Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/10/2003 03:35 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 10, 2003                                                                                         
                           3:35 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 159                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to special medical parole and  to prisoners who                                                               
are severely medically or cognitively disabled."                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 159 (STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 2(JUD)(title am)                                                                                          
"An Act relating to the  statute of limitations for certain civil                                                               
actions  relating  to  acts  constituting  sexual  offenses;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED HB 2 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 158                                                                                                             
"An Act transferring the Council  on Domestic Violence and Sexual                                                               
Assault from  the Department of  Public Safety to  the Department                                                               
of Health  and Social  Services; and  providing for  an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
     MOVED SB 158 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 22                                                                                                              
"An Act limiting  the factors that may be considered  in making a                                                               
crime victims' compensation  award in cases of  sexual assault or                                                               
sexual abuse of a minor."                                                                                                       
     MOVED SB 22 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 85                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to sentencing and  to the earning of  good time                                                               
deductions for certain sexual offenses."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 85 (STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 119                                                                                                             
"An  Act  eliminating  the   Alaska  Public  Offices  Commission;                                                               
transferring  campaign, public  official, and  lobbying financial                                                               
disclosure record-keeping  duties to  the division  of elections;                                                               
relating   to  reports,   summaries,   and  documents   regarding                                                               
campaign,  public official,  and  lobbying financial  disclosure;                                                               
providing  for  enforcement  by the  Department  of  Law;  making                                                               
conforming statutory  amendments; and providing for  an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SB 159 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
HB 2 - No previous action to record.                                                                                            
SB 158 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/8/03                                                                                 
SB 85 - No previous action to record.                                                                                           
SB 22 - No previous action to record.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol, Room 516                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor SB 159                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Jacqueline Tupou                                                                                                                
Staff to Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                     
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol, Room 516                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 159                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Larry Jones                                                                                                                     
Executive Director, Parole Board                                                                                                
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 112000                                                                                                                 
Juneau, AK 99811                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 159                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Lietoni Tupou                                                                                                                   
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
431 N. Franklin, Suite 400                                                                                                      
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 159                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Kevin Henderson                                                                                                                 
Eligibility Program Officer                                                                                                     
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 159                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Robert Briggs                                                                                                                   
Disability Law Center                                                                                                           
230 S. Franklin, Room 209                                                                                                       
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 159                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Dr. John Robertson                                                                                                              
Director of                                                                                                                     
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
431 N. Franklin, Suite 400                                                                                                      
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 159                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Anna Fairclough                                                                                                                 
Stand Together Against Rape (STAR)                                                                                              
1057 W. Fireweed Lane #230                                                                                                      
Anchorage, AK 99508                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 159 and SB 22                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kevin Meyer                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol, Room 513                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor HB 2                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Laurie Hugonin                                                                                                                  
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence                                                                                             
130 Seward Street Room 209                                                                                                      
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 22                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Winifred Kelly                                                                                                                  
Tundra Women Center                                                                                                             
P.O. Box 2785                                                                                                                   
Bethel, AK 99559                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 22                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol, Room 504                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor SB 85                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Portia Parker                                                                                                                   
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
431 N. Franklin, Suite 400                                                                                                      
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 85                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Linda Wilson                                                                                                                    
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 85                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-18, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS called  the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 3:35  p.m. Present  were Senators                                                               
