Legislature(2015 - 2016)
2016-11-07 House JournalFull Journal pdf
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 manner. 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 Alaska. Sincerely, /s/ Bill Walker Governor"