Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/12/1997 09:08 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Senate Bill No. 67                                                           
     "An Act relating to the imposition of criminal                            
     sentences; and amending Rule 32.2, Alaska Rules of                        
     Criminal Procedure."                                                      
Co-Chair Sharp stated that SB 67 did not have a fiscal note                    
and that it was his intention to pass the bill out of                          
67 provided victims of crime  and their families, as well as                   
the  general   public  with  a  more   honest  and  accurate                   
assessment  of the  time that  was actually  expected to  be                   
served of  someone who  was convicted of  a crime.  He noted                   
that  the  legislation  was  consistent  with  the  victims'                   
rights  constitutional amendment,  which was  passed by  the                   
legislature and ratified by popular vote in 1994.                              
Mr.  Huber began  a sectional  explanation of  the bill  and                   
related that Section  1 short titled the  legislation as the                   
Truth  in  Sentencing Act  of  97.  Section  2 of  the  bill                   
consisted of language  from the Department of  Law (DOL) and                   
the  Department of  Corrections (DOC);  the federal  program                   
for truth  in sentencing was  put into place the  prior year                   
and  provided  funding  for  states  that  met  the  federal                   
guidelines. Although the  language in Section 2  of the bill                   
did not change  any provisions regarding how  a sentence was                   
imposed or  served, it was  expected to capture  $617,000 in                   
federal funds  in FY98. He  explained that the  federal pool                   
of funds would stay in place  for 3 more years, but that the                   
amount might  be reduced  as other  states began  to qualify                   
for the program;  DOL and DOC anticipated the  funding to be                   
at  least $500,000  annually  for next  4  years. Section  3                   
represented a  written declaration  in the  sentence report;                   
at the  time of sentencing,  the judge would be  required to                   
state an approximate  time that was actually  expected to be                   
served under the provisions of  good time, mandatory parole,                   
and  discretionary  parole.  He  explained that  a  10  year                   
sentence did not often mean  10 years actually served in the                   
judicial  system.  He  relayed   that  Section  4  addressed                   
concerns by DOL  and DOC, and that  the sections essentially                   
stated that the informational  portion of the sentence could                   
not be used against the court  in a future appeal. Section 5                   
reflected  a court  rule  change and  provided  for an  oral                   
statement  at  the time  of  sentencing;  at sentencing  the                   
judge would  make an  oral statement  as to  the approximate                   
minimum of the  actual time that would be  served. Section 5                   
also  contained language  that took  away the  informational                   
portion of the  sentence as a basis of  appeal. He concluded                   
that Sections 6 and 7 addressed the court rule changes.                        
Senator  Donley wondered  why the  fiscal notes  were zeroed                   
and observed that the notes did  not have any mention of the                   
possible  federal  funding.  Mr. Huber  responded  that  the                   
fiscal  note from  DOL originally  had reflected  costs; the                   
concern had been that if the  bill could be used for a basis                   
for  appeal, there  might  be  additional court  challenges.                   
Furthermore, if  the desire was  that there needed to  be an                   
exact "to  the day"  determination of expected  served time,                   
it would  cause additional work for  the prosecutor's office                   
and DOC.  He offered  that the  concerns from  DOL regarding                   
the bills  potential costs  had been  addressed in  a Senate                   
Judiciary  Committee CS.  He observed  that the  fiscal note                   
had been  zeroed, but offered that  he did not know  why the                   
$617,000 in  federal fund  capture was  not included  in the                   
Senator  Donley  stated that  there  should  at least  be  a                   
notation  somewhere on  the fiscal  note that  discussed the                   
$617,000 in  federal funding and  inquired if there  was any                   
mention  of the  funding in  the note.  Mr. Huber  responded                   
that he did not see any  mention of the funding that DOL had                   
testified  about in  the Senate  Judiciary Committee  in the                   
current fiscal note.                                                           
Co-Chair Sharp inquired  if a positive fiscal  note would be                   
from  DOC  or DOL.  Mr.  Huber  responded that  the  federal                   
funding  pool provided  for  prison facilities  construction                   
and that the note would be  from DOC. He stated that the DOL                   
attorney, Margo Knuth, who had  worked with the sponsor, was                   
currently detached  to DOC.  He reiterated  that he  did not                   
know why  the federal funding  did not appear on  the fiscal                   
Co-Chair  Sharp suggested  that the  bill be  passed out  of                   
committee with  instructions to  get clarification  from DOL                   
and  DOC  regarding  a  possible  positive  fiscal  note  to                   
accompany the legislation.                                                     
Senator Donley  observed that the bill's  sponsor could draw                   
up   a  fiscal   note   that   accurately  reflected   their                   
understanding  of the  status of  the  federal funding.  Co-                   
Chair Sharp mentioned that the  sponsor could draft a fiscal                   
note for the Senate Finance  Committee that was based on the                   
testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee.                                   
Senator Donley  added that  the new note  could be  taken up                   
under subsequent business.                                                     
Co-Chair  Sharp  requested  that   the  sponsor  supply  the                   
committee with a  new fiscal note either in  the current day                   
or the next. Mr. Huber responded in the affirmative.                           
Senator Donley  stated that he did  not want to hold  up the                   
bill in committee, but rather  that the bill could be passed                   
out  and the  fiscal  note could  be revisited  a  day or  2                   
later.  Co-Chair  Sharp agreed  and  added  that the  record                   
should reflect  the possible upcoming  fiscal note  from the                   
Senate Finance Committee.                                                      
Senator  Donley   MOVED  to  REPORT  CSSB   67(JUD)  out  of                   
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                   
accompanying fiscal notes. There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                   
so ordered.                                                                    
CSSB 67(JUD) was REPORTED out  of committee with a "do pass"                   
recommendation  and  with   two  previously  published  zero                   
fiscal  notes  from  the  Department  of  Public  Safety,  a                   
previously published zero fiscal  note from the Alaska Court                   
System,  a previously  published zero  fiscal note  from the                   
Department of Law, and with  a forthcoming new fiscal impact                   
note from the Senate Finance Committee.                                        

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