Dyson,  Guess  and  Chair  Gary  Stevens.  Senators  Cowdery  and                                                               
Hoffman arrived momentarily.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The first order  of business to come before the  committee was SB                                                               
159.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
        SB 159-PAROLE FOR MEDICAL / COGNITIVE DISABILITY                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked for  a motion  to adopt  the committee                                                               
substitute (CS) as the working document.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GRETCHEN GUESS  made a  motion  to adopt  work draft  \D                                                               
Luckhaupt  4/9/03  as  the  working   document.  There  being  no                                                               
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LYDA GREEN,  sponsor  of SB  159,  paraphrased from  the                                                               
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
     SB  159   gives  the  Alaska  Board   of  Parole  (ABP)                                                                    
     flexibility  to   grant  or  deny  medical   parole  to                                                                    
     applicants. Thus the board will  be better able to meet                                                                    
     the  needs   of  the  prisoners,  the   department  and                                                                    
     communities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The ABP  has a proven  track record in  their decision-                                                                    
     making abilities.  Over the past  seven years,  the ABP                                                                    
     has granted  parole to approximately 45  percent of all                                                                    
     the  discretionary parole  applicants. Less  than eight                                                                    
     percent   of  these   parolees   have  violated   their                                                                    
     conditions  (i.e.  missed  a   meeting  with  a  parole                                                                    
     officer) and approximately one  percent has committed a                                                                    
     new  offense. This  number  is particularly  compelling                                                                    
     when  compared  to  the  77   percent  return  rate  of                                                                    
     mandatory parole violators.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill will  allow the  ABP and  the Department  of                                                                    
     Corrections   to   work   together  to   determine   an                                                                    
     appropriate and  cost effective release plan.  The cost                                                                    
     of  health care  to the  Department of  Corrections has                                                                    
     significantly increased  over the last few  years. Some                                                                    
     of the factors causing these increases are:                                                                                
        · The increased population of terminally ill                                                                            
          inmates                                                                                                               
        · The recent Seward Highway accident on November                                                                        
          19, 2002                                                                                                              
        · Hospitalization   of   prisoners   for   long-term                                                                    
          assisted care                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     When making a determination for medical parole                                                                             
     the following are considered:                                                                                              
        · Department of Correction medical report                                                                               
        · The seriousness of the criminal offense                                                                               
        · Release plan                                                                                                          
        · Parole officer/DOC recommendation                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Passage  of this  proposed legislation  will allow                                                                         
     the ABP to use its  endowed power and authority to                                                                         
     make  responsible  decisions   regarding  all  the                                                                         
     factors mentioned  above, while  still considering                                                                         
     the safety of the community.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS said he  has visited several  prisons in                                                                    
the last  several months  and has  learned that  because the                                                                    
state  is   fully  responsible  for  the   individual  while                                                                    
incarcerated, the state may  face enormous medical expenses.                                                                    
This bill would allow those  seriously ill inmates to return                                                                    
home  or move  to a  facility that  provided less  expensive                                                                    
treatment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRED DYSON  noted the original law  didn't allow for                                                                    
parole for  someone who was  convicted and  incarcerated for                                                                    
sexually abusing  a minor. He  asked if it was  correct that                                                                    
this bill removed that provision.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GREEN said  it did;  that is  what the  language on                                                                    
page 1, line 12 does.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON  asked for  the  reasoning  for removing  the                                                                    
prohibition for paroles for those  guilty of sexual abuse of                                                                    
a minor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JACQUELINE  TUPOU, staff  to  Senator  Green, explained  the                                                                    
inmates  that   are  considered   for  medical   parole  are                                                                    
physically  incapacitated. Also,  not  all medical  parolees                                                                    
would simply  be released; many  would move to  other secure                                                                    
facilities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked where these  inmates would  be placed                                                                    
and would the type of crime come under consideration.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. TUPOU  said the bill  provides flexibility so  each case                                                                    
would    receive    individual   consideration    and    the                                                                    
determinations would  be different. Some inmates  would move                                                                    
to  another secure  facility and  others might  go home.  If                                                                    
parole  would  diminish the  seriousness  of  the crime  the                                                                    
inmate would be disqualified from consideration.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked the department to come forward.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  JONES,  Executive Director  of  the  Alaska Board  of                                                                    
Parole,  said the  Parole Board  sees this  as a  corrective                                                                    
bill  because  the 1995  legislation  is  overly tight.  The                                                                    
department can't legitimately bring  inmates to the board to                                                                    
