Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/13/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:32:48 PM Start
01:33:27 PM Consideration of Governor's Appointees: Ak Police Standards Council
02:19:36 PM HB77
02:40:59 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: AK TELECONFERENCED
Police Standards Council
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
*+ An Act relating to the Legislative Ethics Act TELECONFERENCED
<Pending Introduction & Referral>
-- Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 13, 2019                                                                                         
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONSIDERATION OF GOVERNOR'S APPOINTEES: AK POLICE STANDARDS                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 77                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the number of superior court judges in the                                                                  
third judicial district; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  77                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NUMBER OF SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST                                                                                                    
02/27/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/27/19       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/13/19       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JEN WINKELMAN, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Probation & Parole                                                                                                  
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  as an  appointee to  the Alaska                                                              
Police Standards Council.                                                                                                       
STEPHEN DUTRA, Chief of Police                                                                                                  
North Pole Police Department                                                                                                    
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  as an  appointee to  the Alaska                                                              
Police Standards Council.                                                                                                       
REBECCA HAMON                                                                                                                   
King Salmon, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  as an  appointee to  the Alaska                                                              
Police Standards Council.                                                                                                       
BURKE WALDRON, Chief of Police                                                                                                  
Bethel Police Department                                                                                                        
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  as an  appointee to  the Alaska                                                              
Police Standards Council.                                                                                                       
JOSEPH WHITE, Chief of Police                                                                                                   
Ketchikan Police Department                                                                                                     
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  as an  appointee to  the Alaska                                                              
Police Standards Council.                                                                                                       
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel                                                                                                    
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented  HB 77 on  behalf of  the Alaska                                                              
Court System.                                                                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:32:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MATT CLAMAN called  the House Judiciary Standing Committee                                                              
meeting to order at  1:32 p.m.  Representatives Eastman, LeDoux,                                                                
Kopp, Shaw, Stutes and Claman were present at the call to order.                                                                
Representative Wool arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                     
^Consideration  of Governor's  Appointees:  AK Police  Standards                                                                
  Consideration of Governor's Appointees: AK Police Standards                                                               
1:33:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the first order of business would be                                                                
a confirmation hearing for five  appointees to the Alaska Police                                                                
Standards Council  (APSC).  He  opened public testimony  for the                                                                
1:34:14 PM                                                                                                                    
JEN  WINKELMAN,  Director,  Division   of  Probation  &  Parole,                                                                
Department  of  Corrections,  offered  some  brief  biographical                                                                
information.  She said she was  born in Fairbanks, is a graduate                                                                
of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with a degree in Justice                                                                
and Paralegal Studies,  moved to Juneau in 2016,  and has worked                                                                
for the Department of Corrections (DOC) for  18 years.  She said                                                                
her work with DOC has included both time within institutions and                                                                
in the field.  She said the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her                                                                
two questions that she would like  to address: Why she wants the                                                                
position and what value she would bring to the council.                                                                         
MS.  WINKELMAN said  she  would like  the  position because  she                                                                
believes  APSC  is  important  to maintain  professionalism  and                                                                
integrity within the  law enforcement community.   She said this                                                                
professionalism correlates to  public safety.   She recounted an                                                                
educator who once said one of  the most important factors in job                                                                
satisfaction  is how  much  your job  affects  the wellbeing  of                                                                
others.    She said  that  is  how she  feels  as  a parole  and                                                                
probation officer.                                                                                                              
1:36:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WINKELMAN said the opportunity to be part of APSC came about                                                                
after she was appointed Director of  the Division of Probation &                                                                
Parole.  She called it a privilege to serve in a bigger capacity                                                                
outside her corrections comfort zone.   She said cooperation and                                                                
community input are vital to successfully promote public safety.                                                                
She  said she  recognizes that  the  State of  Alaska (SOA)  has                                                                
experienced difficulties  with recruitment and  retention across                                                                
all law enforcement agencies.  She  said her ability to serve on                                                                
APSC would allow her "to  have an insight into the opportunities                                                                
