Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/17/2015 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 93(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 93-PROBATION AND PAROLE: WORK, TRAVEL ACCOM.                                                                     
8:18:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the final order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO.  93,  "An  Act  relating to  the  duties  of  probation                                                               
officers; and relating to conditions of parole."                                                                                
8:19:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CATHY  TILTON, Alaska State Legislature,  as prime                                                               
sponsor,  presented HB  93.   She related  that a  2013 Anchorage                                                             
Daily  News  article  indicated  that  Alaska  has  the  nation's                                                             
highest  rate  of  recidivism.     She  said  the  Department  of                                                               
Corrections  (DOC)  reported  that  the  number  of  probationers                                                               
successfully   completing  their   court   ordered  release   has                                                               
increased from  48 percent in 2011,  to 66 percent in  2014.  She                                                               
said the proposed  legislation would build upon the  trend of the                                                               
"smart justice effort."  Representative  Tilton stated that it is                                                               
in  the public's  best interest  that  probationers find  gainful                                                               
employment  and  reestablish themselves  in  society.   She  said                                                               
experts,  such as  Partners  for  Progress, identify  employment,                                                               
housing,  and   social  services,  such  as   rehabilitation  and                                                               
therapy,  as  the   three  components  most  needed   to  keep  a                                                               
probationer  from  reoffending.    She  said  few  employers  are                                                               
willing to  hire someone  with a  record.  A  study of  the Urban                                                               
Institute  showed  that  just 12.5  percent  of  employers  would                                                               
accept an applicant  with a criminal record.   Once a probationer                                                               
does  get  a  job,  his/her employment  and  probation  reporting                                                               
sometimes fall into the same time period.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  TILTON   said  the  proposed   legislation  would                                                               
clarify  that one  duty  of  the probation  officer  would be  to                                                               
accommodate  the  efforts  of the  probationer  to  keep  his/her                                                               
employment when  setting up [probation meeting  times].  Further,                                                               
the  bill would  allow the  probationer reasonable  travel within                                                               
the  state when  it  was  not in  conflict  with  other terms  of                                                               
his/her probation.  She explained  that because Alaska is a large                                                               
state, travel can be required when searching for employment.                                                                    
8:22:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SUZANNE  DOWNING,  Staff,  Representative  Cathy  Tilton,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented a  sectional analysis  of HB  93 on                                                               
behalf of  Representative Tilton,  prime sponsor.   She expressed                                                               
appreciation to  the Department of Corrections,  the Alaska Court                                                               
System, and the Public Defender  Agency for their assistance with                                                               
HB  93.   She said  the  sections of  the bill  would make  small                                                               
changes to existing statute and reinforce best practices.                                                                       
MS.   DOWNING  pointed   out  that   Section   1  addressed   the                                                               
aforementioned  provisions related  to accommodating  the efforts                                                               
of a probationer  to find work and allowing him/her  to travel as                                                               
part of  that effort.  Section  2 would amend AS  33.16.150(a) to                                                               
conform [to Section 1, AS 33.05.040]  to read that as a condition                                                               
of parole,  parolees should be able  to travel in state  for work                                                               
or  to make  diligent  efforts to  secure work,  so  long as  the                                                               
travel is  not contrary to  the conditions  of parole.   She said                                                               
Section  3 has  similar conforming  language to  ensure that  the                                                               
statute is consistent  throughout.  She said other  changes in HB
93 are grammatical.                                                                                                             
8:23:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  directed   attention   to  the   word                                                               
"accommodate" on  page 2,  line 28,  and questioned  whether that                                                           
was the best word to use.                                                                                                       
CHAIR LYNN  asked if anyone  else could  think of a  better word.                                                               
He asked Representative Gruenberg if  he had an amendment related                                                               
to the word "accommodate".                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG answered no.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG recommended  a grammatical  change that                                                               
would relocate the word "only" on page 4, line 30.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE TILTON, in response to  Chair Lynn, said she would                                                               
be amenable to the change.                                                                                                      
8:26:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved Amendment 1, as follows:                                                                         
     Page 4, line 30:                                                                                                           
          Delete "only"                                                                                                     
     Page 4, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Following "employment"                                                                                            