implement  the  decision  making  process.  When  a  special                                                                    
medical parole applicant meets the  criteria, the board must                                                                    
act  quickly because  the person  is close  to death.  Since                                                                    
1996 they  have granted just  nine medical paroles  and have                                                                    
considered  just 14  cases. Most  died within  two to  three                                                                    
months of their parole. These  inmates are so critically ill                                                                    
they aren't  the same  person that  committed the  crime for                                                                    
which they were incarcerated.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In his judgment,  this bill would not  impact public safety.                                                                    
Every  year  the  board   makes  hundreds  of  discretionary                                                                    
decisions;   this  would   simply  provide   them  increased                                                                    
flexibility.  Medical   paroles  require  that  a   plan  be                                                                    
established  for each  parolee; inmates  wouldn't be  tossed                                                                    
"into  the  gutter."  These  people   are  still  under  the                                                                    
supervision  of the  Department of  Corrections just  as any                                                                    
other parolee would be.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Whether  a  parole would  diminish  the  seriousness of  the                                                                    
crime is always  a consideration and never  taken lightly by                                                                    
the  board. The  Board of  Parole  stands as  a very  strong                                                                    
proponent of  victim's rights. Victims  are notified  of the                                                                    
hearings and they may participate.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked him  for an explanation of  who is                                                                    
on  the Parole  Board, the  associated responsibilities  and                                                                    
the connection with the department.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. JONES  replied it is complex  and he would like  to hear                                                                    
the  question posed  more frequently.  The  Alaska Board  of                                                                    
Parole is an autonomous board  with five members that report                                                                    
to the governor. There is  a certain judicial requirement so                                                                    
there is  a geographic representation. Ethnicity  and gender                                                                    
are also considerations for  appointment. Members serve five                                                                    
year  staggered  terms  and   legislative  approval  is  not                                                                    
necessary. Members typically serve for more than one term.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The  board  travels  to the  hearing  sites,  which  entails                                                                    
considerable  travel.  They   don't  hear  mandatory  parole                                                                    
cases, but 96  percent of their hearings  are the revocation                                                                    
hearings  for  those  mandatory   paroles.  When  the  board                                                                    
travels  this includes  five board  members, two  staff, the                                                                    
parolee and attorney, the state  parole officer, the victims                                                                    
and the witnesses.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked how many  inmates might take advantage                                                                    
of a special medical parole.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JONES deferred to Mr. Tupou.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LEITONI  TUPOU, Special  Assistant  to  the Commissioner  of                                                                    
Corrections,   explained   the   board   would   review   13                                                                    
applications if the bill passes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked if that would save $500,000.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. TUPOU replied it would.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JONES  added the  savings would be  greater in  the long                                                                    
term.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. TUPOU  referred to  a spreadsheet to  show how  much the                                                                    
state currently spends on those  inmates. Under current law,                                                                    
the board would not hear these cases.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked  if  the  savings  would  come  from                                                                    
transferring the inmates from their present location.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JONES said that is correct.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked if the $500,000 is a medical savings.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JONES  said the impact of  this bill is a  matter of who                                                                    
is bearing the cost.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:00 pm                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN  HENDERSON,   Eligibility  Program  Officer   for  the                                                                    
Division of  Medical Assistance,  advised the  department is                                                                    
generally supportive  of the bill.  Part of the intent  is a                                                                    
cost shift  because many  of these  inmates will  be looking                                                                    
for  a  way   to  pay  for  continuing   medical  care.  The                                                                    
department  sees Medicaid  as the  likely recipient.  At the                                                                    
state level it  makes sense to put these  people on Medicaid                                                                    
and  get federal  matching money  for at  least part  of the                                                                    
costs. As long  as they are incarcerated the  state pays 100                                                                    
percent of the health care costs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He pointed to  the fiscal notes and cautioned  it was likely                                                                    
only nine of  the 13 would qualify for  Medicaid. Some would                                                                    
probably qualify  for expensive long-term care  and some for                                                                    
adult public  assistance. The  bill is a  good idea  for the                                                                    
state  but  it's  important  to   clearly  look  at  careful                                                                    
discharge planning  for each individual  to ensure  they are                                                                    
provided for.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LYMAN HOFFMAN  made reference  to  the fiscal  note                                                                    
from Health  and Social Services  and asked if  they believe                                                                    
Medicaid  expenditures would  grow at  just ten  percent per                                                                    
year. If that's  true, he asked how that fits  with the data                                                                    
on page 1 of the fiscal note.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON replied the fiscal  note reliability after two                                                                    
years is difficult.  They made some assumptions  that may or                                                                    
may not be true.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Historically  Medicaid costs  have  been  increasing at  ten                                                                    
percent or more  per year. That rate has nothing  to do with                                                                    
