Chairs of House Finance Budget Subcommittees announced

Incoming House Finance Committee Co-Chairs Reps. Mark Neuman and Steve Thompson met with Gov. Bill Walker and his Chief of Staff Jim Whittaker, and later with Office of Management & Budget Director Pat Pitney, in Juneau on Wednesday. According to a release, the meeting centered on starting a dialogue on the FY16 budgets. The two said that they look forward to a “collaborative effort with the new administration.”

Neuman and Thompson also finalized the chairs for the House Finance Budget Subcommittees. Here’s the list:

  • Rep. Mark Neuman (Mat-Su) — Fish & Game, Governor and Legislature
  • Rep. Steve Thompson (Fairbanks) — Military & Veterans Affairs, Transportation & Public Facilities and Revenue
  • Rep. Bryce Edgmon (Dillingham) — Corrections and Public Safety
  • Rep. Lynn Gattis (Wasilla) — Administration and Education
  • Rep. Cathy Munoz (Juneau) — Court System and Environmental Conservation
  • Rep. Lance Pruitt (Anchorage)–Commerce, Community & Economic Development and Natural Resources
  • Rep. Dan Saddler (Anchorage/Eagle River) — Health & Social Services and Law
  • Rep. Tammie Wilson (Fairbanks/North Pole) — Labor & Workforce Development and the University

6 thoughts on “Chairs of House Finance Budget Subcommittees announced

  1. AH HA

    Lynn, three folks now have the purse in their hands… If they want a policy change regarding Alaska’s Criminal Justice System there is a excellent chance they are going to get it. Most especially when the budgets are already going to be tight….

  2. AH HA

    Hey Lynn, How about this? Can you help solve the problem? How could we do it without spending more money? Surely there are several ways it can be accomplished? How would you do it?

  3. AH HA

    Lynn, The exact same way Alaska Attorney General Avrum Gross did. He refused to allow his staff to enter into any sort of plea bargaining at all. It turned out to be cheaper all the way around. I’m sorry, I’m quite busy this morning or I’d do it for you but If you have a little time do a web search for Avrum Gross and Plea Bargaining and you will find some interesting articles and should also find the results of a study of the results that his policy had. (I think the study was done by UAA?)

  4. Lynn Willis

    Since you sent this message to those responsible for the budget, how do you propose to correct this very valid concern without spending more money?

  5. AH HA

    Dear Cathy Munoz, Brice Edgmon and Dan Saddler;

    The three of you are now in a perfect position to effect significant change in the way the criminal Justice System in our state works and I would like to make sure that you are aware of a disturbing trend that has been repeated with more and more regularity throughout the state.
    With increasing regularity the criminal justice system in Alaska has been largely ignoring criminal offenders who have a significant history of particularly violent crimes and instead returns them to our communities with either no prison time or no significant prison time. This practice has begun to needlessly impact innocent members of the community in increasingly large numbers.

    It requires only a moment’s reflection to recall that in Sitka in March of 2008 Jason Abbott murdered four people and nearly murdered a fifth person. He was well known by the courts and police in Sitka as being very violent and very mentally ill and had been arrested and jailed for Domestic Violence just three days prior to committing the murders.

    In Hoonah, In August of 2010, John Marvin murdered to police officers in front of his home and then barricaded himself inside for hours. Marvin was also well known by the courts and the local police as a mentally ill person who was also a very violent offender who would in all likelihood re-offend.

    In Anchorage, in May of 2013 Jerry Active was released from prison and on the same day as he was released, murdered an elderly couple and raped a toddler. Active was a known sex offender with a history of violence who actually still had time left to serve and should not have been let out of jail.

    In Barrow, in December of 2014 Assistant District Attorney Brian Sullivan was murdered. The suspect in this case has been arrested and has a criminal history that includes at least 30 separate criminal court cases many of which included violent offenses such as kidnapping, use of a victim as a shield and many charges of assault. At the time of his arrest he was out on bail on three separate court cases and in previous incidents had threatened to kill an officer and once had used his daughter as a human shield.

    In the four examples above it is very easy to show that the state was willfully negligent in that they knowingly allowed these offenders to be in a position to re-offend when the state clearly knew that there was little doubt that the offender would re-offend.

    These examples are not isolated events and they do not represent ‘just a few worst cases’. They do not appear to represent any particular region of our state and do not appear to represent any particular subsection of the population. What they do have in common is a criminal justice system that has lost sight of one of its primary charges, that of keeping the public at large safe.

    The list of cases where the criminal justice system had been well aware of an offenders propensity for violence and high likelihood of reoffending goes on and on and yet, there seems to be a systemic lack of concern from the criminal justice system as a whole for the safety of the public. The district attorney’s office continues its long standing practice of avoiding trial by offering serious repeat offenders lucrative plea bargains including so called ‘charge bargains’ where a defendant will agree to plea guilty to much lesser charges and an almost always a reduced number of charges in exchange for dismissal of the more serious charges against him. In many cases the district attorney will engage in ‘sentence bargaining’ where he will agree not to pursue a heavy sentence and will recommend an agreed upon short sentence or other punishment in exchange for a guilty plea in instead of trial. In all cases the actual sentence remains the judge’s purview but it is very unusual for a judge to object to a plea agreement and in most cases when a plea bargain is offered to the court the judge will allow it to stand.

  6. TWC

    Appreciate the post. I’ve been trying to get this info for the past couple of days. Now, I realize that I couldn’t probably found it because it didn’t exist.

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