Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

01/25/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:32:26 PM Start
01:34:10 PM Overview: Alaska Court System
02:30:37 PM SB8
02:59:36 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview: TELECONFERENCED
Alaska Court System by Nancy Meade, General
Council
*+ SB 8 ACCESS TO MARIJUANA CONVICTION RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 25, 2019                                                                                        
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Lora Reinbold, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                             
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW: ALASKA COURT SYSTEM                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 8                                                                                                               
"An Act restricting the release of certain records of                                                                           
convictions; amending Rule 37.6, Alaska Rules of Administration;                                                                
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 8                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: ACCESS TO MARIJUANA CONVICTION RECORDS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BEGICH                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
01/16/19       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/19                                                                                
01/16/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/19       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel                                                                                                    
Administrative Offices                                                                                                          
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Delivered  an overview  of the  Alaska Court                                                             
System.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TOM BEGICH                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as sponsor of SB 8.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SYDNEY LIENEMANN, Ph.D., Staff                                                                                                  
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 8 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN, Director                                                                                                   
Partners Reentry Center (PRC)                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified during the discussion of SB 8.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY  HUGHES  called   the  Senate  Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:32  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Micciche, Kiehl, Reinbold,  Shower and Chair                                                               
Hughes.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
^Overview: Alaska Court System                                                                                                  
                 Overview: Alaska Court System                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:34:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
an overview of the Alaska Court System by Nancy Meade.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:34:58 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MEADE,  General  Counsel, Administrative  Offices,  Alaska                                                               
Court System  (ACS), offered  to provide a  brief summary  of the                                                               
Alaska  Court  System  describing  the operations  of  the  court                                                               
system and the  services it provides. A  specific budget overview                                                               
will be  given later  to the Senate  Finance Committee  by Deputy                                                               
Administrative Director Doug Wooliver,  and she handles the ACS's                                                               
legislative  bills before  the legislature,  she said.  The court                                                               
system  is  the  primary  component of  the  judicial  branch  of                                                               
government,   established   by   Article   IV   of   the   Alaska                                                               
Constitution,  often   referred  to   as  the  third   branch  of                                                               
government. The judicial branch  includes two smaller components,                                                               
the  Alaska  Judicial  Council and  the  Commission  on  Judicial                                                               
Conduct, which  are not related to  the ACS but impact  the court                                                               
system.  Article IV  of the  Alaska Constitution  established the                                                               
courts  as  a  unified  court  system, which  means  it  has  one                                                               
administrative  office.  Every court  in  Alaska  reports to  the                                                               
administrative office  located in Anchorage, which  has sway over                                                               
the entire  state. Alaska does  not have any  municipal, borough,                                                               
or  city courts.  Thus, the  administrative  office in  Anchorage                                                               
handles citations  issued by the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough police                                                               
or  Anchorage   police  departments.  She  paraphrased   the  ACS                                                               
mission,  which is  to provide  an impartial  forum for  the just                                                               
resolution of disputes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  said that  people sometimes confuse  the ACS  with the                                                               
work  of   Department  of  Law's  assistant   attorneys  general,                                                               
district  attorneys,  public  defenders   and  Office  of  Public                                                               
Advocacy (OPA) of the [executive  branch] under the governor, but                                                               
the ACS  is separate. She  works directly for the  Alaska Supreme                                                               
Court and  the ACS's administrative  director, not  the executive                                                               
branch.  As a  separate branch  of government,  the ACS  works to                                                               
provide an  impartial forum for dispute  resolution. She respects                                                               
the separation of  powers and does not opine on  policy issues in                                                               
testimony  or  otherwise  but  allows  the  legislature  to  make                                                               
decisions that will  be reflected in the statutes. Her  job is to                                                               
help  ensure that  laws  are  as clear  as  possible to  minimize                                                               
litigation  and  inform the  legislature  how  the policy  issues                                                               
might  be applied  or  impact the  criminal  justice system,  she                                                               
said.   She  clarified   that  she   also  does   not  opine   on                                                               
constitutionality  or  whether  a bill  represents  good  or  bad                                                               
policy,  except  in  very rare  circumstances,  for  example,  if                                                               
something might impact the operation of the courts.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:38:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE  referred to a  map in members' packets,  "Alaska Court                                                               
Locations, FY 2018," that identifies  the four judicial districts                                                               
in Alaska with the 40  court locations identified by "dots", with                                                               
superior and  district courts  indicated by  a larger  "dot." The                                                               
state  owns   11  ACS  buildings,  including   the  Juneau  court                                                               
building,   yet  27   of   40  court   sites   are  rented   from                                                               
municipalities,  organizations, or  private  parties. Turning  to                                                               
the  map,  she  pointed  out  the  four  judicial  districts  and                                                               
specifically  the  Fourth  Judicial District  to  illustrate  the                                                               
structure. She related that aside  from the superior and district                                                               
courts  located  in  Fairbanks and  Bethel  other  locations  are                                                               
variously  staffed.  This  district has  one  circuit  magistrate                                                               
judge  who  travels between  Aniak,  Delta  Junction and  Nenana,                                                               
while a  local magistrate  judge covers  Hooper Bay  and Emmonak,                                                               
and lower  level magistrates and  deputy magistrates  handle some                                                               
proceedings. Each judicial district  has one presiding judge with                                                               
jurisdiction  over   administrative  matters  for   the  specific                                                               
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She reported that the ACS  has 747 employees, including 73 judges                                                               
and justices, down about 70  positions from three years ago, with                                                               
a  budget of  $108 million,  largely consisting  of general  fund                                                               
dollars, representing 1.4 percent of  the state's budget. The ACS                                                               
receives  its funding  from legislative  appropriation and  has a                                                               
tiny amount  of grant  funding, she said.  Any money  received by                                                               
the ACS is deposited to the state's general fund.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:42:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE briefly  reviewed the  three levels  of courts  in the                                                               
