Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/14/2018 10:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Reconvene at 3:00 p.m. --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 31(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Moved HB 121 Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 215(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved SCS CSHB 275(FIN) Out of Committee
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 31(FIN)                                                                                                 
     "An  Act  relating  to   law  enforcement  training  in                                                                    
     domestic  violence  and  sexual  assault;  relating  to                                                                    
     sexual  assault investigation  protocols; requiring  an                                                                    
     inventory  and  reports   on  untested  sexual  assault                                                                    
     examination  kits;  and   providing  for  an  effective                                                                    
10:11:09 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  reported the  bill  had  been heard  on                                                                    
April 4,  2018 where  public testimony  had been  heard. The                                                                    
fiscal notes had been reviewed as well.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR, SPONSOR, introduced herself.                                                                         
Co-Chair MacKinnon  shared that  there were  two outstanding                                                                    
issues for the  committee to address. The  first was related                                                                    
to  the  process  of  how   anonymous  reports  worked.  The                                                                    
committee  had engaged  in discussions  with the  department                                                                    
that  had met  her satisfaction.  The second  topic was  the                                                                    
cost of  training resulting  from an  increase from  2 hours                                                                    
from  some  departments to  12  hours.  She had  provided  a                                                                    
series  of  emails  with  the  Anchorage  Police  Department                                                                    
(APD),  where  APD had  indicated  it  did not  believe  the                                                                    
change would be an undue  burden on its facilities. The bill                                                                    
did  not cover  Village Public  Safety Officers  (VPSO), who                                                                    
accessed a  different form of  training and were  not police                                                                    
Representative Tarr agreed.                                                                                                     
10:13:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon asked for a brief overview of the bill.                                                                      
Representative  Tarr explained  that  the bill  accomplished                                                                    
three things.  First, it  put in  statute a  victim centered                                                                    
approach  to  reporting  sexual   assault  crimes.  She  had                                                                    
brought a sexual assault examination  kit box to the meeting                                                                    
in case someone had not  seen one previously. She elaborated                                                                    
the box was  an evidence collection kit. Much  work had been                                                                    
done on the  issue, and a victim centered  approach had been                                                                    
developed   that  included   anonymous  reporting   and  law                                                                    
enforcement  reporting.  Anonymous   reporting  allowed  the                                                                    
victim to  have the evidence  collected, which needed  to be                                                                    
done  in a  timely fashion  (within 72-hours),  but did  not                                                                    
require the  victim to  decide whether  they wanted  to move                                                                    
forward with a  criminal prosecution. If a  person wanted to                                                                    
move forward  with a  prosecution at  the time  evidence was                                                                    
collected they would select the  law enforcement report. The                                                                    
bill would put the victim centered approach into statute.                                                                       
Representative  Tarr   explained  the  bill   also  required                                                                    
individuals to  receive 72 hours of  sexual assault response                                                                    
training during their law enforcement  training in Alaska in                                                                    
addition to  12 hours  of domestic violence  training, which                                                                    
was  currently  in  statute.  Although  the  sexual  assault                                                                    
training was  already in statute,  the bill  underscored its                                                                    
importance.  The bill  also included  an ongoing  audit. The                                                                    
first  audit had  concluded and  was  presented in  November                                                                    
2017,  which  provided  an understanding  of  the  issue  in                                                                    
Alaska. She  noted the issue was  also happening nationwide,                                                                    
but there were  over 3,000 untested rape kits  in Alaska. It                                                                    
would be  somewhat expensive to  get all of the  kits tested                                                                    
and go through  the process with the victims  to ensure they                                                                    
wanted  to   participate.  The   audit  would   provide  the                                                                    
legislature with an  annual status update. At  some point it                                                                    
would  no   longer  be  necessary   when  the   backlog  was                                                                    
eliminated, and cases were  prosecuted. She complimented Co-                                                                    
Chair MacKinnon for discussions that  had taken place in the                                                                    
committee.  She  understood  the  discussions  had  been  so                                                                    
informative, some of  Co-Chair MacKinnon's suggestions would                                                                    
be  incorporated into  the process.  She explained  the bill                                                                    
was one  step towards ensuring  there was reform in  the way                                                                    
rape  kits were  tested, victims  received the  justice they                                                                    
deserved, and to keep dangerous criminals off the street.                                                                       
10:15:47 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  shared  that  under  the  current  bill                                                                    
victims   went  to   healthcare  providers   when  reporting                                                                    
