Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/03/2016 08:30 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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08:32:53 AM Start
08:33:29 AM SB91
10:02:56 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 3, 2016                                                                                          
                           8:32 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Bill Stoltze, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 91                                                                                       
"An  Act relating  to  criminal law  and  procedure; relating  to                                                               
controlled  substances;   relating  to  probation;   relating  to                                                               
sentencing;  establishing   a  pretrial  services   program  with                                                               
pretrial  services officers  in  the  Department of  Corrections;                                                               
relating  to permanent  fund  dividends;  relating to  electronic                                                               
monitoring;  relating to  penalties for  violations of  municipal                                                               
ordinances;   relating  to   parole;  relating   to  correctional                                                               
restitution   centers;  relating   to  community   work  service;                                                               
relating  to revocation,  termination, suspension,  cancellation,                                                               
or   restoration  of   a  driver's   license;  relating   to  the                                                               
disqualification  of persons  convicted  of  certain felony  drug                                                               
offenses  from  participation in  the  food  stamp and  temporary                                                               
assistance programs;  relating to the duties  of the commissioner                                                               
of  corrections; amending  Rules 6,  32,  32.1, 38,  41, and  43,                                                               
Alaska  Rules of  Criminal Procedure,  and repealing  Rules 41(d)                                                               
and (e),  Alaska Rules of  Criminal Procedure; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 91                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: OMNIBUS CRIM LAW & PROCEDURE; CORRECTIONS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
03/25/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/25/15       (S)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
04/02/15       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/02/15       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/02/15       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/03/16       (S)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS                                                                
02/03/16       (S)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/13/16       (S)       STA AT 10:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                          
02/13/16       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/13/16       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/18/16       (S)       STA AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/18/16       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/18/16       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/25/16       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/25/16       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/25/16       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/01/16       (S)       STA AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/01/16       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/16       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/03/16       (S)       STA AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
DANIEL GEORGE, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Stoltze                                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of the CS for SB 91.                                                                 
JORDAN SCHILLING, Staff                                                                                                         
Senator Coghill                                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed the CS for SB 91.                                                                               
JOHN B. SKIDMORE, Director                                                                                                      
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Law                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed the CS for SB 91.                                                                               
DEAN WILLIAMS, Commissioner                                                                                                     
Alaska Department of Corrections                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on the CS for SB 91.                                                                            
MONICA WINDOM, Chief of Policy and Program Development                                                                          
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on the CS for SB 91.                                                                            
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:32:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BILL  STOLTZE called  the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:32  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Coghill, Huggins, and Chair Stoltze.                                                                        
        SB 91-OMNIBUS CRIM LAW & PROCEDURE; CORRECTIONS                                                                     
8:33:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE  announced the  consideration of  SB 91.  He stated                                                               
that  Senator  Coghill  would address  the  committee  substitute                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to  adopt as the  working document  the CS                                                               
for sponsor substitute (SS) for SB 91, version: P.                                                                              
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that no objection was heard.                                                                            
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that  many changes to  the bill  came from                                                               
both amendments as well as collaborating with Chair Stoltze.                                                                    
8:35:34 AM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL GEORGE, Staff, Senator  Stoltze, Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska,  noted that  version: P  replaced version:  N. He                                                               
noted that  version: N  was the  sponsor substitute  version that                                                               
was introduced earlier in the year.                                                                                             
He  announced that  he  would  review the  CS  and highlight  the                                                               
substantive  changes as  well as  point out  recommendations that                                                               
came from  places like the  Office of Victims' Rights  or whether                                                               
the changes were  in an amendment that was  previously before the                                                               
He explained change: 1 from the CS as follows:                                                                                  
     There  are  two  new  sections in  the  bill,  sections                                                                    
     number 1  and 2  appear now; this  is because  we amend                                                                    
     various  statutes  reflecting  Misconduct  Involving  a                                                                    
     Controlled  Substance.  There   was  a  renumbering  of                                                                    
     statutes  which is  why  we see  Murder  in the  Second                                                                    
     Degree and Murder  of an Unborn Child  now appearing in                                                                    
     the bill.                                                                                                                  
8:36:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee meeting.                                                                              
MR. GEORGE explained changes: 2 and 3 from the CS as follows:                                                                   
     Criminal  Trespass  in   the  Second  Degree,  Criminal                                                                    
     Mischief  in the  Fifth Degree,  and Harassment  in the                                                                    
     Second  Degree  are  replaced as  class-B  misdemeanors                                                                    
     rather than offenses; this is  reflected in the removal                                                                    
     of former sections: 8, 13 and 26.                                                                                          
     The  CS removes  the section  which would  increase the                                                                    
     felony  property threshold  for  Vehicle  Theft in  the                                                                    
     First Degree, that section  had proposed increasing the                                                                    
     threshold  from  $750  to   $2000.  We  removed  former                                                                    
     section 9. As  a note, the felony  threshold was raised                                                                    
     in SB 64 two years ago from $500 to $750.                                                                                  
SENATOR COGHILL said the third change addressed an issue                                                                        
regarding victims who had felt violated by auto theft. He noted                                                                 
that the change was generated out of the committee.                                                                             
MR. GEORGE explained change: 4 from the CS as follows:                                                                          
     The CS reduces  the Fraudulent Use of  an Access Device                                                                    
     threshold from  a class-C felony  to $50; this  is seen                                                                    
     in Section 9. The crime  was reclassified from a class-                                                                    
     A  misdemeanor  to a  class-C  felony  in 2005  by  the                                                                    
     Legislature; that  bill passed unanimously  and lowered                                                                    
     the  threshold for  that felony  from $500  to $50.  In                                                                    
     working  with   the  sponsor  of   the  bill   and  law                                                                    
     enforcement  stakeholders,   it  was  brought   to  the                                                                    
     committee's attention that in  SB 64, the threshold had                                                                    
     been increased  from $50 to  $750 and would  have risen                                                                    
     to  $2000 under  the  bill, a  40-times increase;  this                                                                    
     replaces  it at  what the  bill  in 2005  had set  that                                                                    
     threshold at as the bill goes forward to Judiciary.                                                                        
CHAIR STOLTZE  revealed that he had  worked on the bill  that Mr.                                                               
George  referenced. He  detailed  that he  collaborated with  the                                                               
departments  of Law  and  Public Safety  regarding  the theft  of                                                               
certain  devices that  primarily addressed  credit cards,  an act                                                               
that was  unprosecuted prior to  the bill passing. He  noted that                                                               
elder Alaskan groups were involved in the legislation.                                                                          