          Insert "only"                                                                                                     
Therefore, the paragraph would read as follows:                                                                                 
               (12) Refrain from traveling in the state to                                                                  
     make  diligent efforts  to  secure  or maintain  steady                                                                
     employment   only   if   the  travel   violates   other                                                                
     conditions of parole.                                                                                                  
There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                              
8:27:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CARRIE  BELDEN,  Director,  Division  of  Probation  and  Parole,                                                               
Department of  Corrections (DOC), stated  that she does  like the                                                               
proposed  legislation and  that the  DOC supports  employment for                                                               
probationers and  a decrease  in recidivism.   She  expressed her                                                               
only concern  was that  Section 3 might  be too  constricting for                                                               
the  probation officer  (PO) who  has  treatment meetings,  court                                                               
hearings,  and other  office visits.    She explained  that a  PO                                                               
might not  be able to  get a travel  pass issued in  time because                                                               
he/she has not been given enough  advance notice or might have to                                                               
delay a  travel pass for  a time in order  to work out  victim or                                                               
treatment issues, for  example.  She reiterated  her concern that                                                               
the language  of Section  3 might  "box them  in," and  she again                                                               
stated her support of HB 93.                                                                                                    
8:29:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BELDEN, in response to  Representative Keller, explained that                                                               
the concerning language was on [page  4, line 30, through page 5,                                                               
line 1]; although she suggested  the recently adopted Amendment 1                                                               
may have improved the language.                                                                                                 
8:29:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  offered  his  understanding  that  Ms.                                                               
Belden was saying  there might be other reasons  that could cause                                                               
the  Board of  Parole  to  deny a  travel  request  other than  a                                                               
violation of condition of parole.                                                                                               
MS. BELDEN responded that was correct.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG acknowledged that  the DOC was very much                                                               
by the  book.  He asked  Ms. Belden whether she  had a suggestion                                                               
to improve the language.                                                                                                        
MS.  BELDEN responded  that  at the  moment she  did  not have  a                                                               
suggestion for an amendment.                                                                                                    
8:31:59 AM                                                                                                                    
QUINLAN  STEINER,  Director,   Central  Office,  Public  Defender                                                               
Agency,  Department of  Administration, stated  that HB  93 would                                                               
promote employment for probationers, which  he stated was key for                                                               
success on parole and probation.                                                                                                
MR.  STEINER  offered to  answer  questions  and in  response  to                                                               
Representative Gruenberg,  he said  he thought he  understood the                                                               
concern  raised by  Ms. Belden;  however,  he would  need a  more                                                               
detailed explanation  of the mechanism  of where that  would come                                                               
up or how it would come up before he could craft a solution.                                                                    
MS. DOWNING offered  her belief that the language  in the statute                                                               
gives quite a  bit of leeway to  POs through the use  of the word                                                               
CHAIR LYNN suggested that basically HB 93 was "a guidance bill."                                                                
MS. DOWNING concurred.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   said  he  would  agree   in  general;                                                               
however, he said the aforementioned  language in [paragraph] (12)                                                               
may limit that discretion.                                                                                                      
8:35:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BELDEN suggested  adding:  "and if approved  by the probation                                                               
officer".   She explained that the  PO would know what  was going                                                               
on  in  a  particular  case  and whether  there  were  issues  in                                                               
treatment that  might be hampered  or issues related  to location                                                               
of travel.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN, after ascertaining no  one further wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
CHAIR  LYNN advised  he was  happy  with the  current intent  and                                                               
language of  HB 93.  He  opined, "We should do  everything we can                                                               
to keep  that person gainfully  employed," and the  conditions of                                                               
the  parole and  where the  PO works  should mesh  with the  work                                                               
needs of the parolee.                                                                                                           
8:37:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER   pointed    out   that   [the   proposed                                                               
legislation] was  consistent with "where  we've been going."   He                                                               
said the Justice Commission has  been concerned and interested in                                                               
the  transition of  prisoners back  into society.   He  recounted                                                               