the 13 Alaska  inmates; it's just the rate  that health care                                                                    
is increasing. An assumption was  made that the nine inmates                                                                    
identified  as  likely to  be  eligible  for Medicaid  would                                                                    
continue to live and that there  would be a linear growth of                                                                    
nine   new  Medicaid   recipients   each  year   thereafter.                                                                    
Admittedly, those people are  medically fragile and probably                                                                    
wouldn't survive for years, but  he was reluctant to project                                                                    
just how  long they  would live. They  were unsure  how many                                                                    
inmates would be  medically paroled every year  or the level                                                                    
of care that might be needed.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HOFFMAN noted  FY09 costs  would  be $2.7  million,                                                                    
which  would be  $2.2 million  over and  above the  $500,000                                                                    
savings.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON advised him to look at the GF Match line.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOFFMAN  observed the breakeven point  ends in FY06;                                                                    
after which it would cost the state.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HENDERSON replied  the numbers  were probably  high and                                                                    
the  Department of  Corrections would  likely make  the case                                                                    
that all the parolees would not live five years.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOFFMAN rhetorically questioned  how many would have                                                                    
to not live that long for it to make sense.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  BRIGGS,  staff  attorney  with  the  Disability  Law                                                                    
Center  of  Alaska,  reported   they  provide  services  for                                                                    
Alaskans with disabilities  including those in institutions.                                                                    
With the  closure of the  Harborview institution  in Valdez,                                                                    
they  now  provide  protection  and  advocacy  services  for                                                                    
nursing  homes,   prisons  and  mental   institutions.  They                                                                    
believe  the bill  makes sense  in terms  of saving  general                                                                    
fund dollars.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He  suggested   amending  the  bill  to   require  discharge                                                                    
planning that  would address the  basic life domains  of the                                                                    
prisoner.   Because  the   intended   population  would   be                                                                    
functionally impaired,  a plan needs  to be in  place before                                                                    
they  are released.  Both Montana  and Rhode  Island require                                                                    
medical discharge  planning in the statute  that is parallel                                                                    
to what  this bill would do.  Appropriate discharge planning                                                                    
would also address the safety concerns.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Cost shifting  is good because  institutional costs  are the                                                                    
highest costs.  Some of these  individuals are likely  to be                                                                    
eligible  for home  and community  based  waivers meaning  a                                                                    
family member  could provide care  for the  individual. Care                                                                    
coordination  could  certainly   be  provided  cheaper  than                                                                    
services in a nursing home.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Berkowitz  pointed out  the language  on page                                                                    
3,  line 17  appears  to limit  the concept  of  who can  be                                                                    
discharged to those  who have a cognitive  condition that is                                                                    
impaired due  to irreversible dementia. The  medical officer                                                                    
for  the correctional  system testified  he  had no  problem                                                                    
eliminating  the  phrase  "due  to  irreversible  dementia."                                                                    
Based on  his testimony,  the House State  Affairs Committee                                                                    
eliminated the phrase.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHN ROBERTSON,  Medical Director  and Health  Services                                                                    
Administrator  for the  Department  of Corrections,  advised                                                                    
the inmates selected  for medical parole would  be likely to                                                                    
live less  than a year.  Although there has been  mention of                                                                    
cost  shifting,  all  ways  have  not  been  addressed.  For                                                                    
instance, some  inmates would  qualify for  veteran benefits                                                                    
if  they   were  out  of   the  state  system.   While  this                                                                    
legislation would  give the department and  the parole board                                                                    
more   flexibility,  each   applicant  would   be  carefully                                                                    
scrutinized and  wouldn't be  considered for  medical parole                                                                    
without adequate discharge planning.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOFFMAN  asked what he estimated  the annual savings                                                                    
to be if parolees lived between  six months and a year after                                                                    
parole.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. ROBERTSON admitted he assisted  in drafting the numbers.                                                                    
When he  reviewed actual costs  for the last three  years he                                                                    
found the state spent from  $20,000 to $500,000 depending on                                                                    
the  medical condition.  Statistically medical  expenses are                                                                    
the greatest at the end stage  of life and it isn't uncommon                                                                    
to accrue  a $200,000 bill  in the  last two weeks  of life.                                                                    
Another cost to  the department that isn't  reflected in the                                                                    
numbers is that while  the inmate is institutionalized there                                                                    
are associated officer costs. For  every day that someone is                                                                    
in  a   hospital  or  nursing   home  rather  than   in  the                                                                    
correctional system there would be  a salary savings for one                                                                    
or two officers.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SIDE B                                                                                                                          
4:25 pm                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ANNA  FAIRCLOUGH  from   Anchorage  expressed  concern  that                                                                    
sexual  assault offenders  might be  considered for  medical                                                                    
parole   under  SB   159.  The   proposal  is   particularly                                                                    
indefensible  with regard  to those  who committed  offenses                                                                    
against  minors.  She  questioned  whether  any  of  the  13                                                                    
