Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/10/2004 01:41 PM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 10, 2004                                                                                          
                         1:41 P.M.                                                                                              
TAPE HFC 04 - 23, Side A                                                                                                        
TAPE HFC 04 - 23, Side B                                                                                                        
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 1:41 P.M.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative John Harris, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                                        
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative  Dan Ogg; Cliff  Stone, Staff,  Representative                                                                   
Ogg;  Patty Ware,  Director,  Division  of Juvenile  Justice,                                                                   
Department  of Health  and  Social Services;  Doug  Wooliver,                                                                   
Administrative   Attorney,   Alaska   Court   System;   Laury                                                                   
Scandling,  Primary Founder  of Juneau  Youth Court,  Juneau-                                                                   
Douglas High School Teacher; Abigail  Levin, Director, Juneau                                                                   
Youth  Court;   Jane  Longenbaugh,   Youth  Court   Advocate,                                                                   
Freshman, Juneau-Douglas High  School; Zoe Olson, Youth Court                                                                   
Advocate, Senior, Juneau-Douglas High School.                                                                                   
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Cheryl   Fultz,   Board  Member,   Ketchikan   Youth   Court,                                                                   
Ketchikan;   Gretchen   Klein,   Youth   Court   Coordinator,                                                                   
Ketchikan;  Whitney  Cushing,   President,  Youth  Courts  of                                                                   
Alaska,   Homer;   Virginia   Espenshade,   Director,   Kenai                                                                   
Peninsula Youth  Court, Homer; Christina  Derrickson, Senior,                                                                   
Kodiak  High  School,  Judge  and  Attorney  of  Teen  Court,                                                                   
Kodiak; Cynthia Shangin, Member of Teen Court, Kodiak;                                                                          
Nicholas Pennington, Attorney  of Youth Court, Kodiak; Amanda                                                                   
Nuggett, Eighth Grader, Member  of Teen Court, Kodiak; Krista                                                                   
Scully, Director, United Youth Courts of Alaska, Anchorage.                                                                     
HB 303    An  Act  relating  to   youth  courts  and  to  the                                                                   
          recommended use of criminal fines to fund the                                                                         
          activities of youth courts; and relating to                                                                           
          accounting for criminal fines."                                                                                       
HB  303  was   heard  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
HOUSE BILL NO. 303                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE DAN OGG, SPONSOR,  explained that HB 303 would                                                                   
fund the Youth Court program with  criminal fines.  He stated                                                                   
that he introduced the bill because  many of the youth courts                                                                   
in  the state  had formerly  been funded  by federal  grants,                                                                   
which are now  significantly reduced. He stressed  that it is                                                                   
not  possible to  fund the  youth courts  on carwashes,  with                                                                   
each program requiring around  $30,000 to operate.  The youth                                                                   
courts are successful and needed.                                                                                               
CLIFF STONE, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  OGG, referred to the bill                                                                   
packet (copies  on file.)  He  stated that the  2002 research                                                                   
report, "The Impact of Teen Court  on Young Offenders, by the                                                                   
Urban  Institute, April  2002"  (copy on  file)  is the  only                                                                   
definitive  report  on  youth   courts  across  the  country.                                                                   
Alaska at 6 %  has one of the lowest recidivism  rates in the                                                                   
country,   which  indicates  fewer   second  and   third-time                                                                   
offenders.   He paraphrased  from a  speech by Chief  Justice                                                                   
Dana Fabe, "The  Challenge of and Informed  Citizenry," which                                                                   
explained the benefits of youth  courts.  Mr. Stone concluded                                                                   
that these teenagers  are providing a great  service to their                                                                   
communities  and   the  program  is  worthy   of  legislative                                                                   
Co-Chair Harris  brought up the Division of  Juvenile Justice                                                                   
fiscal note dated 02-10-04 that totals over $1 million.                                                                         
Mr.  Stone  explained  that  the  House  Judiciary  Committee                                                                   
Substitute [allows  the legislature] to collect up  to 25% of                                                                   
the fines,  and based on  FY 02 figures, twenty-five  percent                                                                   
would  take  in  over $1  million.  The  Judiciary  Committee                                                                   
passed  the  bill   and  accompanying  fiscal   note  out  of                                                                   
committee  with   the  intention   that  the  House   Finance                                                                   
Committee would work  with the number. He explained  that 15%                                                                   
of  the collected  fines  would  total about  $650  thousand,                                                                   
