Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

04/07/2015 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 93(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
<Initial Presentation>
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 93-PROBATION AND PAROLE: WORK, TRAVEL ACCOM.                                                                     
9:03:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE  announced  the  consideration  of  HB  93.  [CSHB
93(STA) was before the committee.]                                                                                              
9:03:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CATHY TILTON,  Alaska State  Legislature, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, explained  that HB 93  is a piece of  ongoing legislation                                                               
on  the reforms  on the  criminal justice  system. She  specified                                                               
that  the legislation  tells the  parole officer  to look  at the                                                               
employment  of  a  probationer   when  considering  making  their                                                               
probation appointments. She  noted that employment is  one of the                                                               
major  things  that  keeps probationers  from  recidivating.  She                                                               
added that  employment allows probationers to  pay restitution to                                                               
their victims and back to the state.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  TILTON said  Chairman  Stoltze asked  her at  the                                                               
previous meeting  if parole was  a qualified privilege  or right.                                                               
She asserted  that in no way  does she believe parole  is a right                                                               
and insisted that parole is a qualified privilege.                                                                              
She  noted   that  Senator  Coghill   had  questioned   the  word                                                               
"diligent," which  is used  throughout the  bill. She  noted that                                                               
she had looked  up the word "diligent" in  Black's Law Dictionary                                                               
and it  is defined as,  "Careful and attentive,  being persistent                                                               
in  doing something  industrious and  assiduous carried  out with                                                               
care and constant  effort." She noted that "diligent"  is used 29                                                               
times in  statute. She said the  word "active" is used  209 times                                                               
in  statute,  but  the  word   is  not  defined  in  Black's  Law                                                               
Dictionary. She  surmised that "diligent" presumes  "active," but                                                               
"active" does not presume "diligent."                                                                                           
9:06:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee meeting.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  TILTON noted  that a  question was  asked in  the                                                               
previous meeting regarding the use  of the word "shall" when used                                                               
in  context with  requiring a  parole officer  to grant  a travel                                                               
pass  for a  probationer.  She revealed  that Chairman  Stoltze's                                                               
office  received  a  legal memo  from  Legal  Services;  subject:                                                               
Granting of  a Travel Pass,  date: April 6, 2015.  She summarized                                                               
that Legal Services  was asked whether Section 1  of CSHB 93(STA)                                                               
on  page 2,  lines  12-14,  could create  a  situation where  the                                                               
probation  officer  may  be  compelled   to  grant  a  person  on                                                               
probation  a travel  pass. She  explained Legal  Service's "brief                                                               
answer" as follows:                                                                                                             
     Only  if  the travel  is  not  inconsistent with  other                                                                    
     terms  of  probation  set by  the  court,  a  probation                                                                    
     officer  likely  maintains  the discretion  to  decline                                                                    
     travel in  most circumstances, and can  always seek the                                                                    
     court's guidance to resolve close questions.                                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE noted that there is  a place for tribal entities in                                                               
the  state's justice  system, at  least  on a  limited level.  He                                                               
asked  how a  request  is weighed  when a  village  asks that  an                                                               
individual not be allowed to return.                                                                                            
9:08:02 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  RONALD TAYLOR,  Alaska  Department of  Corrections,                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska, replied  that the  Department of  Corrections                                                               
(DOC)  currently weighs  all of  the  factors by  looking at  the                                                               
conditions of  probation and parole  to decide if a  person could                                                               
travel. He said HB 93 will  allow the probation officer to give a                                                               
more careful  look at ensuring  that an individual's work  is not                                                               
interfering with  their duties to fulfill  their requirements for                                                               
probation or parole. He said DOC's  goal is to make sure that the                                                               
person is  working, but  in those cases  where the  community has                                                               
said, "We  don't want them to  come back to our  community," that                                                               
certainly  is going  to be  taken into  account and  restrictions                                                               
will be  invoked. He added  that the  court or the  parole boards                                                               
themselves  will   add  restrictions   as  part  of   the  travel                                                               
requirement  where the  individual will  be refrained  from going                                                               
into  a  community,  unless their  required  treatment  has  been                                                               
CHAIR STOLTZE asked  if DOC's relationship and  procedures with a                                                               
probationer  or parolee  is formalized  in manuals  regarding the                                                               
discussion and negotiation with where an individual is from.                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TAYLOR  answered that the conditions  themselves are                                                               
the formal thing  that dictate DOC's authority on  whether or not                                                               
a person will be allowed  back into their community. He specified                                                               
that there  are issues  when a  probation officer  has to  make a                                                               
judgement call and  the decision has to be  articulated. He noted                                                               
that  a probationer  or parolee  can go  to the  court or  parole                                                               
board and request that their case be reviewed.                                                                                  
CHAIR STOLTZE  noted that  a group in  the Mat-Su  Borough called                                                               
"Stop Valley Thieves"  has a website with over  9,000 members. He                                                               
noted  that  the  group  is   very  active  in  the  pursuit  and                                                               
administration  of justice.  He  added that  the  group has  very                                                               
active leaders who are very well  versed in Article 1, Section 24                                                               
on victim's  rights. He  asked Representative  Tilton if  she had                                                               
any interaction with  the Stop Valley Thieves group  on the issue                                                               
of probation and restorative justice.                                                                                           
9:10:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TILTON  answered that she has  had some discussion                                                               
with Ms. Wallner,  the person that started the  group, in regards                                                               
to HB 93.                                                                                                                       
She reiterated  Chair Stoltze's question if  parole and probation                                                               
was a  qualified privilege or  a right. She asserted  that parole                                                               
and  probation  are a  qualified  privilege.  She specified  that                                                               
under conditions of  probation that are warranted,  the intent is                                                               
to keep  probationers employed, have  an individual go  back into                                                               
society, and to pay restitution to maybe help victims heal.                                                                     
CHAIR  STOLTZE   noted  that  Representative   Tilton  addressed,                                                               
"allowing  restitution."  He  asked   if  restitution  should  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TILTON  replied that "required" would  be a better                                                               
9:12:33 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
9:12:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE called the committee back to order.                                                                               
9:13:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS moved  to report  CSHB  93(STA), from  committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI stated  that he wanted to put  on the record                                                               
that  the  court may  look  someday  for what  the  Legislature's                                                               
intent in passing the bill was  and noted that his intent is that                                                               
he  is relying  on the  Legal Service's  opinion, dated  April 6,                                                               
2015, where  it says, "A  probation officer likely  maintains the                                                               
discretion  to  decline  travel in  most  circumstances  and  can                                                               
always seek the court's guidance  to resolve close questions." He                                                               
specified  that  his  intent  in   passing  HB  93  is  that  the                                                               
discretion remains with the probation  officer and in close cases                                                               
there should be due discretion  given to the probation officer in                                                               
determining whether  or not he  or she thinks the  specified case                                                               
may  not necessarily  be  a  good idea  to  have the  probationer                                                               
9:14:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE  concurred  with  Senator  Wielechowski  that  the                                                               
opinion  from  Legal Services  becomes  part  of the  legislative                                                               
record for the State Affairs  Committee. He announced that seeing                                                               
no  objection,  CSHB  93(STA) moves  from  Senate  State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee.