Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1997-01-31 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1997-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 0191
HB 97                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 97 by the House Rules Committee by request of                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
An Act relating to juvenile delinquency proceedings and to the                
disclosure and confidentiality of juvenile records and information;            
providing for the dual sentencing of minors who commit certain                 
felony offenses; relating to violations of municipal ordinances by             
minors and to civil penalties for violation of municipal ordinances            
by minors; relating to an amendment to the Interstate Compact on               
Juveniles; amending Delinquency Rules 3, 21, and 27; and                       
providing for an effective date.                                               
was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education & Social         
Services, Judiciary and Finance Committees.                                    
The following fiscal notes apply:                                              
Fiscal notes (8), Dept. of Health & Social Services, 1/31/97                   
Fiscal note, Dept. of Corrections, 1/31/97                                     
Indeterminate fiscal notes (2), Dept. of Administration, 1/31/97               
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Law, 1/31/97                                        
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Public Safety, 1/31/97                              
The Governor's transmittal letter, dated January 30, 1997, appears             

1997-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 0192
HB 97                                                                        
Dear Speaker Phillips:                                                         
Alaskans deserve safe, healthy communities where our children and              
families can live, work and learn without fear of violence.  Yet there         
is a growing concern in our communities that violence among our                
youth is on a steady increase.  We must do all we can to curb this             
trend and to turn our youngsters away from a life of crime.  To that           
end, last year I appointed a group of more than 80 people of wide              
expertise to a Conference on Youth and Justice.  Today I am pleased            
to introduce to the legislature four measures that stem from the               
recommendations of that Conference.                                            
This action package was prepared by my Childrens Cabinet after                 
carefully studying the 500-page report of the Conference and its more          
than 100 recommendations.  The package includes legislation in the             
following areas:                                                               
Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings: to address how juveniles are                
treated within the justice system, including confidentiality rules             
and sentencing options.                                                        
Healthy Families: a program providing education and support                   
services to pregnant women and the families of newborn infants.                
The aim is to prevent child abuse and neglect because many young               
victims grow up to become offenders.                                           
Alcohol Offenses: a program to ensure minors who have lost their              
drivers licenses for alcohol-related offenses are complying with               
education and treatment programs before getting their licenses                 
Foster Care: a restructure of the states foster care review panels            
to expand them statewide.                                                      
The attached bill relates to the juvenile delinquency proceedings and          
is described in further detail below.  The other three bills introduced        
today are described in separate transmittal letters.                           

1997-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 0193
HB 97                                                                        
Section 5 of this juvenile delinquency proceedings bill sets out a new         
philosophy for the state in responding to juvenile offenders.  The             
Conference members urged us to rewrite this section of our statutes,           
to promote a balanced juvenile justice system in the state to protect          
the community, impose accountability for violations of law, and equip          
juvenile offenders with the skills needed to live responsibly and              
productively.  The bill lists 14 purposes for the chapter, which may           
be useful in guiding the court and parties to legal actions in the proper      
interpretation of the delinquency chapter.  I urge the legislature  to         
keep in mind this overall purpose when deliberating changes to our             
juvenile justice system.                                                       
Among the provisions of this bill is one allowing communities to               
handle minor juvenile offenses through programs such as youth courts.          
This is perhaps the single most important step the state can take to get       
the message out that there will be consequences for all juvenile               
offenses.  The state does not have the resources for swift and                 
consistent action on all juvenile offenses.  Communities want the tools        
to respond to minor offenses and this bill will help create them.              
This bill also opens up the confidentiality laws for certain, more             
serious juvenile offenders who are 16 or older.  This provision is             
crafted with an effort to balance the traditional and well-founded need        
to protect a juveniles privacy so that bad youthful decisions wont             
haunt the child for life, with the publics right to know about serious         
juvenile offenders.                                                            
Also included in this bill is the establishment of a dual sentencing           
system for the state whereby certain juveniles can be given both a             
juvenile and an adult sentence.  This is aimed at preventing juvenile          
offenders from becoming serious, chronic offenders and would affect            
only the small percentage of juveniles in this risk category.  Imposing        
a juvenile disposition for the offense and, at the same time,                  
pronouncing an adult sentence, places responsibility for the juveniles         
future in the youths own hands.  If the juvenile offender stays out of         
trouble and obeys all court-ordered conditions, the adult dual sentence        
is never imposed.  If, however, the offender commits a new crime or            
violates any court orders, he or she faces the adult sentence, including       
incarceration in state prison.                                                 

1997-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 0194
HB 97                                                                        
Finally, the bill makes some minor changes clarifying that courts may          
order juvenile delinquents to perform community work service and               
authorizing municipalities to impose civil penalties against juveniles         
who violate municipal ordinances.  This bill also enacts an amendment          
to the Interstate Compact on Juveniles to clarify Alaska will cooperate        
with the Compact in the area of returning delinquent or runaway                
juveniles to other states.  Alaska adopted the Interstate Compact on           
Juveniles in 1960 but, through an apparent oversight, did not adopt this       
subsequent amendment to the Compact.  While the Conference did not             
discuss this provision, it is consistent with the Conference                   
recommendations to improve our juvenile justice system.                        
My youth justice package of initiatives, taken as a whole, reflects a          
balance between dealing with current juvenile offenders and preventing         
future offenders.  Funding for the package must also reflect this              
balance.  In addition to helping our communities handle current                
offenders, we must invest money in prevention efforts.  To that end,           
the legislative package includes fiscal notes listing about $1.8 million       
in expenses and more than $1 million in revenues to properly                   
implement some of these proposals.                                             
In addition, funding for this legislative package, including other needed      
programs which the Conference recommended, is included in my                   
proposed operating budget.  Specifically:                                      
$300,000 in additional funds for Head Start                                   
$614,000 for the Healthy Families Program                                     
$107,000 for Partnership 2000 (community involvement in                       
$250,000 for the National Guard Youth Corps program                           
$50,000 for inhalant abuse prevention                                         
$398,000 for additional juvenile probation officers                           
$410,000 for community grants for diversion programs                          
I will also be addressing items related to youth crime and the juvenile        
justice system in my capital budget which I will present in the near           
future.  It will include funding to expand the Johnson Youth Center in         
Juneau to relieve serious overcrowding in our youth facilities in              
Anchorage and Bethel as well as Juneau.                                        

1997-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 0195
HB 97                                                                        
The Conference on Youth and Justice has done Alaskans a great                  
service in its year-long effort to produce a comprehensive plan for            
increasing public safety and decreasing juvenile crime.  As stated in          
the Conference report, These are important public goals . . . They will        
require the involvement, commitment, and cooperation of the Alaska             
Legislature to ensure that required statutory changes are enacted.  I          
am asking you now for that involvement, commitment, and                        
							Tony Knowles