Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/15/2016 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                                                                            
     "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of                                                                     
     Parole; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
1:39:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   BOB    LYNN,   SPONSOR,    introduced   the                                                                    
legislation.  He  relayed that  the  bill  would extend  the                                                                    
termination date  of the Board  of Parole until  2022, which                                                                    
was a  six-year extension.  He relayed  that a  recent audit                                                                    
had  found   various  needs  for  improvements   related  to                                                                    
regulation changes  and the Department of  Corrections (DOC)                                                                    
system.   He  communicated   that   department  staff   were                                                                    
available for detailed questions.                                                                                               
Representative Wilson  asked if  the five members  served on                                                                    
the board were the same as the five staff.                                                                                      
ESTHER MIELKE,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE BOB LYNN,  referred to                                                                    
page one  of the legislative  audit that listed  the members                                                                    
of the board and the staff.                                                                                                     
Representative  Wilson asked  for verification  of the  paid                                                                    
Ms.  Mielke  deferred  the  question   to  the  Division  of                                                                    
Legislative Audit.                                                                                                              
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE AUDIT, answered that  the report did not discuss                                                                    
the number of  staff support for the board.  She stated that                                                                    
there  was an  explanation of  the personal  service budget.                                                                    
The board was  paid a daily fee for reviewing  the files for                                                                    
a part  time position with  no benefits. She  furthered that                                                                    
there was also an executive with staff.                                                                                         
1:44:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson stated  that the  fiscal note  listed                                                                    
the number of full-time positions as five.                                                                                      
Ms. Curtis  replied that the full-time  positions would have                                                                    
to be staff positions because the board was part-time.                                                                          
Representative Wilson  looked at  page 16, exhibit  4, there                                                                    
was the  issue of revoke  and re-parole. She felt  that more                                                                    
people  were revoked  and re-paroled  between 2011  and 2014                                                                    
than was done  between 2004 and 2007.  She interpreted those                                                                    
figures as a problem.                                                                                                           
Ms.   Curtis  replied   that  the   audit  interpreted   the                                                                    
occurrence as a good thing.  She elaborated that there was a                                                                    
high rate of  revoking and denying in 2008  was a reflection                                                                    
of the lack of programs  in the community. She remarked that                                                                    
the  current rates  of  denial was  less  than prior  years,                                                                    
because  there  was  more opportunity  for  enrollment  into                                                                    
programs to enhance success in the community.                                                                                   
Representative Wilson  wondered if  the people were  given a                                                                    
second or third chance.                                                                                                         
Ms. Curtis answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
Vice-Chair   Saddler   wondered   if  five   positions   was                                                                    
sufficient for the board.                                                                                                       
Ms.  Curtis  replied that  the  board  was operating  in  an                                                                    
efficient manner.                                                                                                               
Representative Kawasaki  asked why  the sponsor  had elected                                                                    
to extend the board six years.                                                                                                  
Ms.  Curtis answered  that statues  provided  for a  maximum                                                                    
extension of eight years. She  had recommended six years due                                                                    
to  significant changes  taking place  in the  Department of                                                                    
Corrections (DOC)                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Thompson  noted  that  staff from  the  board  and                                                                    
department were available for questions.                                                                                        
Representative  Kawasaki thought  six years  seemed lengthy,                                                                    
especially given that  the department was using  a new tool.                                                                    
He was concerned  about 7 errors that had been  found in the                                                                    
audit. He  noted that it  was an  18 percent error  rate. He                                                                    
was concerned by the high number.                                                                                               
1:50:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Curtis  replied  that  there   were  errors  with  risk                                                                    
assessment  forms,  however  no  errors  impacted  the  risk                                                                    
categories. She shared that  other errors were documentation                                                                    
issues  that   could  be   readily  addressed   by  improved                                                                    
procedures.  The department  was  approached for  corrective                                                                    
action. The  changes would  be easy  to implement  and would                                                                    
not require oversight.                                                                                                          
