Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/14/2003 08:50 AM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                        May 14, 2003                                                                                            
                         8:50 A.M.                                                                                              
TAPE HFC 03 - 91, Side A                                                                                                        
TAPE HFC 03 - 91, Side A                                                                                                        
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 8:50 A.M.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative John Harris, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Berkowitz                                                                                                        
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Kerttula                                                                                                         
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                     
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative   Peggy  Wilson;   Diane  Barrans,   Executive                                                                   
Director, Postsecondary  Education Commission,  Department of                                                                   
Education;   Camille   Soleil,  Alaska   Nurse   Association,                                                                   
Anchorage; Anne Carpeneti, Assistant  Attorney General, Legal                                                                   
Services  Section,  Criminal  Division,  Department  of  Law;                                                                   
Laurie  Hugonin,   Executive  Director,  Alaska   Network  on                                                                   
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                                                                                            
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
John Novak,  Assistant Attorney  General, Department  of Law,                                                                   
Anchorage;  Linda  Wilson,  Deputy  Director,  Alaska  Public                                                                   
Defender Agency, Anchorage                                                                                                      
HB 211    An  Act  relating  to   a  student  loan  repayment                                                                   
          program for nurses, and amending the duties of the                                                                    
          Board of Nursing that relate to this program; and                                                                     
          providing for an effective date.                                                                                      
          CS  HB 211  (HESS) was  reported  out of  Committee                                                                   
          with a "do pass" recommendation  and with zero note                                                                   
          #1  by  the  Department  of  Community  &  Economic                                                                   
          Development  and a  new fiscal  note by the  Alaska                                                                   
          Postsecondary Commission.                                                                                             
HB 216    An Act relating to municipal taxation of refined                                                                      
          fuel products.                                                                                                        
          HB 216 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
HB 244    An Act relating to the Code of Criminal Procedure;                                                                    
          relating  to  defenses, affirmative  defenses,  and                                                                   
          justifications  to certain criminal  acts; relating                                                                   
          to  rights of prisoners  after arrest;  relating to                                                                   
          discovery,  immunity  from prosecution,  notice  of                                                                   
          defenses,  admissibility of  certain evidence,  and                                                                   
          right  to representation  in criminal  proceedings;                                                                   
          relating    to    sentencing,     probation,    and                                                                   
          discretionary  parole;  amending  Rule  16,  Alaska                                                                   
          Rules  of Criminal Procedure,  and Rules  404, 412,                                                                   
          609,  and  803,  Alaska   Rules  of  Evidence;  and                                                                   
          providing for an effective date.                                                                                      
          HB 244 was HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
HB 267    An Act relating to the Alaska Railroad;                                                                               
          authorizing  the  Alaska  Railroad  Corporation  to                                                                   
          provide    financing     for    the    acquisition,                                                                   
          construction, improvement,  maintenance, equipping,                                                                   
          or operation  of facilities for  the transportation                                                                   
          of  natural gas  resources within  and outside  the                                                                   
          state  by others; authorizing  the Alaska  Railroad                                                                   
          Corporation   to  issue  bonds  to   finance  those                                                                   
          facilities; and providing for an effective date.                                                                      
          HB 267 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
CS SB 106(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          An  Act relating  to  tires; and  providing for  an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
          CS SB 106 (FIN) was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                          
CS SB 128(FIN) am                                                                                                               
          An  Act relating  to licensing  common carriers  to                                                                   
          dispense alcoholic beverages;  and providing for an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
          CS SB 128 (FIN) am was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                       
 HOUSE BILL NO. 244                                                                                                             
     An  Act relating  to  the  Code of  Criminal  Procedure;                                                                   
     relating   to   defenses,  affirmative   defenses,   and                                                                   
     justifications  to certain  criminal  acts; relating  to                                                                   
     rights   of   prisoners   after  arrest;   relating   to                                                                   
     discovery,   immunity   from  prosecution,   notice   of                                                                   
     defenses, admissibility  of certain evidence,  and right                                                                   
     to representation  in criminal proceedings;  relating to                                                                   
     sentencing,   probation,   and   discretionary   parole;                                                                   
     amending  Rule 16, Alaska  Rules of Criminal  Procedure,                                                                   
     and  Rules  404, 412,  609,  and  803, Alaska  Rules  of                                                                   
     Evidence; and providing for an effective date.                                                                             
ANNE CARPENETI,  ASSISTANT ATTORNEY  GENERAL, LEGAL  SERVICES                                                                   
SECTION, CRIMINAL  DIVISION, DEPARTMENT  OF LAW,  stated that                                                                   
HB  244 was  legislation  resulting from  long-time  concerns                                                                   
experienced by  prosecutors statewide.  The  legislation will                                                                   
address  procedural provisions  in law.   She requested  that                                                                   
Mr. Novak address the provisions of the bill.                                                                                   
JOHN   NOVAK,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT  OF LAW, ANCHORAGE,  summarized                                                                   
the  sectional   analysis  of  changes  made   to  the  House                                                                   
Judiciary Committee version.                                                                                                    
     ·         Section 1.  He stated that under current law,                                                                    
               lawyers  have the  right  to interrupt  and/or                                                                   
               stop the interview.   These provisions clarify                                                                   
               the rights of the attorney.                                                                                      
     ·         Section 2.  This section is a revision,                                                                          
               complying with  the current status of the law.                                                                   
               It  corrects the  statute to  comply with  the                                                                   
               directive of the Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                           
     ·         Sections 3, 4, 6, & 7.  These sections deal                                                                      
               with  a situation involving  multiple victims.                                                                   
               Under  current law, the Courts can  impose the                                                                   
               same  sentence, all at  the same time.   Under                                                                   
               the proposed bill,  it is designed so that the                                                                   
               Courts  would have to impose some  of the time                                                                   
               consecutively.    In  a  murder  context,  the                                                                   
               Courts  would   have  to  impose  a  mandatory                                                                   
              minimum sentence consecutively.                                                                                   
     ·         Section 5.  This section speaks to proving a                                                                     
               prior   conviction,    which   could   trigger                                                                   
               presumptive sentencing.   The provision limits                                                                   
               the questions  to the prior conviction  to two                                                                   
               items,  the right  to a lawyer  and to  a jury                                                                   
               trial.    Under  current  law,  the  defendant                                                                   
               could relitigate  the out-of-state conviction.                                                                   
               The   new  section  creates  some   degree  of                                                                   
               finality for not  relitigating an out-of-state                                                                   
               conviction within Alaska.                                                                                        
     ·         Sections 8, 9 & 10.  These sections deal with                                                                    
               discovery   and  disclosure   to  help   avoid                                                                   
               delays.   The  provisions will  help to  avoid                                                                   
               surprise attacks,  moving the deadline from 10                                                                   
               to 30  days, before the trial  to give notice.                                                                   
               This  action  makes   it  more  fair  and  the                                                                   
               disclosure   up-front   in   order  to   avoid                                                                   
               situations    that    continue    cases    and                                                                   
               surmounting costs.                                                                                               
     ·         Section 11.  This section deals with evidence                                                                    
               and  its  use in  the  trial.   The  provision                                                                   
               addresses    a   specific   circumstance    of                                                                   
               compliance  under waiver.  Under  current law,                                                                   
               the  prosecutor cannot  use prior  statements.                                                                   
               The   new  provision   allows  that   if  that                                                                   
               scenario  should occur, the  prosecution could                                                                   
               use  the  prior statement.    The State  would                                                                   
               need  to prove  that the  prior statement  was                                                                   
               voluntary  and  not  forced.    The  provision                                                                   
               would  also apply to evidence used  to impeach                                                                   
               a witness.                                                                                                       
     ·         Section 12.  This section deals with the                                                                         