that we can offer to  other folks to produce and maintain highly                                                                
trained officers."   She  noted  that she  would be  allowed the                                                                
opportunity to   restore faith in those  who have lost  faith in                                                                
the  system."   She  said  she believes  in  the  work of  peace                                                                
officers but also believes in checks and balances.                                                                              
1:37:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WINKELMAN  said she would  bring to APSC  a broad, statewide                                                                
perspective  informed  by   her  experience  managing  probation                                                                
offices  from  Utqiagvik  to  Ketchikan.     She  said  she  has                                                                
experience  working  with  a  wide variety  of  law  enforcement                                                                
agencies  including  Village  Public  Safety  Officers  (VPSOs),                                                                
village and  municipal police  departments, and the  Division of                                                                
Alaska  State  Troopers  (AST).   She  said  she  believes  APSC                                                                
agencies should work together on  a daily basis regarding things                                                                
like  training and  field assistance.   She  added that  she has                                                                
experience visiting many  rural villages.  She  called herself a                                                                
naturally-born problem solver and said she likes working as part                                                                
of a team.  She said she looks forward to sharing her networking                                                                
talent and  her network of  resources with  APSC.  She  said her                                                                
experience and personality fit APSC's mission and core services.                                                                
She said she managed a caseload of felons for years, which shows                                                                
that she  is not afraid  to make tough  and sensitive decisions.                                                                
She said she is fair  and impartial in her decision-making.  She                                                                
said  she  is  capable  of  harnessing  facts  and  successfully                                                                
formulating decisions based  on big picture  goals regarding the                                                                
safety of her community.                                                                                                        
1:39:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WINKELMAN closed  her remarks by saying that,  no matter how                                                                
much  the  career field  evolves,  the  one  thing that  remains                                                                
constant is  the  integrity of  law enforcement.   She  said she                                                                
believes APSC is in a good place to ensure that integrity.                                                                      
1:40:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  asked  if the  APSC position  she has  been                                                                
nominated to is one of the designated Corrections seats.                                                                        
MS.  WINKELMAN said  she  believes  it is.    She  noted she  is                                                                
replacing the prior Corrections representative.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP noted that he served  on APSC for five years                                                                
and enjoyed it.   He noted as well  that Representative Shaw was                                                                
formerly Executive  Director of  APSC.  He  asked what  she felt                                                                
were [SOA's] top training challenges.                                                                                           
MS. WINKELMAN  said she believes the  biggest challenge pertains                                                                
to bringing people  from rural areas to hub  areas for training.                                                                
She said it is partly an issue of funding and partly an issue of                                                                
communication and getting the word  out to rural areas regarding                                                                
what is available in different areas.   She said it is important                                                                
to communicate opportunities  for training and to  put people in                                                                
positions to participate.                                                                                                       
1:42:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  asked if  she is  familiar with  the police                                                                
training surcharge.                                                                                                             
MS. WINKELMAN gestured no.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP explained  that the way  training funds come                                                                
to APSC is via a surcharge on misdemeanors, felonies, and moving                                                                
violations.   He said he  has heard from  different agencies and                                                                
facilities  that  the  surcharge monies  have  not  been  passed                                                                
through the state  to APSC for  training purposes as effectively                                                                
as has been  the case in the  past.  He said  maybe those monies                                                                
are getting lost in the process.   He asked her to bring this up                                                                
in her service on the council.                                                                                                  
MS. WINKELMAN said  she was familiar with the  surcharge but had                                                                
not  realized that  was  where  it went.    She  said she  would                                                                
definitely look into it.                                                                                                        
1:43:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked if the  person she is replacing was                                                                
a Deputy Director or higher in DOC.                                                                                             
MS WINKELMAN answered yes.                                                                                                      
1:44:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said  some individuals who have  spent 20                                                                
years or  more in federal  law enforcement with the  military do                                                                
not qualify for  law enforcement positions in Alaska.   He asked                                                                
if she would  favor some sort of alternate route for  them to be                                                                
MS.  WINKELMAN answered  that  she was  not  familiar with  that                                                                
situation but would  look into it.   She said she  knows DOC was                                                                
definitely looking into it.                                                                                                     
1:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  voiced a concern  from some constituents                                                                
that  certain  home  school  graduates whose  programs  are  not                                                                
affiliated  with a  public  school  are  required to  acquire  a                                                                