Vice-Chair   Saddler  asked   for  verification   about  the                                                                    
executive director and staff.                                                                                                   
Ms.  Curtis answered  that there  was an  executive director                                                                    
and several full-time staff.                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Saddler  asked  if  the  number  of  staff  were                                                                    
Ms. Curtis  answered that the  audit had not used  that type                                                                    
of focus.  She relayed  that the  board established  quite a                                                                    
bit  of, and  did  not  feel there  was  enough evidence  to                                                                    
determine if positions should be cut.                                                                                           
Vice-Chair Saddler looked  at page 1 of the  audit. He asked                                                                    
which of the positions were part-time versus full-time.                                                                         
Ms. Curtis  answered that  in Exhibit  2 were  all full-time                                                                    
positions.  She   deferred  to   the  department   for  more                                                                    
Representative  Munoz  asked  for   an  explanation  of  the                                                                    
Ms. Curtis explained "revoke and re-parole."                                                                                    
Representative Munoz asked about reprimand and warn.                                                                            
Ms. Curtis deferred the question to the department.                                                                             
Representative   Munoz  asked   how  often   a  person   was                                                                    
1:55:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Thompson queried  compliance  with  the audit.  He                                                                    
noted  that   the  audit  recommended  that   the  executive                                                                    
director  should  improve   procedures  to  ensure  required                                                                    
documentation   for  parole   hearings   was  accurate   and                                                                    
consistently  included  in  parole  files.  He  queried  the                                                                    
efforts to adhere to the recommendations.                                                                                       
JEFF   EDWARDS,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,   BOARD  OF   PAROLE,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, answered  that there was a fairly                                                                    
simple fix for  the board; it had been able  to solidify the                                                                    
review process  and other  items in order  for the  files to                                                                    
accurately reflect  the individuals needed for  the board to                                                                    
make  decisions.  He  furthered  that  there  increased  the                                                                    
scrutiny of  the information and  if errors were  found they                                                                    
were asked for further information.                                                                                             
Co-Chair Thompson  discussed recommendation 2 in  the audit.                                                                    
He read from his notes.                                                                                                         
Mr. Edwards  answered that the  board had done a  review and                                                                    
had   located   an   avenue  it   had   expanded   on.   The                                                                    
recommendation   was  for   the   board   to  document   the                                                                    
information  it  received. He  relayed  that  the board  had                                                                    
expanded  the participation  of the  victim's family  in the                                                                    
parole process. The board  recognized that victimization was                                                                    
one of the most difficult pieces in the process.                                                                                
Co-Chair Thompson  asked for verification  that he  felt the                                                                    
board was in compliance                                                                                                         
Mr. Edwards replied in the affirmative.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Thompson  read a question.  He queried  the efforts                                                                    
to address all statutory  requirements as related to duties,                                                                    
including the identification of  a methodology to measure an                                                                    
offender's suitability for discretionary parole.                                                                                
2:01:10 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Edwards  communicated that the  board had  recently gone                                                                    
away from the  inaccuracy of the scoring  instruments in the                                                                    
risk assessment. The  board had instead gone  to a validated                                                                    
risk   assessment  tool   that  was   used  by   the  entire                                                                    
department.  The board  had committed  to  working with  the                                                                    
Department of Law on the issue.                                                                                                 
Representative Gattis asked about  the risk assessment tool.                                                                    
She  wondered if  someone was  picked up  and taken  in, was                                                                    
that when the tool was  used. She wondered if the assessment                                                                    
followed all the way through to parole.                                                                                         
Mr. Edwards responded  that the tool was used  by the board,                                                                    
institution, and  field agents. He elaborated  that the tool                                                                    
was   generated  typically   by  the   parole  officer;   it                                                                    
identified  the needs  of the  individual  and followed  the                                                                    
person  through to  parole. He  continued that  it would  be                                                                    
updated  once a  person was  released to  a parole  officer.                                                                    
Using the  same tool seemed  to help with efficiency  in the                                                                    
Representative Gattis  wondered what  would occur  without a                                                                    
field assessment when attempting to  post bail on a weekend.                                                                    
She asked if it was something that could happen.                                                                                
2:07:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Edwards answered  that the tool was  not always utilized                                                                    