               admissibility   of  conviction  to  impeach  a                                                                   
               witness.   Certain sentences can  be used from                                                                   
               the  date of conviction  for five years.   The                                                                   
               prosecution  could use  the prior  conviction.                                                                   
               Often  times, the  person is  not out  of jail                                                                   
               before  the  time lapses.    The new  language                                                                   
               provides  that the  clock starts running  from                                                                   
               the   time  that   they  are   unconditionally                                                                   
               discharged from the offense.                                                                                     
     ·         Section 13.  This section deals with the                                                                         
               context  of domestic  violence cases.   Unless                                                                   
               there  is intervention, this type  scene could                                                                   
               escalate  and someone could  be killed  in the                                                                   
               head of passion.   The proposed legislation is                                                                   
               another  step  in  an  effort  to  affectively                                                                   
               intervene and become  involved.  It allows for                                                                   
               admission   given  within   24-hours  of   the                                                                   
              domestic violence circumstance.                                                                                   
Representative  Kerttula inquired  about the consecutive  and                                                                   
concurrent  sentencing  and  what the  previous  statute  had                                                                   
intended.  Representative Kerttula  questioned how to address                                                                   
"intent" in that  type of case.  Mr. Novak  responded that in                                                                   
1982, the  Legislature had enacted  current law.   The intent                                                                   
of that  addressed when there  were multiple victims  and the                                                                   
total of  consecutive time.   He commented that  language had                                                                   
not been drafted  well and when the Court interpreted  it, it                                                                   
was  most  favorable  for the  defendants,  thus  giving  the                                                                   
Court's   permission   to   run   the   time   consecutively.                                                                   
Furthermore,  the language  expressed legislative  preference                                                                   
for consecutive sentencing.                                                                                                     
Mr.  Novak  noted  that regarding  the  second  concern,  the                                                                   
language provides  for the mandatory minimum  sentence, which                                                                   
would have  to be  consecutive for  the most serious  crimes.                                                                   
In certain  circumstances relating  to multiple murders,  the                                                                   
Court would  have to  impose the  mandatory minimum  sentence                                                                   
for each  conviction.   In  the current system,  the victim's                                                                   
families often feel  that their victim "did not  count".  The                                                                   
proposed  language  recognizes   that  each  of  the  persons                                                                   
included  in the  multiple  murders has  value  and that  the                                                                   
Court  will  inflict  on  the   guilty  party  at  least  the                                                                   
mandatory minimum.  All victims  want the guilty person to be                                                                   
required to serve consecutive jail time.                                                                                        
Representative  Kerttula  inquired  if  that  language  could                                                                   
apply  if  there had  been  a  car crash,  classified  as  an                                                                   
assault  of behavior.   She  believed that  the same  "guilt"                                                                   
could apply in  that situation and would run  the consecutive                                                                   
minimum  sentencing.    Mr.  Novak  explained that  in a  car                                                                   
crash circumstance, if all victims  in the car were hurt, but                                                                   
not necessarily  killed, the guilty party would  be convicted                                                                   
for a crime against  a person.  Then the Alaska  Court System                                                                   
would have  to impose at least  one day of  consecutive time.                                                                   
The sentence would  not be as dramatic as it would  be on the                                                                   
"murder end".                                                                                                                   
Representative Kerttula acknowledged  that was correct unless                                                                   
of  course that  person had  a  previous charge.   Mr.  Novak                                                                   
replied  that   the  Alaska  Court  System  could   run  them                                                                   
concurrently except for the one-day  period until the highest                                                                   
level of offense was met.  The  language would not go all the                                                                   
way back to the Court's original intent.                                                                                        
Representative Kerttula  commented that the person  would not                                                                   
be under presumptive sentencing  unless it had been under the                                                                   
more heinous  type of crimes.   Mr. Novak corrected  that the                                                                   
presumptive sentencing  would apply.  The Court's  would have                                                                   
to indicate  that presumptive  sentencing  was served  with a                                                                   
consecutive sentence of at least one day.                                                                                       
