Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2003-03-28 Senate Journal

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2003-03-28                     Senate Journal                      Page 0611
SB 161                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 161 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                   
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
          "An Act relating to certain civil actions brought by                                      
          the attorney general under monopoly and restraint of                                      
          trade statutes; relating to the award of damages in                                       
          actions brought under those statutes; and providing                                       
          for an effective date."                                                                   
was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance                                   
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, indeterminate, Department of Law                                                
Governor's transmittal letter dated March 26:                                                       
Dear President Therriault:                                                                          
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                          
transmitting a bill relating to legal action brought by the attorney                                
general on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers under the statutes                              
on monopolies and restraint of trade (antitrust statutes).                                          
This bill updates the Alaska antitrust statutes consistent with recent                              
United States Supreme Court precedent to provide a statutory basis for                              
the attorney general to bring a parens patrie action on behalf of state                             
businesses, residents, and governmental entities as indirect purchasers                             
for violations of our antitrust statutes and to recover damages. In                                 
contrast to other states, under current Alaska antitrust statutes, indirect                         
purchasers are without any remedy for antitrust injuries. Indirect                                  
purchasers are usually consumers, governmental entities, and small                                  

2003-03-28                     Senate Journal                      Page 0612
businesses in the wholesale and retail distribution chain of goods and                              
services. Alaska antitrust statutes currently allow a cause of action                               
only for purchasers who buy directly from the person or manufacturer                                
that violated the antitrust statutes. By allowing only the attorney                                 
general a cause of action on behalf of both direct and indirect                                     
purchasers, Alaska consumers, businesses, and governmental entities                                 
will have a remedy for redress of antitrust violations without clogging                             
the courts with multiple lawsuits individually brought by those                                     
Parens patrie actions typically involve civil actions on behalf of                                  
numerous persons and sometimes on behalf of numerous                                                
governmental entities. Accordingly, the bill provides for proof of                                  
antitrust damages by way of statistical methods consistent with federal                             
The bill also removes the current requirement in the antitrust statutes                             
that any antitrust plaintiff must prove willful conduct before a court                              
may award treble damages. Under federal law, a plaintiff does not                                   
have to prove willful conduct to receive treble damages. The current                                
law has the effect of chilling plaintiffs from bringing antitrust cases in                          
Alaska courts, in favor of resolving issues important to Alaska                                     
businesses and consumers in the federal courts.                                                     
I urge your support of this important legislation.                                                  
Frank H. Murkowski