for a violation. The offender was not reassessed.                                                                               
Representative  Munoz  asked   how  often  individuals  were                                                                    
successful going before the parole board.                                                                                       
Mr. Edwards clarified that it  pertained to a situation when                                                                    
a person was  asking for early release,  which was different                                                                    
from mandatory  release. The yes  vote was about  66 percent                                                                    
for  early  release.  He  stated   that  revoke  and  parole                                                                    
pertained to people who had violated their parole.                                                                              
Representative Munoz  asked about special medical  issues in                                                                    
the parole board.                                                                                                               
Mr.  Edwards  answered  that  the  board  received  about  2                                                                    
special  medical parole  requests per  year. He  guessed the                                                                    
board had granted about 3 in  the past few years. He relayed                                                                    
that the  requirements were stringent; it  typically applied                                                                    
to individuals who were dying.                                                                                                  
Representative  Kawasaki asked  about  the  fiscal note.  He                                                                    
pointed to  page 1 of the  audit, which said that  the FY 15                                                                    
budget expenditures  was $897,700. The fiscal  note showed a                                                                    
$1.19 million with five full-time  employees. He wondered if                                                                    
that was  due to a  vacant parole board officer  position in                                                                    
FY 16.                                                                                                                          
Ms.  Mielke  answered  that the  sponsor  had  received  the                                                                    
fiscal note  the previous  day and had  not heard  back from                                                                    
the fiscal  note drafter, and  had not yet heard  back about                                                                    
the fiscal note.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thompson  noted that the  bill would be  before the                                                                    
committee again  in the future.  He noted  recommendation 4,                                                                    
which   was  the   Alaska  Correctional   Officers  Offender                                                                    
Management System.  There were  deficiencies in  the system,                                                                    
which  could affect  the security  and  consistency of  data                                                                    
contained in  the system.  It was  recommended that  the DOC                                                                    
administrative  director take  steps  to  ensure the  system                                                                    
complies   with   state  information   technology   security                                                                    
standards, and  national best practices. He  wondered if the                                                                    
parole board or DOC should address the issue.                                                                                   
Mr. Edwards answered  that it had come about as  a result of                                                                    
the audit. He believed the  department was moving to fulfill                                                                    
the  requirement and  had implemented  new security  systems                                                                    
2:13:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Curtis cautioned that the  details of the recommendation                                                                    
had  been withheld,  so  they could  not  be exploited.  She                                                                    
encouraged the answers  to be general in  assurance, and not                                                                    
expose details of the finding.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Thompson  believed it  related to  DOC and  not the                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Saddler noted  no increase  in funding  over six                                                                    
years in  the fiscal  note. He wondered  if the  board could                                                                    
continue with the work over the following six year.                                                                             
Mr. Edwards  responded that SB  91 and  HB 205 would  have a                                                                    
significant impact  on the  board, so he  wanted to  wait to                                                                    
see how those bills would advance.                                                                                              
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  which  staff were  full time  and                                                                    
which were part time.                                                                                                           
Mr. Edwards replied that there  were 6 full-time staff and 5                                                                    
part-time employees.                                                                                                            
Vice-Chair Saddler asked about the $83,000 in travel.                                                                           
Mr. Edwards  answered that  the cost  was for  board meeting                                                                    
travel. For  example, there were  representatives throughout                                                                    
the state who traveled to meet  as a group. The board had to                                                                    
travel to meet with applicants.                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Thompson clarified that travel was $52,200.                                                                            
2:16:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Saddler asked if the  board could get by with one                                                                    
less staff member.                                                                                                              
Mr. Edwards answered that it  would be very difficult due to                                                                    
the volume of work.                                                                                                             
Vice-Chair  Saddler  asked  about   the  increasing  use  of                                                                    
teleconference. He wondered if  there could be meetings with                                                                    
parolees via teleconference.                                                                                                    
Mr.  Edwards answered  that they  could use  teleconference;                                                                    
however,  it would  not be  easy. The  board was  working to                                                                    
decrease travel costs.                                                                                                          
Vice-Chair  Saddler  asked if  more  training  to board  and                                                                    