Representative  Kerttula pointed  out  that it  would not  be                                                                   
presumptive  for  the  following  sentence but  only  on  the                                                                   
first.  Mr. Novak responded that  it would be presumptive but                                                                   
not necessarily consecutive.                                                                                                    
Representative   Berkowitz  commented   that  if  there   are                                                                   
multiple victims, two years would  be charged for each and if                                                                   
there were four  victims, it would total eight  years.  Under                                                                   
the proposed  scheme, that  sentence would  be two  years and                                                                   
three days.  Mr. Novak agreed that was correct.                                                                                 
Representative Berkowitz  referenced Section 5,  which states                                                                   
that the defendant could challenge  the validity of the prior                                                                   
conviction  only  if  the  defendant   was  denied  right  to                                                                   
counsel.  He pointed  out that in many cases,  there is newly                                                                   
discovered evidence or DNA.  He  asked if there was any other                                                                   
provision in the law that would  allow someone to challenge a                                                                   
prior conviction.   Mr. Novak  replied that the idea  is that                                                                   
if there  were an out-of-state  conviction, the  person would                                                                   
re-litigate  that in the  state that  it occurred.   However,                                                                   
for Alaska  prior convictions,  the person  has the  right to                                                                   
Representative  Berkowitz  asked  the mechanism  for  someone                                                                   
that had  served a  term in  another state  and then  came to                                                                   
Alaska and was  convicted for something else.   He asked what                                                                   
would be  the forum for  them to use  to challenge  the prior                                                                   
conviction.   Mr.  Novak explained  that they  would have  to                                                                   
challenge  it in the  state of  origin and  under the  law of                                                                   
that jurisdiction.   In Alaska, there is a  provision for the                                                                   
post conviction relief window of two years.                                                                                     
Representative  Berkowitz recommended  that  section needs  a                                                                   
"trap door"  to allow the  defendant to contest  or challenge                                                                   
the  prior conviction  if  there  is certain  evidence  made,                                                                   
which could  prevent a "miscarriage  of justice".   Mr. Novak                                                                   
explained  that if the  Department found  out that  there had                                                                   
been a wrongful  prior conviction, then the  prosecutor would                                                                   
recognize  that and undo  the situation  existing in  Alaska.                                                                   
The concept  is that  in Alaska,  a new  conviction would  be                                                                   
discussed.    Deciding  if  everything  done  previously  was                                                                   
proper would be associated with the previous case.                                                                              
Representative  Berkowitz stated that  when in a  presumptive                                                                   
sentencing  case, there  must  be advantages  accrued in  the                                                                   
prosecution to raise credible challenges.                                                                                       
Representative Berkowitz referenced  Section 8 and asked what                                                                   
"the defendant would be likely  to rely upon for the defense"                                                                   
mean.   Mr.  Novak responded  that language  would relay  the                                                                   
idea and would  provide for giving notice to  things that you                                                                   
may later  choose not  to do and  would provide for  avoiding                                                                   
the prospect  of disclosure.   The term could  give incentive                                                                   
and notice for defenses and place the cards on the table.                                                                       
Representative Berkowitz  referenced Section 8,  asking about                                                                   
the  use of  "timely"  on  Page 5,  Line  20.   He  suggested                                                                   
"timely" could  provide enough discretion than  the fixed 30-                                                                   
day rule.                                                                                                                       
Mr.  Novak  advised that  the  idea  was  to give  a  clearer                                                                   
understanding  and that  giving  30-days provides  certainty.                                                                   
He added  that the Court  would be able  to relax  the 30-day                                                                   
rule through  Rule 53  and that in  the interest  of justice,                                                                   
the Court  could extend  the rule.   The  idea is to  provide                                                                   
certainty regarding what "timely" means.                                                                                        
Vice-Chair  Meyer noted  that  the HB  244 would  be HELD  in                                                                   
Committee for further consideration.                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 211                                                                                                            
     An Act relating to a student  loan repayment program for                                                                   
     nurses, and amending the  duties of the Board of Nursing                                                                   
     that  relate  to  this  program  and  providing  for  an                                                                   
     effective date.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  PEGGY WILSON  explained that  Alaska and  the                                                                   
nation are experiencing a severe  shortage of nurses.  HB 211                                                                   