inmates  that  might  be eligible  for  medical  parole  had                                                                    
sexually assaulted a minor.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  called Ms. Tupou forward  to address the                                                                    
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON asked  Ms. Fairclough  whether she  heard the                                                                    
response when he asked that question.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FAIRCLOUGH replied  she interpreted  his question  more                                                                    
globally  as  confirmation  that   they  were  revoking  the                                                                    
inability  to  release  sexual  perpetrators.  Her  question                                                                    
specifically asked  whether there  was a  sexual perpetrator                                                                    
in the group of thirteen under discussion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TUPOU replied  one  inmate was  convicted  of a  sexual                                                                    
offense of a minor.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FAIRCLOUGH  urged  members  to  be  aware  that  sexual                                                                    
offenders are  high repeaters  and even  though they  are on                                                                    
their death  bed they might  still present a  danger because                                                                    
they aren't  "hard wired" the  same. If they are  exposed to                                                                    
children  or  have  any opportunity  they  will  repeat  the                                                                    
offense. She  supported a discharge  plan and  asked whether                                                                    
there was a  definition in state statute  for corrections to                                                                    
use for "severely medically disabled."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She asked Senator Dyson to  pay particular attention to this                                                                    
bill because  it would be a  step in the wrong  direction to                                                                    
allow a sex offender back on the street.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS remarked he  was certain that was not the                                                                    
intention of the department.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He asked  Ms. Tupou to  respond to the  proposed amendments.                                                                    
For  discussion  purposes  he  labeled  the  discharge  plan                                                                    
amendment #1 and the irreversible dementia amendment #2.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TUPOU explained  the sponsor  has  no specific  problem                                                                    
with either amendment. She opined  amendment #1 is redundant                                                                    
since  the new  regulations  became effective  on March  29,                                                                    
2003.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS advised the  bill would go to the Finance                                                                    
Committee and  he would be  comfortable passing it  along in                                                                    
the  present  form giving  the  sponsor  the opportunity  to                                                                    
address the amendments there.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  stated  she  would like  to  hear  from  the                                                                    
Disability  Law Center  whether they  were comfortable  with                                                                    
the new  regulations. She  added Ms.  Tupou didn't  speak to                                                                    
amendment #2.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  asked Mr. Briggs to  comment on adopting                                                                    
the amendments or passing the  bill in the present form with                                                                    
the recommendation  that the  sponsor carefully  review them                                                                    
in the Finance Committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BRIGGS had  no  problem passing  the  bill without  the                                                                    
amendments.  That  the  new  published  regulations  require                                                                    
discharge planning,  he would take as  represented. Further,                                                                    
the point that Dr. Robertson  made that a medical officer be                                                                    
charged  to  ensure  there   is  appropriate  continuity  of                                                                    
service is reasonable and makes his job easier.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
There were no further questions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked for  a  motion to  move the  bill                                                                    
without amendments.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  made a motion  to move SB 159  from committee                                                                    
with attached fiscal notes with individual recommendations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS   added  the   points  Ms.   Fairclough  made                                                                    
regarding sex offenders were valid  and she would appreciate                                                                    
the sponsor's attention on the issue.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, SB 159 moved from committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      HB   2-CIVIL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS/SEX OFFENSES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN MEYER,  bill  sponsor, explained  this                                                                    
was a  cleanup bill  and was brought  to their  attention by                                                                    
the  Revisor of  Statutes. It  clarifies which  misdemeanors                                                                    
and  which  felonies  involving sexual  assault  and  sexual                                                                    
abuse of a  minor should have a three year  civil statute of                                                                    
limitations   and   which   should  have   no   statute   of                                                                    
limitations. In  the original bill,  HB 210, his  intent was                                                                    
to  drop  the criminal  statute  of  limitations for  felony                                                                    
sexual assault  and sexual  abuse of a  minor. The  bill was                                                                    
amended  on  the  floor  to include  the  civil  statute  of                                                                    
limitations  as well.  Inadvertently,  the amendment  didn't                                                                    
reference felony sexual  abuse of a minor  and felony sexual                                                                    
assault to any  particular sections of the  criminal code so                                                                    
it was  uncertain which felonies were  intended. Because the                                                                    
amendment didn't  make any  provision for  misdemeanors, all                                                                    
the misdemeanors dropped from three years to two years.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The crimes that were  inadvertently changed were misdemeanor                                                                    
sexual  assault,  misdemeanor  sexual   abuse  of  a  minor,                                                                    
incest, felony indecent  exposure, and unlawful exploitation                                                                    
of  a minor.  Prior to  the floor  amendment the  statute of                                                                    
limitations for  these crimes was three  years. In addition,                                                                    
unlawful  exploitation  of  a  minor, which  is  a  class  B                                                                    
felony, would have no statute of limitations.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The  bill  has  a  retroactive clause  because  they  didn't                                                                    