SENATOR COGHILL  added that  he appreciated  the catch  and noted                                                               
that the committee has worked  on both privacy rights and privacy                                                               
protections.  He remarked  that  the credit  card access  devices                                                               
have far-reaching effects where  the devices' face-value might be                                                               
$50, but the intent could take a person's whole identity.                                                                       
8:39:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GEORGE  explained changes:  5,  6,  and  7  from the  CS  as                                                               
     We  removed the  former section  17 from  the bill,  it                                                                    
     would have  imposed an annual inflation  adjustment for                                                                    
     the  value of  property  that  distinguishes between  a                                                                    
     misdemeanor and a felony offense.                                                                                          
     We   reestablished  the   Failure   to   Appear  as   a                                                                    
     misdemeanor  rather an  a  offense,  this retains  bill                                                                    
     language clarifying  that a prosecution for  Failure to                                                                    
     Appear  is not  a defense  that the  defendant was  not                                                                    
     provided or did  not receive notice or  a reminder from                                                                    
     the court, this is seen in section 16.                                                                                     
     Sections 17  and 73 respectively, this  requires that a                                                                    
     person  convicted  of a  violation  of  a condition  of                                                                    
     release shall  have that record published  on CourtView                                                                    
     as a Violation of Condition  of Release under SB 91, it                                                                    
     is  reduced  from a  crime  to  an  offense so  it  was                                                                    
     important to note this.                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL pointed  out that the requirement  for the record                                                               
to be published  on CourtView came from Chair  Stoltze. He opined                                                               
that the change  was just one of the ways  that the committee was                                                               
trying to  show that people  should have knowledge for  their own                                                               
MR. GEORGE explained changes: 8 and 9 from the CS as follows:                                                                   
     We   returned  Disorderly   Conduct   to   a  class   B                                                                    
     misdemeanor while  retaining the bill's  reduction from                                                                    
     10  days down  to  24  hours for  the  maximum term  of                                                                    
     imprisonment, this is seen in Section 20.                                                                                  
     Sections 25  and 35 respectively, the  CS reestablishes                                                                    
     delivery of any  amount of a Schedule IA,  IIA, or IIIA                                                                    
     controlled substance  to a person  under the age  of 19                                                                    
     who  is  at  least  3 years  younger  than  the  person                                                                    
     delivering  the  substance  as Misconduct  Involving  a                                                                    
     Controlled    Substance   (MICS)-1,    which   is    an                                                                    
     unclassified  felony, rather  than MICS-2,  which is  a                                                                    
     class A  felony as  was in  the previous  version; this                                                                    
     reestablishes   also  the   conduct   related  to   the                                                                    
     manufacture  of  methamphetamine   around  children  as                                                                    
     MICS-1  rather  than   MICS-2  and  reestablishes  this                                                                    
     within  the  existing   felony  sentencing  presumptive                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL added that the changes to Sections 25 and 35                                                                    
came to the committee's attention mostly through the police                                                                     
MR. GEORGE explained change: 10 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Sections 25  and 26,  the CS  elevates the  position in                                                                    
     any  amount   of  a  schedule  IA   or  IIA  controlled                                                                    
     substance  around  school   grounds,  youth  recreation                                                                    
     centers,  and  school  buses   for  MICS-3  to  MICS-2;                                                                    
     however, we decrease the MICS-2  penalty from a class-A                                                                    
     felony to a class-B felony.                                                                                                
8:42:53 AM                                                                                                                    
JORDAN SCHILLING, Staff, Senator John Coghill, Alaska State                                                                     
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, explained the changes to the MICS                                                                  
statutes as follows:                                                                                                            
     The  statutes  were  changed to  address  some  of  the                                                                    
     concerns we  heard from the  Office of  Victims' Rights                                                                    
     last week. The  Criminal Justice Commission recommended                                                                    
     reducing  the   felony  presumptive  ranges   and  that                                                                    
     included reducing some of these  enhanced ranges and so                                                                    
     in response  to some  of the things  we heard  from Ms.                                                                    
     Winston, we have  chosen to leave that  type of conduct                                                                    
     at its existing penalty.                                                                                                   
MR. GEORGE explained changes: 11, 12, and 13 from the CS as                                                                     
     The CS  aligns the  manufacture of  methamphetamine and                                                                    
     possession  of  methamphetamine   precursors  with  the                                                                    
     manufacture of other scheduled substances in MICS-2.                                                                       
     Section 33, the CS adds  several more exceptions to the                                                                    
     presumption  of  citation  by an  officer  stopping  or                                                                    
     contacting  a person,  by including  property offenses;                                                                    
     Theft in the  Second Degree, which is  a felony; sexual                                                                    
     offenses,  Escape,   Unlawful  Evasion,   and  Unlawful                                                                    
     Contact. We did  hear from some officers  who were here                                                                    
     in town  recently about this section  in particular and                                                                    
     so additionally,  the CS,  the existing  exceptions are                                                                    
     broadened for  when an officer  may arrest  by deleting                                                                    
     the word "significant" from the  danger required or the                                                                    
     flight-risk provisions.  Also, the CS allows  an arrest                                                                    
     for criminal trespass in the  second degree or criminal                                                                    
     mischief, and no longer requires  that a person be held                                                                    
     for no more than 24 hours.                                                                                                 
     Section  34,  the  CS establishes  total  immunity  for                                                                    
     civil  action for  damages for  failure to  comply with                                                                    
     the provisions of Section 33  regarding when an officer                                                                    
     may cite or arrest if an improper arrest is made.                                                                          
SENATOR COGHILL  revealed that  the new sections  33 and  34 were                                                               
requested by  the police.  He asserted that  police have  to make                                                               
quick  judgements and  the changes  would  allow for  a lot  more                                                               
liberty and the  courts probably would settle out  any issues. He                                                               
provided additional detail as follows:                                                                                          
     We  put in  Section 33  a complicated  range of  things                                                                    
     that there's  a presumption to citation,  but there's a                                                                    
     whole range of  issues that are exceptions  to that and                                                                    
     so this is  both something that the  police wanted, but                                                                    
     it's  the  best we  can  do  right  now in  statute  to                                                                    
     delineate it.                                                                                                              
8:45:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHILLING  added that the  language was requested  by several                                                               
law  enforcement agencies  and associations.  He said  the change                                                               
was  the same  language used  in the  mandatory domestic-violence                                                               
(DV) statutes.                                                                                                                  
MR.  GEORGE noted  that the  Chair's  office reached  out to  all                                                               
committee members for their input in drafting the CS.                                                                           
He explained change: 14 from the CS as follows:                                                                                 
     Section 37  limits the number  of bail  review hearings                                                                    
     that a defendant is entitled  to due to new information                                                                    
     now  that a  person's inability  to post  required bail                                                                    
     can be taken  into account under SB 91;  there was some                                                                    