would establish  the Alaska Nurse Recruitment  Loan Repayment                                                                   
Program, which could help to change  that.  The program would                                                                   
offer up to $2,000 per year, not  to exceed $10,000 total for                                                                   
nurses to repay nursing loans.   Hopefully the incentive will                                                                   
attract new  nurses to  the State  and encourage Alaskans  to                                                                   
pursue nursing vocations here in Alaska.                                                                                        
In 2002,  the Alaska Colleagues  in Caring, in  collaboration                                                                   
with  the  Alaska  Hospital  and   Nursing  Home  Association                                                                   
(AHNHA),  surveyed  facilities  in Alaska  regarding  nursing                                                                   
workforce  needs.   Results  showed  that vacancy  rates  for                                                                   
Registered  Nurses (RN) had  increased from  5.7% in  2000 to                                                                   
11.5% in 2002,  with increasing vacancy rates  projected into                                                                   
the  future.    Facilities in  western  and  northern  Alaska                                                                   
reported  a  vacancy  rate  of  over  20%  and  according  to                                                                   
information  from other  sources,  the vacancy  rate in  some                                                                   
remote areas of Alaska is as high as 35 percent.                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  stated   that  to  qualify  for  loan                                                                   
reimbursement,  the individual  must be hired  as a  nurse in                                                                   
Alaska on or after  July 1, 2003, be licensed  to practice as                                                                   
a nurse  in Alaska, work as  a nurse in the  State throughout                                                                   
the loan repayment  period, and have outstanding  educational                                                                   
loans  from a  recognized  lending institution.    Additional                                                                   
eligibility  criteria  and guidelines  for  the loan  program                                                                   
would be set in regulations adopted  by the Board of Nursing,                                                                   
in consultation  with the Alaska Commission  on Postsecondary                                                                   
Education.   That  could include  guidelines on  establishing                                                                   
priorities for  participation in  the loan repayment  program                                                                   
if  funding for  the program  was  not adequate  to meet  the                                                                   
need.   The guidelines  may include  determinations  based on                                                                   
areas  of  the  State and  nursing  specialties  affected  by                                                                   
Representative Wilson commented  that funding for the program                                                                   
might  be  appropriated  from the  Student  Loan  Corporation                                                                   
dividend (the return of contributed  capital authorized in AS                                                                   
14.42.295(a))  or  alternate  State,  federal,  and/or  other                                                                   
sources.  The executive director  of the Alaska Commission on                                                                   
Postsecondary Education would administer the program.                                                                           
Vice  Chair  Meyer  noted that  outside  testimony  had  been                                                                   
closed on HB 211 and if there  were questions, the Department                                                                   
could respond.                                                                                                                  
Representative Hawker  understood that the  legislation would                                                                   
provide  a fund  to repay  qualifying  educational loans  for                                                                   
students entering  the nursing  program.   He asked  if there                                                                   
were any "sidebars"  regarding what education  loans might be                                                                   
paid.  Representative Wilson replied  that they would have to                                                                   
be nursing loans  for classes to become a nurse.   There is a                                                                   
criterion established.   The  guidelines would be  determined                                                                   
by  the Board  of  Nursing in  consultation  with the  Alaska                                                                   
Commission on Postsecondary Education.   If the funds are not                                                                   
available, then  who receives the  loans would be  limited to                                                                   
the areas most critical need.                                                                                                   
Representative Hawker  asked if it would make  any difference                                                                   
at  what  institution   the  nurse  received   their  degree.                                                                   
Representative Wilson explained  that the regulations are not                                                                   
yet  known  and   that  the  Board  of  Nursing   and  Alaska                                                                   
Postsecondary would address those concerns.                                                                                     
DIANE  BARRANS, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, POSTSECONDARY  EDUCATION                                                                   
COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION, advised that  there are                                                                   
no  constraints  on where  the  student goes,  however,  they                                                                   
would have to be pursuing education  in nursing.  It would be                                                                   
a loan to an individual to attend  wherever they choose if it                                                                   
were  an accredited  institution  that leads  to the  nursing                                                                   
Representative Hawker inquired  if there was any incentive to                                                                   
achieve their education in an  Alaskan facility.  Ms. Barrans                                                                   
replied  that language  had  not been  specifically  included                                                                   
because of the  University of Alaska's ability  to compete on                                                                   