intend for the indirect change that occurred.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRED  DYSON  assumed the  Department  of  Law,  the                                                                    
Attorney General and the Department  of Public Safety agreed                                                                    
with the bill.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYERS assured  him  that  was correct.  Ms.                                                                    
Finley  would ordinarily  have been  present  as Revisor  of                                                                    
Statutes, but she had another commitment.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON made  a  motion  to move  CSHB  2 (JUD)  from                                                                    
committee with individual  recommendations and attached zero                                                                    
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
      SB  22-CRIME VICTIMS' COMP.:SEXUAL ABUSE/ASSAULT                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GRETCHEN  GUESS, bill sponsor, paraphrased  from the                                                                    
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
     When the  state established  Victims' Compensation                                                                         
     Board over  20 years age, it  ensured the victim's                                                                         
     role  in  the  crime   would  be  considered.  For                                                                         
     example, if  someone started a  bar brawl  and was                                                                         
     hurt, their  case could be denied  by the Victims'                                                                         
     Compensation Board.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The  unintended consequence  of this  language was                                                                         
     child abuse  and sexual  assault victims  could be                                                                         
     denied  funding if  the board  found them  to have                                                                         
     contributed  to the  circumstances  of the  crime.                                                                         
     For example,  a victim of sexual  assault could be                                                                         
     denied  because they  were drinking  the night  of                                                                         
     their sexual assault.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Implying  a  victim   of  sexual  assault  somehow                                                                         
     deserved or  played a role in  being victimized is                                                                         
     in  direct  opposition to  what  we  believe as  a                                                                         
     community  - a  victim  of child  abuse of  sexual                                                                         
     assault has  not done anything to  bring the crime                                                                         
     on him or herself.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Toward  fixing  this unintended  consequence,  the                                                                         
     language of this bill does the following:                                                                                  
         · Ensures compensation is not denied based on                                                                          
           considerations of provocation, the use of                                                                            
             alcohol or drugs, or the prior social                                                                              
           history of the victim.                                                                                               
         · Retains    the    current    language    for                                                                         
           compensation criteria for all other crimes                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The victim's compensation  board is funded 60                                                                              
     percent  by state  government and  40 percent                                                                              
     by  federal government.  The 60  percent from                                                                              
     the  state government  comes from  garnishing                                                                              
     felon's   permanent  fund   dividend  checks.                                                                              
     Given  the nature  of the  funding mechanism,                                                                              
     the  fiscal  note   from  the  Department  of                                                                              
     Public Safety will be zero.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There were no questions.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LAURIE HUGONIN, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and                                                                         
Sexual Assault representative, testified in support of SB                                                                       
22 and read the following into the record:                                                                                      
     We  wish the  day would  have long  come and  gone                                                                         
     when  victims  of  sexual assault  were  routinely                                                                         
     questioned or somehow made  to feel guilty because                                                                         
     of  the clothes  they chose  to wear  or the  fact                                                                         
     that they may  have had a drink or  that there may                                                                         
     be  something in  their past  they  wish they  had                                                                         
     done  differently.  None  of  those  things  cause                                                                         
     perpetrators  to   commit  the  crime   of  sexual                                                                         
     assault    or    contribute    to    the    crime.                                                                         
     Unfortunately,  the  Violent  Crimes  Compensation                                                                         
     Board still has similar  items listed as things to                                                                         
     be considered  when determining whether or  not to                                                                         
     grant  compensation to  victims of  sexual assault                                                                         
     or sexual abuse of  a minor. It's difficult enough                                                                         
     to come forward as a  victim of sexual assault and                                                                         
     try  to find  some  approximate justice.  Victim's                                                                         
     journeys  are made  more difficult  when parts  of                                                                         
     the  system  rely on  myths  to  respond to  these                                                                         
     crimes.  The  bill  helps stop  that  practice  of                                                                         
     victim blaming and  we thank you for  your work to                                                                         
     help  increase  the  availability  of  justice  to                                                                         
     these victims.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   JOHN  COWDERY   asked   how   many  requests   for                                                                    
compensation  had  been  rejected because  of  the  victim's                                                                    
actions regarding drug use.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS replied last year  the total number denied for                                                                    
any reason was about six.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.   HUGONIN  didn't   know   the   specific  number,   but                                                                    
anecdotally two or  three a year come to  their attention as                                                                    
problematic.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked what the typical award amounted to.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS said  it's based on the costs  incurred by the                                                                    
victim.  All   the  funds  for  violent   crimes  come  from                                                                    
