Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/28/2017 05:30 PM House STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 13(STA) Out of Committee
         HB 163-DPS LAW ENFORCE. SVCS: AGREEMENTS/FEES                                                                      
5:41:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 163, "An Act  authorizing the Department                                                               
of  Public  Safety  to  enter   into  agreements  with  nonprofit                                                               
regional corporations  and federal, tribal, and  local government                                                               
agencies  to provide  law enforcement  services; authorizing  the                                                               
Department  of Public  Safety  to collect  fees  for certain  law                                                               
enforcement services; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
5:42:23 PM                                                                                                                    
WALT MONEGAN, Commissioner Designee,  Department of Public Safety                                                               
(DPS), relayed  that there will be  changes to HB 163  to clarify                                                               
the  intent of  the proposed  legislation.   He  stated that  the                                                               
intent of HB  163 is not to charge villages  for DPS services for                                                               
which they  are entitled, but  to facilitate the  contracting for                                                               
DPS services by communities seeking extra protection.                                                                           
5:43:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  noted that there  is a shortage  of troopers                                                               
and DPS has withdrawn trooper coverage  from areas due to lack of                                                               
funding.     He  suggested  that   when  an  entity  such   as  a                                                               
municipality,   regional   corporation,  or   tribal   government                                                               
contracts for a  trooper, that creates a shortage  of troopers in                                                               
the area from which that trooper  came.  He explained that unless                                                               
there is  a surplus of  troopers and the  money saved is  used to                                                               
hire and train another trooper,  "we're playing a bit of whack-a-                                                               
COMMISSIONER  MONEGAN responded  that is  not the  intent of  the                                                               
proposed legislation.   He suggested  that the "cleanest"  way to                                                               
provide a contract trooper is to hire one into a long-term, non-                                                                
permanent  ("non-perm")  position,  so  as not  to  detract  from                                                               
trooper coverage elsewhere.   He stated that DPS  is not "chasing                                                               
the  money"; it  is  trying  to provide  a  service;  and if  the                                                               
contract ends, so does the long-term, non-perm position.                                                                        
5:45:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH relayed that  he is continually contacted by                                                               
constituents  in  South  Anchorage  about  the  lack  of  trooper                                                               
enforcement on the Seward Highway.   He offered that having lived                                                               
in Fairbanks for 25 years, he  is aware that troopers provide law                                                               
enforcement outside  the corporate  city limits of  Fairbanks and                                                               
North  Pole but  still within  the Fairbanks  North Star  Borough                                                               
(FNSB).   He asked how  DPS, with limited resources,  chooses the                                                               
areas of trooper coverage.                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER MONEGAN  answered that  at one  point there  were 19                                                               
troopers assigned to the Alaska  Bureau of Highway Patrol (ABHP),                                                               
but now  there are 3.   He stated that Colonel  [James] Cockrell,                                                               
Director,  Alaska State  Troopers (AST),  has indicated  that AST                                                               
will  service  the  Seward  Highway  Safety  Corridor  until  the                                                               
Municipality of Anchorage  (MOA) can "gear up" and  take it over.                                                               
He added  that AST  would still patrol  that highway  for limited                                                               
hours during times of high traffic,  since it is a state highway.                                                               
He maintained  that ultimately  DPS needs  to consider  the areas                                                               
with no other  law enforcement available.  He  expressed his hope                                                               
that MOA  will arrange  for all  the communities  along Turnagain                                                               
Arm to "ante up" and  work towards having that highway patrolled.                                                               
He added  that there is  an ongoing discussion between  the state                                                               
and MOA regarding this matter.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH asked  about  law  enforcement coverage  on                                                               
Farmer's Loop  Road, Steese Highway, Richardson  Highway, and all                                                               
the  roads outside  of the  city  limits of  Fairbanks and  North                                                               
Pole, where  residents have an  expectation of public  safety and                                                               
public safety response.                                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  MONEGAN  responded  that   the  AST  detachment  in                                                               