[Certificate of High  School Equivalency] (GED) before  they can                                                                
apply for a law enforcement position.  He asked for her thoughts                                                                
on that.                                                                                                                        
MS. WINKELMAN  said she  was not  familiar with  that situation.                                                                
She said  she would have  to determine why  that requirement was                                                                
put into place.                                                                                                                 
1:46:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN extolled a DOC employee named Dusty Dumont and said                                                                
her  good  work reflects  well  on  Ms.  Winkelman's work  as  a                                                                
supervisor.   He thanked her  for testifying.   He moved  to the                                                                
next appointee.                                                                                                                 
1:46:50 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHEN DUTRA,  Chief of  Police, North Pole  Police Department,                                                                
said  he  first came  to  Alaska  over  20  years ago  with  the                                                                
intention of  becoming a police  officer.  He said  he graduated                                                                
from the police academy in Sitka and  went on to work in Yakutat                                                                
for three  years in  a variety  of positions.   He said  he then                                                                
moved to North Pole to  attend UAF, from which he graduated with                                                                
a  B.A. in Criminal  Justice.   He said  he started  working for                                                                
North Pole  Police Department  as a patrol  officer and  rose up                                                                
through the  ranks to  his current  role as  Chief of  Police, a                                                                
position he has  held for seven years.   He discussed his family                                                                
and his  participation in community activities such  as the Guys                                                                
Read program, Coffee with a Cop, and Cub Scouts.  He said he was                                                                
instrumental  in  bringing  active  shooter  training  to  rural                                                                
schools.  He said he is a board member of the Alaska Association                                                                
of Chiefs of Police, Inc.                                                                                                       
1:49:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHIEF DUTRA  said he  wants to  be part of  APSC because  he has                                                                
reached the point  in his career when he  wants to volunteer and                                                                
help out.   He said it  is also a good  opportunity to represent                                                                
North Pole  on the council.   He said  he is a  level-headed and                                                                
reasonable person  with bountiful experience working  up through                                                                
the ranks  and in rural  Alaska.  He  called himself open-minded                                                                
and said he believes in upholding the standards and integrity of                                                                
law enforcement.                                                                                                                
1:50:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  which  seat  Mr.  Dutra would  be                                                                
CHIEF DUTRA said he would be filling a police chief seat.                                                                       
1:50:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked if  he was aware that it  is, in at                                                                
least one  respect, more difficult  to become a  law enforcement                                                                
hire in  Alaska than  it is  to apply  to and  be accepted  to a                                                                
military academy because  of the GED requirement.   He asked for                                                                
his thoughts on the matter.                                                                                                     
CHIEF  DUTRA answered  that  he is  not  familiar with  military                                                                
requirements.  He said [police]  standards require a GED or high                                                                
school diploma.  He said he would look into it.                                                                                 
1:51:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked for  his  thoughts on  the current                                                                
eligibility of current and former  military members to apply for                                                                
law enforcement positions in Alaska.                                                                                            
CHIEF  DUTRA said  North  Pole Police  Department recruits  from                                                                
local military  bases.   He said  APSC upholds  various training                                                                
standards.  He  said some military and  security forces training                                                                
is not reciprocal  and not generally accepted by APSC.   He said                                                                
the topic is worthy of further discussion.                                                                                      
1:52:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  thanked him for  his testimony.   He moved  to the                                                                
next appointee.                                                                                                                 
1:52:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA HAMON said  she has lived in Alaska for  about 20 years.                                                                
She said  she lives  in King  Salmon and  loves living  in rural                                                                
Alaska.   She  spoke about  her family  and their  connection to                                                                
Alaska.  She said she has worked for 12 years as a village/legal                                                                
advocate for Safe  and Fear Free Environment, Inc.  (SAFE).  She                                                                
described  SAFE  as an  agency  that  advocates for  victims  of                                                                
domestic violence and sexual assault.   She said SAFE serves all                                                                
the  villages  - approximately  18  -  served  under the  Naknek                                                                
District Court.  She said she tries to be a team player with the                                                                
agencies that  work to  help  victims.   She said  she regularly                                                                
works with  the local borough  police, the Office  of Children's                                                                
Services (OCS), AST,  VPSOs, and with the  Child Advocacy Center                                                                
in Dillingham.   She said she  is a school board  member and has                                                                
been  allowed to  teach  students  about healthy  relationships,                                                                
dating, and violence prevention.                                                                                                
1:54:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HAMON discussed her community involvement.  She said she has                                                                