system.  She said  the Alaska  Supreme Court  (ASC), the  highest                                                               
court,  consists of  five justices,  who elect  a chief  justice,                                                               
noting that the  current chief justice is Joe  Bolger. The Alaska                                                               
Constitution  allows the  chief justice  to serve  more than  one                                                               
term  but  not two  consecutive  terms.  The chief  justice  will                                                               
deliver the State of the Judiciary  Address to a joint session of                                                               
the  legislature in  early February.  She described  how the  ASC                                                               
handles  cases in  the state,  noting it  primarily functions  in                                                               
Anchorage but  travels to  Fairbanks and  Juneau several  times a                                                               
year to  hear cases in the  district in which the  dispute arose.                                                               
The  ASC also  performs community  outreach  at one  of the  high                                                               
schools every year.  Citizens have a right to  appeal their cases                                                               
and  the ASC  oversees  all  court appeals.  The  ASC also  takes                                                               
criminal cases by discretion. No  witnesses appear before the ASC                                                               
since  it  is  an  appellate  court.  The  court  issues  written                                                               
decisions  after  oral  arguments,  and  these  decisions  become                                                               
common law,  which is binding. The  ASC can adopt court  rules of                                                               
practice  and procedure  and administrative  rules. She  provided                                                               
types of  procedures, including criminal  rules of  procedure and                                                               
civil rules of procedure.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE turned  to the  court  of appeals,  which consists  of                                                               
three  judges with  jurisdiction only  over criminal  matters and                                                               
related matters  such as juvenile delinquency  or post-conviction                                                               
release cases. The Court of  Appeals primarily handles sentencing                                                               
and merit appeals, she said.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE said  the trial  courts  are divided  into two  types:                                                               
superior  court and  district court.  The superior  court is  the                                                               
court of general jurisdiction and  the court can handle any trial                                                               
issue that  may arise,  such as  felonies, child  in need  of aid                                                               
(CINA), probate  matters, and domestic  relations, she  said. The                                                               
district  court  can handle  a  subset  of the  cases,  including                                                               
misdemeanors,  civil cases  up  to a  certain  dollar amount  and                                                               
domestic violence petitions.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:47:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE  noted  that therapeutic  courts  are  special-problem                                                               
courts operated in six locations  in the state, including Juneau,                                                               
Anchorage,  Kenai, Palmer,  Fairbanks  and  Bethel. These  courts                                                               
handle cases  including driving while  under the  influence (DUI)                                                               
drug-related misdemeanors and felonies.  Some locations in Alaska                                                               
also have a  mental health court. She related  that Anchorage has                                                               
a veterans' court and family  courts. The goal of the therapeutic                                                               
court  is  to  identify  defendants whose  involvement  with  the                                                               
criminal  justice  system  stems   from  underlying  problems  of                                                               
addiction  to alcohol  or controlled  substances  or from  mental                                                               
health  disorders.  The  goal  of the  therapeutic  court  is  to                                                               
address  the  underlying  issues  to  stop  the  criminality  and                                                               
recidivism. She reported  that recidivism is about  a third lower                                                               
rate  for therapeutic  court participants  The therapeutic  court                                                               
program   is   resource   intensive  and   requires   interagency                                                               
collaboration  typically involving  a  judge, district  attorney,                                                               
public  defender  or  defense  counsel,  probation  officer,  and                                                               
social services  providers from  the ACS,  the Department  of Law                                                               
(DOL), Department  of Administration (DOA), Department  of Health                                                               
and Social Services (DHSS), and  Department of Corrections (DOC),                                                               
who  all work  together  to resolve  an  individual's issue.  The                                                               
person  must volunteer  for  the therapeutic  court  and must  be                                                               
approved as an appropriate candidate,  who typically will receive                                                               
a benefit, such as less jail time or fines.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE reviewed  the  various committees  and  groups in  the                                                               
court  system.  The  ACS  relies   on  collaboration  with  other                                                               
agencies  and  groups,  including the  criminal  justice  working                                                               
group (CJWG) comprised of the  chief justice and other high-level                                                               
agency criminal  justice system staff.  The CJWG's purpose  is to                                                               
identify and resolve operational  issues, hurdles and barriers in                                                               
an  open  environment. She  pointed  out  that the  ASC  recently                                                               
created a  guardianship committee to address  issues for Alaska's                                                               
aging population,  noting the increase in  guardianship hearings.                                                               
The committee consists of judges,  court staff, and the office of                                                               
public advocacy  (OPA) staff who  work to try to  solve problems.                                                               
In  addition,  the  federally-funded  court  improvement  project                                                               
aimed at  CINA cases  involves public  defenders and  other staff                                                               
who work  to address  CINA matters. She  reiterated that  the ACS                                                               
works  with many  other committees  and  administration staff  to                                                               
address issues related to the criminal justice system.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:51:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  said  that   yesterday  the  criminal  justice                                                               
commission  (CJC)  met and  today  the  criminal justice  working                                                               
group (CJWG)  will meet. She  asked for further  clarification on                                                               
the two groups and how they correlate their work.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  answered that the  criminal justice  commission (CJC),                                                               
established in [Alaska]  statute in 2016, sets out  who serves on                                                               
the  commission and  their duties  and tasks.  Its purpose  is to                                                               
study  issues related  to the  criminal justice  system and  make                                                               
recommendations to the legislature on  ways to address them.  She                                                               
described the  criminal justice working  group (CJWG),  which has                                                               
been ongoing  for many years, as  a group who primarily  works on                                                               
operational issues rather than structural  ones, for example, the                                                               
CJWG could assess  how a pilot project in Juneau  or Fairbanks is                                                               
being implemented.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:53:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  whether the  CJC and  CJWG are  separate                                                               
entities.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE agreed that the  two groups are separate; however, some                                                               
crossover between  the two exists  since some of the  same people                                                               
serve on  the CJC and the  CJWG. For example, the  chief justice,                                                               
attorney general,  and some commissioners  serve on  both groups,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:53:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE referred  to the pie chart in  members' packets titled,                                                               
"FY 18  Court Case Filings  Statewide," that represent  the ACS's                                                               
