Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/14/2005 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HCS SJR 6(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 155                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to youth  courts and to the recommended                                                                   
     use of  criminal fines to  fund the activities  of youth                                                                   
     courts; and relating to accounting  for criminal fines."                                                                   
SARAH   NIELSON,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   RALPH   SAMUELS,                                                                   
explained that  HB 155 gives  authority to appropriate  up to                                                                   
25 percent of the fines collected  by the Alaska Court System                                                                   
to fund  youth courts.   She related  that youth  courts help                                                                   
young offenders by intervening  early to help set them on the                                                                   
right  track,   and  to  deter   them  from  becoming   adult                                                                   
offenders.  The  Anchorage Youth Court, the  oldest in Alaska                                                                   
was established  in 1989.  In  the first two quarters  of the                                                                   
current  fiscal  year there  have  been 471  youth  offenders                                                                   
referred to these programs, which  has resulted in over 8,800                                                                   
hours of  community service,  and $7,500  in restitution  has                                                                   
been  ordered.    She  explained  that  HB  155  provides  an                                                                   
accounting  mechanism for  the legislature  to give  money to                                                                   
the youth courts.  The committee  substitute (CS) was written                                                                   
in House Judiciary  to address concerns of the  court system.                                                                   
An amendment  deleted specific  language giving United  Youth                                                                   
Courts the money.                                                                                                               
Representative Croft  asked about a change in  the wording on                                                                   
page  11,  "distribution  to  youth  courts".    Ms.  Nielson                                                                   
replied it used to say "the United Youth Courts".                                                                               
In response to a question by Vice-Chair  Stoltze, Ms. Nielson                                                                   
asked  Mr. Lack  to  address the  issue of  the  lack of  the                                                                   
victim's participation in the process.                                                                                          
2:25:45 PM                                                                                                                    
PATTY   WARE,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION   OF  JUVENILE   JUSTICE,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL  SERVICES, stated support for                                                                   
the  bill and  offered to  answer questions.  She noted  that                                                                   
youth  courts  handle,  in a  timely  and  effective  manner,                                                                   
between 10 and 15 percent of the  delinquency cases that come                                                                   
to the Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                
2:27:35 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
2:28:13 PM                                                                                                                    
JONATHON   LACK,  ANCHORAGE   YOUTH   COURT,  testified   via                                                                   
teleconference  in support  of the  legislation. He  stressed                                                                   
the importance of youth courts  and noted that the bill would                                                                   
provide  an  accounting mechanism  for  them.   He  spoke  in                                                                   
support of HB 155.                                                                                                              
Co-Chair Meyer  asked how  many youth  courts are in  Alaska.                                                                   
Representative Foster replied 14.                                                                                               
HB  155  was   heard  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   

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