anonymously. She was  concerned there could be  a closure or                                                                    
problem  with keeping  track of  the location  in Anchorage,                                                                    
where storage  for the  rape kits  was centralized.  She had                                                                    
asked  if   the  department  could   work  with   state  law                                                                    
enforcement  so that  victims would  go  to law  enforcement                                                                    
instead  of  independent  hospitals  or  medical  facilities                                                                    
across Alaska.  There was more  likely in the next  50 years                                                                    
to  be  a  state  trooper position  that  could  locate  the                                                                    
numbers  for  anonymous  reporting than  individual  medical                                                                    
facilities  that may  change over  administrations and  lose                                                                    
track  of important  data. She  elaborated that  some people                                                                    
did not remember  that things happened after  awhile when an                                                                    
experience  was  traumatizing.  She explained  they  may  be                                                                    
triggered by something in the  future that may cause them to                                                                    
seek out  the information. She appreciated  the troopers and                                                                    
others who had  taken time to speak to her  on the important                                                                    
Vice-Chair Bishop reviewed  a new zero fiscal  note from the                                                                    
Department  of Public  Safety for  statewide support  of the                                                                    
training  academy (OMB  Component Number  524) He  read from                                                                    
the second paragraph of the fiscal note's analysis:                                                                             
     The  Alaska  Law  Enforcement   Training  (ALET)  is  a                                                                    
     sixteen week  course providing instruction  in criminal                                                                    
     investigation,  police  procedure, laws,  and  physical                                                                    
     skills. Instruction  comes primarily  from commissioned                                                                    
     Alaska  State Troopers  stationed  in  Sitka. The  ALET                                                                    
     program fulfills the requirements  to be certified as a                                                                    
     municipal police officer or an Alaska State Trooper.                                                                       
     The ALET program currently exceeds  the number of hours                                                                    
     of  instruction and  training in  sexual assault  laws,                                                                    
     response,  and   investigation  as  proposed   by  this                                                                    
     legislation so there  would be no fiscal  impact to the                                                                    
     DPS Training Academy should it  pass. Therefore, a zero                                                                    
     fiscal note is being submitted.                                                                                            
10:18:43 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  von  Imhof  noted   that  Representative  Tarr  had                                                                    
indicated  there were  currently about  3,000 untested  rape                                                                    
kits in the  backlog. She remarked that the  fiscal note was                                                                    
zero  and she  believed  it specified  the department  would                                                                    
absorb the  cost to address  the backlog. She asked  for the                                                                    
accuracy of her statements.                                                                                                     
Representative  Tarr responded  that  currently the  funding                                                                    
used to  address the backlog  had been provided  through two                                                                    
federal Department  of Justice  grants. The kits  were being                                                                    
tested  in batches  -  once  those funds  were  gone, if  an                                                                    
additional grant  was not awarded,  the state would  have to                                                                    
figure out  how to pay  for the cost  through appropriations                                                                    
in the capital  budget or other. There  was no appropriation                                                                    
with  the  current  legislation or  linked  to  testing  the                                                                    
backlog. She stated, "this is  other policy changes, so, the                                                                    
actual testing is a separate issue."                                                                                            
Co-Chair  MacKinnon relayed  she  had met  with  a group  of                                                                    
individuals  including  John   Skidmore  with  the  Attorney                                                                    
General's Office,  Diane Casto, Executive  Director, Council                                                                    
on  Domestic  Violence  and Sexual  Assault,  Department  of                                                                    
Public Safety,  Orin Dym with  the state DPS Crime  Lab, and                                                                    
others. There were  about 3,400 untested kits,  114 of which                                                                    
had  been reported  anonymously. She  noted the  numbers had                                                                    
been rounded.  There was a  possibility for a  bare-bone DNA                                                                    
analysis at  $1,000 per kit.  She wanted to  understand what                                                                    
the  bare  essential  analysis  provided  -  she  considered                                                                    
whether  it  was  sufficient  information  compared  to  the                                                                    
$2,300 cost for prosecuting a  kit under some of the current                                                                    
grants. She noted there was a  range in cost. She added that                                                                    
it  was possible  to identify  gender  DNA differently.  The                                                                    
majority of  sexual assaults in  Alaska were  perpetrated by                                                                    
men on  women. Tests had  been developed that could  go back                                                                    
for  almost one  week instead  of 72  hours, which  had been                                                                    
best practice  when she  had been  the director  of Standing                                                                    
Together  Against  Rape.  She  continued  that  science  was                                                                    
taking  leaps  and  bounds  forward,   but  the  tests  were                                                                    
expensive  as   they  tried  to  recoup   the  research  and                                                                    