served  on  APSC   for  eight  years  and  this   is  her  third                                                                
appointment.  She said she  occupies one of the council's public                                                                
member  seats.   She said  she  offers a  rural  perspective and                                                                
experience  working  in  small   places  where  getting  results                                                                
involves a  creative approach.   She  said it  is vital,  from a                                                                
rural perspective, to  have a high-quality  police force because                                                                
trust between  the community and the  police has been  broken in                                                                
the past.   She  called the  rebuilding process difficult.   She                                                                
said  people in  all areas  of Alaska  deserve to  be  served by                                                                
public servants who care about the law and perform well at their                                                                
MS.  HAMON  noted that  she  is  one  of APSC's  longest-serving                                                                
councilmembers.  She said she brings valuable council experience                                                                
and is someone who can offer a historical perspective on various                                                                
decisions made in recent years.                                                                                                 
1:57:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  if,  in her  eight  years on  the                                                                
council, she has  formed an opinion on  the challenges impacting                                                                
law enforcement recruitment efforts.  He asked what the agencies                                                                
can do to improve recruitment.                                                                                                  
MS. HAMON said she is not  sure what APSC can do to address that                                                                
problem.  She  said different parts of the  state have different                                                                
issues  with hiring.   She  said rural  recruitment  efforts are                                                                
difficult because the  high cost of living and  lack of services                                                                
for families drives people away.  She said APSC's hands are tied                                                                
because it is not able to help with training as much as it would                                                                
like.  She cited financial issues that prevent training programs                                                                
for rural areas.                                                                                                                
1:58:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP commented on his experience working with Ms.                                                                
Hamon in Bristol Bay.   He praised her professionalism.  He said                                                                
he  believes she  is  the  only person  with  a victim  advocate                                                                
background to  have served on the  council.  He  shared that Ms.                                                                
Hamon taught his wife to can silver salmon.                                                                                     
2:00:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN recognized  her public service in rural  areas.  He                                                                
said  he was  impressed with  her serving  on four  boards.   He                                                                
recognized her professional efforts in helping her community get                                                                
access to dental care.   He thanked her for  her service and for                                                                
testifying.  He moved to the next appointee.                                                                                    
2:01:18 PM                                                                                                                    
BURKE WALDRON, Chief  of Police, Bethel  Police Department, said                                                                
he has been  appointed to fill one of the  chief of police seats                                                                
on APSC.   He said has lived  in Alaska since 1987.   He said he                                                                
graduated from UAF and joined the Department of Public Safety in                                                                
1990.   He said he  spent 14 years  with the Division  of Alaska                                                                
Wildlife Troopers (AWT) and 11 years with AST.  He added that he                                                                
held field level  and command level positions with  both AWT and                                                                
AST.   He said, after retiring,  he took a few  years off before                                                                
becoming Chief of Police for the City of Bethel.                                                                                
2:03:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WALDRON said his experience as a game warden, state trooper,                                                                
and  rural police  chief offers  a broad  perspective.   He said                                                                
rural Western  Alaska would be well-served  by representation on                                                                
APSC because the region has unique challenges.  He said he wants                                                                
to serve  on APSC  because he  wishes to rectify  public opinion                                                                
toward law enforcement.   He said integrity  and transparency of                                                                
law enforcement  is critical.   He said  these things  help with                                                                
public perception.                                                                                                              
2:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   asked  for   his  assessment   on  law                                                                
enforcement recruitment in Alaska.                                                                                              
CHIEF  WALDRON  said  recruitment is  an  ongoing  battle.    He                                                                
described it as not just a state problem, rather "at a minimum a                                                                
North American problem."  He  said he has had conversations with                                                                
Canadian  agencies that  have also  found it  difficult to  find                                                                
strong, qualified  candidates.  He said  he believes there  is a                                                                
variety of reasons for these difficulties.  He added that fiscal                                                                
constraints necessitate outside-the-box solutions.                                                                              
2:06:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  what  APSC  can  do  to  address                                                                
recruitment issues.                                                                                                             
MR. WALDRON said  making a direct impact is difficult.   He said                                                                
the council  can indirectly  address the problem  by maintaining                                                                
high   standards  and   improving  the  public   image  of   law                                                                
2:07:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW  asked if  the training  he received  at the                                                                
[police] academy 29 years ago  still benefits him today as Chief                                                                
of Police.                                                                                                                      