Permanent Fund Dividends.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRED  DYSON  announced   he  has  knowledge  and  a                                                                    
conflict  of interest  because his  wife is  a marriage  and                                                                    
family  counselor and  a significant  number of  her clients                                                                    
are  sexual assault  or sexual  abuse victims  and a  few of                                                                    
them are compensated through this program.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANNA  FAIRCLOUGH,  Executive   Director  of  STAR  (Standing                                                                    
Together Against Rape), testified in  support of SB 22. Rape                                                                    
is an act  of violence perpetrated against  a person's body,                                                                    
soul, and personal  identity. No one, no matter  what his or                                                                    
her personal history deserves to  bear that. When a minor is                                                                    
victimized  sexually   they  need  to  be   shown  that  the                                                                    
perpetrator is  the one  responsible for  the crime  and not                                                                    
the victim.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She emphasized  that if one  victim is  denied compensation,                                                                    
it is  one victim too  many. Several  times a year  they see                                                                    
victims that have been revictimized  and because alcohol was                                                                    
involved  in the  crime they  were denied  compensation. She                                                                    
stressed,  "It   is  the  perpetrator's  fault   it  is  the                                                                    
perpetrator's crime  and they  need to  be convicted  and we                                                                    
need to help these victims."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Winifred  Kelly,  from the  Tundra  Women  Center in  Bethel                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  SB   22.  Victims  shouldn't  be                                                                    
discriminated  against  based on  their  history  or use  of                                                                    
alcohol or drugs. A violent crime is a violent crime.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Two other testifiers  had to leave before they  were able to                                                                    
give testimony.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion to move the bill.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  made  a motion  and  asked  for  unanimous                                                                    
consent  to move  SB  22 from  committee  with the  attached                                                                    
fiscal note. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
        SB 158-MOVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COUNCIL TO DHSS                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  announced  the  sponsor,  Senator  Ben                                                                    
Stevens,  asked  that  the  bill  be  moved  to  the  Health                                                                    
Education and  Social Services  Committee. His  intention is                                                                    
to hold it there this year for further study.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  JOHN COWDERY  made a  motion  to move  SB 158  from                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GRETCHEN GUESS  objected.  She  said Senator  Dyson                                                                    
[HESS  Chair]   assured  her  there   would  be   some  good                                                                    
productive conversation  in the community, but  at this time                                                                    
she  doesn't agree  with  the  bill so  an  objection is  in                                                                    
order. She elaborated:                                                                                                          
     We've been talking a lot  about sexual assault and                                                                         
     we have one more bill on  it. It is a crime and to                                                                         
     those of  us in  the community,  we believe  it is                                                                         
     appropriate in  Public Safety because it  is not a                                                                         
     health issue. It's a public safety issue.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  clarified he  did not  intend to  address the                                                                    
bill [in the  HESS Committee] this year, but  he didn't mean                                                                    
to infer that  there might not be some  action next session.                                                                    
He's committed  to work  on the bill  during the  interim to                                                                    
determine the best direction.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked for  a roll  call. The  objection                                                                    
failed with Senators Dyson, Cowdery,  Hoffman and Chair Gary                                                                    
Stevens voting yea and Senator Guess voting nay.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 158 moved from committee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
             SB  85-REPEAT SERIOUS SEX OFFENSES                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked Senator  French to  introduce the                                                                    
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS  FRENCH, bill  sponsor, paraphrased  from the                                                                    
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
     CS SB 85 has two  purposes: first, to increase the                                                                         
     penalties  for repeat  sex offenders  and, second,                                                                         
     to  add repeat  sexual  offenders to  the list  of                                                                         
     those who are  not eligible to earn  a "good time"                                                                         
     reduction of their terms.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     SB 85  is designed  to treat repeat  sex offenders                                                                         
     differently  from  other repeat  felons.  Research                                                                         
     has  shown  that  sexual offenders  are  not  like                                                                         
     other offenders. As noted  in a National Institute                                                                         
     of  Justice  (NIJ)  research  report  on  managing                                                                         
     adult  sex  offenders,   sex  crimes  flourish  in                                                                         
     secrecy.  Many  offenders   are  otherwise  highly                                                                         
     functioning and use their  social skills to commit                                                                         
     their crimes  and to  manipulate both  victims and                                                                         
     criminal  justice officials.  Offenders are  often                                                                         
     very accomplished at  presenting a façade designed                                                                         
     to  hide  the  truth about  themselves.  Many  sex                                                                         
     offenders commit a wide range  and large number of                                                                         
     sexually deviant acts during  their lives and show                                                                         
     a continued  propensity to  offend. The  NIJ study                                                                         
     concludes  that  adult  offenders who  commit  sex                                                                         
     crimes should be  managed, treated, and supervised                                                                         
     differently from other criminals.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Current statutory  guidelines in  Alaska, however,                                                                         