     concern with this  provision that was brought  to us by                                                                    
     the  court  system and  we  worked  with the  sponsor's                                                                    
     office  to  try and  correct  that.  I think  that  the                                                                    
     drafting  may not  reflect entirely  the intent  of the                                                                    
     committee, there's an existing  statute that allows for                                                                    
     multiple bail-review hearings;  however, in our attempt                                                                    
     to  restrict  the number  of  new  review hearings  for                                                                    
     inability to  pay, we  inadvertently, in  the drafting,                                                                    
     limited to one review hearing  for any reason. So there                                                                    
     is an  amendment forth coming  which corrects  this and                                                                    
     clarify this. The  court system should be  able to talk                                                                    
     about this as well, their input concurs with this.                                                                         
CHAIR  STOLTZE  stated   that  a  final  CS   would  probably  be                                                               
introduced, especially to address technical mistakes.                                                                           
8:48:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GEORGE explained change: 15 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Section 41  authorizes the court  to require  a secured                                                                    
     appearance  bond or  performance bond  for several  new                                                                    
     types of  defenses, including  Terroristic Threatening,                                                                    
     Possession of  Child Pornography,  Escape in  the Third                                                                    
     Degree,  Unlawful  Evasion,  Unlawful  Contact  in  the                                                                    
     First  Degree,  Misconduct  Involving  Weapons  in  the                                                                    
     First,  Second,   and  Third   degrees,  and   all  sex                                                                    
He  explained that  there  was a  grid-of-presumption  as far  as                                                               
letting a  defendant out on  their own recognizance  or requiring                                                               
forms  of bond  or bail  that  appeared in  the Criminal  Justice                                                               
Commission Report. He  explained that Section 41  would move some                                                               
of  the  noted  offenses into  the  grid-of-presumption's  "other                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL remarked  that the  Criminal Justice  Commission                                                               
had a  high-level-view and  Section 41  shows how  more dangerous                                                               
things could be better categorized.                                                                                             
MR. GEORGE  revealed that the Criminal  Justice Commission Report                                                               
was  given to  the  Legislature pursuant  to SB  64  and did  not                                                               
contain  draft  language   for  SB  91.  He   detailed  that  the                                                               
Legislative  Legal  Services  Division  had done  their  best  to                                                               
implement the  Criminal Justice Commission's  recommendations and                                                               
the  changes were  needed to  carry  out the  report's intent  or                                                               
clarify certain things.                                                                                                         
8:49:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GEORGE explained change: 16 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Sections 57 and 73, the  CS ensures the Suspended Entry                                                                    
     of  Judgement provision  in the  bill does  not provide                                                                    
     for  record confidentiality  under the  recently passed                                                                    
     HB  11.  Individuals  who  plead   guilty  or  who  are                                                                    
     convicted  would  now under  the  CS  have their  cases                                                                    
     remain on  CourtView with  notation of  Suspended Entry                                                                    
     of  Judgement. The  Suspended  Entry  of Judgement  now                                                                    
     also excludes  persons convicted  of a  crime involving                                                                    
     domestic violence from eligibility for this provision.                                                                     
SENATOR COGHILL specified  that the change in the  new section 57                                                               
and  73  were  reflective  of  a  dynamic  process  on  CourtView                                                               
regarding what  should or  should not be  on CourtView.  He noted                                                               
that the change  came for the Chair's office. He  opined that the                                                               
change to the Suspended Entry of  Judgement was a new concept and                                                               
the committee continue to review.                                                                                               
MR. GEORGE explained change: 17 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Section  59,  the  CS increases  the  maximum  term  of                                                                    
     probation  from 5  years to  10 years  for unclassified                                                                    
     felonies or sex felony  offenses, current statute is 25                                                                    
     years. The  CS increases the maximum  term of probation                                                                    
     from 3  years to 5  years, currently 10 years,  for all                                                                    
     other felonies  except for  domestic violence,  and the                                                                    
     CS  increases  to  4  years   for  all  other  domestic                                                                    
     violence offenses.                                                                                                         
SENATOR COGHILL said  the new Section 59 resets  the probation to                                                               
a more  moderate level.  He set forth  that proven  practices has                                                               
demonstrated that  the best  results don't  always come  from the                                                               
longest  time. He  summarized that  Section 59  falls within  the                                                               
Criminal Justice Commission's recommendations range.                                                                            
8:52:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GEORGE explained change: 18 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Section 61,  the CS removes language  from the existing                                                                    
     statute,  AS  12.55.090(h),   limiting  the  number  of                                                                    
     victims who  may give sworn  testimony at a  hearing to                                                                    
     reduce   or  terminate   probation   and  discharge   a                                                                    
     defendant before  the period  of probation,  before the                                                                    
     offense has been  completed; this was a  request of the                                                                    
     Office of Victims' Rights.                                                                                                 
MR. GEORGE  revealed that the language  limiting victim testimony                                                               
may appear  in two other  places in  the statutes. He  added that                                                               
the State  Affairs and Judiciary  committees may wish  to further                                                               
explore language that limits victim testimony.                                                                                  
CHAIR STOLTZE asserted that every  bit of victims' right has been                                                               
fought for over the last 20  years and the committee did not want                                                               
to inadvertently affect that.                                                                                                   
MR. GEORGE stated that the  committee had worked closely with the                                                               
Office  of  Victims'  Rights  and   the  change  exemplifies  the                                                               
improvements that were made to the existing statutes.                                                                           
He addressed changes: 19 and 20 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Section   67  reestablishes   the  existing   statutory                                                                    
     presumptive range of  imprisonment of 2 to  4 years for                                                                    
     criminally  negligent  homicide  where  the  victim  is                                                                    
     under the age of 16.                                                                                                       
     Section 69  removes Assault in  the Fourth  Degree from                                                                    
     the  0  to  30  day   presumptive  range  for  class  A                                                                    
     misdemeanors and replaces it back up to 1 year.                                                                            
SENATOR COGHILL added that the 0  to 30 day presumptive range was                                                               
too  light  and  going  back  to   1  year  was  a  balanced  and                                                               
appropriate penalty.                                                                                                            
8:54:42 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GEORGE explained the twenty-first  change made from the CS as                                                               
     Under  duties of  a prosecuting  attorney,  the CS  now                                                                    
     requires the  prosecutor to confer with  the victims of                                                                    
     any  felony   offense  or  domestic   violence  offense                                                                    
     concerning a proposed plea  agreement prior to entering                                                                    
     into such  an agreement; this broadens  the requirement                                                                    
     to  confer  with  victims of  all  felonies,  not  just                                                                    
     victims  of domestic  violence. This  was added  at the                                                                    
     request of the Office of Victims' Rights.                                                                                  
SENATOR COGHILL  specified that  the change was  new to  the bill                                                               
and  was consistent  with  the committee's  intent  to make  sure                                                               
victims  were included  all  of  the way.  He  remarked that  not                                                               
