Legislature(2015 - 2016)

2015-04-25 Senate Journal

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2015-04-25                     Senate Journal                      Page 1183
SB 64                                                                                                                         
Message dated April 24 was received stating:                                                                                    
Dear President Meyer:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article II, Section 17, of the Alaska                                                                    
Constitution, I have let the following bill become law without                                                                  
                  CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 64(EDC)(efd fld H)                                                                    
                     "An Act relating to school bond debt                                                                      
                             Chapter 3, SLA 2015                                                                               
                        [Effective Date: See Chapter]                                                                          
Under current law, a municipality is eligible for school construction                                                           
bond debt reimbursement at varying percentages, depending in part on                                                            
the date of the election authorizing the bonds. The bill would place a                                                          
five-year moratorium on the state's obligation to reimburse school                                                              

2015-04-25                     Senate Journal                      Page 1184
construction debt payments for elections that take place after                                                                  
January 1, 2015, but before July 1, 2020. The bill version that passed                                                          
the Senate had two effective date provisions. One would have made                                                               
the bill effective immediately upon becoming law (AS 01.10.070(c));                                                             
the other would have made the section reinstating a modified school                                                             
debt construction reimbursement program effective July 1, 2020. In                                                              
addition, some sections of the bill were to be retroactive to                                                                   
January 1, 2015.                                                                                                                
Like most legislation, the bill was not without controversy during the                                                          
legislative process. Some objected to a moratorium on the State's                                                               
partial school construction debt reimbursement in light of the long-                                                            
standing nature of state assistance with school construction costs, even                                                        
in times of budget shortfalls. But I understand that our current budget                                                         
situation requires the State to take actions it may not have in the past.                                                       
Additionally, some legislators objected to the proposed retroactive                                                             
application to January 1, 2015. Although the bill passed the House of                                                           
Representatives on April 2, 2015; the alternate effective date clauses-                                                         
including the immediate effective date provision-did not receive the                                                            
constitutionally required two-thirds vote. House Journal,                                                                       
April 2, 2015, page 0684.                                                                                                       
The Department of Law has advised me that the bill will still have                                                              
retroactive application despite the failure of the effective date                                                               
provisions, since an effective date clause operates independently of the                                                        
date of retroactive application. The failure of the effective date clause                                                       
does not change the date of retroactive application. Whether the bill                                                           
takes effect immediately or 90 days after signature by the Governor,                                                            
the date of retroactive application remains the same. See, Arco Alaska                                                          
v. State, 824 P.2d 709, 711 (Alaska 1992).                                                                                      
Yet news reports lead me to believe some members of the public                                                                  
thought the failure of the immediate effective date also meant failure                                                          
of the provision on retroactive application. This Confusion is                                                                  
understandable. So while the bill is legally sound, and even though I                                                           
support efforts to reduce our State's budget, including debt service, I                                                         
would prefer that this have been done in a manner more                                                                          
understandable for Alaskans.                                                                                                    

2015-04-25                     Senate Journal                      Page 1185
For these reasons, I have not signed CSSB 64(EDC)(EFD FLD H) and                                                                
have allowed it to become law without my signature.                                                                             
Bill Walker