while $600  thousand is needed  to fund the youth  courts and                                                                   
allow for possible  expansion.  Bethel does not  have a youth                                                                   
court and presents a high priority.                                                                                             
Co-Chair  Harris  asked if  judges  and attorneys  in  Bethel                                                                   
would volunteer  toward the  youth court  effort.   Mr. Stone                                                                   
said that he  could not respond, but noted  that the director                                                                   
of  the  youth courts  has  looked  at  the Bethel  area  for                                                                   
potential funding.                                                                                                              
Representative Hawker  asked if the court fines  and proceeds                                                                   
are currently  totally undesignated in the budget.  Mr. Stone                                                                   
replied that he  believed that some of the money  goes to the                                                                   
General Fund.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Williams stated  that the Committee  would  work on                                                                   
the fiscal note, which "is a little high."                                                                                      
PATTY   WARE,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION   of  JUVENILE   JUSTICE,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  of  HEALTH  and  SOCIAL  SERVICES,  informed  the                                                                   
Committee that  youth courts perform  a critical  function in                                                                   
the state's criminal  justice system. In FY  03, youth courts                                                                   
across the state  were responsible for addressing  14% of the                                                                   
division's  referrals. The  courts provide  an effective  and                                                                   
timely  response  to  juvenile   misdemeanor  offenders.  She                                                                   
stated that the department is  very supportive of the program                                                                   
in urban and rural Alaska.                                                                                                      
Ms.  Ware continued,  the department  proposes  to amend  the                                                                   
language  in  Section  2,  from "25  percent  of  the  fines"                                                                   
yielding over $1  million, to "10 of the fines,"  which would                                                                   
yield  about  $430  thousand.  She asked  for  support  while                                                                   
recognizing  that  the  legislature  is facing  a  number  of                                                                   
funding shortfalls.                                                                                                             
Representative  Hawker asked for  a brief explanation  of the                                                                   
funding changes over the past few years.                                                                                        
Ms. Ware explained that historically,  youth courts have been                                                                   
paid  through federal  dollars, primarily  from the  juvenile                                                                   
accountability and  incentive block grant.   The division has                                                                   
experienced  significant reductions  in federal funding  over                                                                   
the  past few  fiscal years.  This  fiscal year  the bulk  of                                                                   
youth  courts are  funded through  general  fund dollars,  in                                                                   
anticipation of  the reduction in federal funds.  Last fiscal                                                                   
year the  department adjusted  or cut services  and programs,                                                                   
and agreements with  other state agencies, in  order to shift                                                                   
funding  to  the  youth  court   program  with  general  fund                                                                   
In response to a question by Representative  Hawker, Ms. Ware                                                                   
clarified that the department  was previously receiving about                                                                   
$1  million  in  federal  monies, but  the  state  agency  is                                                                   
currently zeroed out in the next federal budget.                                                                                
Representative   Hawker  was  unable   to  find   a  discrete                                                                   
component for the  program in the budget because  it is split                                                                   
between Probation  Services and  Delinquency Prevention.  Ms.                                                                   
Ware  clarified that  most  of the  funding  is in  Probation                                                                   
Services, with  the remainder  in the Delinquency  Prevention                                                                   
Representative Hawker asked why  there is no single component                                                                   
line identifying  the youth  courts.  Ms.  Ware was  not sure                                                                   
but she thought that the department  would have to single out                                                                   
several other community-based services as well.                                                                                 
Vice-Chair  Meyer  asked  when  the  court  fines  were  last                                                                   
raised. Ms. Ware was unable to respond.                                                                                         
Vice-Chair Meyer asked if local  municipalities contribute to                                                                   
the  youth  courts.   Ms.  Ware  explained  that  the  courts                                                                   
receive   substantial  in-kind   and  cash   matches.     The                                                                   
department and bill sponsor numbers  do not reflect the total                                                                   
operating  costs of  the  youth courts.    The grant  reports                                                                   
