Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/03/1996 03:30 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 191 An Act relating to election campaigns, election campaign financing, the oversight and regulation of election campaigns by the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the activities of lobbyists that relate to election campaigns, and the definitions of offenses of campaign misconduct; and providing for an effective date." SENATOR TIM KELLY testified in support of SB 191. He noted that SB 191 would replace the ballot initiative. He acknowledged that the legislation needs changes. He compared the initiative to SB 191. He noted that the initiative prohibits non-resident contributions, personal, office or other use of campaign funds, and carry forward of campaign funds. The legislation allows limited non-resident contributions, some transfers of campaign funds to office use and limited carry forward. Senator Kelly reviewed provisions identical in both the legislation and initiative. Both prohibit lobbyists from making contributions outside their district. He noted that this section will be disputed in court. Candidate to candidate campaign fund donations are prohibited. Personal candidate contributions are not prohibited. Corporations, partnerships, unions and companies are prohibited from making contributions. He noted that the legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate. Senator Kelly provided members with a number of technical amendments (copies on file). REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN noted that Amendments 1 - 5 are supported by the Sponsor, the imitative committee and Representative Finkelstein. Representative Martin MOVED to adopt Amendment 1 (copy on file). Representative Finkelstein noted that Amendment 1 states that groups organized on ballot propositions would not have to adhere to the lower limits included in the imitative. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Martin MOVED to adopt Amendment 2 (copy on file). Representative Finkelstein explained that Amendment 2 clarifies that there are no limits on independent expenditures. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Finkelstein discussed that Amendment 3 (copy on file). Amendment 3 inserts "or group" on page 5 line 18. Representative Navarre MOVED to adopt Amendment 3. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Grussendorf MOVED to adopt Amendment 4 (copy on file). Amendment 4 increases the office account for the House amount to $10 thousand dollars. The legislation would allow $10 thousand dollars to be transferred from the campaign account to the House office account. Representative Grussendorf spoke in support of Amendment 4. Representative Finkelstein noted that the transfer is limited and must be disclosed to the Alaska Public Officials Commission (APOC). Representative Finkelstein discussed the disclosure requirements. Representative Brown OBJECTED to the adoption of Amendment 4. A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION. IN FAVOR: Grussendorf, Navarre, Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Mulder, Therriault, Foster, Hanley OPPOSED: Brown Co-Chair Foster and Representative Parnell were absent for the vote. The MOTION PASSED (8-1). Representative Finkelstein discussed Amendment 5 (copy on file). He noted that fund raising time frames vary in the legislation. The amendment clarifies that if any of the time restraints are struck down that campaign funds could be raised 18 months prior to the general election. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Parnell MOVED to adopt Amendment 6 (copy on file). Amendment 6 would delete "and files a copy of the receipt with the commission" on page 12, line 28. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Mulder maintained that complaints should be held confidential while under investigation. Representative Finkelstein questioned the penalty for releasing confidential information. Representative Mulder asked if complaints are prohibited within 60 days of an election. Representative Finkelstein noted that the concern is legitimate but emphasized the difficulty of legislating a solution. In response to a question by Representative Martin, Representative Finkelstein discussed section 2 (3). He stated that proceeds of charitable gaming activities, except the proceeds of a raffle or lottery, cannot be used for campaigning. He further explained that no municipality can use funds to support or oppose a candidate. Ballot propositions can only be supported or opposed by ordinance. In response to a question by Representative Grussendorf, Representative Finkelstein noted that campaign funds can be given to a party, non-profit, be returned to contributors, set aside for future campaigns or up to $10 thousand dollars can be transferred to an office account. Senator Kelly noted that there is a one time carry over for 1998. Representative Brown referred to page 17, lines 15 and 16. Representative Finkelstein clarified that a House member could transfer $10 thousand dollars to an office account and $5 thousand dollars to a future campaign. Any funds remaining after the allowed distribution would be returned to the General Fund. She noted that some candidates have large balances. Representative Finkelstein spoke in support of the legislation. He noted that there are earlier effective dates in the legislation than in the initiative. Representative Therriault provided members with Amendment 7 (copy on file). Representative Finkelstein noted that the legislation was amended by Representative Bunde to prohibit personal use of campaign funds after July 1, 1996. He did not think the amendment was needed. JACK CHENOWETH, LEGAL COUNSEL, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY explained that the amendment would cut off the opportunity to take campaign account money as personal income. He explained that section 20 would supercede section 19. Representative Finkelstein spoke against the amendment. (Tape Change, HFC 96-162, Side 1). Representative Mulder spoke against the amendment. He thought that adoption would "unravel" support for the initiative. Representative Therriault MOVED TO WITHDRAW Amendment #7. There being NO OBJECTION, it was withdrawn. Senator Kelly advised that next year on January 1st, if campaign finance reform and if the ethics bill passes, there will be changes in the way the political system works. Whether or not the bill passes, an initiative will pass in the fall. He recommended that legislators should take more time to fully understand the repercussions of choices made. Senator Kelly preferred passage of a bill over an initiative. Representative Therriault asked the effective date on HB 307. Co-Chair Hanley replied it would take effect after the election. Representative Finkelstein added, legislators will not be able to access those funds until after January 1st. Representative Martin pointed out that HB 307 provided an earlier implementation date and that it would not impact this year. Representative Mulder MOVED to report HCS CS SB 191 (FIN) with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. Representative Navarre asked if there had been testimony regarding the office account. Representative Finkelstein replied that a municipal office account had been added, although there had been no input regarding that concern. There being NO OBJECTION to moving the bill from Committee, it was so ordered. HCS CS SB 191 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with "no recommendation" and with fiscal notes by the (2) Department of Administration dated 4/9/96, the Department of Law dated 3/25/96, (2) zero fiscal notes by the Office of the Governor dated 3/20/96 and Legislative Affairs Agency dated 3/25/96.