CHIEF WALDRON said  it definitely was.  He said,  "I wouldn't be                                                                
the person  I am  today if  it wasn't for  those three  months I                                                                
spent in  Sitka and the  people   you being  one of them    that                                                                
drastically had an impact on the man I became."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW  conceded that  he asked  the question  as a                                                                
point of levity.                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  joked that there  was a  rumor Representative Shaw                                                                
was very good at washing dishes at the academy.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW deadpanned, "That's not funny."                                                                             
CHAIR  CLAMAN  thanked  Mr.  Waldron.   He  moved  to  the  next                                                                
2:08:29 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSEPH WHITE, Chief of Police, Ketchikan Police Department, said                                                                
he has been  nominated for one of APSC's  chief of police seats.                                                                
He said he was  born and raised in Ketchikan, attended Ketchikan                                                                
High  School   and  Kodiak  High  School,   and  graduated  from                                                                
University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).  He said he graduated from                                                                
the  Sitka Police  Academy  and was  hired  by  Ketchikan Police                                                                
Department (KPD) in 1996.  He said  he has worked for KPD for 23                                                                
He said one reason he wants  the position on APSC is because the                                                                
council  is critical  for public  safety,  as it  serves as  the                                                                
guardian of police standards.  He stressed the importance of all                                                                
law enforcement, corrections, and  probation officers having the                                                                
highest standards in the nation.  He  noted that all it takes is                                                                
one bad incident  to tarnish the reputation of  a department and                                                                
the entire profession.  He said  APSC keeps the profession "in a                                                                
good light."   He noted the  importance of high-quality training                                                                
that equips officers  with the tools to be  confident in today's                                                                
society.  He said  ill-trained officers are a liability to their                                                                
department, their community, the state, and  the profession.  He                                                                
said  highly-trained professional officers  mean  fewer internal                                                                
problems,  fewer case  dismissals,  better  casework, and  safer                                                                
2:10:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said a homeschool graduate  in Talkeetna                                                                
can apply  to the United  States Military Academy at  West Point                                                                
and have a military law  enforcement career there, but without a                                                                
GED cannot apply  to be a  police officer in Wasilla.   He asked                                                                
why that is and for any of Chief White's thoughts on the matter.                                                                
CHIEF WHITE said he was not aware this was the case.  He said he                                                                
has  not looked  into  the  matter.   He  said hiring  standards                                                                
require a GED or higher.  He acknowledged the growing popularity                                                                
of  homeschooling and  alternative  schooling.    He added  that                                                                
recruitment is a huge issue and it may be time to revisit hiring                                                                
standards so that  qualified candidates do not  fall through the                                                                
cracks.  He called the discussion worthwhile.                                                                                   
2:12:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN noted  that some  people  who leave  the                                                                
military after working in federal  law enforcement at Joint Base                                                                
ElmendorfRichardson  have  found themselves ineligible  to apply                                                                
to   law  enforcement   positions  in   Alaska  because  of   an                                                                
administrative regulation.   He  asked if he  was aware  of this                                                                
sort of matter.                                                                                                                 
CHIEF WHITE said he had not heard that concern.  He said KPD has                                                                
hired lateral  officers from the lower  48 states.  He  said KPD                                                                
ensures a  candidate's  academy training will  be  acceptable by                                                                
Alaska  standards before  making  a job  offer.    He noted  the                                                                
difference between a  2-week refresher academy  experience and a                                                                
full  16-week police  academy experience.    He said  he is  not                                                                
certain if  all military  schooling will transfer  into civilian                                                                
law enforcement  as the  two jobs  are different.   He  said the                                                                
process can be modified.                                                                                                        
2:13:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked how many  seats on the  council are                                                                
reserved for police chiefs.                                                                                                     
CHIEF WHITE said he thinks four seats are for chiefs of police.                                                                 
2:14:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN asked what he learned  in high school as a student-                                                                
athlete and who his favorite teachers were.                                                                                     
CHIEF WHITE said he enjoyed his time as a high school basketball                                                                
player at Ketchikan High School.                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked who the coach of that team was.                                                                              
CHIEF WHITE said [Representative] Ortiz.  He said he enjoyed his                                                                
experience and enjoys a friendship with him today.                                                                              
CHAIR CLAMAN  said Representative Ortiz must  have coached other                                                                
members of Chief White's family.                                                                                                
CHIEF WHITE said his wife was a member of Representative Ortiz's                                                                
track team.                                                                                                                     
2:16:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked about Chief White's time in Kodiak.                                                                 