indicate $270  thousand in general fund dollars  matched with                                                                   
$490 thousand  in cash,  and an  additional $370 thousand  in                                                                   
in-kind dollars.   The in-kind match includes  donations, and                                                                   
attorneys and others volunteering their time.                                                                                   
Representative  Joule compared  Alaska's  3% recidivism  rate                                                                   
with the  national rate of  26%, and  asked how much  the 23%                                                                   
difference  represents in  terms of  savings.   Ms. Ware  was                                                                   
unable  to  speak  to  the  methodology   or  make  a  direct                                                                   
Representative Stoltze asked if  the department supports this                                                                   
program as a  priority. Ms. Ware clarified that  the division                                                                   
did not  make an additional request  in the FY 05  budget for                                                                   
youth  courts. The  division  is a  strong  supporter of  the                                                                   
program,  but   the  decision  on  appropriation   level  and                                                                   
priority ranking is left to the legislature.                                                                                    
Representative  Foster  referred  to  the  Urban  Institute's                                                                   
report indicating  that most states  do not formally  endorse                                                                   
teen courts.  Alaska is the only  state to address teen court                                                                   
adjudication  in  statute. Ms.  Ware  agreed  that Alaska  is                                                                   
ahead of other  states with its option of using  youth courts                                                                   
in  the delinquency  statutes,  as  well as  its  partnership                                                                   
between youth courts and the formal court system.                                                                               
Representative Hawker  requested that the division  provide a                                                                   
three-year  comparison  from   FY  03  -  FY  05  delineating                                                                   
grantees, totals, and funding  sources to show the transition                                                                   
from federal to general funds.   Ms. Ware said that she would                                                                   
provide the information.                                                                                                        
CHERYL  FULTZ,  BOARD  MEMBER,  KETCHIKAN  YOUTH  COURT,  VIA                                                                   
TELECONFERENCE, stated  that a lot of time is  spent on fund-                                                                   
raising  and  expressed  concern about  losing  the  juvenile                                                                   
justice grant.                                                                                                                  
GRETCHEN KLEIN, YOUTH COURT COORDINATOR,  VIA TELECONFERENCE,                                                                   
KETCHIKAN,  spoke  to in-kind  donations.    She stated  that                                                                   
youth  courts allow  kids to  learn more  about the  judicial                                                                   
system and  judge their peers,  to see  how laws work  in the                                                                   
community,  and  to become  better  citizens.   Youth  courts                                                                   
believe in restorative justice,  and are involved in ensuring                                                                   
restitution to  the victims through  community service.   The                                                                   
turnaround rate for cases averages 45 days.                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Harris  asked  for a  general  overview  of  budget                                                                   
expenditures. Ms.  Klein explained that last  year the budget                                                                   
was  reduced  from  $26  thousand  to  $15  thousand  in  the                                                                   
accountability grant.  The budget is about $80  thousand, due                                                                   
to  large  in-kind  donations   including  office  space  and                                                                   
manpower. Fundraising brings in  $12 thousand. She stated $30                                                                   
thousand would allow a youth court  to operate with part-time                                                                   
staff and volunteers.                                                                                                           
Co-Chair  Harris  asked  if  teachers  are  involved  and  if                                                                   
computers are  donated. Ms. Klein replied that  the Ketchikan                                                                   
program is currently  not under the school system,  but there                                                                   
are donations of equipment and time, and school classrooms.                                                                     
Co-Chair  Harris  noted  that  the Governor's  budget  has  a                                                                   
figure of $400 thousand instead  of $1 million, and asked how                                                                   
many  youth  courts  would  share the  funding.    Ms.  Klein                                                                   
replied there are fifteen youth courts.                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Harris  calculated  about $26  thousand  per  youth                                                                   
court.  He asked about the allocation  for travel.  Ms. Klein                                                                   
responded  the travel  fund is for  the national  conference,                                                                   
and for networking with other  youth courts around the state.                                                                   
WHITNEY CUSHING,  PRESIDENT, UNITED  YOUTH COURTS  OF ALASKA,                                                                   
VIA  TELECONFERENCE,  HOMER,  spoke  from  written  testimony                                                                   
(copy on file) explaining that  he has had the opportunity to                                                                   
work  with  youth courts  around  the  state.   He  said  the                                                                   