including the  language was probably  an omission in  the state's                                                               
law for quite some time.                                                                                                        
MR. GEORGE explained changes: 22 and 23 from the CS as follows:                                                                 
     Section 88,  this changes the earned  compliance credit                                                                    
     to be applied every 30  days upon 30 days of compliance                                                                    
     rather than  each day for  single-day credit;  this was                                                                    
     going  to be  a  significant  accounting challenge  for                                                                    
     time accounting and also this  CS comports more closely                                                                    
     with  the  recommendations   of  the  Criminal  Justice                                                                    
     Commission.  This   section  also  clarifies   that  no                                                                    
     proration  of month  shall be  allowed,  so failure  to                                                                    
     complete the entire  month would result in  no award of                                                                    
     a month.                                                                                                                   
     Section  96,  this  excludes  persons  convicted  of  a                                                                    
     sexual  felony  from   eligibility  for  administrative                                                                    
     parole, which  is offered under  the bill  to prisoners                                                                    
     convicted of a class B or C felony.                                                                                        
SENATOR  COGHILL  explained  that  Section 96  was  primarily  in                                                               
response to the Office of Victims' Rights.                                                                                      
8:56:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GEORGE explained change: 24 from the CS as follows:                                                                         
     Section 97  excludes persons convicted  of a  sexual or                                                                    
     an unclassified  felony from eligibility  for geriatric                                                                    
     parole, a concept new in  this bill; this increases the                                                                    
     age of eligibility for geriatric  parole to 60 years of                                                                    
     age from 55  years of age in the  previous version, and                                                                    
     continues  to  require that  at  least  10 years  of  a                                                                    
     sentence for  1 or  more crimes  in a  single judgement                                                                    
     have been  served as a  prerequisite. A point  to note,                                                                    
     the  Criminal Justice  Commission Report  recommended a                                                                    
     range between  55 and  60 years,  so this  falls within                                                                    
     the recommendation of the Criminal Justice Commission.                                                                     
SENATOR  COGHILL  revealed  that  several  people  contacted  the                                                               
committee specifically on the offense  that Section 97 addressed.                                                               
He summarized that  the previous parameters were too  low and the                                                               
change dictates that  an individual must serve at  least 10 years                                                               
of their  sentence for geriatric-parole eligibility.  He detailed                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     We had several people  contacting us in this particular                                                                    
     issue.  First of  all, that  was way  too low,  but the                                                                    
     real problem  was the  amount of  time served.  So this                                                                    
     actually  is  an enforcement  for  those  that have  to                                                                    
     serve at  least 10  years of  that sentence.  There was                                                                    
     some language  that allowed for  earned-goodtime credit                                                                    
     under those  10 years and  this is just saying  that if                                                                    
     there is going  to be any knowledge of  this, they have                                                                    
     to serve  at least  10 years  of their  sentence before                                                                    
     they can apply.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  STOLTZE noted  that  Legislative  Legal Services  provided                                                               
commentary  on  Section  97.  He   asked  Mr.  Schilling  for  an                                                               
MR.  SCHILLING explained  that Legislative  Legal Services  had a                                                               
concern  that   the  geriatric-parole  provision  might   not  be                                                               
constitutional because two similar  offender cohorts were treated                                                               
differently due  to age and no  other reason. He noted  that case                                                               
law  and constitutionality  would be  evaluated from  states that                                                               
have geriatric-parole provisions.                                                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE admitted  that the committee would not  be able vet                                                               
everything.  He noted  that the  bill  was assigned  to two  more                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL  asserted  that  he would  continue  to  address                                                               
Section 97 in the next committee of assignment.                                                                                 
CHAIR  STOLTZE   opined  that  some  people   never  shake  their                                                               
propensity for child molestation with  many occurring at an older                                                               
age. He said  he trusted Senator Coghill's  commitment to address                                                               
Section 91.                                                                                                                     
8:59:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GEORGE explained  changes: 25, 26, 27, and 28  from the CS as                                                               
     Section 117  is a change of  a "shall" to a  "may," and                                                                    
     this changes  from "compulsory" to  "discretionary" the                                                                    
     Board of Parole's unconditional  discharge of a parolee                                                                    
     upon their  completion of one  year of parole  while in                                                                    
     compliance   and   having   completed   all   treatment                                                                    
     programs. This adds an exclusion  in the CS for persons                                                                    
     convicted  of  unclassified  felony offense,  a  sexual                                                                    
     felony,  or a  crime involving  domestic violence  from                                                                    
     eligibility  of  early   unconditional  discharge  from                                                                    
     Section  118  corrects  a  reference  to  violators  of                                                                    
     parole rather than probation.                                                                                              
     Section  129  corrects   a  drafting  error,  clarifies                                                                    
     regarding  who  the  section  applies   to  as  to  the                                                                    
     Section 134  establishes a new  test. This is  from one                                                                    
     of the  four amendments  that we had  before committee.                                                                    
     This   establishes  a   testing   program  within   the                                                                    
     Department of  Health and Social Services  to determine                                                                    
     eligibility   for   public   assistance   for   persons                                                                    
     convicted  of drug  offenses within  the previous  five                                                                    
     years. Testing  is required quarterly, upon  renewal of                                                                    
     benefits, and on a random  basis for the use of illegal                                                                    
     controlled  substances. A  person is  disqualified from                                                                    
     receiving public  assistance for  six months  if tested                                                                    
     positive for the illegal use of controlled substances.                                                                     
SENATOR COGHILL  added that  Section 134 was  a new  concept that                                                               
would   hold    people   accountable   and    encourage   program                                                               
participation.   He  said   the  section   was  outside   of  the                                                               
recommendations, but was something that  the Legislature had been                                                               
thinking about  for some  time. He  opined that  some of  SB 91's                                                               
best language was in Section 134.                                                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE remarked that Section  134 was narrowly focused. He                                                               
said  drug  testing had  been  criticized,  but the  section  was                                                               
focused, tied  to past behavior,  and tied  to a benefit  that an                                                               
individual was not getting.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  COGHILL added  that Section  134 would  apply to  people                                                               
that had been convicted of a drug-related crime.                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE opined  that his constituents would  agree that the                                                               
section would apply to people with high probable cause.                                                                         
MR.  GEORGE  specified that  the  drug-related  lookback was  not                                                               
lifetime and  only applied to  individuals convicted in  the last                                                               
five years. He added that  the section would apply to individuals                                                               
convicted of  illegal use and not  the legal use of  a controlled                                                               
9:02:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GEORGE explained  changes  29, 30,  and 31  from  the CS  as                                                               
     Section  135 is  an exception  to the  disqualification                                                                    
     from receiving temporary assistance  or food stamps, it                                                                    
     is  created for  those persons  in compliance  with the                                                                    