     treat all two-time felons as  though they were the                                                                         
     same, that  is, all  prior felony  convictions are                                                                         
     given   equal  weight   when   an  individual   is                                                                         
     sentenced on  a new offense. For  example, a judge                                                                         
     sentencing a person convicted  of a second forgery                                                                         
     or a  second sexual  offense has to  operate under                                                                         
     the same sentencing  guidelines. SB 85 establishes                                                                         
     a separate, and more  stringent, set of sentencing                                                                         
     guidelines   for  those   who  commit   second  or                                                                         
     subsequent  sexual  offenses  or commit  a  sexual                                                                         
     felony after a prior felony conviction.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The other  proposed change in  the law in  CSSB 85                                                                         
     is to add  repeat sexual offenders to  the list of                                                                         
     those who are not eligible  to earn "good time" or                                                                         
     a  reduction  in  their   prison  terms  for  good                                                                         
     behavior.  Under  current   law,  most  prisoners,                                                                         
     including sexual  offenders, can earn  a one-third                                                                         
     reduction  of their  sentences for  good behavior.                                                                         
     CS SB 85 would require  repeat sexual offenders to                                                                         
     serve  the full  length of  their sentences;  they                                                                         
     would not be eligible for parole.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     By   increasing   sentences  for   repeat   sexual                                                                         
     offenses   and  actual   time  served   for  these                                                                         
     offenses.  SB 85  will  help  to protect  Alaska's                                                                         
     women and  children from some of  the most heinous                                                                         
     crimes against them, sexual felonies.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He  asked  members  to review  attachment  A  that  outlines                                                                    
current and  proposed sentencing  guidelines for  repeat sex                                                                    
offenders.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  for   a  motion  to  adopt  the                                                                    
committee substitute (CS) as the working document.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  JOHN COWDERY  made a  motion  to adopt  CSSB 85  \S                                                                    
version as the working document. There was no objection.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked how  this  might  impact the  prison                                                                    
system budget.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH replied  the Department  of  Law assigned  a                                                                    
zero  fiscal  note to  the  bill.  The department  does  not                                                                    
expect a  large increase in costs  as a result of  this bill                                                                    
because these offenders  return to prison on  a very regular                                                                    
basis  anyway.   Sex  offenders  are  known   to  be  repeat                                                                    
offenders.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked if  there was a  typical age  for sex                                                                    
offenders. He said  he knew Senator French  had a background                                                                    
in this area.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  replied  he   spent  one  year  prosecuting                                                                    
nothing but  sex crimes and  there is  no typical age  for a                                                                    
sex offender; they run the gamut from young to old.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY   STEVENS  asked  if  the   department  had  any                                                                    
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PORTIA PARKER  from the  Department of  Corrections reported                                                                    
they  worked  with the  Department  of  Law to  prepare  the                                                                    
fiscal note.  They researched  recidivism for  sex offenders                                                                    
in the  correction system and  of the current  population of                                                                    
727 sex  offenders 80 percent  have been through  the system                                                                    
at least  once before. Of  that 80 percent, 52  percent have                                                                    
been  incarcerated with  the Department  of Corrections  ten                                                                    
and more times. This accounts for  a huge cost to the entire                                                                    
criminal  justice  system  in   terms  of  trooper,  police,                                                                    
prosecutor and  court system  time. Leaving  these violators                                                                    
in prison  could in  fact result  in a  cost savings  to the                                                                    
entire system.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  if repeat  offenders go  through the                                                                    
system in the same way as a first time offender.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH explained  any new  offense  requires a  new                                                                    
trial for a finding of guilt.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRED DYSON made a motion  to move CSSB 85 (STA) from                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  if anyone  that  signed  up  to                                                                    
testify via teleconference had objection with the bill.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LINDA WILSON, Deputy Director of  the Alaska Public Defender                                                                    
Agency testified in  opposition to SB 85.  She commended the                                                                    
sponsor for wanting  to address the problem  but thought the                                                                    
bill  was  "too  much  of   a  response."  The  increase  in                                                                    
presumptive sentences  and maximum sentences and  the denial                                                                    
of good  time is  beyond what is  necessary and  would treat                                                                    
sex offenders differently than other offenders.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS advised  the  bill  would move  to  the                                                                    
Judiciary Committee  next and she would  have an opportunity                                                                    
to speak there.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS commented  Ms.  Wilson's  concerns were  good                                                                    
issues  for the  Judiciary  Committee to  address. She  then                                                                    
made a motion  to move SB 85 from  committee with individual                                                                    
recommendations  and attached  fiscal note.  There being  no                                                                    
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  adjourned  the  Senate  State  Affairs                                                                    
Committee meeting at 5:00 pm.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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