workload  and  case  filings  and what  happens  with  them.  She                                                               
referred  to the  top pie  chart,  which shows  the district  and                                                               
superior  trial   courts  combined.  She  briefly   reviewed  the                                                               
workload by case type, noting that  about 29 percent of cases are                                                               
civil cases,  23 percent  are criminal  cases, nearly  50 percent                                                               
are minor  offenses, and  3 percent of  the cases  are children's                                                               
cases.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE turned to the  superior court filings on the lower-left                                                               
pie chart. She  reported the 2018 statistics, that  28 percent of                                                               
the  case  filings  were  probate  cases,  consisting  of  mental                                                               
commitment cases,  guardianship and conservatorship  cases. These                                                               
cases relate to  people who are unable to take  care of their own                                                               
affairs so the  court must appoint someone to  assist them. These                                                               
two  pie charts  also show  the number  of cases  filed in  those                                                               
areas; however, it  does not reflect the amount  of work involved                                                               
in individual cases.  Probate cases often do not take  as long to                                                               
process  as felony  cases,  but these  cases  still represent  28                                                               
percent of the  cases filed. The 7,186 felony  cases represent 30                                                               
percent of the  caseload and the court  processed 5,000 petitions                                                               
to revoke probation  (PTRP). The PTRPs are  those individuals who                                                               
were placed on felony probation  but were brought back before the                                                               
court for  not complying  with the  conditions of  probation. She                                                               
explained that merely  looking at the figures does  not provide a                                                               
complete picture,  for example the PTRP  individuals are entitled                                                               
to counsel so the proceedings can be time consuming.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:57:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked  whether the 5,000 PTRP cases  are included in                                                               
the pie chart listing 30 percent felonies.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  answered no, that  they are  not reflected in  the pie                                                               
chart since these  cases retain the original case  number for the                                                               
underlying felony and are merely considered an extension.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She  continued her  overview. She  said  that domestic  relations                                                               
cases comprised 18 percent of  the superior court's caseload, and                                                               
these  cases include  divorce, child  custody, and  child support                                                               
cases.  Domestic  relations  cases   take  considerable  time  to                                                               
complete  since  they are  often  not  resolved until  the  child                                                               
reaches  18  years  of  age.  She  reported  that  the  ACS  also                                                               
processed 1,400 modifications to child support orders in FY 18.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:58:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  asked  whether the  1,400  modifications  were  in                                                               
addition to the domestic relations cases.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE answered that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:58:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE  continued. In 2018,  three percent of the  cases filed                                                               
were CINA  cases. She pointed  out these cases  take considerable                                                               
time  and  court effort  to  complete  and may  involve  numerous                                                               
parties,   including   guardians,  tribal   representatives   and                                                               
multiple counsel. Juvenile  delinquency represented three percent                                                               
of the cases filed. She noted  these cases are not prosecuted but                                                               
are adjudicated cases  for delinquent minors and  the division of                                                               
juvenile  justice   (DJJ)  follows   them.  The   superior  court                                                               
processed 2,452  general civil cases  or about 10 percent  of its                                                               
caseload.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  said the 98,518  district court filings  relate mostly                                                               
to  citations for  traffic  or fish  and  game violations.  These                                                               
minor offenses  resolve quickly.  In fact,  about 70  percent are                                                               
filed electronically with the court.  She noted the officers have                                                               
hand-held  devices  that  automatically transmit  citations.  The                                                               
district  court handled  21,232  misdemeanors,  which are  crimes                                                               
that are punishable by one year  or less in jail; these cases are                                                               
often easily  resolved by a  plea bargain. She pointed  out eight                                                               
percent are  domestic violence cases,  but these cases  are civil                                                               
domestic violence protective order petitions  and do not refer to                                                               
criminal cases.  These cases are  ones initiated by  citizens who                                                               
request a protective order against  a respondent. In these cases,                                                               
the district attorney  or the DOL is not involved,  she said. The                                                               
general civil  cases represent 8  percent and small  claims cases                                                               
represent six percent of the court's caseload.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:01:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  for  the dollar  cutoff  for superior  court                                                               
cases and district court cases.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  answered  that  cases  with  more  than  $100,000  in                                                               
controversy  are  handled  by superior  court,  cases  less  than                                                               
$100,000  are referred  to district  court, and  cases less  than                                                               
$10,000 is the  jurisdictional limit for small  claims cases. She                                                               
said cases  involving requests for equitable  relief are referred                                                               
to superior court even if the dollar amount is low.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE discussed  disposition of criminal cases.  Of the 7,186                                                               
superior  court cases  filed  last year,  about  65 percent  were                                                               
resolved with a  guilty plea, or plea bargain,  32.5 percent were                                                               
dismissed,  and  1-2 percent  went  to  trial.    In FY  18,  the                                                               
superior court held 138 felony trials, she said.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:03:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked for  a breakdown of  reasons 32.5  percent of                                                               
cases were dismissed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE replied  that she did not have  the specific statistics                                                               
but could provide  it if needed. She stated  that the prosecutors                                                               
dismiss  the  majority  of  the cases,  although  the  court  may                                                               
dismiss  a few  cases  due to  timing issues  or  on motions  for                                                               
illegal search and seizure.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE turned to the district  court and stated that less than                                                               
129 misdemeanor  cases or one  percent went to trial,  42 percent                                                               
were dismissed,  and 56  percent were  resolved by  plea bargain.                                                               
She  stated  that  plea  bargains  are  dependent  upon  lots  of                                                               
interrelated factors, including the DOL's priorities or funding.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:05:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  asked  for  clarification on  class  A  and  B                                                               
misdemeanors. She recalled that  Senate Bill 91 reduced penalties                                                               
for class  A misdemeanors  significantly from 1  year to  30 days                                                               
and  class B  misdemeanor  from 6  months to  10  days. She  also                                                               
expressed concern over the high percentage of dismissals.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  responded  that  she   could  not  speak  to  reasons                                                               
prosecutors  dismiss  cases  since  the  charging  decisions  are                                                               