development to  get the tests  on the market.  She expounded                                                                    
they  could  highlight the  male's  DNA  when searching  for                                                                    
10:21:32 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator von  Imhof asked how  far the current  grant funding                                                                    
would stretch to cover the 3,400 untested kits.                                                                                 
Representative  Tarr  answered  that  the  first  grant  was                                                                    
$100,000 for  testing and  additional training.  She relayed                                                                    
that Mr. Dym  was online and may be able  to provide further                                                                    
detail related  to the training component.  The second grant                                                                    
was largely  to develop new  systems; it was more  about the                                                                    
reform  aspects   and  less  about  dollars   going  towards                                                                    
testing.  She relayed  she would  need to  double check  the                                                                    
figures  she had  provided. A  handful of  kit batches  were                                                                    
being sent  out under the  first grant. Additionally,  a new                                                                    
grant was  available that  she had  encouraged APD  to apply                                                                    
for because some  of [the kits] were in  its possession. She                                                                    
speculated that several thousand  kits would remain once the                                                                    
grant  funds  had been  used.  She  used  1,500 as  a  rough                                                                    
average  and  reported  the  cost was  in  the  millions  of                                                                    
dollars. She  explained that every  kit would not  be tested                                                                    
because in some  cases an individual would not  want to move                                                                    
forward  (there  was  an anonymous  reporting  option).  She                                                                    
believed it  would be a  multiyear process to  determine how                                                                    
to address the  issue. As people were  identified and linked                                                                    
to other crimes, there would be prosecution as well.                                                                            
Senator  Micciche appreciated  the sponsor's  work have  the                                                                    
kits   processed  and   evaluated.   He   noted  there   was                                                                    
information  in member's  packets  that  was informative  on                                                                    
understanding the funding options.                                                                                              
Senator Stevens  referenced the anonymous  reporting option.                                                                    
He asked  if the anonymous  kits went  to the bottom  of the                                                                    
Representative Tarr  replied there were two  groups of kits.                                                                    
There were  cases that were  far more recent,  which totaled                                                                    
about 70  at the lab currently.  The queue was not  based on                                                                    
whether a kit was anonymous  but was mostly about the timing                                                                    
of the  prosecution and when the  information was requested.                                                                    
She elaborated  when a  case came  up for  consideration the                                                                    
lab was contacted  to process the kit. She  explained that a                                                                    
victim  could chose  to move  forward  at any  time with  an                                                                    
anonymous report and it would put  the kit in the queue. She                                                                    
explained the  kit was not  ranked at the bottom  because it                                                                    
was anonymous, but if a  person had done the kit anonymously                                                                    
it meant  they specified they were  not presently interested                                                                    
in  moving  forward with  testing.  Until  that changed,  it                                                                    
remained in the anonymous pile.                                                                                                 
10:25:27 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Stevens  asked  for  verification  that  if  a  kit                                                                    
remained anonymous it would not be tested.                                                                                      
Representative  Tarr   answered  in  the   affirmative.  She                                                                    
remarked it  could be hard to  accept because if it  had the                                                                    
potential  to get  a  dangerous person  off  the streets  it                                                                    
would  be  desirable to  move  forward;  however, the  white                                                                    
paper referenced by Senator Micciche  from the Department of                                                                    
Justice  outlined   the  victim  centered   approach,  which                                                                    
recommended  not  moving  forward   unless  the  victim  was                                                                    
comfortable with that.                                                                                                          
10:25:59 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair MacKinnon  listed individuals available  online for                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Bishop MOVED  to REPORT  SCS  CSHB 31(STA)  from                                                                    
committee with  individual recommendations  and accompanying                                                                    
fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                      
SCS CSHB  31(STA) was REPORTED  out of committee with  a "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation  and with a  new zero fiscal  note from                                                                    
the Department of Public Safety,  and a previously published                                                                    
zero fiscal note: FN3 (DPS).                                                                                                    
10:26:54 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:28:11 AM                                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB299 (HFIN) Explanation of Changes ver A to ver U 4.9.18.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB 299 - Additional Backup - Precedent Alaska Airlines.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB 275 Work Draft Version O.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 275
HB 299 Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Fact Sheet and Roster - with Source.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB 215 DPH response SFIN 4-11-2018.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 215
HB 299 ABC Board Resolution re amendment to HB 299.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB299_ABC Board Resolution.pdf SFIN 4/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299