Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/03/1995 08:45 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 19                                               
       Requesting  the Governor  to  direct the  Department of                 
       Corrections to establish a task  force to study current                 
       and future department operations.                                       
  Representative Mulder  stated that  HCR 19  would request  a                 
  task force study of  the operations and future needs  of the                 
  Department of Corrections.   He said that the  Department of                 
  Corrections has been "running so fast to keep up", they have                 
  not been able  to spend  any time thinking  about where  the                 
  Department ought to be going.   He added that the resolution                 
  and the fiscal  note would  allow the Department  to do  the                 
  planning necessary in order to control costs.                                
  Representative   Mulder  continued   that  the   task  force                 
  recommended  by  the   resolution  would  provide  a   broad                 
  perspective and would be composed  of four legislators, five                 
  representatives of the administration, one representative of                 
  the  judiciary  branch  and  three  representatives  of  the                 
  public.  The task force would be requested to report back by                 
  the end of January, 1996.                                                    
  Representative  Brown  referenced  Page  2,  Line  6-7,  and                 
  recommended  elements  of  the  comprehensive  plan  not  be                 
  predisposed.   She  recommended deleting  the language  "for                 
  private  construction  of  prison  facilities  and   private                 
  operations  of prison  facilities;."   Representative  Brown                 
  MOVED to adopt  Amendment #1.   Representative Mulder  noted                 
  that he would  consider that a "friendly"  amendment.  There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                          
  Representative  Mulder  MOVED  to  adopt  Amendment  #2,  9-                 
  LS1092\A.1,  Lauterbach,  4/26/95.   [Attachment  #1].    He                 
  stated that the amendment would allow  for the Governor, the                 
  Speaker of the House and the  Senate President to select the                 
  people from the private sector.                                              
  Representative Parnell OBJECTED for purposes of  discussion.                 
  He asked the motivation of the  task force in being composed                 
  of public and private members as  opposed to giving money to                 
  the Department to hire  a private contractor to perform  the                 
  service.  Representative Mulder replied  that he thought the                 
  money would not be available through  the capital budget and                 
  that he  felt the Legislature  would be more  cooperative if                 
  they were included in the initial  stages of planning of the                 
  task force.                                                                  
  Representative Mulder advised  that privatization of prisons                 
  was the future goal  in addressing terms of management  of a                 
  large organization and facility.                                             
  Representative Martin pointed out that the fiscal note would                 
  amount to $1000/day  for the task  force.  He stressed  that                 
  the   work   could   be   performed   for  a   lower   cost.                 
  Representative  Mulder  explained  that  the  Department  of                 
  Corrections also  included a  fiscal note  in the  amount of                 
  $350   thousand   dollars.       He   continued,   following                 
  conversations  with  other   people  in   the  business   of                 
  evaluations,  in  hiring  an outside  contractor  to  do the                 
  evaluation,  the  reasonable  cost  would  be $150  thousand                 
  dollars.  He then  added additional funds to cover  the cost                 
  of a staff person.                                                           
  Representative  Parnell  recommended  placing the  requested                 
  funds on the contractual line  rather than the miscellaneous                 
  line.   Representative Mulder stated that  the miscellaneous                 
  line would allow for the maximum flexibility.                                
  Representative Navarre  pointed out  that the Department  of                 
  Corrections has had  their planning  money reduced for  many                 
  years.  He emphasized that short  funding would result in an                 
  insufficient plan.   He recommended  fully funding the  note                 
  requested by the Department.                                                 
  Representative   Brown   proposed   for    the   Committee's                 
  consideration a  change to  Page 2,  Line 13,  following the                 
  word "organizations", adding  the language "who do  not have                 
  financing  interest in  the  issues to  be addressed".   She                 
  emphasized  that there  should  be an  independent objective                 
  Representative  Mulder  reminded   Committee  members   that                 
  Amendment  #2  had  not yet  been  decided.   Representative                 
  Parnell WITHDREW  the  OBJECTION to  adopting Amendment  #2.                 
  There being  NO further  OBJECTION to  Amendment #2,  it was                 
  Representative  Brown  MOVED  to  adopt  Amendment  #3,  the                 
  previous recommended language  addition to Page 2,  Line 13,                 
  to  avoid  the  issue  of public  members  having  a  direct                 
  financial  interest  in  the  outcome  of  the  legislation.                 
  Representative   Parnell   stated   that   the   independent                 
  consultants should  be ones that  are really  "independent".                 
  He stated that language  was already included on Lines  15 &                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF  CORRECTIONS,  commented  that in  completing                 
  joint meetings  with the legislative branch,  the Department                 
  must  find  a  way  to  accommodate the  increasing  demands                 
  currently placed on the cost of imprisonment.  He added that                 
  there  are  many   issues  at   hand  with  huge   financial                 
  implications to the  State.  The language  of the resolution                 
  is similar to that written by  the Department in the capital                 
  budget request.                                                              
  Mr.  Cole  added that  this  type of  project  could require                 
  spending between $100  thousand to $1.0 million  dollars and                 
  could take up to five years to complete.  He stated that the                 
  $350 thousand dollar fiscal note  provided by the Department                 
  was  a  modest amount  to complete  the  project.   Mr. Cole                 
  summarized that it would be the  intent of the Department to                 
  hire a contractor who clearly did not have financial benefit                 
  from the process except on a contractual level.                              
  Representative  Parnell  pointed  out  that  Lines 15  &  16                 
  clarify  that  the consultant  not  have a  direct financial                 
  stake in the enterprise.   Representative Mulder agreed with                 
  Representative  Parnell  and  felt  that  inclusion  of  the                 
  language  recommended  by   Representative  Brown  was   not                 
  necessary.    Representative  Brown WITHDREW  the  MOTION to                 
  adopt Amendment #3.                                                          
  Representative  Brown asked  if  both majority  and minority                 
  representatives would  be appointed.   Representative Mulder                 
  noted that was the intention.   Representative Brown advised                 
  that should  be stipulated  in the  policy.   Representative                 
  Mulder stated that would not be necessary.                                   
  (Tape Change, HFC 95-111, Side 2).                                           
  Representative   Mulder   MOVED  to   adopt   Amendment  #4.                 
  [Attachment   #2].      Representative    Martin   OBJECTED.                 
  Representative Mulder stated that there  are elements of the                 
  study  that will  take longer to  accomplish and  which will                 
  take time for a comprehensive review.                                        
  Mr. Cole noted that  the Department is bound by  three union                 
  agreements.  If  a portion of  the analysis requests that  a                 
  section of the Department be privatized, the State  is bound                 
  by the union agreement to negotiate a cost benefit analysis.                 
  He stressed  that  would  not be  possible  by  next  year's                 
  legislature.  He voiced support for the amendment.                           
  A roll call was taken on the MOTION.                                         
       IN FAVOR:      Mulder, Navarre, Parnell,  Brown, Kelly,                 
       OPPOSED:       Martin                                                   
  Representatives Kohring, Therriault, Grussendorf  and Hanley                 
  were not present for the vote.                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (6-1).                                                     
  Representative Parnell MOVED that the fiscal note money line                 
  be  moved  to  the  "contractual"  line.    There  being  NO                 
  OBJECTION, it was moved.                                                     
  Representative Brown MOVED to report CS  HJR 19 (FIN) out of                 
  Committee with a "do pass"  recommendation and with a fiscal                 
  note by the House Finance Committee.                                         

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