solely at  the prosecutor's discretion. She  reviewed the penalty                                                               
provisions for  class A  and B  misdemeanors, noting  the general                                                               
reductions for the  maximum jail time imposed by  Senate Bill 91.                                                               
Generally, class  A misdemeanors are  punishable by a  maximum of                                                               
30  days   in  jail.  However,  AS   12.55.135(a)  outlined  some                                                               
exceptions,  including increasing  maximum penalties  for assault                                                               
in  the fourth  degree and  for class  A misdemeanors  related to                                                               
online sexual offenses  that are punishable by up to  one year in                                                               
jail. The  person's second offense  of a class A  misdemeanor can                                                               
be  punishable by  up  to one  year  in jail.  She  said class  B                                                               
misdemeanors under  AS 12.55.135(b)  are punishable by  a maximum                                                               
of 10  days in jail.  She recalled prior  to Senate Bill  91, the                                                               
penalty  for  class   B  misdemeanors  was  90   days  with  some                                                               
exceptions for offenses that could result in longer jail time.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:07:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD   asked  for   examples  of   class  A   and  B                                                               
misdemeanors.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE deferred  to the  Department of  Law for  more precise                                                               
information   but  recalled   that  the   most  common   class  A                                                               
misdemeanor is assault  in the fourth degree,  which is typically                                                               
placing a person  in fear of injury. She was  unsure of the types                                                               
of crimes that fell into class B misdemeanors.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:08:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES noted  that  the  DOL will  testify  later and  can                                                               
answer specific questions.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   MEADE  corrected   the  percentage   for  dispositions   of                                                               
misdemeanors,  stating 56  percent  pled guilty,  and 42  percent                                                               
[were  dismissed]  and  a  small percentage  went  to  trial.  In                                                               
response to  Senator Micciche,  she reported  that 43  percent of                                                               
cases were dismissed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:09:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE asked for the felony figures.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  reported the  felony statistics,  that 1-2  percent of                                                               
felony cases  go to  trial, 62.5 percent  result in  guilty pleas                                                               
and 32.5  percent of  felony cases  are dismissed.  She clarified                                                               
that  while the  court  collects statistics,  it  does not  track                                                               
reasons for case dismissals.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She  said  that  the  court  does  not  typically  track  trends;                                                               
however, she  did review data  from the  last 10 years  to report                                                               
today. The total  number of superior court case filings  in FY 18                                                               
at 24,048  represents the highest  number ever seen.  She offered                                                               
her belief that this figure is  driven by the subset of felonies,                                                               
which  also hit  a record  high in  FY 18  at 7,186  filings. She                                                               
reported that  previous felony filings  were in the  6,000 range,                                                               
then jumped  substantially in  FY 17  to 6,200  cases. In  FY 18,                                                               
felony cases increased by 500 cases more than in any other year.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She reported that the CINA  cases experienced increases beginning                                                               
in FY  15, when cases jumped  from 1,700 - 1,800  cases to 2,500.                                                               
She said  CINA cases  have held steady  since FY  15. Delinquency                                                               
cases have  gradually dropped every  year for the last  10 years,                                                               
from 1,200  in FY 10  to 750 in  FY 18. Domestic  relations cases                                                               
have slowly decreased  from 5,400 in the past ten  years to 4,300                                                               
in  FY 18.  General civil  cases have  remained steady;  however,                                                               
probate cases continue to  grow, especially for conservatorships,                                                               
due  to Alaska's  aging population.  She reported  that currently                                                               
83,000 Alaskans are over the age of 65, up from 55,000 in 2010.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:13:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked whether probate  cases included wills and how                                                               
it compares to guardianships and conservatorships.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE agreed that the  figures include probating wills, which                                                               
represents a  small part of  probate. She offered to  provide the                                                               
committee with  the exact  numbers but pointed  out that  all the                                                               
figures   are   in  the   ACS's   annual   report  available   at                                                               
https://public.courts.alaska.gov/web/admin/docs/fy18.pdf.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:14:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE  reported the statistics  for felonies,  beginning with                                                               
the largest  category for felonies: offenses  against the person,                                                               
sometimes referred to as "11.41  crimes" which is the chapter and                                                               
title set  out in statute.  In FY  18, the state  experienced the                                                               
highest numbers  of cases  of crimes  against the  person, 2,569,                                                               
which is  up by 400  cases from the  prior year. She  pointed out                                                               
that  these figures  represent case  filings  for crimes  against                                                               
persons, which  include homicides, assaults, sexual  assaults and                                                               
similar crimes. She has heard  the criminal justice working group                                                               
(CJWG) and  criminal justice commission (CJC)  caution that these                                                               
figures should not be used as  evidence of the crime rate because                                                               
the numbers  only reflect cases  filed with the court.  The court                                                               
does not know anything about arrest rates or reports of crime.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
She reported that  property crimes were also the  highest ever in                                                               
FY  18 at  2,508 and  include theft,  burglary, robbery,  vehicle                                                               
theft,  arson,  criminal  mischief  and  criminal  trespass.  She                                                               
pointed  out that  many cases  have more  than one  charge, which                                                               
means the  person being  charged often broke  more than  one law.                                                               
The court categorizes  crimes by the most severe  level of crime,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:16:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD said that property  crimes seemed lower than she                                                               
thought. She  recalled seeing vehicle thefts  in Anchorage exceed                                                               
these figures.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  said she was unsure  of the figures she  was referring                                                               
to but explained that 2,508  represents the number of felony case                                                               
filings for stolen property with a  value of $750 or greater. She                                                               
stated that vehicle thefts are  felonies and would be included in                                                               
these figures.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:17:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER offered  his belief that many  vehicles are stolen                                                               
by the same people, which might explain the figures.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  suggested the  Department of  Law (DOL)  could clarify                                                               
the figures on cases with multiple thefts.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
She  turned  to  the  third category  of  felonies:  felony  drug                                                               
crimes. She reported  that the ACS had the lowest  number of drug                                                               
felonies filed in  FY 17 and FY  18 at 330 cases,  and 371 cases,                                                               
respectively. In  FY 16, 1,000  felony drug cases  were reported.                                                               
She characterized the  trend for felony drug cases  between FY 16                                                               