CHIEF WHITE said  he attended Kodiak High School  for his junior                                                                
and senior years.  He said he played basketball there.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX asked  if  had ever  met  any LeDouxs  in                                                                
CHIEF WHITE's answer was inaudible.                                                                                             
CHAIR CLAMAN  thanked Chief  White for humoring  the committee's                                                                
questions about his career as a student-athlete.                                                                                
2:17:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN closed public testimony.                                                                                           
2:17:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES thanked all the appointees for applying.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN wished them well.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP thanked  the  appointees.    He noted  that                                                                
Representative Eastman's questions  will spur them to  look into                                                                
education  requirements  to  ensure   there  are  no  artificial                                                                
impediments to hiring.  He said  he is encouraged by the quality                                                                
of the appointees.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW said that  APSC consists of the Commissioner                                                                
of Public Safety or designee, the Commissioner of Corrections or                                                                
designee, two members of the public, four police chiefs, and one                                                                
corrections  administrator.   He  said  that,  as APSC's  former                                                                
Executive  Director,  he  finds  the  appointees  to  be  highly                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   LEDOUX   called   the   appointees   "eminently                                                                
qualified."  She thanked them.                                                                                                  
2:18:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN echoed those comments and thanked the committee.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  stated that the  House Judiciary Standing                                                                
Committee  has reviewed  the  qualifications  of the  Governor's                                                                
appointees and recommends the following names  be forwarded to a                                                                
joint session  for consideration: Stephen Dutra,  Rebecca Hamon,                                                                
Burke Waldron,  Joseph White,  Jennifer Winkelman to  the Alaska                                                                
Police Standards Council.  She said this does not reflect intent                                                                
by any  of the  members to vote  for or against  this individual                                                                
during any further sessions for the purpose of confirmation.                                                                    
The appointees' names were forwarded to the joint session.                                                                      
             HB  77-NUMBER OF SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES                                                                         
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the final order of business would be                                                                
HOUSE BILL  NO. 77  "An Act relating  to the number  of superior                                                                
court judges in  the third judicial district;  and providing for                                                                
an effective date."                                                                                                             
2:20:04 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY MEADE,  General Counsel, Alaska  Court System, said  HB 77                                                                
would increase the  allotted number of superior  court judges by                                                                
two and  specify that  those seats serve  in the  Third Judicial                                                                
District.  She said HB 77 would allow the Alaska Court System to                                                                
take  the two  already-existing district  court seats    one  in                                                                
Homer, one in Valdez    and fill those seats with superior court                                                                
judges.  She stated that HB 77 was introduced by the House Rules                                                                
Committee by request of the  Alaska Court System.  She explained                                                                
that it is rare for the courts to request a statutory change but                                                                
noted that  this situation  requires it.   She said  HB 77  is a                                                                
priority for the Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                                          
2:21:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE  addressed  why  the  Alaska Supreme  Court  wants  a                                                                
statutory change,  specifically that  Homer and  Valdez  are the                                                                
only  court  locations in  Alaska  that  are  served by  only  a                                                                
district court  judge.   She  said they  are the  last remaining                                                                
single judge locations  where the judge is not  a superior court                                                                
judge.   She  noted  that superior  court  judges have  original                                                                
jurisdiction  over all  trial  court issues  that  arise in  the                                                                
state,  whereas   district  court   judges  have   only  limited                                                                
jurisdiction.    She  said  superior  court  judges  can  handle                                                                
felonies, child-in-need-of-aid cases,  domestic relations cases,                                                                
juvenile  delinquency, civil  cases  with  amount in  excess  of                                                                
$100,000, and probate cases.  She said district court judges are                                                                
limited to misdemeanors, civil cases with a lower dollar amount,                                                                
and some  other matters.   She  said the  court system  wants to                                                                
equip Homer and Valdez with superior court judges who can handle                                                                
everything filed in those locations.                                                                                            
2:22:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE noted that the timing for this change is ideal, as the                                                                
district court seat in Valdez is currently vacant due the former                                                                
judge's appointment to a new superior court seat in Juneau.  She                                                                
added that the  district court judge in Homer  has announced her                                                                
retirement effective  at the  end of June.   She  said if  HB 77                                                                
passes this  year, the  court system will  be able  to advertise                                                                
those seats as superior  court judges rather than district court                                                                
MS.  MEADE explained  that the  court system  wants  this change                                                                
