Legislature(2023 - 2024)BUTROVICH 205

03/22/2023 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:48:38 PM Start
01:49:23 PM Presentation(s): Alaska Court Rules and Grand Jury Overview
02:38:23 PM SB64
03:09:35 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Presentation: Discussion of Court Rules and Grand
Jury by Nancy Meade, General Counsel, Alaska
Court System John Skidmore, Deputy Attorney
General, Criminal Division, Department of Law
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
*+ SB 64 CONTROLLED SUB.;HOMICIDE;GOOD TIME DEDUC. TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 53 FIVE-YEAR INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENTS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= SB 37 CRIME COUNTERFEIT/NONFUNCTIONING AIRBAG TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB  64-CONTROLLED SUB.;HOMICIDE;GOOD TIME DEDUC.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:38:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 64                                                               
"An  Act relating  to homicide  resulting from  conduct involving                                                               
controlled substances; relating to  the computation of good time;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:39:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE  introduced the  bill. He  remarked that  the annual                                                               
number of  deaths from drug  overdose increased  substantially in                                                               
Alaska.  The increase  in deaths  requires a  response and  SB 64                                                               
provides one  piece of the  proposed response. He  explained that                                                               
the provision in  question relates to the  crime of manslaughter.                                                               
If  a  person knowingly  manufactures  or  delivers a  controlled                                                               
substance in violation  of other state laws and a  person dies as                                                               
the direct result of the  ingestion of that controlled substance,                                                               
the  crime  is  classified  as manslaughter,  a  Class  A  felony                                                               
offense. Manslaughter  has a  presumptive range  of four-to-seven                                                               
years for a first-time offender and a maximum of twenty years.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE explained that the  bill would lift the provision of                                                               
manslaughter  and move  it to  murder in  the second  degree. The                                                               
bill  lifts the  provision because  of the  dramatic increase  in                                                               
drug overdose  deaths. He  noted that the  increase in  deaths is                                                               
driven by fentanyl and methamphetamine poisoning.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:41:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE pointed to a  document in committee members' packets                                                               
titled,   Alaska   Department  of   Health  2021   Drug  Overdose                                                               
Mortality Update."  He moved  to the graph  on page  5, "Overdose                                                               
Death Rates by Drug (2012-2021)."  He quoted the language on page                                                               
6,  of the  drugs evaluated in the report,  the largest increases                                                               
were  seen in  overdose  deaths involving  fentanyl (a  synthetic                                                               
opioid) and  methamphetamine (a psychostimulant),  increasing 150                                                               
percent  and  148  percent,  respectively.   He  added  that  the                                                               
ability to prosecute  overdose death cases is  limited. The court                                                               
must prove that  the drugs supplied were a direct  cause of death                                                               
for the  person involved. The  drugs must  be traced back  to the                                                               
individual who  provided them. The  bill attempts to  authorize a                                                               
greater penalty associated with engaging in the conduct.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:44:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN moved to invited testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SANDY SNODGRASS,  CEO, AK  Fentanyl Response  Project, Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska,  testified in  support of  SB 64.  She reported  that her                                                               
son,  Robert  Bruce Snodgrass  died  from  fentanyl poisoning  on                                                               
October  21, 2021,  in Anchorage.  Since  viewing the  toxicology                                                               
report  following   her  sons    death,  she  works   in  various                                                               
capacities to  create a  response to  the fentanyl  epidemic. She                                                               
utilizes prevention  and outreach efforts  and states that  SB 64                                                               
addresses public safety. She expressed  hope that the legislature                                                               
will  consider   moving  the  bill  along   to  protect  Alaska's                                                               
children. She opined  that SB 64 could be used  by prosecutors to                                                               
negotiate   with  lower-level   drug  dealers.   She  seeks   the                                                               
prosecution of drug trafficking  organizations that are targeting                                                               
Alaskans  because of  the  inflated prices  of  illicit drugs  in                                                               
rural areas.  She mentioned a  newer drug known as  xylazine that                                                               
is gaining momentum  as another dangerous substance  and is often                                                               
paired with fentanyl.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  expressed sorrow for  the death of  Ms. Snodgrasss                                                                
son.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:49:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAUFMAN referred  to an  earlier  conversation with  Ms.                                                               
Snodgrass  where she  compared drug  overdose deaths  to aircraft                                                               
crashes.  He asked  her to  share the  comparison with  the other                                                               
committee members.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. SNODGRASS  offered the estimate  that 300 Americans  die from                                                               
drug-related  overdoses  every  day  in the  United  States.  She                                                               
pointed out that  300 people can travel on a  jumbo jet therefore                                                               
the  daily deaths  were analogous  to  a daily  plane crash.  She                                                               
presumed that the country would  cease all flying operations if a                                                               
jet crashed, killing  300 people every day.  She acknowledged the                                                               
lack  of response  to the  increase in  drug overdose  deaths and                                                               
fentanyl poisoning.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAUFMAN  offered to connect Ms.  Snodgrass with community                                                               
councils  and   other  community  meetings.  He   asked  how  the                                                               
legislature might otherwise signal the issue in Alaska.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SNODGRASS  reminded  the   committee  about  her  grassroots                                                               
efforts through  the AK Fentanyl  Response Project,  a community-                                                               
based  organization  used  to  educate  Alaskans  about  fentanyl                                                               
poisoning.  She noted  that her  organization works  closely with                                                               
the  Alaska  Drug  Enforcement Administration  (DEA)  to  provide                                                               
Naloxone  training and  distribution.  She  provided an  anecdote                                                               
about utilizing Naloxone to save a life in Washington DC.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:53:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN appreciated  having  Naloxone  available. He  asked                                                               
about  her   priority  of   targeting  larger   drug  trafficking                                                               
organizations  versus  street  dealers.  He  wondered  about  the                                                               
distinction.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SNODGRASS replied that the person  who sold her son the drugs                                                               
that  led to  his death  was likely  a person  with an  addiction                                                               
disorder. She  did not  believe that  prison was  the appropriate                                                               
place  for  low-level  drug  dealers  unless  they  have  a  long                                                               
criminal history and  are felons. She stated that  the person who                                                               
sold or shared drugs with her  son was likely a friend who needed                                                               
help  with addiction  rather than  a prison  sentence. She  hoped                                                               
that large drug distribution organizations  would be disabled and                                                               
that people who profit from suffering would go to prison.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:54:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KAREN   MALCOLM-SMITH,  Founder,   the  David   Dylan  Foundation                                                               
testified  that she  is  a  member of  the  Alaska Mental  Health                                                               
Advisory Board,  but she  clarified that  her statement  does not                                                               
reflect  the  opinions  or recommendations  of  that  board.  She                                                               
informed  the committee  that her  25-year-old son,  Dylan passed                                                               
away in  2017 from a drug  overdose death. She started  the David                                                               
Dylan Foundation to provide education about fentanyl poisoning.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN offered  his  condolences  for Ms.  Malcolm-Smiths                                                                
loss.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:01:52 PM                                                                                                                    
STACY EISERT, representing self,  Anchorage, Alaska, testified in                                                               
support of SB 64  and HB 66. She stated that she  lost her son to                                                               
fentanyl poisoning.  On March  10, 2021,  her son  ingested drugs                                                               
laced with fentanyl. She spoke about  the tragic loss of her son.                                                               
She perceived  that her  sons  death  was an  act of  homicide by                                                               
people  who  knowingly  delivered  a  controlled  substance.  She                                                               
wondered how many more lives would  be ruined by the blatant acts                                                               
of homicide.  She advocated for  consequences for the  actions of                                                               
trafficking dangerous substances.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN offered his condolences for Ms. Eiserts loss.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:05:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE BOUCHARD,  representing self, Palmer, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
support  of SB  64. She  reported  that her  21-year-old son  was                                                               
killed by  a lethal  dose of  fentanyl. She  held the  person who                                                               
sold her son  drugs responsible for his death. She  noted that an                                                               
open trooper investigation was ongoing,  which prevented her from                                                               
sharing  too  many  details.  She  reported  knowing  five  other                                                               
Alaskan  mothers who  lost children  to  fentanyl poisoning.  She                                                               
remarked  about the  58 percent  increase  in fentanyl  poisoning                                                               
deaths  in Alaska.  She believed  that a  person found  guilty of                                                               
selling fentanyl-laced  products should  be charged  with second-                                                               
degree murder.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN offered his condolences for Ms. Bouchards loss.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:08:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN closed public testimony and held the bill for                                                                      
further review.                                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Order No. 1993 - Amending Criminal Rule 6 and Criminal Rule 6.1 concerning grand jury 12.1.2022.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
Order No. 2000 - Amending the Criminal Rule 6.1 concerning grand jury 2.6.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64 version A 2.8.2023.PDF SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Transmittal Letter version A 2.7.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Highlights version A 2.8.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Sectional Analysis version A 2.8.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Additional Document - Alaska Department of Health Drug Overdose Mortality Update 2021 7.25.2022.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Additional Document - Controlled Substances Reference Chart 3.1.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Fiscal Note DOA-OPA 2.1.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Fiscal Note DOA-PDA 2.1.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Fiscal Note DOC-IDO 1.28.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Fiscal Note DFCS-JJ 1.30.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Fiscal Note DPS-ABI 1.24.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 64 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 1.4.2023.pdf SJUD 3/22/2023 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/31/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 64