and FY 18 as a huge drop.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked whether  the figures were  due to  changes in                                                               
the criminal charges  such that simple possession  no longer fell                                                               
under felony drug cases.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE responded  that she hesitated to say why,  but it could                                                               
well be the reason.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  offered her belief  that one could assume  by these                                                               
figures that the drug problem is going away.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  turned  to  felony  DUIs  [driving  while  under  the                                                               
influence], noting in FY 18, 276  cases were filed as compared to                                                               
577 cases in FY 10. She added  that the first and second DUIs are                                                               
generally considered  misdemeanors, with  felony charges  for the                                                               
third  or   subsequent  charges.  Although  these   charges  have                                                               
fluctuated somewhat,  she did not  think it reflected  the actual                                                               
DUIs occurring, but  rather that cases are  impacted by resources                                                               
and decisions  of what charges  to file. Other  felony categories                                                               
were less  common, such as  offenses against public  order, which                                                               
includes  riots  or gangs  and  number  about 100  annually.  She                                                               
reported that  weapons charges are  rising and the 240  cases [in                                                               
FY 18] was the highest ever,  although due to the small number of                                                               
cases  she  was unsure  if  it  was a  statistically  significant                                                               
increase.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:20:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  stated that  the ACS also  touches the  public through                                                               
jury summons. She reported that  the court summoned 21,000 jurors                                                               
in FY  18, including 3,500 jurors  for grand jury, which  is held                                                               
in  12 locations  in Alaska.  She  reported that  the court  held                                                               
fewer than 300 trials. She pointed  out the cost of jurors is not                                                               
insignificant  and  although jurors  are  paid  $25 per  day,  in                                                               
outlying  communities  the  court pays  travel  costs,  including                                                               
transportation,  food,  and  lodging.  For  example,  Bethel  and                                                               
Dillingham's extremely  high juror  costs last year  totaled $1.5                                                               
million.  The court  works on  summoning  jurors efficiently  and                                                               
appropriately, she said.  It has a jury  management committee who                                                               
works  on online  questionnaires and  finding the  most effective                                                               
use of jurors without disturbing  the public more than necessary.                                                               
She said  the court  system also interacts  with the  public, and                                                               
noted  last year  Anchorage  had 32,000  walk-ins  per month  and                                                               
Palmer had 6,500.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:22:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  asked for further  clarification on the  number of                                                               
jurors who are summoned as compared  to an estimate of the number                                                               
of jurors who  served. He further asked for  the overarching goal                                                               
and whether  it was for the  court to never  miss a day or  if it                                                               
was to  inconvenience as  few Alaskans as  possible. He  said the                                                               
figures seemed high.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  answered that these  figures are the number  of people                                                               
who  received the  jury notice  in the  mail, not  the number  of                                                               
people who  were called to  serve on a  jury. She said  the court                                                               
constantly strives  to balance inconveniencing jurors  and having                                                               
sufficient  numbers  of  jurors  serve. In  further  response  to                                                               
Senator  Kiehl, she  offered  to  try to  provide  the number  of                                                               
jurors who were called to serve.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:24:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER  said he spoke to  Ms. Meade a few  days ago about                                                               
this issue. He  related that the public perception  is the system                                                               
is bogged  down. He recalled  she thought perhaps  prosecutors or                                                               
other  areas of  the criminal  justice system  were bogged  down.                                                               
Since the  budget is going to  be an issue, he  asked whether the                                                               
court system has sufficient budget resources to do its job.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  responded that  the ACS has  been proactive  about its                                                               
budget  and only  requests what  it needs.  She said  the current                                                               
budget  request  reflects  the Alaska  Supreme  Court's  and  the                                                               
administrative director's  determination to fully  and adequately                                                               
do what  the ACS needs to  do. She said with  70 fewer positions,                                                               
the court  system's budget  is "bare bones."  The ACS  strives to                                                               
make less  staff not very  visible to  the public and  provides a                                                               
judge  for  criminal  trials  when the  parties  are  ready.  She                                                               
explained  that  four  people currently  perform  jobs  that  six                                                               
people  previously did.  She offered  her belief  that the  court                                                               
system was  doing a great job  at not being the  bottleneck. With                                                               
fewer resources, staff  might be behind in filing  and data entry                                                               
for CourtView,  which may be  frustrating for some  people trying                                                               
to  access  records, she  said.  She  reiterated that  the  court                                                               
system  tries not  to  have an  impact in  the  pace of  criminal                                                               
cases, which is what most people are concerned about.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:26:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  commented that  she had  heard criminal  cases were                                                               
backlogged, so she was glad to hear otherwise.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:27:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  said  it  is  likely  that  Alaska's  criminal                                                               
justice  laws will  be amended  this  year and  it will  probably                                                               
increase the  caseload. He  asked whether  the ACS  is evaluating                                                               
potential impacts.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  responded that the  ACS has not  seen a big  case drop                                                               
with the latest  round of changes to the criminal  laws. She said                                                               
the ACS  submitted zero fiscal  notes on the previous  bills. She                                                               
said  that depending  on  content in  the  [four] proposed  crime                                                               
bills, the  ACS will  try to  react to  potential changes  in the                                                               
caseload.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  highlighted one problem on  the Kenai Peninsula                                                               
has been  that judges are not  available in the wee  hours of the                                                               
morning when offenders are picked  up and that in many instances,                                                               
people are  released. He asked  whether the court was  looking at                                                               
availability of judges.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  replied she was  unaware of that problem.  She related                                                               
her understanding that  judges are on call  throughout Alaska for                                                               
bail  setting. She  acknowledged  that bail  schedules allow  law                                                               
enforcement   personnel    to   release   people    for   certain                                                               
misdemeanors,  but  not  for crimes  such  as  domestic  violence                                                               
without  judicial officer  contact. She  offered to  specifically                                                               
review this issue on the Kenai Peninsula and report back.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  asked the Department  of Law  representative report                                                               