because  the current  status  quo for  handling  cases in  those                                                                
locations is and  has long been problematic.   She said superior                                                                
court cases in Homer are  covered by the superior court judge in                                                                
Kenai, who travels to  Homer one week per month.   She said this                                                                
is not a  sustainable or effective way to  handle that caseload.                                                                
She added that  there are additional costs to  the current Homer                                                                
which make it inefficient.                                                                                                      
2:24:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE  said the Valdez  situation is similar.   She restated                                                                
that the district  court seat is vacant and if  the court system                                                                
were able to fill it  with a superior court judge, the new judge                                                                
would be  able to handle all  cases there.  She  said the former                                                                
district court judge was exceptional and had been able to handle                                                                
some superior  court matters with special  appointments from the                                                                
Alaska  Supreme Court.   She  said if  the seat  were  filled by                                                                
another district court judge,  superior court matters would have                                                                
to be handled by judges  from Palmer, Kodiak, or elsewhere.  She                                                                
said the  Alaska Supreme Court  has explored many ways  to cover                                                                
Homer and Valdez and has determined the change proposed in HB 77                                                                
to be the most cost-effective.                                                                                                  
2:25:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked if  the  number of  district court                                                                
judges  is set  in  statute  and, if  not,  how  that number  is                                                                
MS.  MEADE  said   the  number  of  district   court  judges  is                                                                
established in the court system's administrative rules.                                                                         
2:26:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if the number of superior court judges                                                                
is limited  as well.   He asked  for more information  about the                                                                
differences between  superior court  and district  court judges.                                                                
He also  asked if superior court judges  sometimes hear district                                                                
court cases.                                                                                                                    
2:27:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE clarified that the  number of district court judges is                                                                
set in the court's rules.  She said there is a statute that says                                                                
the court can amend that number from time to time.  She said the                                                                
qualifications for  superior court judges are  generally similar                                                                
to district  court judges.   She said  superior court  seats may                                                                
require  a longer  residency.   She  added  that superior  court                                                                
judges are chosen the same way district court judges are chosen.                                                                
She described the process through which applicants are processed                                                                
by  the Alaska  Judicial Council and  scored  by the  Alaska Bar                                                                
Association  before the  most  qualified  are  nominated to  the                                                                
governor.    She  said  different  caseloads  attract  different                                                                
applicants.  She said some applicants prefer the quicker pace of                                                                
the district court while others prefer superior court cases that                                                                
last longer  and require  more writing and  research.   She said                                                                
whether superior court  judges cover both  superior and district                                                                
court caseloads depends on  location.  She said the  plan is for                                                                
the proposed superior court judges in  Valdez and Homer to cover                                                                
both kinds of cases.                                                                                                            
2:29:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if district court judges ever apply to                                                                
superior court seats.                                                                                                           
MS. MEADE  answered that  it sometimes happens.   She  said many                                                                
district court judges are happy with their roles.  She noted not                                                                
all judges seek to move up a level and some are better suited to                                                                
one level and not another.                                                                                                      
CHAIR CLAMAN  shared that current  Chief Justice Joel  H. Bolger                                                                
previously served as a district  court judge in Valdez, then was                                                                
appointed  to  the  superior  court seat  in  Kodiak,  then  was                                                                
appointed to the Alaska Court  of Appeals, then was appointed to                                                                
the  Alaska  Supreme Court,  from  which  he  was elected  Chief                                                                
Justice by  his  colleagues.   He said  he thinks  Chief Justice                                                                
Bolger is  the first judge in  Alaska history to  have served at                                                                
all four levels of the court system.                                                                                            
2:31:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  said she understands there  are locations                                                                
where  a single  court judge  hears both  superior  and district                                                                
court cases.   She  said she  assumes the  court system  has had                                                                
experience with these situations and has found it works well.                                                                   
MS. MEADE  answered "yes."  She  said the court  system seeks to                                                                
replicate the  success of  locations like  Kotzebue, Dillingham,                                                                
Nome, and Sitka.                                                                                                                
2:32:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked if  he understands  correctly that                                                                
Homer  and  Valdez are  the  state's  only stand-alone  district                                                                
MS. MEADE answered "yes."                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked how long  it would take  after the                                                                