staff would help address one of the audit recommendations.                                                                      
Mr. Edwards replied  that he had encouraged  staff to attend                                                                    
statewide  training for  parole  officers.  He believed  the                                                                    
board members received adequate  training. He continued that                                                                    
the board continued to train officers throughout the state.                                                                     
Vice-Chair  Saddler  looked  at   page  22,  and  noted  the                                                                    
discussion  of the  clemency  advisory  committee (CAC).  He                                                                    
wondered  whether the  CAC be  eliminated,  and whether  the                                                                    
functions should be incorporated into the parole board.                                                                         
Mr. Edwards replied  that it was a  question potentially for                                                                    
the governor's office. He stated  that it could be an option                                                                    
to review clemency  applications that had not  been asked of                                                                    
the board. It  would require more time for  board members to                                                                    
conduct hearings.                                                                                                               
2:20:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Saddler noted that it  had not been active for 16                                                                    
Representative Wilson referred  to page 16 of  the audit and                                                                    
requested numbers instead of percentages.                                                                                       
Ms. Curtis answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
Representative Wilson believed the  numbers would enable the                                                                    
committee to ask more pertinent questions.                                                                                      
Representative  Edgmon  remarked  that more  offenders  were                                                                    
non-violent  in  nature.  The additional  information  would                                                                    
help to paint better picture.                                                                                                   
Representative  Kawasaki  pointed  to the  fiscal  note.  He                                                                    
noted that, in  FY 15, the total  budgeted expenditures were                                                                    
$896,000.  He remarked  that the  fiscal  note showed  $1.19                                                                    
million. He queried the difference in FY 15 and FY 17.                                                                          
APRIL  WILKERSON,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  ADMINISTRATIVE                                                                    
SERVICES,  DEPARTMENT OF  CORRECTIONS (via  teleconference),                                                                    
answered that  the difference was  related to the FY  15 and                                                                    
the current fiscal  note was associated with  the passage of                                                                    
SB 64 and the PACE parole funding.                                                                                              
Representative  Kawasaki  referred  to the  five  full  time                                                                    
positions in the  fiscal note. He referred to  the audit. He                                                                    
asked about a discrepancy between the two.                                                                                      
Ms.  Wilkerson believed  the fiscal  note was  incorrect and                                                                    
there should show six staff.                                                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki  noted  that   the  line  item  for                                                                    
personal services  from FY  16 to  FY 22  were the  same. He                                                                    
wondered if  there were no anticipated  raises or authorized                                                                    
positions received COLA or merit increases.                                                                                     
Ms. Wilkerson replied  that the fiscal note  was flat funded                                                                    
based on the sunset allocation  in FY 17 appropriations. The                                                                    
fiscal note did not  take into consideration any contractual                                                                    
negotiated  changes   for  future  or  changes   in  current                                                                    
practices of the parole board.                                                                                                  
2:24:18 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson asked  if the board had  the option of                                                                    
Mr.  Edwards answered  that  it was  a  possibility but  the                                                                    
board  did not  currently  have the  capability. He  relayed                                                                    
that there were remote locations,  which did play a role. He                                                                    
continued that  there were 50 to  60 members, so all  of the                                                                    
members on Skype was somewhat challenging.                                                                                      
Representative  Wilson  stated  that it  was  possible  from                                                                    
Dillingham. She  stated that there  were other  options. She                                                                    
believed that there were options to save money.                                                                                 
HB  231  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
2:27:17 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 77 Supporting Documents-Letter Frank Ron.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 Supporting Documents - Letter Lance Ostnes.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 Supporting Documents - Article People with disabilities half of people killed by cops.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 Supporting documents - 5 Letters of Support-.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
Hb 77 Supporting Document - How Misunderstanding Disability Leads to Police Violence.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 Sponsor Statement 3.11.16.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 Sectional ver. N 3.11.16.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 Changes version E to version N.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 - Supporting Documents- Wallbusters Disability Info.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 - Supporting document-Letter Juanita Webb.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
CS WORKDRAFT FIN HB 77 - Bill ver. N.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB231 Supporting Documents.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB231 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB 77 NEW FN ADM DMV 3-11-16.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 77 - Non-apparent disabilities symbol.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 77
HB 231 NEW FN DOC 3-14-16.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB 231 NEW FN DOC 3-15-16 Corrected.pdf HFIN 3/15/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 231