to  the committee  on the  reason for  dismissals, including  the                                                               
32.5  percent of  felony cases  dismissed and  the 42  percent of                                                               
misdemeanor  dismissals.   She  further  recalled   questions  on                                                               
whether vehicle thefts were grouped  together. She also asked for                                                               
clarification on the drop in the  number of DUI cases and reasons                                                               
these cases might  not be coming to the court  since it seemed as                                                               
though DUIs continue to happen.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:30:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  commented that  when other states  have changed                                                               
their  criminal laws  to  something similar  to  Senate Bill  91,                                                               
these  states  also reported  lower  crime  rates.   He  said  he                                                               
thought  there was  a connection  between the  penalty reductions                                                               
for DUIs and the reductions in the number of cases.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          SB 8-ACCESS TO MARIJUANA CONVICTION RECORDS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:30:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 8:                                                               
"An   Act  restricting   the  release   of  certain   records  of                                                               
convictions; amending Rule 37.6,  Alaska Rules of Administration;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:31:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR TOM  BEGICH, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor of  SB 8,                                                               
introduced himself  and his staff,  Sydney Lienemann.  He thanked                                                               
Chair Hughes for hearing the bill.  This bill is identical to the                                                               
bill that  was considered,  passed, and  supported by  the Senate                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee last  year. This bill would restrict                                                               
the release  of certain  criminal records  for the  possession of                                                               
marijuana, which is a class  B misdemeanor. These crimes would no                                                               
longer  be  considered  criminal  based on  the  legalization  of                                                               
marijuana that occurred some years ago.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He  stated  that the  original  bill  was  brought  to him  by  a                                                               
constituent who works  on employment issues at  the Mountain View                                                               
library.  His  constituent  witnessed people  start  to  complete                                                               
their employment forms but not  finish the process. When he asked                                                               
why, the response was that  these applicants did not believe they                                                               
could obtain  employment or housing  options because of  a single                                                               
prior conviction related to a  crime that is no longer considered                                                               
a crime today.  He stated that employment and  housing issues are                                                               
critical throughout the state due  to homelessness and situations                                                               
in which people  find themselves unable to get into  housing or a                                                               
job because they made a single mistake.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH   said  SB  8  would   automatically  remove  the                                                               
conviction  from CourtView.  The  records would  also be  removed                                                               
from  some background  checks administered  by the  Department of                                                               
Public Safety, if requested by  the individual. It would not fall                                                               
on  the state  to  proactively remove  the  conviction; the  bill                                                               
places the responsibility  on the person. He  emphasized that the                                                               
records  would  be available  for  any  criminal justice  search,                                                               
including employment checks  related to the medical  field or for                                                               
those working  with children or  dependent adults. He  has worked                                                               
with the  Department of  Law (DOL),  Department of  Public Safety                                                               
(DPS), the  Alaska Court System  (ACS), and  non-profit providers                                                               
on  the  bill.  He  reiterated that  recurring  issues  adversely                                                               
affect re-entry programs  that work to ensure people  do not come                                                               
back  into the  criminal  justice system.  The governor  recently                                                               
spoke  about opportunities  for hope  and success  and this  bill                                                               
could  provide  an  opportunity   to  Alaskans.  He  reported  an                                                               
estimated 700 people would be affected  by the bill. He asked Dr.                                                               
Lienemann to review some of  the changes discussed for a proposed                                                               
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:35:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  stated  that  Representative  Hopkins  joined  the                                                               
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:35:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SYDNEY LIENEMANN, Ph.D., Staff, Senator Tom Begich, Alaska State                                                                
Legislature, offered to review proposed changes to SB 8 for a                                                                   
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. LIENEMANN presented sectional analysis of SB 8 on behalf of                                                                 
the sponsor, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                        
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1:  Describes the legislative intent  to reduce                                                                    
     barriers to  re-entry for those convicted  of low-level                                                                    
     marijuana   possession,  which   would  no   longer  be                                                                    
     considered crimes today.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. LIENEMANN  referred to page  1, line 9, and  stated that                                                                    
the   language  currently   states,   "a  criminal   history                                                                    
background  check," and  the intent  is  to clarify  certain                                                                    
types of  background checks since  this protection  would be                                                                    
limited  to  certain  parties  requesting  background  check                                                                    
related  to employment  and  housing,  but the  individuals'                                                                    
criminal   history  would   still   be   available  to   law                                                                    
enforcement and prosecutors.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. LIENEMANN continued.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2:  Prohibits the Department of  Public Safety,                                                                    
     and  any designated  reporting agency,  from disclosing                                                                    
     any  criminal  records  associated with  possession  of                                                                    
     less  than  one  ounce  of a  schedule  VIA  controlled                                                                    
     substance conviction,  covering both State  Statute and                                                                    
     municipal ordinance, if requested.  These cases will be                                                                    
     protected from disclosure  only if marijuana possession                                                                    
     is the  only crime for  which the person  was convicted                                                                    
     in  a   particular  criminal   case.  A   schedule  VIA                                                                    
     controlled  substance  considered  to have  the  lowest                                                                    
     degree of  danger to users.  Marijuana is the  only VIA                                                                    
     drug.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  LIENEMANN explained  that  this  prohibition would  not                                                                    
include any  search related to the  criminal justice system.                                                                    
She referred  to page 2, line  12, noting the DOL,  DPS, and                                                                    
ACS  suggested  replacing   "Notwithstanding,"  with  "In  a                                                                    
request under" for clarification.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. LIENEMANN continued.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3:  Limit  access  to  Alaska  Court  System's                                                                    
     records  of criminal  cases  involving convictions  for                                                                    
     possession  of  less than  one  ounce  of marijuana  on                                                                    
     Court View.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. LIENEMANN  explained that the departments  requested removing                                                               
the word "confidential"  [on page 2, lines 6, and  7] in order to                                                               