a low cost basis with other institutions.                                                                                       
Representative Hawker  inquired if there were  an anticipated                                                                   
number of  people applying for  the benefits under  the bill.                                                                   
Ms.  Barrans responded  that  nurses in  the  program at  the                                                                   
University  of Alaska  would  100% qualify  as  long as  they                                                                   
remain in Alaska and practice in the State.                                                                                     
Representative  Hawker noted  the costs  associated with  the                                                                   
program.   He  agreed  with the  overriding  social need  and                                                                   
seriousness of  the consideration, but questioned  the fiscal                                                                   
reimbursement estimate  for education from the  University of                                                                   
TAPE HFC 03 - 91, Side A                                                                                                      
Ms. Barrans  replied that 25%  would be an educated  guess of                                                                   
the  number  of nursing  professionals  that  the  University                                                                   
currently has capacity for.  In  the current graduating year,                                                                   
there  may  be 150  nurses.    That number  is  progressively                                                                   
increasing to 220  within the next three years.   The numbers                                                                   
reflect the capacity of Alaska to produce nurses.                                                                               
Representative  Berkowitz   pointed  out  that   one  of  the                                                                   
critical components of the University's  budget this year had                                                                   
to do  the expansion of the  nursing program.   He emphasized                                                                   
that it is critical that the State  should help subsidize the                                                                   
nursing crisis.  The State needs more nurses.                                                                                   
Representative  Hawker  pointed  out  that  the  fiscal  note                                                                   
indicates  an  escalation  of   costs  in  the  future.    He                                                                   
questioned  how the escalation  had been  determined  and how                                                                   
much of that would  come from the University of  Alaska.  Ms.                                                                   
Barrans  expected that  number to  remain at  the 25%  level.                                                                   
The fiscal  note projects the  number of new  nurses entering                                                                   
the  program to  be  459 the  first  year and  to  grow at  a                                                                   
slightly  larger  participation  rate during  the  next  four                                                                   
years.   To the extent that  the University can  produce some                                                                   
portion of that,  in 2004, perhaps 200 nurses  would graduate                                                                   
from the  program.   The maximum  capacity  would be 220  per                                                                   
Representative  Berkowitz voiced  appreciation  for the  work                                                                   
done on the proposed legislation.                                                                                               
Ms.  Barrans advised  that the  funding for  the fiscal  note                                                                   
would  come  from  general  funds.    Those  funds  would  be                                                                   
earmarked on an  annual basis and appropriated  to that fund.                                                                   
Finances for  FY04 have  been otherwise appropriated  through                                                                   
the Capital  budget.   She reiterated that  for at  least the                                                                   
first  year,  the fiscal  note  calls  for general  funds  to                                                                   
capitalize the project.                                                                                                         
Representative Hawker  questioned if there would  be a sunset                                                                   
on  the program.    Ms. Barrans  responded  that the  program                                                                   
would continue to operate as long  as the appropriations were                                                                   
placed into the fund.                                                                                                           
Representative  Hawker recommended a  sunset clause  be added                                                                   
in  order that  the Legislative  Budget  and Audit  Committee                                                                   
could  provide  an evaluation  of  program performance.    He                                                                   
inquired if  the sponsor  would be  receptive to adding  that                                                                   
Representative  Kerttula  interjected  that the  State  could                                                                   
always  repeal   the  program.     Placing  a   sunset  could                                                                   
discourage  participants  from  becoming  a nurse;  when  the                                                                   
students see that possibly coming, they might opt out.                                                                          
Representative Wilson  emphasized that studies  indicate that                                                                   
in the next seven  years, the State is going  to need another                                                                   
4,100  nurses.    She  pointed  out that  this  is  a  crisis                                                                   
situation and  the legislation is conditional  if the funding                                                                   
is there.                                                                                                                       
CAMILLE SOLEIL, (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE), ALASKA NURSE                                                                   
ASSOCIATION,  ANCHORAGE, offered to  answer questions  of the                                                                   
Representative Foster  MOVED to report  CS HB 211  (HESS) out                                                                   
of Committee  with  individual recommendations  and with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
Representative Hawker OBJECTED  for a comment.  He noted that                                                                   
he  would  consider prior  comments  made  by  Representative                                                                   