that Mr. Steiner  had said HB 93 would  promote employment, which                                                               
is a key issue.  He said  he supported the current bill and would                                                               
like  to  move  it  out  of   committee.    He  stated  that  the                                                               
opportunity is  there for the  DOC, the Parole Board,  the Office                                                               
of the  Public Defender, and  everyone else concerned,  to review                                                               
the whole  section of  law as  HB 93  moves forward  and consider                                                               
whether any  changes could  be made  to enhance  the work  of the                                                               
Justice Commission.                                                                                                             
8:39:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  he supported the bill  and did not                                                               
want to delay it, but posited  that a couple more days to address                                                               
concerns  would not  be too  long.   He asked  Ms. Belden  if she                                                               
could craft the language she would  like to see in a couple days,                                                               
with the help of the sponsor.                                                                                                   
MS. BELDEN  answered in  the affirmative.   She  reemphasized her                                                               
support for  HB 93  and the importance  of employment  to address                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG requested  that Chair  Lynn hold  HB 93                                                               
for  another  hearing within  the  House  State Affairs  Standing                                                               
8:41:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN reiterated  that he  was ready  to move  the proposed                                                               
legislation out of committee.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER stated  that he  was comfortable  with the                                                               
explanation that the language was  permissive and that "this will                                                               
not rise to  the level of justifying a floor  amendment, but that                                                               
the process is not over once it passes the floor."                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he  would like  to know  the prime                                                               
sponsor's opinion regarding holding HB 93 in committee.                                                                         
CHAIR  LYNN   stated  that  the  House   State  Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee was in control of the proposed legislation.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  opined that  in light of  the contributors                                                               
to  the  proposed   legislation,  the  review  of   it,  and  the                                                               
explanation of it,  HB 93 [as amended] was ready  to be moved out                                                               
of committee.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO, in  response to Chair Lynn,  said he was                                                               
comfortable in moving the bill forward.                                                                                         
8:43:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to   report  HB  93,  Version  29-                                                               
LS0404\W,  [as   amended],  out  of  committee   with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected.   He reiterated that something                                                               
needs to be  done to look at this because  the department charged                                                               
with  the  enforcement  of  the   legislation  had  a  legitimate                                                               
concern.  He indicated that the  concern, if amended on the House                                                               
floor, would  not have  the kind of  debate and  consideration it                                                               
would have in the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                       
8:44:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said he  would like to  ask Ms.  Belden if                                                               
she considered this an issue of major concern.                                                                                  
MS. BELDEN suggested adding "and  if approved by the department",                                                               
following the last line of HB 93.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  expressed his willingness to  propose a                                                               
conceptual amendment  incorporating the  change suggested  by Ms.                                                               
MS. BELDEN, in response to  Representative Keller, suggested that                                                               
the language could  state: "and if approved by  the Department of                                                               
Corrections".     She  explained  that  would   allow  victim  or                                                               
treatment  issues to  be worked  out along  with the  issuance of                                                               
travel passes as it may be necessary to delay a travel pass.                                                                    
8:47:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  withdrew  his  motion  to  moved  HB  93,                                                               
Version  29-LS0404\W,   [as  amended],  out  of   committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
8:47:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  Conceptual  Amendment  2,  to  add                                                               
language following  the word  "parole" [on page  5, line  1] that                                                           
would  give  discretion  to  the  department.    There  being  no                                                               
objection, Conceptual Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                  
8:48:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to   report  HB  93,  Version  29-                                                               
LS0404\W,   as  amended,   out  of   committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection,  CSHB 93(STA) was  reported out of the  House State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
14 HB68 Fiscal Note Various Departments.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 68
01 HB 93 ver W.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
02 HB 93 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
03 HB 93 Sectional Analysis.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
04 HB 93 Supporting Documents - Alaska Prisoner Reentry Task Force.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
05 HB93 Fiscal Note Administration.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
06 HB93 Fiscal Note Corrections.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
07 HB93 Support Letter Partners for Progress.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
15 HB68 Summary of Changes ver A to ver H.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 68
16 HB68 UPDATED Proposed CS ver H REPLACES ver W.pdf HSTA 2/17/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 68