     testing program established in Section 134.                                                                                
     Section   142  is   a  new   section,  it   establishes                                                                    
     severability   clause    that   should    the   testing                                                                    
     requirement  established  under   Section  134  or  the                                                                    
     application  of it  to any  person  or circumstance  be                                                                    
     held invalid by a  court of competent jurisdiction, the                                                                    
     remainder  of this  act and  the  application to  other                                                                    
     persons  or  circumstances  are  not  affected.  It  is                                                                    
     important to note that at  this time that the committee                                                                    
     requested for the CS that  should Section 134 regarding                                                                    
     testing be  found invalid,  that the  exemption offered                                                                    
     in  Section  135  from  the   state  pay  on  temporary                                                                    
     assistance or  food stamps  for convicted  drug felons,                                                                    
     would  be removed,  reinstating  the ban  as it  exists                                                                    
     presently in  statute. An amendment has  been requested                                                                    
     to correct this oversight in drafting.                                                                                     
     Section 141, this is an  item that was discussed, we've                                                                    
     had  some testimony  from  folks,  including Office  of                                                                    
     Victims'   Rights;    it   removes    the   retroactive                                                                    
     application    of   administrative,    geriatric,   and                                                                    
     discretionary parole  provisions. They shall  now apply                                                                    
     to persons sentenced on or  after the effective date of                                                                    
     those  sections  or  conduct occurring  before,  on  or                                                                    
     after those effective dates.                                                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL  addressed Section 141 regarding  parole and said                                                               
part  of the  issue was  whether people  who had  been previously                                                               
convicted could be  treated. He remarked that parole  was kind of                                                               
an after-the-fact  issue, but  starting with  the "discretionary,                                                               
geriatric, and administrative" paroles was wise.                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that further  testimony would be provided                                                               
from individuals  representing various  state agencies.  He noted                                                               
that  representatives from  the Department  of Health  and Social                                                               
Services, Division of Probation and  Parole, and the Parole Board                                                               
were in  attendance. He  pointed out that  a fiscal  analyst from                                                               
the  Division  of  Legislative  Finance was  at  the  meeting  to                                                               
address the bill's potential fiscal savings.                                                                                    
9:05:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  commended  Chair  Stoltze's staff  as  well  as                                                               
Jordan Schilling for their tireless work  on SB 91. He noted that                                                               
Mr. Schilling  had been  in contact with  the Office  of Victims'                                                               
Rights,  the   Department  of  Law,  the   court  system,  police                                                               
officers,  and  the  corrections facilities  to  understand  what                                                               
would  actually  work while  staying  as  close to  the  Criminal                                                               
Justice  Commission's recommendations  as  possible. He  admitted                                                               
that the Criminal  Justice Commission quite often  had very high-                                                               
level suggestions that needed some changes.                                                                                     
He  asserted  that both  public  safety  and accountability  were                                                               
paramount, but some places required  to be ironed out. He pointed                                                               
out that  the violation-misdemeanor sections needed  to be ironed                                                               
out due to a huge list of exceptions-to-the-rule.                                                                               
9:09:55 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN B. SKIDMORE, Director,  Criminal Division, Alaska Department                                                               
of Law, Juneau, Alaska, specified  that he managed and supervised                                                               
the state's prosecutors.  He revealed that he has  served for the                                                               
Department of  Law in  a prosecutorial capacity  for the  last 18                                                               
He stated that  work done by the Criminal  Justice Commission and                                                               
legislators  had been  a  balanced approach  in  order to  ensure                                                               
public  safety was  maintained while  addressing ways  to improve                                                               
for less money. He specified  that improvement would generally be                                                               
thought of as ways to reduce recidivism within the system.                                                                      
He  opined that  the changes  made by  the CS  seemed to  address                                                               
concerns brought up  by the Office of Victims' Rights  as well as                                                               
police officers. He  remarked that many issues  would continue to                                                               
be looked  at by  the Legislature  in order  to strike  a correct                                                               
9:13:27 AM                                                                                                                    
He said the  only provision that was not addressed  in the CS was                                                               
in Section 69  regarding his department's request  to address the                                                               
Supreme  Court  case called  "Blakely  v.  United States,"  which                                                               
dealt with  the way  aggravators were  addressed at  a sentencing                                                               
level.  He  specified  that his  department  requested  that  the                                                               
language be  consistent in  the way  aggravators were  handled in                                                               
felony  cases.   He  detailed  that  some   aggravators  must  be                                                               
presented beyond  a reasonable  doubt to a  jury, others  did not                                                               
need to  be presented  to a  jury beyond  a reasonable  doubt and                                                               
were based on previous convictions.                                                                                             
CHAIR STOLTZE noted  that he had referenced  the Blakely decision                                                               
when he  added a 99-year  sentence provision for  child molesters                                                               
and murderers to a major revision in 2006.                                                                                      
SENATOR COGHILL  admitted that he  would go back and  address the                                                               
new concept in the CS  regarding the Suspended Entry of Judgement                                                               
provision in  the new sections 57  and 73. He asked  Mr. Skidmore                                                               
to review the Suspended Entry of Judgement concept.                                                                             
9:16:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE answered that the  Criminal Justice Commission heard                                                               
testimony about  the current statute  that Alaska has  called the                                                               
Suspended Imposition of Sentence.  He specified that the Criminal                                                               
Justice Commission  was concerned that  the original intent  of a                                                               
Suspended Imposition of  Sentence was not meeting  its goal where                                                               
a conviction would not follow  an individual after a probationary                                                               
period  was  completed.  He  specified  that  a  conviction  that                                                               
followed  a person  made  them ineligible  for  certain jobs  and                                                               
benefits that  included housing and  food stamps. He  stated that                                                               
the Suspended  Imposition of Judgement  was a change so  that the                                                               
conviction itself would  not follow people. He  noted that though                                                               
a  conviction  would   not  be  entered  against   a  person  who                                                               
successfully  completed   probation,  Section  73  from   the  CS                                                               
specified that  a Suspended Imposition  of Judgement  would still                                                               
be  available in  public record  on  CourtView and  in the  court                                                               
records themselves.                                                                                                             
SENATOR COGHILL  admitted that  he was  still learning  about the                                                               
whole idea of the Suspended  Imposition of Judgement. He conceded                                                               
that  he would  have  to deal  with the  issue  of an  individual                                                               
completing  something so  that their  conviction may  not appear,                                                               
but  their  conviction  would  be  on  CourtView.  He  asked  Mr.                                                               
Skidmore  to clarify  that the  Suspended Imposition  of Sentence                                                               
meant  that an  individual has  to  plead guilty,  but under  the                                                               
Suspended Imposition of Judgement that may not be true.                                                                         
9:20:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE replied  that  he was  not  sure Senator  Coghill's                                                               
statement was  accurate because pleading  guilty was  generally a                                                               
required step in instituting conditions  of probation. He said he                                                               