Kerttula.    Representative Hawker  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.                                                                   
There being NO further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                            
CS HB  211 (HESS) was  reported out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation and with  zero note #1 by the Department                                                                   
of Community & Economic Development  and a new fiscal note by                                                                   
the Alaska Postsecondary Commission.                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 244                                                                                                            
     An  Act relating  to  the  Code of  Criminal  Procedure;                                                                   
     relating   to   defenses,  affirmative   defenses,   and                                                                   
     justifications  to certain  criminal  acts; relating  to                                                                   
     rights   of   prisoners   after  arrest;   relating   to                                                                   
     discovery,   immunity   from  prosecution,   notice   of                                                                   
     defenses, admissibility  of certain evidence,  and right                                                                   
     to representation  in criminal proceedings;  relating to                                                                   
     sentencing,   probation,   and   discretionary   parole;                                                                   
     amending  Rule 16, Alaska  Rules of Criminal  Procedure,                                                                   
     and  Rules  404, 412,  609,  and  803, Alaska  Rules  of                                                                   
     Evidence; and providing for an effective date.                                                                             
LINDA   WILSON,  (TESTIFIED   VIA   TELECONFERENCE),   DEPUTY                                                                   
DIRECTOR, ALASKA PUBLIC DEFENDER  AGENCY, ANCHORAGE, provided                                                                   
the position of the public defender  and highlighted concerns                                                                   
that remain in the bill.                                                                                                        
     ·         Section 1.  This section rewrites and                                                                            
               includes  numbers   regarding  the  prisoner's                                                                   
               rights   after   they  are   arrested.     The                                                                   
               controversy   has  to  do  with   denying  the                                                                   
               ability  of  the   prisoner  to  access  their                                                                   
               lawyer   unless  an   attorney  is   specially                                                                   
               requested.    Family   or  friends  could  not                                                                   
               retain  a lawyer for  the prisoner.   With the                                                                   
               revision,  it would  allow for  a relative  or                                                                   
               family  friend  to retain  an  attorney.   She                                                                   
               supported that change.                                                                                           
     ·         Section 2.  This section draws from the                                                                          
               immunity  statute   currently  on  the  books.                                                                   
               Section   2  provides  a  good   revision  and                                                                   
               corrects     the    language,     making    it                                                                   
               constitutional.     Historically,  Alaska  has                                                                   
               required        transactional        immunity.                                                                   
               Unfortunately,  the Alaska Statutes  changed a                                                                   
               number  of years ago and only  granted limited                                                                   
               use of  immunity, which was appealed  and in a                                                                   
               unanimous  decision,  it was  agreed with  the                                                                   
               Court   of  Appeals   that  the  statute   was                                                                   
               unconstitutional.   The new language makes the                                                                   
               transactional   immunity   and   the   statute                                                                   
               reflect what the constitution requires.                                                                          
     ·         Section 3.  Section 3 is a conforming section                                                                    
               that  relates   to  the  next  section,  which                                                                   
               mandates  consecutive  terms of  imprisonment.                                                                   
               There   is   a  preference   for   consecutive                                                                   
               sentences.   There  are certain  circumstances                                                                   
               where  someone could  commit similar  types of                                                                   
               crime and because  the crimes are in different                                                                   
               judicial  districts, there  have been  various                                                                   
               types of  cases.  In those concerns,  there is                                                                   
               a  preference for  continuous sentences.   The                                                                   
               Court  decided from prior immunity  in statute                                                                   
               that  there should  be  a concurrent  sentence                                                                   
               and not a mandated  consecutive sentence.  She                                                                   
               commented that  the preference and mandate for                                                                   
               consecutive  sentencing  makes  sense.   There                                                                   
               must  be  discretion from  the  judge.   There                                                                   
               could  be  an  easy  fix in  that  section  by                                                                   
               adding  additional  language, clarifying  that                                                                   
               if  the prior  event was  committed after  the                                                                   