ease  the  ability  to transfer  records  between  agencies.  She                                                               
related  the sponsor's  intention  is  to replace  "confidential"                                                               
with similar  language from  Representative Drummond's  bill that                                                               
passed the House last year  that will remove defining the records                                                               
as  confidential.   She  reiterated  that  this   language  would                                                               
restrict this  information from being available  on CourtView but                                                               
would allow the  DOL, DPS, and ACS to have  ongoing access to the                                                               
records.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:38:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES related  her understanding  that  one problem  that                                                               
arose with  "confidential" is that the  ACS would not be  able to                                                               
release records to the DPS.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:38:42 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. LIENEMANN continued/                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4: Indirectly amends  Alaska Court System Rules                                                                    
     of  Administration   by  limiting  access   to  certain                                                                    
     criminal records.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR.   LIENEMANN  stated   [on   page  2,   line   17]  the   word                                                               
"confidential" would also need to be removed in that section.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5: Because Section 4  indirectly amends a court                                                                    
     rule, this  legislation will require a  two thirds vote                                                                    
     as described by the Alaska Constitution.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6:  Provides 120 days  for this  legislation to                                                                    
     take effect  after bill signing, giving  the Courts, as                                                                    
     well  as  affected  agencies,   time  to  change  their                                                                    
     reporting protocols.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:39:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  said he understands additional  work still needed                                                               
to be done on the bill.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:39:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  the record  to reflect  that other  concerns                                                               
exist. She referred to page 1,  lines 6-7, which read, "It is the                                                               
intent of  the legislature to  reduce barriers to  employment ?."                                                               
She referred to  the analysis of [Section 2],  which read, "These                                                               
cases  will  be  protected  from  disclosure  only  if  marijuana                                                               
possession  is  "the  only  crime"   for  which  the  person  was                                                               
convicted in  a particular criminal  case." She pointed  out that                                                               
on page 2, lines 3 and  12, the language reads "was not convicted                                                               
of  any  other charges  in  that  case  ?."  She said  that  this                                                               
language limits the application of  the restriction of records to                                                               
specific cases where  the possession is the  only crime resulting                                                               
in  a  conviction, but  it  ignores  the  fact that  an  existing                                                               
criminal history  involving other  crimes would remain  a barrier                                                               
to employment for that person.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
She asked for  the rationale for ignoring the rest  of a person's                                                               
criminal  history  if  the  intent   is  to  reduce  barriers  to                                                               
employment   for  people   convicted  of   low-level  misdemeanor                                                               
marijuana possession  if the  person's criminal  history includes                                                               
other crimes that  already create barriers. She  asked whether it                                                               
was possible to  reduce the number of people  that would [benefit                                                               
from having their records removed from CourtView].                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  answered  that  if the  only  crime  the  person                                                               
committed was  related to marijuana  and the record had  no other                                                               
crime associated with it, the  prior record would be cleared from                                                               
CourtView. He  said the person's  record would still  contain any                                                               
other prior convictions.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH, after a brief  reiteration of people charged with                                                               
a single conviction of simple  possession and those with multiple                                                               
convictions, said he understood her  point. He suggested that the                                                               
only reason  would be to  remove these cases  from the 700  or so                                                               
cases. He was unsure of the total number SB 8 would affect.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES said  in the  materials or  in discussion  of other                                                               
states, including  Vermont, he stated the  individuals could have                                                               
[the record] removed  by petition. However, Vermont  also set out                                                               
additional conditions,  including that  the person would  only be                                                               
eligible  5   years  after  sentence  completion   and  that  all                                                               
restitutions must  be paid. She  said that in instances  in which                                                               
the  person was  convicted of  a subsequent  crime 10  years must                                                               
have passed since the sentence  was completed and restitution for                                                               
all crimes  had been made. She  recapped that the bar  in Vermont                                                               
was much higher  than a simple petitioning the court.   She asked                                                               
whether he would be open to  raising the bar to be certain people                                                               
were  clean. She  asked  for further  clarification  on when  the                                                               
marijuana law passed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. LIENEMANN  recalled that the  marijuana law went  into effect                                                               
in February 2015.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH pointed out that Vermont  is not one of the states                                                               
that has legalized possession and  use of marijuana. He related a                                                               
scenario in  which a  person committed a  crime of  possession of                                                               
marijuana, first in  2012 and again in 2014. He  pointed out that                                                               
three years  has lapsed since  2015. It is not  currently illegal                                                               
for a person to use marijuana  so it would be difficult to assign                                                               
a criminal penalty, and he was  not willing to do so; however, he                                                               
offered to sit down to hold discussions with the Chair's office.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:45:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER asked  how plea  bargains are  considered in  the                                                               
bill. He said it  seemed like it might be a  loophole, but he was                                                               
unsure.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR.  LIENEMANN related  her understanding  from discussions  with                                                               
the court system, that the  final criminal record is reflected in                                                               
the court system's  database. She said if the  person was charged                                                               
with several  crimes but pled down  to the elements listed  in SB                                                               
8, the  charges would be  removed from CourtView.  She reiterated                                                               
that the  conviction would  still remain in  the system  for most                                                               
higher-level background checks, but it  would no longer appear in                                                               
CourtView.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:47:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  added prosecutors would  also have access  to the                                                               
records and case  file. He recalled that had  been discussed last                                                               
year.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SHOWER offered  to  discuss this  with  the sponsor.  He                                                               
referred to  the rights of  the employer and what  is restricted.                                                               
He would like  to better understand when the  provisions would be                                                               
specifically applied or  excluded. He offered his  belief that in                                                               
certain fields an employer needs  to know information about their                                                               