would want to go back  and review Senator Coghill's scenario more                                                               
carefully to determine  whether the person had  pleaded guilty or                                                               
not. He  detailed that  the concept originally  looked at  by the                                                               
Criminal Justice  Commission was whether  or not the  judge would                                                               
accept  the guilty  plea and  enter it,  and whether  or not  the                                                               
conditions would  end up being  conditions of probation  versus a                                                               
condition of release that was for  an extended period of time. He                                                               
summarized that  a Suspended Imposition of  Judgement was similar                                                               
to a  diversionary program, only  it was  done later in  the case                                                               
rather than at the time of charging.                                                                                            
SENATOR  COGHILL  remarked  that  he misunderstood.  He  said  he                                                               
thought he  remembered some of the  Criminal Justice Commission's                                                               
discussion that the judgement did not  have to be applied at that                                                               
point, nor did the guilty plea have to be entered.                                                                              
MR. SKIDMORE  referenced Section 57,  page 35,  lines 5 and  6 as                                                               
     Except as provided in (f)  of this section, if a person                                                                    
     is found guilty or pleads  guilty to a crime, the court                                                                    
     may,  with  the  consent  of   the  defendant  and  the                                                                    
     prosecution   and  without   imposing  or   entering  a                                                                    
     judgment of guilt, defer  further proceedings and place                                                                    
     the person on probation.                                                                                                   
He detailed  that the previous sentence  expressly indicated that                                                               
there is  a plea where the  person has been found  guilty by some                                                               
other means,  presumably by  a jury  trial or  a court  trial. He                                                               
opined  that  Section  57  attempts  to  follow  along  with  the                                                               
original intent of the Suspended  Imposition of Sentence which is                                                               
to avoid  the conviction  on the  person's record.  He summarized                                                               
that the case would ultimately  be dismissed despite the entry of                                                               
the guilty plea or the finding of guilt.                                                                                        
CHAIR   STOLTZE  addressed   Section   118  regarding   technical                                                               
violations of  parole and  asked for Mr.  Skidmore to  comment on                                                               
the ranges were proportional to the violation.                                                                                  
9:23:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE replied  that Section 118 attempts to set  a cap for                                                               
technical violations  for parole. He explained  that the Criminal                                                               
Justice Commission found that incarceration  by the Department of                                                               
Corrections  had increased  in three  areas: pretrial;  result of                                                               
sentencing;  and  post-conviction,  which  addressed  parole  and                                                               
probations. He detailed that the  Criminal Justice Commission was                                                               
concerned that the  post-conviction incarceration included people                                                               
for technical violations.                                                                                                       
MR. SKIDMORE explained that a  technical violation was defined as                                                               
anything other than  the commission of a new  offense. He pointed                                                               
out  that  Ms. Winston,  [Director  for  the Office  of  Victims'                                                               
Rights],  previously  testified  that  she  was  concerned  about                                                               
technical  violations where  an  individual  convicted of  Sexual                                                               
Abuse of  a Minor with  a probation  or parole provision  for not                                                               
being in  the presence of a  child under a certain  age, could be                                                               
in the presence  of that child and only charged  with a technical                                                               
violation,  not a  new crime.  He specified  that as  a technical                                                               
violation,  the courts  under the  current system  would have  to                                                               
decide  how  much  the  violation  was worth  and  what  sort  of                                                               
sanction  should  be  imposed.   He  said  the  Criminal  Justice                                                               
Commission  recommended capping  technical violations  at 3  days                                                               
for the  first offense, 5  days for the  second, and 10  days for                                                               
the third.  He stated  that Section 118  was consistent  with the                                                               
Criminal  Justice  Commission's  recommendation.  He  noted  that                                                               
prosecutors  had expressed  some  concerns about  whether or  not                                                               
Section  118  was  appropriate  because  of  the  wide  range  of                                                               
technical violations that exist.                                                                                                
9:25:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE  remarked that a technical  violation could include                                                               
getting kicked  out or walking  away from  sex-offender treatment                                                               
of which there's a reliance.                                                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE agreed  that  Chair Stoltze's  example  would be  a                                                               
technical  violation. He  noted that  technical violations  could                                                               
also be simply missing an appointment with a probation officer.                                                                 
CHAIR STOLTZE pointed  out that a technical  violation could also                                                               
be for not reregistering one's address.                                                                                         
MR.  SKIDMORE agreed  and noted  that  not advising  a change  in                                                               
employment would also be a technical violation.                                                                                 
CHAIR  STOLTZE affirmed  that  technical  violations were  widely                                                               
different.  He conceded  that  uncertainty  existed during  post-                                                               
incarceration where an individual might  not know where they were                                                               
going  to live  the  next day,  as opposed  to  a child  molester                                                               
getting  kicked  out  of  or walking  away  from  a  sex-offender                                                               
MR.  SKIDMORE  remarked  that  the section  fails  to  take  into                                                               
consideration the underlying offense,  the type of violation that                                                               
occurred, and the number of  violations that may have occurred in                                                               
a particular petition to revoke  probation or a particular parole                                                               
violation.  He  summarized  that  the  policy  question  for  the                                                               
Legislature was  whether or  not the  section was  an appropriate                                                               
restriction on the discretion of  judges in terms of sanctions to                                                               
be imposed.                                                                                                                     
9:27:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE expressed  that  a  person in  jail  for drug  and                                                               
alcohol  offenses could  be let  out under  the premise  that the                                                               
individual goes to  treatment or abstains from  alcohol or drugs;                                                               
that person might be great except  when they do drugs or alcohol,                                                               
but the Legislature  puts a cap on  how much of a  penalty can be                                                               
imposed. He opined  that external penalties are placing  a lot of                                                               
trust in parole  and probation while putting  some real handcuffs                                                               
on the system instead of on the criminals.                                                                                      
MR.  SKIDMORE  noted  that  he   was  concerned  with  capping  a                                                               
probation  violation at  3 days  for a  first offense  along with                                                               
other provisions in  SB 91 where a person would  be released from                                                               
jail  prior  to  adjudication  to   decide  whether  or  not  the                                                               
individual actually committed the  offense. He contended that the                                                               
provisions   were  very   different   from   the  Department   of                                                               
Correction's  Probation Accountability  with Certain  Enforcement                                                               
(PACE) model to be swift,  certain, and proportional. He remarked                                                               
that the provisions  in SB 91 would be swift  and certain, but he                                                               
questioned  the  proportionality.  He remarked  that  determining                                                               
policy was not his place to say what it should be.                                                                              
9:30:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE asserted that Mr.  Skidmore's place was determining                                                               
policy due  to his background. He  remarked that he did  not want                                                               
the departments of  Law, Corrections, and Public  Safety to merge                                                               
with Fish and Game and develop a catch-and-release program.                                                                     
MR. SKIDMORE revealed that an  indeterminate fiscal note from the                                                               
Department of Law was submitted  primarily due to Section 118. He                                                               
