Legislature(1993 - 1994)
01/31/1994 01:15 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 162 - CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER Number 025 REP. PORTER said that the public hearing on HB 162 had been concluded after a hearing in Anchorage during the interim and two teleconferences in Juneau, and requested amendments. Number 046 REP. NORDLUND said he had an amendment that would basically strip the entire bill and substitute life without parole in lieu of the death penalty, and moved the amendment. Number 090 REP. KOTT objected for the purpose of discussion. Number 114 JERRY LAUKPAUT, Legal Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, drafter of HB 162, the Sponsor Substitute, and the Nordlund amendment (E3), explained the amendment to the committee. Mr. Laukpaut explained that Rep. Nordlund had him take the basic aggravating factors in the bill and change the penalty from death to life without possibility of parole. Number 183 The committee discussed the amendment, including the possibility of furlough, good time, escape, threat to correctional officials, and whether it was constitutional. The committee also discussed if there would be a need for additional facilities to house life-time offenders. Number 741 REP. PORTER called for a roll call vote on the amendment: Rep. Kott no Rep. Nordlund yes Rep. Phillips no Rep. Davidson yes Rep. Green yes Rep. James no Rep. Porter no THE MOTION TO AMEND FAILED. Number 750 REP. PORTER said the committee had in front of it HB 162 as originally presented. He reminded the committee of the concern of Jack Chenoweth of the Attorney General's Office, which is the crime of first degree murder, with a range of sentence from 20 years to 99 years. Rep. Porter indicated there is a concern that this range would give rise to an equal protection constitutional challenge, and there is no doubt that should HB 162 become law, everything in it would be challenged in some form, but this is something the committee might want to consider. Number 766 REP. JAMES indicated she would feel a lot more comfortable with HB 162 if the committee had an overall view of the bill, and even though she supports in concept capital punishment, she would like to also have the possibility of mandatory incarceration without parole. Rep. James suggested a working group to look at the whole range of sentencing options and come up with something for the committee to look at. Number 782 REP. PORTER said that if there were, for example, 100 challenges to this bill, he was sure that 99 of them would meet the challenge, albeit years from now after hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent, but they would meet the challenge, from his understanding of the U.S. Supreme Court's position on capital punishment and the cases they have decided and guidelines they have written. He added that he thought HB 162 meets all the requirements with the one exception of possibility of sentencing disparity, and he thought it was worth thinking about. Number 796 REP. PHILLIPS told the committee she had a lot of thoughts on this bill and was not anywhere near ready to pass the bill out. She said she thought the testimony was stacked with attorneys and did not reflect current public opinion favoring the death penalty. Number 808 REP. PORTER responded that the committee had three public hearings, one in Anchorage with the Joint Judiciary Committees, and to his knowledge the companion bill was not moving in the Senate, so this was just the first of potentially three or four committee hearings on the legislation. Rep. Porter said he was being told by those who favor it to move it out of committee, and he was being told by those who don't want it to sit on it. He added that he didn't particularly want it, but he didn't particularly want to sit on it either. Number 820 REP. PHILLIPS reiterated that she felt very uncomfortable that the committee hadn't done its work on the legislation, and that the committee hadn't taken enough public testimony. Rep. Phillips added that she felt the testimony had been totally slanted, and that she knows there's another side out there. Number 830 The committee discussed Rep. Phillips' concerns, with a number of members indicating they shared her concerns. TAPE 94-13, SIDE B Number 012 REP. PORTER said it was his intention to vote HB 162 up or down. Number 018 REP. JAMES supported Rep. Porter's intention to vote to move the bill out of committee, and suggested it would probably die in House Finance because of the cost, and that it was time to let another committee deal with it. Number 020 REP. PORTER asked if the committee's comments about not hearing enough public testimony was an indication that members didn't believe that public support for HB 162 was as vehement as thought. Discussion on Rep. Porter's comments and Rep. Phillips' concerns ensued. Number 091 REP. PORTER told the committee he felt holding chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee had two roles: one, the general public policy, "represent my district" kind of role that each legislator shares; and second, he would not let the committee pass a bill that he had any concern about being constitutionally flawed. Rep. Porter said that is the committee's professional requirement, and added that his vote to move HB 162 out of committee was going to be a reflection of the professional requirement of this committee, making it a lawful piece of legislature should it pass. He added, however, that he did not support the bill and would not vote for it if it came to the floor of the House, but if a piece of legislation came across reflecting Rep. Nordlund's amendment, he would probably support it. Number 130 REP. KOTT pointed out that this latest round of testimony dealt with a different bill in that the committee was no longer dealing with court rules, so it could pass with a simple majority. He said the committee should have perhaps dug into that a little deeper, but if Rep. Porter was satisfied with the constitutionality of the bill, then he would go along with the recommendation to move HB 162 out, and would in fact support HB 162, having had a mandate of almost 82 percent of his constituents supporting it. Number 161 REP. NORDLUND offered another amendment stripping Section 13 out of the bill, which was the section pertaining to putting the issue on the ballot for a public vote. He moved Amendment No. 2. Number 188 Discussion ensued on Amendment No. 2. Number 256 REP. PORTER called for a vote on Amendment No. 2: Rep. Phillips yes Rep. Davidson yes Rep. Green yes Rep. Kott no Rep. Nordlund yes Rep. James no Rep. Porter yes AMENDMENT NO. 2 PASSED AND HB 162 WAS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE. Number 264 A discussion on HB 162 ensued. Number 633 REP. JAMES MADE A MOTION TO MOVE HB 162 OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. REP. PORTER called for a roll call vote: Rep. Davidson no Rep. Green no Rep. Kott yes Rep. Nordlund no Rep. Phillips no Rep. James yes Rep. Phillips yes. THE MOTION TO MOVE HB 162 OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS FAILED. Number 651 REP. PORTER said the next order of business was HB 49.