Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/31/1994 01:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                 
  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                   
  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                                                      
  Number 264                                                                   
  A discussion on HB 162 ensued.                                               
  Number 633                                                                   
  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.                                                     
  RECOMMENDATIONS FAILED.                                                      
  Number 651                                                                   
  REP. PORTER said the next order of business was HB 49.                       

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