employees, for  example, in the Department  of Transportation and                                                               
Public Facilities (DOTPF).                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:48:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  asked  the  record   to  reflect  that  simple                                                               
possession  and someone  making a  mistake  is one  thing, but  a                                                               
person  with a  long history  of criminal  behavior is  different                                                               
since it demonstrates judgment issues  that a future employer may                                                               
wish to know about.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES concurred with that point.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:49:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   BEGICH  said   Senator   Micciche's   comment  was   an                                                               
appropriate one. He expressed a  willingness to work with Senator                                                               
Micciche to find a way to make it work.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:49:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD echoed Senator  Micciche's concern. She asked to                                                               
have  Mr.  Duxbury  come  before the  committee  to  provide  his                                                               
perspective on the  number of times an  individual uses marijuana                                                               
before being  arrested as well  as the  number of cases  that are                                                               
typically  dismissed  prior  to   conviction.  She  recalled  Mr.                                                               
Duxbury  discussed  on KTVA  the  percentage  of cases  involving                                                               
marijuana. He  also indicated marijuana  use was a gateway  to so                                                               
much more. She said  she is not an expert and  would like to hear                                                               
his views on marijuana use.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:50:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  expressed  her  concern  about  SB  8  creating  a                                                               
loophole  for the  18-20-year-old age  group, since  marijuana is                                                               
still not  legal for them.  She expressed further concern  that a                                                               
person  could permanently  lose eligibility  for employment  with                                                               
the state if  the person unintentionally or  otherwise conceals a                                                               
fact when submitting  a job application. She did not  want to set                                                               
up a person to fail.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[CHAIR HUGHES opened public testimony on SB 8.]                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:51:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CATHLEEN  MCLAUGHLIN, Director,  Partners  Reentry Center  (PRC),                                                               
offered  to  make comments  to  put  this into  perspective.  She                                                               
stated the PRC has served  7,500 high-risk high-needs individuals                                                               
who would be  homeless if the PRC had not  assisted them. The PRC                                                               
works  with  reentrants  whose parole  and  probation  conditions                                                               
mandate that they  not use marijuana. That  condition still holds                                                               
true  whether  marijuana use  is  legal  or  not, she  said.  She                                                               
offered her belief that SB  8 would only retroactively affect 700                                                               
people  and the  bill  does not  necessarily  affect those  being                                                               
served in the criminal justice  system. She related a scenario in                                                               
which the PRC wanted to  hire someone deemed as highly qualified,                                                               
but  the   person  had  previously   been  convicted   of  simple                                                               
possession  of  marijuana  10  years   ago,  prior  to  attending                                                               
college.  That banned  the  person from  being  employed in  this                                                               
industry,  she said.  She surmised  that SB  8 intends  to target                                                               
this type of person rather than the clients the PRC serves.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:54:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  for further  clarification  on what  she                                                               
meant by high-risk and high-needs individuals.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCLAUGHLIN  said the PRC  assists people who  would otherwise                                                               
be  homeless,  whose  chance  of recidivism  is  very  high.  She                                                               
related that Alaska has a 66  percent recidivism rate and the PRC                                                               
focuses on this population in  an effort to reduce recidivism and                                                               
enhance  public safety.  These are  individuals  with strong  and                                                               
lengthy  continual felony  and  misdemeanor  records. She  stated                                                               
that  the PRC  uses a  tool called  the LSIR,  that those  with a                                                               
score  of  29  or  higher  are  considered  high-risk  high-needs                                                               
individuals.  These  are  individuals  whose  criminal  behaviors                                                               
create a risk to the community when they are released, she said.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:55:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked her to explain the acronym LSIR.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCLAUGHLIN explained the acronym  LSIR helps the DOC classify                                                               
individuals  with  a  minimum, medium,  or  maximum  risk-leveled                                                               
behaviors. She offered to report back on the acronym.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:55:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked whether alcohol  was also on the  list of                                                               
conditions for parole or probation.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCLAUGHLIN  answered absolutely,  that the  court establishes                                                               
probation and parole conditions based on the underlying crime.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said she had  previously mentioned the age group                                                               
18-20  and  noted that  the  legislature  treats minor  consuming                                                               
differently for that age group, which is worth evaluating.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked whether the 700 individuals were statewide.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCLAUGHLIN said  she was referring to an  attachment by Nancy                                                               
Meade that gave a ball park figure.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:56:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  the sponsor  to provide  information on  the                                                               
proposed  700 people  potentially affected  by SB  8 and  whether                                                               
these individuals had other convictions.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:57:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MCLAUGHLIN reported that the  acronym LSIR refers to level of                                                               
service inventory revised.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:57:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER related  his understanding that the  people with a                                                               
higher risk and  a demonstrated behavior are  not necessarily the                                                               
ones that  SB 8 would clear,  since those are the  ones who would                                                               
present  problems for  employers, housing,  or other  issues that                                                               
the  public would  want  to  know about.  He  suggested that  the                                                               
potential 700  people SB 8  would address do  not seem to  be the                                                               
people that PRC treats. He said  it seemed like the intent of the                                                               
bill and the people she serves are like "apples and oranges".                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCLAUGHLIN agreed. She said  that none of the individuals the                                                               
PRC serves or who work with the center have only one conviction.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:58:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  closed public testimony on  SB 8. She held  SB 8 in                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES   made  announcements   on  the   future  committee                                                               
schedule.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Hughes  adjourned the  Senate Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                               
meeting at 2:59 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJUD Agenda 1.25.19.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
1.24.19 Agenda
SB8 VerA.PDF SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
SB8 Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
SB8 Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
SB8 Supporting Document - Leg Research Report.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
SB8 Supporting Document - State Marijuana Criminal Record Confidentiality Actions.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
SB8 Fiscal Note (AK Court System).pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
SB 8 Letter of Support ACLU.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 8
2-1-19 Letter to Sen Hughes re Prosecution Dismissals.pdf SJUD 1/25/2019 1:30:00 PM
DOL Response