and  having  the  client made  the  policy                                                              
decision.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:16:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY provided  a grammar  lesson on  the proper  uses of                                                              
the term attorney general.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  asked if  the state  should challenge the  transfer                                                              
of Native land into federal trust.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY  GENERAL LINDEMUTH  said  the state  has been  addressing                                                              
lands  in  trust  on  a  case-by-case  basis  since  the  Akiachak                                                              
litigation  ended.  Right  now,  just  one  application  has  been                                                              
noticed and  the state  provided comment.  In January  the federal                                                              
government  allowed the application  to go  forward and  now there                                                              
is a one-acre parcel  in the Village of Craig that  is held in the                                                              
name of  the federal  government for Craig.  She advised  that her                                                              
office  prepared a  hundred plus  page  memo on  the legal  issues                                                              
involved,  and  they  will  look   at  those  issues  whenever  an                                                              
application comes up.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
She highlighted that  Alaska is a Public Law 280  state so all the                                                              
state's criminal  laws and  all the  regulatory statutes  that are                                                              
prohibitory still  apply. For example,  fish and game  laws apply.                                                              
She opined  that this may be a  small issue in Alaska  because the                                                              
amount  of tribal land  that could  be subject  to application  is                                                              
very small.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  suggested she  and the committee  have a  follow up                                                              
conversation about the structure of Public Law 280.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KELLY  asked  if the  legislature  receives  notice  when                                                              
there is an application to put tribal land in trust.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL LINDEMUTH  said she didn't know if  it was set up                                                              
that  way but it's  a public  issue and  she would  make sure  the                                                              
legislature is apprised.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  asked  Attorney  General  Lindemuth  to  seriously                                                              
consider  the committee's  concern  about the  RS  2477 issue.  He                                                              
thanked  her  for  appearing  and   requested  she  return,  at  a                                                              
mutually agreed time, under the confirmation process.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
        Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:24:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced  the confirmation hearing  of Walt Monigan                                                              
for  Commissioner of  the Department  of Public  Safety (DPS).  He                                                              
asked  him to  discuss  his duties  and  the  reason the  governor                                                              
picked him for this position.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
WALT MONEGAN, Commissioner  Designee, Alaska Department  of Public                                                              
Safety  stated that  he served in  this position  once before  and                                                              
has spent  most of  his adult  life working  in public  safety. He                                                              
said he  views his duties  as being responsible  for the  boots on                                                              
the ground for  the enforcement of criminal laws,  the regulations                                                              
governing wildlife  resources, fire safety and  training, outreach                                                              
on issues  related to  domestic violence  and sexual assault,  and                                                              
the Police Standards Council.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He related a goal  he has as commissioner is  to strengthen public                                                              
safety for  every Alaskan  in the state  regardless of  where they                                                              
reside. He  acknowledged this  will be a  challenge due  to budget                                                              
cuts, but  he is looking  at long-term  and intermediate  steps to                                                              
achieve  this  goal.  He  highlighted  that  the  department  will                                                              
shortly be in  active discussion with the contractors  that employ                                                              
village public  safety officers.  He summarized  his intention  to                                                              
strengthen  the current system  and enhance  public safety  in the                                                              
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  asked him  to  comment  on  three issues:  1)  his                                                              
perspective  of Senate Bill  91 and  the proposed revisions  based                                                              
on  comments from  law  enforcement  and the  public;  2) what  is                                                              
happening  in the  area of  domestic violence  and sexual  assault                                                              
since  Lauree Morton  was  removed as  executive  director of  the                                                              
Council on  Domestic Violence and  Sexual Assault (CDVSA);  and 3)                                                              
what can be done to improve communication between agencies.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER MONEGAN  said he supported Senate Bill  91 in concept                                                              
because  the  current  system wasn't  working.  Change  is  always                                                              
difficult and  some tweaks are warranted,  but the bill  should be                                                              
given  time  to work  once  it  is fully  implemented.  He  stated                                                              
support  for extending  the  Criminal Justice  Commission  another                                                              
five  years  and   opined  that  law  enforcement   officers  will                                                              
eventually see the benefits.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Regarding Lauree Morton  and CDVSA, he said she  is an outstanding                                                              
advocate  and  great  resource,  but he  wanted  someone  in  that                                                              
position  who would  be  more  aggressive in  denouncing  domestic                                                              
violence and sexual  assault. "I needed somebody  more dynamic and                                                              
somebody   more  willing   to  take  risk."   He  reiterated   his                                                              
continuing  support and  admiration for  Ms. Morton  and the  work                                                              
she has done.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He said  he agrees  that communication  between agencies  needs to                                                              
be improved.  He described  the efforts  when he was  commissioner                                                              
last  time  to  improve  communication  in  the  criminal  justice                                                              
working  group and  his regular  conversations  with judges.  That                                                              
notion can be  extended to departments. He professed  his love for                                                              
the state and its residents.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  said he  shares that  love as  well as  the concern                                                              
that  some  people  need  public  safety, some  need  to  be  held                                                              
accountable, and some people need to change direction.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:37:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER observed  that Commissioner Monigan  has the perfect                                                              
resume for  this job. He asked three  questions: 1) if  there is a                                                              
policy the legislature  can and should adopt to deal  with the bad                                                              
element  in   society;  his   view  of   public  safety   and  the                                                              
corrections   system;  and   how   to  deal   with  drugs   inside                                                              
institutions.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MONEGAN said  education is  the element that's  been                                                              
missing  in the  policy dealing  with crime  and disorder.  During                                                              
the  formative  years there  is  time  to reinforce  what  parents                                                              
