Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/17/2003 08:12 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.