Fairbanks is more robust for patrol  than that of Anchorage.  The                                                               
Fairbanks  detachment handles  areas not  protected by  the North                                                               
Pole, Fairbanks, or  University police, and often  the police and                                                               
troopers will support each other.   He relayed that realistically                                                               
the  detachment in  Fairbanks has  a  few more  troopers who  can                                                               
respond to calls,  whereas the Anchorage post  has mostly command                                                               
5:49:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK posed the question:   If an agency contracted                                                               
with DPS  for services,  would the  authority for  enforcement be                                                               
with DPS or with the contracting agency?                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER MONEGAN answered that  the troopers would be working                                                               
under the authority of state statutes.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked, "Who do they answer to?"                                                                             
COMMISSIONER  MONEGAN  responded  that the  troopers  would  take                                                               
direction from the  community to address the  issues and concerns                                                               
for which they were contracted.                                                                                                 
5:52:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HB 163.                                                                         
5:52:22 PM                                                                                                                    
WILL  MAYO, Alaska  Regional Coalition  (ARC)  and Tanana  Chiefs                                                               
Conference  (TCC), testified  that ARC  is a  consortium of  five                                                               
Native  non-profit  regional   corporations  representing  65,000                                                               
Alaskans and  100 tribes from  Kotzebue to Ketchikan.   He stated                                                               
that the members of the  coalition include the Central Council of                                                               
Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes  of Alaska (CCTHITA) in Southeast                                                               
Alaska, Kawerak  in the  Nome region,  Chugachmiut in  the Prince                                                               
William Sound  region, Maniilaq in  Northwest Alaska, and  TCC in                                                               
the Interior.  He relayed  that [these corporations] partner with                                                               
the  State of  Alaska  through contracts  and  grants to  provide                                                               
numerous services  to Alaska  residents, including  public safety                                                               
in remote rural communities.                                                                                                    
MR.   MAYO  maintained   that  the   Alaska  Regional   Coalition                                                               
appreciates  the intent  of  HB 163,  which is  to  find ways  to                                                               
increase the number  of public safety officers in the  state.  He                                                               
asserted that public safety is  a key priority for the coalition.                                                               
He reiterated that the intent of  HB 163 is for the department to                                                               
have the  flexibility to contract  with communities that  want to                                                               
pay for  trooper presence.   He  stated that  this is  a laudable                                                               
goal; however, he expressed that  the coalition is concerned that                                                               
HB 163  may have unintended  consequences.  This concern  is that                                                               
HB 163  may one day be  interpreted such that all  150-plus small                                                               
communities  in Alaska  that  currently do  not  have any  public                                                               
safety presence might be invited,  expected, or required to enter                                                               
into contracts with DPS to receive public safety services.                                                                      
MR. MAYO  mentioned that the  coalition has brought  this concern                                                               
to the attention  of DPS; DPS shares the concern  and is drafting                                                               
language to  address it.  He  asserted that DPS did  go on record                                                               
to  the  House  State  Affairs  Standing  Committee  [during  the                                                               
3/21/17  meeting] stating  that it  does not  intend to  create a                                                               
system in  which law  enforcement is  available to  one community                                                               
and not  another.  He  conceded that the interpretation  he cited                                                               
does  not represent  the  intent  of HB  163,  but the  coalition                                                               
believes  that  this  concern  should  be  alleviated  explicitly                                                               
within the proposed legislation.                                                                                                
5:56:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony on HB 163.                                                                         
[HB 163 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB074 Letter of Opposition 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 74
HB074 DMVA Letter 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 74
HB190 Fiscal Note 3.27.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 190
HB 190 Flow Chart Regulation Adoption Process.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 190
HB 190 A Sponsor Statement 3.24.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 190
HB0190A.PDF HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 190
HB181 Draft Proposed CS ver J 3.28.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 181