frugality of  youth courts  couldn't be matched,  emphasizing                                                                   
the ways  that youth courts save  the state money.   He cited                                                                   
program-related  statistics.  He  spoke  to  the  effects  of                                                                   
funding cuts on  several youth courts.  He  stressed that the                                                                   
program is a money-saving investment.                                                                                           
VIRGINIA ESPENSHADE,  DIRECTOR,  KENAI PENINSULA YOUTH  COURT                                                                   
VIA  TELECONFERENCE, HOMER,  discussed  the funding  history.                                                                   
Fiscal  Year 2002  was the last  year the  youth courts  were                                                                   
fully funded at $30 thousand,  with a 10% cut following in FY                                                                   
03. The  FY 04  cut was  based on  the number  of cases.  She                                                                   
advised  the  committee  to  use   a  figure  between  $30-40                                                                   
thousand  to  staff each  program.    Federal funds  are  not                                                                   
anticipated  for the  fifteen  youth courts.   She  discussed                                                                   
caseload increase.                                                                                                              
TAPE HFC 04 - 23, Side B                                                                                                      
CHRISTINA DERRICKSON,  SENIOR, KODIAK HIGH SCHOOL,  JUDGE AND                                                                   
ATTORNEY OF  TEEN COURT, VIA TELECONFERENCE,  KODIAK, related                                                                   
her involvement with  teen court for four years  and spoke of                                                                   
the benefits to  the community.  She stated  that the program                                                                   
allows  teens  to  get  better   sense  of  the  law  and  to                                                                   
adjudicate cases.                                                                                                               
CYNTHIA SHANGIN,  MEMBER OF  TEEN COURT, VIA  TELECONFERENCE,                                                                   
KODIAK,  emphasized  that  her  involvement  has  helped  her                                                                   
improve  her public  speaking  skills and  has increased  her                                                                   
knowledge  of the law.  She has  gained appreciation  for the                                                                   
mutual assistance between youths and their community.                                                                           
ABIGAIL LEVIN,  DIRECTOR, JUNEAU YOUTH COURTS,  described her                                                                   
responsibility  for  supervising   and  training  25  student                                                                   
volunteers and handling  up to 45 cases per  school year. She                                                                   
stressed  the   funding  limitations.  Because   the  program                                                                   
remains housed within  the school district, it  is limited to                                                                   
the school  year and  only basic  tasks and  the training  of                                                                   
volunteers.  With  partial  funding,  it  is  an  inefficient                                                                   
operation. She discussed her ideas  for improving the quality                                                                   
and quantity  of services  including follow-up meetings  with                                                                   
the  defendant,  and expanding  into  middle  schools with  a                                                                   
mentorship program for early intervention.                                                                                      
Vice-Chair  Meyer asked  if an  offending teen  has a  choice                                                                   
between youth court  and the regular court system.  Ms. Levin                                                                   
replied  yes, and  clarified that  youth  court handles  both                                                                   
Class A and B misdemeanors.                                                                                                     
Vice-Chair  Meyer  asked  how  often  offending  youth  would                                                                   
choose  youth court over  regular court.  Ms. Levin  answered                                                                   
almost uniformly,  because of the financial  incentive. Class                                                                   
A  and  B  fines   are  $200  and  if  there   is  a  cheaper                                                                   
alternative, teens will generally choose it.                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Meyer asked  if the  fines are  reduced in  youth                                                                   
court.  Ms. Levin replied that  it is not an actual fine, and                                                                   
the  youth panel  decides  sentencing.   However,  costs  can                                                                   
reach $100 because of referrals for screening services.                                                                         
Vice-Chair   Meyer   mentioned  that   misdemeanor   offenses                                                                   
sometimes bring  a prison sentence.   Ms. Levin  replied that                                                                   
youth courts only hear first offenses.                                                                                          
Representative  Foster asked the  budget of the  Juneau youth                                                                   
court progam.   Ms.  Levin replied that  it totals  about $23                                                                   
thousand including  local cash and $15 thousand  derived from                                                                   
the state block grant.                                                                                                          
Representative  Hawker   asked  about  the  other   forms  of                                                                   
restitution including  community service.   Ms. Levin  stated                                                                   
that  the  youth  court doesn't  sentence  with  cash  fines.                                                                   
Usually the  sentences involve  reeducation, writing  essays,                                                                   
