Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/17/2003 08:12 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 134-CORRECTIONAL FACILITY EXPANSION                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2309                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  announced that  the next  order of  business was                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  134,  "An Act  authorizing  the  Department  of                                                               
Corrections to enter into agreements  with municipalities for new                                                               
or  expanded  public  correctional facilities  in  the  Fairbanks                                                               
North Star  Borough, the  Matanuska-Susitna Borough,  Bethel, and                                                               
the Municipality of Anchorage."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH noted  that  [in committee  packets]  was a  new                                                               
fiscal note  from the Department  of Corrections,  dated 4/16/03,                                                               
3:36  p.m., as  well  as a  proposed  committee substitute  (CS),                                                               
Version 23-LS0563\H, Luckhaupt, 4/15/03.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2365                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JERRY  BURNETT, Director,  Division  of Administrative  Services,                                                               
Department of  Corrections (DOC), clarified that  Chair Weyhrauch                                                               
had read  the revision date of  the fiscal note in  the committee                                                               
packet.  The date at the  bottom right read "4/17/03 7:07 AM", he                                                               
noted.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURNETT  referred to a  portion of the sectional  analysis of                                                               
the new fiscal note, regarding  the Seward 400-bed expansion, and                                                               
noted  that  it  shows  a   fully  allocated  cost  estimated  at                                                               
$16,317,200  if [the  facility is  fully  operational in]  fiscal                                                               
year  (FY) 2010.   He  told the  committee that  the face  of the                                                               
fiscal note  remains unchanged,  with a  total operating  cost of                                                               
$47 million.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURNETT  said, "I'd point out  in the analysis that  that $47                                                               
million is  just a little over  $5 million greater than  our cost                                                               
to send the equivalent number of prisoners to Arizona."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2426                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BILL   STOLTZE,    Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
testifying  as sponsor,  stated  that he  thinks  that the  major                                                               
changes discussed  by the committee  [in the previous  hearing on                                                               
HB 134,  April 15, 2003]  are reflected in  Version H and  in the                                                               
fiscal  note.    He  said   that  he  appreciates  Representative                                                               
Seaton's efforts  in working  with DOC  to address  the projected                                                               
needs of  Seward [through  an amendment  adopted at  the previous                                                               
hearing and  incorporated into  Version H],  which he  opined has                                                               
resulted in an improvement to the bill.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2451                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM  moved  [to adopt]  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS), Version  23-LS0563\H, [as a work  draft].  There                                                               
being no objection, Version H was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM made the following comment:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     You showed  the Arizona component,  you don't do  it in                                                                    
     the fiscal note,  but I appreciate the  idea that there                                                                    
     is an inclusion  of the two.  When  they meld together,                                                                    
     it's  going to  be  only a  $5  million deficit,  eight                                                                    
     years out, or whatever year that is.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURNETT clarified,  "It's four years out, and  that number is                                                               
shown in the analysis."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM said,  "Yeah, I  just wanted  to point  that                                                               
out; that's a  very good thing."  He said  that someone wrote him                                                               
a  letter  recalling that  Fairbanks  wanted  to have  200  beds;                                                               
however, he  noted that there  are only  80 beds proposed  in the                                                               
bill.  He asked what the reason for that is.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BURNETT  explained that  80  beds  is  the number  that  the                                                               
department has  determined is  appropriate in  order to  meet the                                                               
overcrowded, pretrial needs of the  Fairbanks area.  By expanding                                                               
at  a  larger   facility  in  another  location,   he  said,  the                                                               
department  will be  able to  take  more people  [in those  other                                                               
areas] and  avoid having longer-term  prisoners in  the Fairbanks                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM  asked if that  would also be because  of the                                                               
fact that  the facility  in Bethel is  closely entwined  with the                                                               
facility in Fairbanks.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURNETT  answered, "Not directly,  but it's the same  type of                                                               
problem  in Bethel."   Both  places, he  explained, are  regional                                                               
areas  that gather  pretrial prisoners,  and,  he reiterated,  by                                                               
having  in-state   facilities  sufficient  to   keep  longer-term                                                               
prisoners,  the  department  is  able to  reduce  the  number  of                                                               
longer-term  prisoners in  those facilities.   In  response to  a                                                               
follow-up question  by Representative Holm, he  confirmed that it                                                               
is the department's position that  80 beds [added to the facility                                                               
in Fairbanks] would be sufficient.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH stated  for the record that he  had called almost                                                               
every community  that [has] a  correctional facility to  find out                                                               
if more  beds should  possibly be added,  because, he  opined, it                                                               
seemed like [HB 134] [would be] "the vehicle to do it in."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  noted  that  there  is  an  $80  million                                                               
hospital being  built at the  intersection of the  communities of                                                               
Palmer and Wasilla.   He said that there  are already discussions                                                               
going on about  adding security provisions in that  hospital.  He                                                               
also  said,  "There's  already discussions  with  the  utilities.                                                               
They're stepping  forward and trying  to find ways to  reduce the                                                               
operational  cost  of  providing  more  efficient  energy."    He                                                               
indicated  that efforts  are being  made,  not only  to fuel  the                                                               
economies  in the  communities involved,  but also  to make  [the                                                               
proposals] work in the most efficient manner possible.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON expressed  his appreciation  for the  work                                                               
done  by Representative  Stoltze  and DOC,  for  the synergy  and                                                               
efforts  of  DOC   and  the  City  [of  Seward],   and  for  [the                                                               
department's] incorporating  the intent  language to  ensure that                                                               
"all these pieces come together."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2700                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved to  report the  committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for HB 134, Version  23-LS0563\H, Luckhaupt, 4/15/03, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  note.    There  being no  objection,  CSHB  134(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                

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