               prior judgment,  then the second offense would                                                                   
               be fines.                                                                                                        
     ·         Section 4.  The Public Defender has concerns                                                                     
               with  the  language  contained in  Section  4.                                                                   
               Mandating consecutive  sentence without giving                                                                   
               the judge any discretion  will place the State                                                                   
              of Alaska into a bad situation.                                                                                   
     ·         Section 5.  She noted that Section 5                                                                             
               addresses concerns  with challenging the prior                                                                   
               conviction.     The  burden  shifted   to  the                                                                   
               defendant   and   to  challenge   that   prior                                                                   
               conviction, there  would have to be a right to                                                                   
               cancel  or the  right to  a jury  trial.   She                                                                   
               suggested that limitation was too narrow.                                                                        
     ·         Sections 6 & 7.  These sections are                                                                              
               conforming amendments  that relate back to the                                                                   
               sentencing section.                                                                                              
     ·         Section 8.  This section speaks to the notice                                                                    
               of defenses.  She  stated that the State would                                                                   
               be   "treading  on   dangerous  ground"   when                                                                   
               demanding  preclusion of  defense.   There are                                                                   
               constitutional   rights  when  faced   with  a                                                                   
               criminal   charge,  which   is  part   of  the                                                                   
               constitutional   system  for  someone   facing                                                                   
               criminal  charges.   Demanding  preclusion  of                                                                   
               the   defense  could   violate  the   person's                                                                   
               rights.     The   defendant   should  not   be                                                                   
               precluded from  presenting their defense.  She                                                                   
               voiced  concern   with  the  "expert  witness"                                                                   
               language.    Prohibiting the  defense  witness                                                                   
               from  testifying  is  extreme.   Allowing  the                                                                   
               judge  to make  careful  consideration to  the                                                                   
               prejudices  would be a  much better  path than                                                                   
               requiring preclusion.                                                                                            
     ·         Section 13.  This section would create a new                                                                     
               exception  to the hearsay rule and  would have                                                                   
               significant  constitutional  problems.   These                                                                   
               cases  can  be full  of emotion,  passion  and                                                                   
               bias.   Removing  the constitutional  right of                                                                   
               the  defendant   to  cross-examine  a  witness                                                                   
               would be wrong  and not a good idea.  Creating                                                                   
               an exception would be best.                                                                                      
Co-Chair Williams  advised that  the bill had  been discussed                                                                   
in the House Judiciary Committee.                                                                                               
Representative   Kerttula  requested   that  Ms.  Wilson   be                                                                   
available  to answer questions  of the  Committee at  a later                                                                   
meeting.    She  noted  that  she  did  have  many  questions                                                                   
prepared  on the  issue.   Co-Chair Williams  stated that  he                                                                   
planned   to   move   the   bill   as   soon   as   possible.                                                                   
Representative Kerttula  reiterated that she  had significant                                                                   
questions regarding the financial  impact of the legislation.                                                                   
LAURIE  HUGONIN,   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  ALASKA   NETWORK  ON                                                                   
DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE  AND  SEXUAL  ASSAULT,  advised  that  the                                                                   
Network  supports  Section 4  of  the bill,  the  consecutive                                                                   
sentencing and  Section 13, expanding  the period of  time to                                                                   
accept  the domestic  violence report.   She  added that  the                                                                   
Network  did  support  language  from  the  previous  version                                                                   
regarding  prior convictions.   Ms.  Hugonin understood  that                                                                   
there was  an amendment pending  in Committee that  would add                                                                   
that language back into the bill.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Williams reiterated that  HB 244 had been before the                                                                   
House  Judiciary  Committee and  had  addressed  many of  the                                                                   
expressed concerns.                                                                                                             
HB 244 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
The meeting was adjourned at 10:06 A.M.                                                                                         

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