Legislature(2015 - 2016)

2016-11-07 House Journal

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2016-11-07                     House Journal                      Page 3209
HB 107                                                                                                                        
A letter dated September 8, 2016, was received:                                                                                 
"Dear Speaker Chenault:                                                                                                         
Under the authority vested in me by Article II, Section 15,                                                                     
Constitution of the State of Alaska, I have vetoed the following bill:                                                          
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 107(EDC) am                                                                                          
     "An Act relating to the composition of the Board of Regents of the                                                         
     University of Alaska."                                                                                                     
This bill would amend the statutory qualifications for a person to                                                              
qualify to be appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of                                                            
Alaska by requiring that six of the Board of Regent members be from                                                             
specified regions of the state. My objections to this bill are based on                                                         
both policy and legal considerations.                                                                                           

2016-11-07                     House Journal                      Page 3210
As to policy, my view is that this change would not improve the                                                                 
governance of the University of Alaska system. At the onset, it is                                                              
important to note that the University of Alaska system is designed to                                                           
serve the needs of our diverse state. From the legislative testimony, the                                                       
intended purpose of the statutorily designated regional representation                                                          
was to correct a perceived assumption that not all areas of our state are                                                       
adequately represented by the current statutory appointment process                                                             
where the governor chooses, and the legislature confirms, qualified                                                             
and willing candidates for this important role. Yet neither the history                                                         
of the Board of Regents appointments nor their accomplishments on                                                               
behalf of the university system compels the conclusion that the needs                                                           
of some areas of the state are unheard. Instead, the Board of Regents                                                           
continues to develop and implement initiatives designed to create a                                                             
cost-efficient, integrated state education system. In my view, it is                                                            
critically important that each regent respect and consider each area of                                                         
the state in the consideration of policies. Only by valuing our diverse                                                         
cultural experiences can our university system thrive. The appointment                                                          
of regionally-based representatives would undermine the great efforts                                                           
made to continue to develop the university system in a collaborative                                                            
Further, the bill would prohibit a governor from appointing a regional                                                          
member unless that person meets the residency requirements set out in                                                           
the bill for at least two years before the date of appointment. Alaska is                                                       
the land of opportunity, and to restrict a person interested in serving on                                                      
the Board of Regents from moving from one area of the state to                                                                  
another for employment or family reasons is not consistent with our                                                             
state's embrace of personal freedoms. Appointments should be made,                                                              
as in the past, on a person's qualifications, interest, and willingness to                                                      
commit to the Board of Regents, not on a person's address.                                                                      
That said, I appreciated the discussion of the historical lack of                                                               
appointees to the Board of Regents who are residents of the                                                                     
Matanuska-Susitna Valley. In fact, I was pleased to appoint a Regent                                                            
from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley eight months prior to the passage                                                             
of this legislation.                                                                                                            
Next, the bill raises legal and practical issues, most notably the                                                              
concern that it may overly restrict a governor's power of appointment.                                                          

2016-11-07                     House Journal                      Page 3211
The imposition of the regional residency requirements may create                                                                
constitutional disputes that would delay or call into question whether a                                                        
governor's appointee to the Board of Regents is from the specified                                                              
regional area and has resided there for two years. Disputes or delays in                                                        
appointments would not further the work of the Board of Regents.                                                                
Further, a person aggrieved by a Board of Regents' action could claim                                                           
that an action is invalid because a board member did not meet the                                                               
regional residency requirements set out in the bill. The risk of dispute                                                        
is not worth the perceived benefit of mandated regional representation.                                                         
Because of my objections as stated above, I have vetoed HB 107                                                                  
relating to appointments of the Board of Regents of the University of                                                           
Bill Walker