community service hours, or restitution to the victim.                                                                          
Representative   Hawker  wondered   if   the  sentencing   is                                                                   
oftentimes more  punitive, with  peers sentencing  peers. Ms.                                                                   
Levin replied  that sentencing  is not  more punitive  but it                                                                   
can be more time-consuming because  of the learning involved.                                                                   
Co-Chair Harris asked if Ms. Levin  holds with the philosophy                                                                   
of  restorative justice.    She replied  that  she does.  The                                                                   
lower recidivism  rate results  from a  teen obeying  the law                                                                   
because  he knows  the community  values  him and  he has  an                                                                   
incentive to  correct his ways,  not because he is  afraid of                                                                   
being punished.                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Harris asked  if an  increase in  staff, wages  and                                                                   
benefits is merited. Ms. Ware  stated that it is necessary to                                                                   
a well-run  program.   The high  turnover is  due to  the $10                                                                   
thousand salary and no benefits.                                                                                                
In  response to  a  question by  Co-Chair  Harris, Ms.  Levin                                                                   
explained  that the  youth court  program has  run since  the                                                                   
late 1980's with adequate funding from the state.                                                                               
Representative  Foster asked  if  there are  instances of  an                                                                   
offender not completing his sentence.   Ms. Levin stated that                                                                   
the youth court always works with  the defendant for eventual                                                                   
completion of a sentence.                                                                                                       
ZOE  OLSON, SENIOR  at JUNEAU-DOUGLAS  HIGH SCHOOL,  ADVOCATE                                                                   
and BOARD  MEMBER, CO-CHAIR OF  ADVISORY BOARD,  JUNEAU YOUTH                                                                   
COURT, explained  that she first got involved  in youth court                                                                   
in 1999 through her interest in  pursuing a legal profession.                                                                   
She has served  on countless cases as judge  or attorney. She                                                                   
related her  experience of an  offender in the  program being                                                                   
so profoundly affected  that he later joined  the youth court                                                                   
in the hope of helping other teens.                                                                                             
NICHOLAS  PENNINGTON,  ATTORNEY   WITH  TEEN  COURT,  KODIAK,                                                                   
expressed   that  the   teen  court   program  benefits   the                                                                   
prosecuted teenager who will not  have the offense on record.                                                                   
He felt that the program benefits the whole community.                                                                          
AMANDA NUGGETT,  EIGHTH GRADER,  VIA TELECONFERENCE,  KODIAK,                                                                   
stated that the program helps  a teenager to make restitution                                                                   
to the  victim and  the community.  The program is  effective                                                                   
because of  teens sentencing  their peers.   The program  has                                                                   
helped her learn to speak out  and tell another teen that his                                                                   
behavior was wrong.                                                                                                             
Ms. Derrickson interjected  that in the fall  of 2002, Kodiak                                                                   
teen  court  began  taking  cases  of  minor  possession  and                                                                   
consuming, which  nearly tripled  its caseload.   Budget cuts                                                                   
would  severely  hinder  the   court  from  helping  kids  to                                                                   
complete their sentencing.                                                                                                      
JANE  LONGENBAUGH, NINE  GRADER  JUNEAU-DOUGLAS HIGH  SCHOOL,                                                                   
YOUTH COURT  ADVOCATE, JUNEAU, eloquently spoke  from written                                                                   
testimony (copy  on file) praising  the volunteer  efforts of                                                                   
judges, including  Judge Peter Froehlich, lawyers,  and kids.                                                                   
The  program helps  kids  who  get in  trouble  get a  second                                                                   
chance  so that  their lives  are  not ruined  by one  little                                                                   
mistake.  The parents  are glad  that  the sentences  involve                                                                   
community  service or  writing  an essay  or apology  letter.                                                                   
She expressed that  most of the teens and pre-teens  who come                                                                   
through  youth court  are  good kids,  with  high grades  and                                                                   
plans for the future.  She stated,  without this option their                                                                   
foolish mistakes  would go on the record and  someday prevent                                                                   
them  from joining  the  army  or getting  a  good job.  Teen                                                                   
advocates  are effective.   She stated,  adults can  be great                                                                   
judges and  lawyers but they  don't have the  same connection                                                                   
to the young offenders.                                                                                                         
LAURY  SCANDLING,  PRIMARY  FOUNDER OF  JUNEAU  YOUTH  COURT,                                                                   