asserted that Section 118 would  increase the number of contested                                                               
adjudications which the Criminal Division has to prove up.                                                                      
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI stated  that  the committee  relies on  Mr.                                                               
Skidmore's expertise. He pointed  out that the state's recidivism                                                               
rate was  60 to 66  percent and asked  Mr. Skidmore how  he would                                                               
handle technical violations.                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE asserted  that any system like  the criminal justice                                                               
system  should  be continually  monitored  and  evaluated by  its                                                               
practitioners as  well as the  Legislature. He admitted  that the                                                               
current criminal  justice system works  on some days and  in some                                                               
cases it  does not. He  revealed that  the Department of  Law has                                                               
changed  a number  of its  policies due  to the  Criminal Justice                                                               
Commission's review. He specified  that the Criminal Division had                                                               
implemented  changes   in  the  way  probation   violations  were                                                               
evaluated. Anchorage and probation  officers throughout the state                                                               
were  given  direction  on  probation  violations;  for  example,                                                               
different   sanction  and   tools  would   be  used   for  missed                                                               
appointments rather than  sending an individual back  to jail. He                                                               
noted that  different sanctions would  be used for  an individual                                                               
that does  respond or has  not reported  for weeks or  months. He                                                               
asserted that the PACE model  for swift and certain sanctions was                                                               
appropriate   because    people   are   encouraged    to   accept                                                               
responsibility for  what they have  done with sanctions  that are                                                               
proportional.  He  summarized  that technical  sanctions  can  be                                                               
reduced, SB  91 does attempt  to reduce technical  sanctions, but                                                               
the  bill restricts  judges  in  a way  that  may have  unhealthy                                                               
9:34:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked how the restriction  of judges should                                                               
be addressed.                                                                                                                   
MR. SKIDMORE  suggested that the Legislature  follow the Criminal                                                               
Justice  Commission's  recommendations   for  reducing  the  time                                                               
people spend  for technical violations,  but balancing  still had                                                               
to  be addressed.  He  asserted that  humans  and not  mechanical                                                               
mechanisms  were required  to balance  various things.  He stated                                                               
that he would be willing to  suggest ideas; for example, create a                                                               
presumption  for the  3, 5,  and 10  days, but  allow judges  the                                                               
discretion to maintain balance.                                                                                                 
CHAIR STOLTZE  asked if an  individual released on  probation for                                                               
Sexual Abuse of a Minor with  a no-contact provision showed up at                                                               
restaurant party  with children would have  committed a technical                                                               
or another violation.                                                                                                           
MR.  SKIDMORE answered  that the  person would  have committed  a                                                               
violation due  to the no-contact  provision. He noted  that there                                                               
could  be additional  provisions where  another adult  has to  be                                                               
present. He added  that language where an  individual cannot come                                                               
within  50 feet  of any  child would  be unreasonable  because of                                                               
unavoidable  circumstances. He  reiterated  that Chair  Stoltze's                                                               
example would depend on specific provisional language.                                                                          
SENATOR HUGGINS addressed  section 9 and noted  that the monetary                                                               
amount for  theft was changed  from $750  to $2000. He  asked how                                                               
the  non-monetary value  of  something like  a  vehicle would  be                                                               
taken into account.                                                                                                             
9:38:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE  specified that  prosecutors  look  at a  vehicle's                                                               
resale value.  He agreed that a  vehicle with a low  resale value                                                               
may have a  higher value to an individual  due to sentimentality,                                                               
getting  to appointments,  or going  to and  from work.  He noted                                                               
that the intent was to change  the monetary amount for theft back                                                               
to $750.                                                                                                                        
CHAIR  STOLTZE  concurred  that  putting the  value  on  an  only                                                               
vehicle was hard.                                                                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS opined that  the provision "permissively" created                                                               
a bigger  loop-in-the-fishnet where an  individual pays $5  to go                                                               
home rather than go to jail.                                                                                                    
9:41:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE  noted that  despite the fact  that crime  rates had                                                               
fallen  over the  past decade,  the  Criminal Justice  Commission                                                               
addressed  the  state's rising  incarceration  rate  in order  to                                                               
avoid having  to build  new prisons. He  added that  the Criminal                                                               
Justice Commission looked at a  significant amount of research in                                                               
order to  address the  state's high recidivism  rate as  well. He                                                               
remarked  that  sending people  to  jail  for every  offense  and                                                               
increasing  sentences was  not  always the  right  way to  reduce                                                               
recidivism. He asserted that the  Criminal Justice Commission and                                                               
SB 91 are  trying to address the balance that  was needed between                                                               
individuals that do  and do not require jail  to change behavior.                                                               
He  conceded   that  finding  the  balance   was  difficult,  but                                                               
recommended that  the focus  be placed  on monitoring  what works                                                               
and does not work rather than  just on the changes being made. He                                                               
summarized  that  balance  required monitoring  with  appropriate                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL commented  that reduction  of crime  was another                                                               
way  to  say reducing  recidivism.  He  set forth  that  reducing                                                               
return meant less  crime. He conceded that  focusing on technical                                                               
violations  was  complex,  but adding  a  discretionary  tool  to                                                               
address  the proportional  part  was needed.  He  noted that  not                                                               
doing  sex-offender treatment  under SB  91 was  not a  technical                                                               
MR. SKIDMORE  pointed out that sex-offender  treatment was pulled                                                               
out as a technical violation due to SB 91.                                                                                      
9:45:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE  asked if the  premise that  less crime was  due to                                                               
putting certain people away for longer times was valid.                                                                         
MR. SKIDMORE agreed that Chair  Stoltze's theory was one that has                                                               
been argued.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE  said  he  did not  attend  the  Criminal  Justice                                                               
Commission meetings and  did not know how much time  was spent on                                                               
addressing  his   theory.  He  opined  that   an  individual  who                                                               
committed sexual abuse of minor offenses  tended not to be a one-                                                               
time occurrence.  He added  that somebody that  was caught  for a                                                               
property theft  for fueling  a drug  habit usually  committed the                                                               
offense  multiple times  and putting  the individual  away longer                                                               
would likely reduce crime in an area.                                                                                           
MR. SKIDMORE recounted that the  Criminal Justice Commission also                                                               
heard evidence  to suggest that  a low-risk  individual's chances                                                               
of  committing another  crime increased  when the  individual was                                                               
placed  in  jail. He  reiterated  that  the basic  principle  was                                                               
trying to find a balance.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  STOLTZE remarked  that the  key was  people management  to                                                               
make sure the right people were picked for rehabilitation.                                                                      
MR. SKIDMORE replied that he agreed.                                                                                            
9:47:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL commented  that the state being  tougher on crime                                                               
over the  last decades had  a positive impact on  serious crimes.                                                               
He  noted   that  the  serious-crime  population   in  jails  has                                                               