passage  of HB  77  to  amend the  court's  rules  to reflect  a                                                                
decrease in district court seats.                                                                                               
MS. MEADE  said once HB 77  is signed, the  court rules attorney                                                                
would  recommend the  administrative rule  be  decreased by  two                                                                
seats.    She  said  the  process  for  making  noncontroversial                                                                
administrative rule changes moves quickly.                                                                                      
CHAIR CLAMAN  noted that the  court system can change  its rules                                                                
faster than the legislature can pass legislation.                                                                               
2:33:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  how  many  district court  judges                                                                
would remain should HB 77 become law.                                                                                           
MS. MEADE answered there would be 20.                                                                                           
2:34:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP noted  that the number  of judges is  set in                                                                
statute.  He cited [AS 22.10.120].                                                                                              
MS. MEADE said  this is correct.  She said  there is language in                                                                
statute  that allows  the  Alaska Supreme  Court  to change  the                                                                
number from time to time as it sees fit.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  asked if  it would  take a  two-thirds vote                                                                
from the legislature to change a court rule.                                                                                    
MS. MEADE  distinguished between  this court  rule, which  is an                                                                
administrative  rule, and  one  of  the  rules of  practice  and                                                                
procedure that are covered in  the state constitution.  She said                                                                
a two-thirds  vote is not  necessary to amend  an administrative                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP posited  that  only  a  simple majority  is                                                                
MS. MEADE  clarified that the legislature would  not be amending                                                                
the  administrative rule.   She  said the  legislature would  be                                                                
amending  the  statute,  after  which  the  court  system  would                                                                
determine the necessity of a rule change.                                                                                       
2:35:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN said  the court system has authority  to change its                                                                
own rules  due to  the separation  of powers  held in  the state                                                                
constitution.  He said the Alaska Supreme Court can change court                                                                
rules whenever it  sees fit, as part  of its inherent authority.                                                                
He  noted that  a  two-thirds majority  of  the legislature  can                                                                
essentially tell  the court, "We're  changing a rule  and you've                                                                
got to live with it."                                                                                                           
2:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP stipulated that  the court system's changing                                                                
of the rule  hinges on the legislature passing HB 77.   He asked                                                                
if the fiscal note was  reflective of a single judge's salary or                                                                
of both positions.                                                                                                              
MS. MEADE  explained that the  fiscal note is reflective  of the                                                                
net  impact of  shifting both  positions.   She said  the number                                                                
reflects the difference in salary and benefits for two positions                                                                
less savings on travel costs  for other judges to cover superior                                                                
court cases.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  asked  if  this  is  the  same  thing  the                                                                
legislature  did when  it  upgraded  the  Juneau position  to  a                                                                
superior court seat.                                                                                                            
MS. MEADE answered  yes.  She referenced House  Bill 298 [passed                                                                
in the Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature] which made it so.                                                                    
2:37:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked   about  a  scenario   in  which,                                                                
regardless of  whether HB  77 passes,  the Alaska  Supreme court                                                                
elects to add district court judges.   He asked if that decision                                                                
would require a majority vote of the Alaska Supreme Court and if                                                                
the decision would require budgetary adjustments.                                                                               
MS. MEADE called the scenario "quite hypothetical."  She said it                                                                
would require a budgetary increase for two new positions.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  whether  that  would  require  a                                                                
majority vote of the Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                                      
MS.  MEADE  answered  that  rule  changes  happen  often.    She                                                                
described the  process through  which the rules  attorney brings                                                                
recommendations from various rules  committees before the court.                                                                
She said the court votes on how to approach those proposed rule                                                                 
2:39:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on HB 77.  After                                                                           
ascertaining that no one wished to testify, he closed public                                                                    
testimony.  HB 77 was held for further review.                                                                                  
2:40:59 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:41 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Alaska Police Standards Council Appointment-Stephen Dutra Resume 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Police Standards Council Appointment-Rebecca Hamon Resume 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Police Standards Council Appointment-Burke Waldron Resume 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Police Standards Council Appointment-Joseph White Resume 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Police Standards Council Appointment-Jennifer Winkelman Resume 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
HB077 ver A 3.13.19.PDF HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/15/2019 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB077 Sponsor Statement 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/15/2019 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB077 Fiscal Note JUD-ACS 3.13.19.pdf HJUD 3/13/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/15/2019 1:30:00 PM
HB 77