TEACHER  AT JUNEAU-DOUGLAS  HIGH  SCHOOL, fluently  explained                                                                   
that she  started the Juneau youth  court at the  high school                                                                   
nine years  ago as  an alternative  to keep  kids from  being                                                                   
suspended, and  instead face  their peers for  school-related                                                                   
offenses. Ms. Scandling did this  voluntarily on her own time                                                                   
until Juneau's caseload grew for  first-time offenders facing                                                                   
their peers  for citations and  arrests. She applied  for and                                                                   
received  a  federal  juvenile  justice grant  in  1998.  She                                                                   
emphasized  that  justice  is  a  public  responsibility  and                                                                   
institution,  whether  in  the  courthouse  or  performed  by                                                                   
teens, and it  is deserving of public support.   Youth courts                                                                   
handle about  15% of  the referrals  that otherwise  would be                                                                   
processed by  probation officers.  She urged basic  equitable                                                                   
support  of $10-15  thousand for  each of  the fifteen  youth                                                                   
courts, especially  the larger ones in Anchorage,  Mat-Su and                                                                   
Representative Stoltze  asked if youth court  is a sentencing                                                                   
function  rather than  a trial  with  defense attorneys.  Ms.                                                                   
Scandling  replied  that  Anchorage  has a  program  where  a                                                                   
defendant's  guilt  or  innocence   can  be  the  issue,  but                                                                   
elsewhere the defendant arrives  in youth court acknowledging                                                                   
culpability and is sentenced by a 3-judge panel.                                                                                
In  response to  a  question  by Representative  Hawker,  Ms.                                                                   
Scandling  explained  that the  administrative  position  has                                                                   
never been full-time and it averages 17-19 hours per week.                                                                      
Representative  Hawker  questioned if  HB  303  would not  be                                                                   
institutionalizing   another   bureaucracy   of  paid   state                                                                   
employees.  Ms.  Scandling replied that the  program is "bare                                                                   
bones," and  one of most volunteer-oriented,  community-based                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Meyer asked  about the  type of  referrals.   Ms.                                                                   
Scandling  replied the cases  primarily involve  shoplifting,                                                                   
which is addictive  and often leads to adult  crime, and also                                                                   
minor  consuming.   Alaska  is   authorized  to   take  first                                                                   
offenders for  minor consuming.   The youth court  also takes                                                                   
school referrals  for teens who wish to avoid  suspension for                                                                   
fairly serious offenses including vandalism and stealing.                                                                       
Ms. Scandling  discussed mentorships and the  training period                                                                   
for students to become an advocate or judge.                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Harris  stated  that  the  committee  supports  the                                                                   
program and is concerned about  how to fund it along with the                                                                   
requests for an  additional $40-50 million for  education and                                                                   
other programs.                                                                                                                 
KRISTA  SCULLY, DIRECTOR  OF UNITED YOUTH  COURTS OF  ALASKA,                                                                   
VIA TELECONFERENCE,  ANCHORAGE, agreed  that Alaska  is ahead                                                                   
of  the curve  nationally.   Anchorage, which  had the  first                                                                   
youth  court in  Alaska,  is  now celebrating  its  fifteenth                                                                   
year.   The programs  are stand-alone  nonprofits, housed  in                                                                   
the school community, or partnered  with other organizations.                                                                   
In response  to a  question by  Vice-Chair Meyer, Ms.  Scully                                                                   
stated the Municipality  of Anchorage has made HB  303 one of                                                                   
its legislative  priorities and has committed  funding to the                                                                   
Anchorage program.                                                                                                              
Representative Foster  noted that Anchorage  received funding                                                                   
of $25 thousand  this year, and asked why it  will receive an                                                                   
increase to  $30 thousand  next year.   Ms. Scully  explained                                                                   
the  amount  awarded is  based  on  a formula  from  Juvenile                                                                   
Mr. Stone  discussed the  Anchorage program  and the  federal                                                                   
funding cuts.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Harris asked  why the Nome program was  funded at $7                                                                   
thousand.   Mr. Stone replied  that it relates to  the number                                                                   
of referrals, but admitted that  he did not have a definitive                                                                   
HB  303  was   heard  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 P.M.                                                                                          

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