decreased,   but  the   misdemeanant  population   has  literally                                                               
exploded.  He  asserted that  SB  91  addresses the  misdemeanant                                                               
population, but serious  crimes would be treated  as seriously as                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE agreed that incarcerating  the wrong people was not                                                               
doing  society any  favors.  He  noted that  he  had spoken  with                                                               
Commissioner Williams that corrections  officers should be a part                                                               
of  the  parole  and  probation process.  He  asserted  that  the                                                               
corrections officers know prisoners better than anybody else.                                                                   
9:49:12 AM                                                                                                                    
DEAN  WILLIAMS, Commissioner,  Alaska Department  of Corrections,                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska, agreed  with Mr.  Skidmore and  the committee                                                               
that getting the changes right  involved a balancing act. He said                                                               
SB 91 was  a process of change and vetting  to make sure everyone                                                               
was moving  in the right  direction. He asserted that  getting SB
91  right was  critical for  dealing with  a department  that was                                                               
overstressed and  understaffed. He  set forth that  progress must                                                               
be made  to keep people  out of jail that  should be out  of jail                                                               
and keeping the people that scare us in jail.                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS  revealed that  he started  to look  at the                                                               
issue SB 91  was addressing back in his prior  career in juvenile                                                               
justice  in order  to focus  on crowded  juvenile facilities.  He                                                               
agreed  with  findings  from  "Right   on  Crime"  and  the  "Pew                                                               
Foundation"  that  getting one  thing  right  in tackling  prison                                                               
populations  was understanding  what  other states  had done.  He                                                               
asserted that statistics have shown  that crime goes down without                                                               
compromising safety  if reform was  done right. He  remarked that                                                               
if crime  goes up, then  something was done  significantly wrong.                                                               
He  concurred with  Mr. Skidmore  that making  reform work  would                                                               
require the state  to act on experiences from  other states along                                                               
with close  monitoring. He  disclosed that  the Parole  Board was                                                               
getting  technical  assistance  from the  National  Institute  of                                                               
Corrections  (NIC) in  order to  simplify  parole conditions  and                                                               
avoid legalese.  He said the  Department of Corrections  has made                                                               
progress and a number of reform items have been instituted.                                                                     
9:52:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE commented  that the  committee  would continue  to                                                               
work  on  SB  91.  He  opined that  the  bill  addressed  a  more                                                               
substantive issue  that affects people's everyday  life more than                                                               
some of  the governor's bills.  He noted that he  had discussions                                                               
with  Commissioner  Williams  on  the  mechanics  of  creating  a                                                               
formalized review process for  correctional officers. He remarked                                                               
that  correctional officers  have a  better understanding  of the                                                               
prisoners based on their everyday actions.                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER  WILLIAMS noted  that  he  had discussed  formalized                                                               
reviews with his  staff. He said he did not  know if a formalized                                                               
review process would be done through statutes or amendments.                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE  replied that correctional  officers have a  lot to                                                               
offer  and have  an important  role  to play.  He requested  that                                                               
correctional officers' involvement be formalized in the process.                                                                
COMMISSIONER  WILLIAMS agreed  that Chair  Stoltze's concept  was                                                               
valid and  he would find  the vehicle to  move the idea  down the                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE  pointed out  that during  the previous  year there                                                               
were talks  that SB 91  would furlough  up to 1200  prisoners. He                                                               
asked  what the  status  was on  the  possibility of  furloughing                                                               
9:55:29 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  WILLIAMS answered  that he  was first  awaiting the                                                               
passage of  SB 91.  He asserted  that he wanted  a good  plan and                                                               
good strategy  for what DOC would  do in terms of  furloughing if                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE asked if the furlough concept has been suspended.                                                                 
COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS replied  that he had no  plans of releasing                                                               
people in mass  without a complete process  of understanding with                                                               
counsel from inside  and outside of his department.  He set forth                                                               
that he  was not  doing anything  without a  clear vetting  and a                                                               
clear plan to present to the Legislature.                                                                                       
CHAIR  STOLTZE  stated that  he  would  like to  see  placeholder                                                               
language in the bill for correction professionals having a role.                                                                
COMMISSIONER  WILLIAMS replied  that reform  decisions involve  a                                                               
lot  of  people  and  especially  correction  officers  who  were                                                               
involved with running the facilities.                                                                                           
9:58:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MONICA WINDOM, Chief of Policy  and Program Development, Division                                                               
of  Public Assistance,  Alaska Department  of  Health and  Social                                                               
Services, Juneau,  Alaska, revealed  that some states  have found                                                               
that drug testing has not  been cost effective; however, the drug                                                               
testing in SB 91 would be more targeted.                                                                                        
MS.  WINDOM  noted  that  she   had  questions  about  points  of                                                               
clarification and possible technical changes as follows:                                                                        
     Section 134 does address a penalty for failing a drug                                                                      
     test, but it does not address any penalty for refusal                                                                      
     to test.                                                                                                                   
     Section  135 talks  about folks  that are  on temporary                                                                    
     assistance and  food stamps, it specifically  calls out                                                                    
     the statute at AS 47.25  which does not house temporary                                                                    
     assistance, temporary assistance is in AS 45.27.                                                                           
She revealed that Section 135  calls out temporary assistance and                                                               
food stamps, then the new  provision in Section 134 addresses all                                                               
of the programs that were listed  in AS 45.25 which include adult                                                               
public assistance. She pointed out  that temporary assistance was                                                               
not specifically called out in Section 134.                                                                                     
CHAIR  STOLTZE  replied  that  the committee  was  aware  of  the                                                               
language  in  Section 134.  He  asked  if  the department  had  a                                                               
position on the CS.                                                                                                             
MS. WINDOM replied  that the department did not have  a chance to                                                               
review the CS that was distributed this morning.                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked  if Ms. Windom had  any general philosophical                                                               
positions from the division and the department.                                                                                 
MS. WINDOM answered that she did not.                                                                                           
10:01:36 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that SB 91 would be held in committee.                                                                  
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that  his intent was  to work  through the                                                               
bill's issue one-by-one with committee members.                                                                                 
CHAIR STOLTZE  asserted that  the public  was with  the committee                                                               
regarding  the provision  that the  committee addressed  with the                                                               
Division  of  Public  Assistance.  He  said  he  hoped  that  the                                                               
provision  does  not  get  swallowed  up  through  the  bicameral                                                               
process and  spit out.  He added  that should  the Administration                                                               
not  like  the  provision,  he  hoped  that  there  would  be  an                                                               
explanation  as to  why they  desire additional  welfare benefits                                                               
for criminals.                                                                                                                  
[SB 91 was held in committee.]                                                                                                  
10:02:56 AM                                                                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Stoltze adjourned  the Senate  State Affairs  Committee at                                                               
10:02 a.m.