should    tell  their  children  about  respect  and  making  good                                                              
choices. He  noted that  he has  initiated conversations  with the                                                              
commissioner  of   education  to  discuss  ways   to  collaborate.                                                              
Regarding corrections,  he said it's  a large system and  there is                                                              
always some pressing  issue. Drugs inside the institutions  is one                                                              
of the  ongoing issues.  He expressed  his belief that  technology                                                              
will  eventually  help  with  surveillance  and  interception  but                                                              
right  now  dogs  are  being  used   successfully  to  search  for                                                              
contraband. He described  a current situation where  people on the                                                              
outside are  using slingshots  and drones to  drop drugs  into the                                                              
prison yard.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:43:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                            stth                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked how his  work with 1-12    graders  in the                                                              
Anchorage School District will affect his work in this position.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  MONEGAN  said  the  biggest  takeaway  he  has  from                                                              
working with  young people  is that they  have hope in  their eyes                                                              
and that renews  his energy. Kids all have their  hopes and dreams                                                              
and he  would like to  work with education  and other  agencies to                                                              
remove adverse childhood experiences to every extent possible.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:46:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  thanked  Commissioner  Monegan  and  requested  he                                                              
return,  at  a  mutually  agreed   time,  under  the  confirmation                                                              
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                  SB  54-CRIME AND SENTENCING                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:47:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced  the consideration of SB 54.  He asked for                                                              
a  motion to  adopt  the proposed  committee  substitute (CS)  and                                                              
expressed  disappointment that  his office  had yet  to receive  a                                                              
fiscal note for the CS.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:48:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  moved to  adopt the  CS for  SB 54, labeled  30-                                                              
LS0461\R, as the working document.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL objected for an explanation of the changes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
JORDAN  SHILLING,  Staff,  Senator   John  Coghill,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  described the  following changes  between version  O                                                              
and version R of SB 54:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6                                                                                                              
     AS  12.55.125(e)   -  Sentences   of  imprisonment   for                                                                   
     felonies.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Increases  the  presumptive  range for  C-felonies  that                                                                   
     are a  first conviction  from 0  to 120 days  to 0  to 1                                                                   
     year.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL asked about suspended time.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHILLING  replied the zero to  one-year term can  be comprised                                                              
of any portion of suspended or active time.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 10                                                                                                             
     AS  12.55.135(l)   -  Sentences   of  imprisonment   for                                                                   
     misdemeanors.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Provides for up  to 5 days of active imprisonment  for a                                                                   
     second  conviction of  Theft  in the  Fourth Degree  (or                                                                   
     similar  offenses), rather  than  no active  time for  a                                                                   
     second conviction.  Up to 5  days of suspended  time may                                                                   
     be imposed for a first conviction.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHILLING  explained that  the previous  version only  provided                                                              
active  imprisonment upon  a third  and  subsequent conviction  of                                                              
theft  in  the  fourth  degree  or  similar  offenses.  Version  R                                                              
provides  up to five  days of  active imprisonment  and a  term of                                                              
probation of up  to six months upon a second conviction.  A change                                                              
was also  made for a  first conviction;  version R provides  up to                                                              
five days of suspended  time for the first conviction  of theft in                                                              
the fourth degree.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL   added  that  the  Department  of   Law  supported                                                              
increasing the  level of the crime  to a class A  misdemeanor. "We                                                              
thought the  active jail  time and  suspended time would  probably                                                              
suffice."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:52:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER expressed  appreciation for the changes  in Sections                                                              
6 and  10. They address  the concerns  and frustrations  that both                                                              
the police and public have articulated.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL said  his  hope is  that this  will  not only  give                                                              
judges  flexibility  but also  provide  the opportunity  for  more                                                              
people to receive risk assessments and diversionary programing.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHILLING  continued to  review the  changes between  version O                                                              
and version R.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 18                                                                                                             
         AS 33.07.030(a) - Duties of pretrial services                                                                          
     officers.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Former   section  18   is  deleted.   It  required   the                                                                   
     Department of  Corrections to provide the result  of the                                                                   
     pretrial   risk   assessment   to  the   defendant   and                                                                   
     prosecutor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHILLING advised  that internal  work groups  are working  on                                                              
how  and  when  the  defendant  and  the  prosecutor  receive  the                                                              
results  of the  risk  assessment  so subsequent  committees  will                                                              
need to address that issue.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  added that cross-agency  work is ongoing  to devise                                                              
a solution and it  seemed best to wait and see  the result of that                                                              
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COSTELLO voiced  support for  increasing the  presumptive                                                              
sentence to zero  to one year for  a class C felony.  She said she                                                              
likes  that it  gives discretion  to  the judges.  She noted  that                                                              
John  Skidmore  [from  DOL]  also  emphasized  the  importance  of                                                              
flexibility.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   COGHILL  removed   his  objection.   Finding  no   further                                                              
objection,  version  R  was  adopted,   and  SB  54  was  held  in                                                              
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
Chair Coghill  adjourned the  Senate Judiciary Standing  Committee                                                              
meeting at 2:58 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS for SB 54 - Version R.pdf SJUD 3/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 54
SB 54 - Summary of Changes (ver. O to ver. R).pdf SJUD 3/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 54
Walt Monegan - Commissioner - Public Safety.pdf SJUD 3/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Jahna Lindemuth - Commissioner Law.pdf SJUD 3/8/2017 1:30:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing