Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/30/2003 03:15 PM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5                                                                                                  
     Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State                                                                    
     of Alaska relating to initiative and referendum                                                                            
TIM BARRY, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS,  stated that                                                                   
HJR 5 was a  resolution to put a constitutional  amendment on                                                                   
the ballot in the fall 2004.   The amendment would change the                                                                   
requirements  for  getting  an   initiative  on  the  ballot.                                                                   
Currently, the constitution requires  getting signatures from                                                                   
at least 10%  of the number of  people who voted in  the most                                                                   
recent general election statewide.   Those signatures must be                                                                   
from at  least 27  of the 40  House districts  or 2/3  of the                                                                   
House districts.                                                                                                                
Mr. Barry added  that the fiscal note is for  $1,500 dollars,                                                                   
which would  be the  costs to the  Division of Elections  for                                                                   
printing the  additional page in  the election pamphlet.   He                                                                   
noted that  Virginia Breeze  from the  Division of  Elections                                                                   
was present to answer questions of the Committee.                                                                               
Mr.  Barry advised  that  because  the amendment  proposes  a                                                                   
constitutional  amendment,  it  only  becomes  law if  it  is                                                                   
supported  by 2/3  + 1  of both  Legislative  members and  is                                                                   
approved  by the  majority of  voters  at the  ballot box  in                                                                   
2004.   He referenced the letters  of support in  the packets                                                                   
and statistical  data on the signature petitions  from recent                                                                   
years.    The spreadsheets  indicate  that  no  hardship  for                                                                   
initiative  supporters  in the  last  few years  meeting  the                                                                   
requirement for HJR 5.                                                                                                          
Representative Croft  asked if there were any  initiatives in                                                                   
that past few years that would  not have qualified under this                                                                   
amendment.   Mr.  Barry  replied  that information  would  be                                                                   
difficult to  access.  The  way that  the process is  done is                                                                   
that the Division  of Elections counts signatures  until they                                                                   
hit the needed number, 10% statewide  and assuring that there                                                                   
is at least  one signature from  each of the districts.   The                                                                   
signature gatherers  always gather more than are  needed.  In                                                                   
most cases,  when counted, the  requirements of HJR 5  and HB
31 would have been met.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Harris  asked if the  resolution would  require that                                                                   
10% of  those that voted  in the preceding general  election,                                                                   
must reside  in at  least ¾  of the  election districts.   In                                                                   
those ¾ election districts, there  must be a minimum of 7% in                                                                   
each.   Mr.  Barry agreed  that was  essentially correct  and                                                                   
that  it would  be a  number equal  to  7% of  the number  of                                                                   
people  who  voted  at  the  most  recent  election  in  that                                                                   
district.   In order to sign  the petition, the  person would                                                                   
not have had to vote but would have to be registered.                                                                           
Co-Chair Harris  suggested that  the reason for  the proposed                                                                   
legislation  was  to  guarantee  that more  of  the  election                                                                   
districts in the  State have at least some  representation in                                                                   
a  statewide  petition.   Mr.  Barry  noted  that it  is  the                                                                   
sponsor's  intention that democracy,  through the  initiative                                                                   
process,  be exported  to more  parts  of the  State than  is                                                                   
currently happening.                                                                                                            
Representative Joule  questioned how many districts  could be                                                                   
accessed  on the  current road  system.   Mr.  Barry did  not                                                                   
know.   Representative  Joule pointed  out that  it would  be                                                                   
difficult  to get  this to  rural Alaska,  while still  being                                                                   
possible to get  to the needed ¾ along the road  system.  Mr.                                                                   
Barry explained that  the way in which the  system works, the                                                                   
sponsor of the petition makes  signature packets.  They could                                                                   
be sent through  the mail, with signatures gathered  and sent                                                                   
back.   Mr. Barry stated that  the Division of  Elections has                                                                   
numbered  booklets  and that  emailing  was  not possible  at                                                                   
present time.                                                                                                                   
DICK BISHOP,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA OUTDOOR                                                                   
COUNCIL,  FAIRBANKS, stated  that initiatives  are not  a bad                                                                   
tool  when used  to protect  people's  rights; however,  most                                                                   
initiatives are used  to restrict rights.  He  noted that the                                                                   
founding fathers of  this country were wary of  the impact of                                                                   
the initiative system on minority rights.                                                                                       
Mr. Bishop commented  that hunters, fishers and  trappers are                                                                   
a minority  in Alaska.   Wildlife  initiatives have  promoted                                                                   
restriction of  sound, lawful hunting, trapping  and wildlife                                                                   
Mr. Bishop  stated that  HB 31 would  help to defend  against                                                                   
"the   tyranny  of   the  majority"   by  requiring   broader                                                                   
representation  of  Alaskan minorities  in  order  to put  an                                                                   
initiative on the ballot                                                                                                        
Mr. Bishop stressed  that HB 31 would not ban  the initiative                                                                   
process.    He noted that 26  states now do use  this system.                                                                   
Initiatives  on  wildlife  issues  are  widely  condemned  by                                                                   
professional  fish  and  wildlife biologists  in  Alaska  and                                                                   
across the  nation because they've  proven a poor  substitute                                                                   
for the  legal framework  developed over  the last  100 years                                                                   
for managing fish and game                                                                                                      
Mr. Bishop continued  that with wildlife, it is  easy to sell                                                                   
bad idea advertising.  People mostly like wildlife  and don't                                                                   
want to check out  the facts, so they react  to the emotional                                                                   
appeal  of a  ballot  campaign.   Alaska  has an  outstanding                                                                   
legal framework  for fish and game  management.  HB  31 & HJR
5would improve the working climate of the system.                                                                               
STEVE  CON,  (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA  PUBLIC                                                                   
INTEREST RESEARCH  GROUP AND  CONSUMER ADVOCACY  ORGANIZATION                                                                   
(AKPIRG),   ANCHORAGE,  testified   in   opposition  to   the                                                                   
legislation.    He noted  that  in  the  past 30  years,  his                                                                   
organization has used  the initiative tool.  The  use has not                                                                   
involved fish,  wildlife or environmental matters  but rather                                                                   
the alliance  to set  in place  campaign finance reform  law.                                                                   
He pointed out  that the Legislature had passed  the campaign                                                                   
finance reform  law.  The  Constitutional Convention  saw the                                                                   
initiative process as a critical  tool to express the will of                                                                   
the people and to curb the power  of special interests on the                                                                   
legislative process.                                                                                                            
Mr. Con  stressed that  the initiative tool  has worked.   He                                                                   
stated that the legislation should  be opposed.  If passed it                                                                   
will make it  difficult for individuals except  for high-paid                                                                   
special interest groups to place initiatives on the ballot.                                                                     
KAREN  BRETZ,   (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ATTORNEY,                                                                   
ALASKANS FOR  EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT,  ANCHORAGE, testified  in                                                                   
opposition to the  legislation.  She noted that  she has been                                                                   
involved in the  initiative process as a proponent  of ballot                                                                   
initiatives,  a  collector  of   initiative  signatures,  and                                                                   
counsel to litigants involved in the initiative process.                                                                        
Ms. Bretz  urged that members  not pass  HJR 5.   She pointed                                                                   
out that the  right to petition the government  is guaranteed                                                                   
in the  State constitution  and tangentially  in the  federal                                                                   
constitution.   The net result of  HJR 5 will be  the curbing                                                                   
of rights.                                                                                                                      
HJR 5  will effect outside interests  and local people.   The                                                                   
outside interests  will always  have the  funds to  get their                                                                   
issues  on the  ballot regardless  of  the roadblocks  placed                                                                   
before them.  In contrast, Alaskans  would be  dissuaded from                                                                   
participating  in  direct  democracy if  it  is  unreasonably                                                                   
difficult.   Ms.   Bretz   stressed  that   the   bill   will                                                                   
disproportionately affect Alaskans.                                                                                             
The requirement  that initiative sponsors  collect signatures                                                                   
equal in number  to 10% of the voters who voted  in the prior                                                                   
general  election  presents  a  challenge  for  Alaskans  and                                                                   
ensures  that  the proposed  initiative  would  have  minimal                                                                   
support.   HJR  5  does   not  disturb   the  10%   signature                                                                   
requirement and will additionally require:                                                                                      
   ·    Sponsors to collect signatures from three quarters                                                                      
        of the house districts; and                                                                                             
   ·    That seven percent of the voters in each of those                                                                       
        districts sign the petition.                                                                                            
Ms.  Bretz claimed  that HJR  5  would disenfranchise  people                                                                   
living in rural  Alaska from participating in  the initiative                                                                   
She  added  that   it  is  important  to  reflect   upon  the                                                                   
individual  freedoms   and  prosperity   that  our   form  of                                                                   
government allows us.  The Legislature  should encourage more                                                                   
Alaskans to participate in the  initiative process.  Although                                                                   
the  initiative  process has  never  been instituted  on  the                                                                   
federal level,  the United States Supreme Court  commented on                                                                   
it  in  the  case  of United  Mine  Workers  of  America  vs.                                                                   
Illinois  State   Bar  Association,  389  U.S.   427  (1967).                                                                   
Restraining  the rights  of the people  from petitioning  the                                                                   
government  through the  initiative process  is not  Alaskan,                                                                   
nor is patriotic.   Ms. Bretz urged members  of the Committee                                                                   
to vote "do not pass" on HJR 5.                                                                                                 
LINDA  RONAN, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  CHAIR OF  THE                                                                   
BOARD,  ALASKA HEMP, ANCHORAGE,  spoke  in opposition  to the                                                                   
legislation.   She recommended  current technology  retaining                                                                   
inclusion by  utilizing the Internet.   She pointed  out that                                                                   
in her  circle, there  is not one  person interested  in this                                                                   
bill.   She  stated  that the  legislation  would remove  the                                                                   
people's choice of what is placed  on the ballot.  That would                                                                   
not be right.  She urged members to vote against HJR 5.                                                                         
KEN JACOBUS, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  ATTORNEY, LEGAL                                                                   
COUNCIL  FOR  REPUBLICAN  PARTY,   ANCHORAGE,  testified  his                                                                   
opposition to  HJR 5, echoing  previous comments.   He stated                                                                   
that HJR  5 would  have to  consist of  31 petitions.   There                                                                   
will need  to be a petition  for each district plus  the same                                                                   
petition  statewide.    It  would be  essential  to  get  the                                                                   
cushion of signatures in each  district.  The net result will                                                                   
be  that only  well financed  petitions  will be  able to  do                                                                   
this.   The ordinary person that  wants to petition  will not                                                                   
be able to do  so.  He claimed that none of  the petitions on                                                                   
the list since  1998 would have gotten on the  ballot if this                                                                   
particular bill were in place.                                                                                                  
Mr. Jacobus  commented that this  legislation will  not solve                                                                   
Dick Bishop's  problem.  The  resolution will result  in only                                                                   
petitions for  wildlife and natural  resource.   Those people                                                                   
use petitions as  fundraisers.  The legislation  will get rid                                                                   
of petitions brought forth by the ordinary people.                                                                              
Mr. Jacobus  claimed  that if  the idea gets  on the  ballot,                                                                   
there would be  "mud" slug at people that support  the "power                                                                   
grab"; it will  not pass.  He suggested leaving  it alone and                                                                   
let  the people  have the  power  that they  have been  given                                                                   
originally under  the constitution.  When an  initiative gets                                                                   
on the  ballot, the people  have the right  to vote it  up or                                                                   
JED  WHITTAKER, (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
understood that there  is a fear in Alaska  that Anchorage is                                                                   
becoming a  City-State.  He noted  that HJR 5 was not  a good                                                                   
solution, as it would do away  with the 14th Amendment of the                                                                   
United States Constitution.                                                                                                     
Mr. Whittaker disagreed that the  fiscal note would amount to                                                                   
only  $1,500 dollars,  because  there will  be many  lawsuits                                                                   
that follow.   He pointed out that Co-Chair  Williams did not                                                                   
have a co-sponsor on the resolution.                                                                                            
JIM  SYKES, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  GREEN PARTY  OF                                                                   
ALASKA,  MAT-SU,   echoed  sentiments   voiced  by   previous                                                                   
speakers.  He  stated that the Committee should  not pass HJR
5 and  that citizens should  be encouraged to  participate in                                                                   
government.    HJR  5 places  a  roadblock  to  the  intended                                                                   
process.   He agreed  that the  "well funded outside  special                                                                   
interest  groups" will  have the  edge with  passage of  this                                                                   
legislation because  they have the  money to do  whatever the                                                                   
requirements are.                                                                                                               
Mr.  Sykes questioned  the  intent of  the  legislation.   He                                                                   
suggested that  more signatures  from rural Alaska  would not                                                                   
hold true.  There are better methods:                                                                                           
   ·    Making outside contributions toward the initiative                                                                      
        process illegal; and                                                                                                    
   ·    Limiting contributions to $500 dollars; requiring                                                                       
        monthly disclosure reports to Alaska Public Officers                                                                    
        Commission (APOC) to find out who is funding the                                                                        
        petition drives.                                                                                                        
Mr. Sykes  agreed with  the $1  dollar per signature  charge,                                                                   
which  he   thought  was  reasonable.     He  spoke   to  the                                                                   
distribution  reports,  indicating  that  the  citizens  from                                                                   
every district  have signed the  initiatives.  He  urged that                                                                   
current law be left alone.                                                                                                      
STUART  THOMSON, SELF,  JUNEAU,  spoke in  opposition to  the                                                                   
proposed legislation.   He commented  on the negative  impact                                                                   
it  will  have on  tourism.    He observed  the  problem  for                                                                   
democracy, is after awhile, selfish  special interests always                                                                   
find a way to abuse or manipulate methodology.                                                                                  
Mr. Thomson  advised two things  to minimize damage  from the                                                                   
   ·    Each   legislator   has   a    moral,   intellectual,                                                                   
        philosophical,  and common  sense  responsibility  to                                                                   
        study  relevant   Alaska  constitutional   convention                                                                   
        minutes and  major Alaska  Supreme  Court rulings  on                                                                   
        the initiative process; and                                                                                             
   ·    If after  study  of  constitutional  philosophy,  the                                                                   
        modification   proposed    is    still   worthy    of                                                                   
        consideration,  then  minimize  the   impact  of  the                                                                   
        changes  from  legislative  deliberation  and  public                                                                   
Mr. Thomson reminded members of the blessings that come from                                                                    
CHERYL  JEBE,  PRESIDENT,  LEAGUE OF  WOMEN  VOTERS,  JUNEAU,                                                                   
commented that the League of Women  Voters of Alaska supports                                                                   
the  "existing" initiative  process and  makes the  following                                                                   
   ·    Initiatives  should  be  voted  on  only  at  General                                                                   
        Elections, not special or primary elections.                                                                            
   ·    Support change that  requires simplicity  and clarity                                                                   
        of the wording of  initiative questions with  a "yes"                                                                   
        vote to indicate  in favor  of a  measure and  a "no"                                                                   
        vote to indicate opposition to a measure.                                                                               
   ·    Support disclosure  on  each initiative  petition  of                                                                   
        the name(s) or group(s)  that is paying  the gatherer                                                                   
        and how they  are paid,  such as  by signature  or by                                                                   
        the hour.                                                                                                               
   ·    Support  the  requirement  for  not   less  than  500                                                                   
        qualified  voters  as  sponsors  to  the  prospective                                                                   
        petition with the Lieutenant Governor's office.                                                                         
   ·    Support  the  requirement  for  a   number  of  valid                                                                   
        signatures not  less than  ten (10%)  percent of  the                                                                   
        total number  of  the  votes  cast in  the  preceding                                                                   
        general elections.                                                                                                      
   ·    Support a formula for at least 50  signatures in each                                                                   
        of two-thirds of  the legislative districts  in order                                                                   
        to reflect statewide interest in a measure.                                                                             
   ·    Support  the  requirement  of  an   attorney  general                                                                   
        advisory opinion as to the constitutionality  of each                                                                   
        proposed initiative  after it  has qualified  for the                                                                   
        ballot, such  opinion to  be published  in the  State                                                                   
        Election Pamphlet.                                                                                                      
   ·    Support the  existing  limit on  time for  collecting                                                                   
        signatures to one year.                                                                                                 
   ·    Support the requirement for a cost  analysis to be on                                                                   
        each initiative petition.                                                                                               
   ·    Support the requirement that signature gatherers be                                                                     
        qualified voters of Alaska.                                                                                             
ALVIN ANDERS, SECRETARY, ALASKA  LIBERTARIAN PARTY, testified                                                                   
in opposition  to HJR 5.   He pointed  out that  the proposed                                                                   
changes to  the initiative process  attempt to  fix something                                                                   
that  is  not   broken.    Mr.  Anders  submitted   that  the                                                                   
legislation is not  necessary and that HJR 5 is  not the best                                                                   
way to achieve  Representative William's goals.   There is no                                                                   
evidence given  that the idea contained within  an initiative                                                                   
does  not enjoy  broad statewide  support.   Included in  the                                                                   
initiative package  are reports  showing the distribution  of                                                                   
signatures  from the  last ten  initiatives.   In each  case,                                                                   
significant numbers  of signatures  were gathered  from every                                                                   
district throughout  the State.  The fact that  an initiative                                                                   
makes it  on the ballot  in and of  its self indicates  broad                                                                   
support.  The fact that many citizens  from every legislative                                                                   
district  signed these  petitions  proves not  only that  the                                                                   
issues  have  broad  support but  also  that  the  initiative                                                                   
process is working.                                                                                                             
Mr. Anders  continued,  no evidence has  been presented  that                                                                   
any initiative  has passed that  did not have  broad support.                                                                   
In fact most  initiatives that pass statewide  generally pass                                                                   
in  every district.   The  one exception  was the  referendum                                                                   
dealing with wildlife  management.  That ballot  issue won in                                                                   
30 of 40  districts and of  the ten districts where  it lost,                                                                   
mostly was in Anchorage and Fairbanks.                                                                                          
Mr.  Anders  pointed  out that  some  people  are  supporting                                                                   
making   the  initiative   process  more   onerous  to   keep                                                                   
initiatives off  the ballot dealing with  wildlife management                                                                   
issues.   He  stressed that  if one  group has  the money  to                                                                   
mount expensive  initiative drives,  it would be  the "lovers                                                                   
of little  animals".   Since 1976,  only one  group has  been                                                                   
able to gather  the necessary signatures to  put a referendum                                                                   
on the ballot  and that group  was the people who  oppose the                                                                   
trapping of  wolves.  If they  can raise the money  to gather                                                                   
signatures equivalent  to 10%  of the vote  in 90  days, then                                                                   
they will  still be able to  afford to put signatures  on the                                                                   
ballot even if the distribution requirement is raised.                                                                          
He suggested that the Republicans  who support the bill would                                                                   
find themselves  being portrayed  as folks who  are attacking                                                                   
the  initiative  process and  even  if the  proposed  changes                                                                   
pass, wildlife management issues  will still make the ballot.                                                                   
He suggested  that there  is a better  way to accomplish  the                                                                   
goals of  making the  initiative process  more inclusive  and                                                                   
preventing  the tyranny  of the densely  populace areas  over                                                                   
the sparsely populated areas.                                                                                                   
   ·    The first goal, making the initiative process more                                                                      
        accessible to all Alaskans could be accomplished                                                                        
        easily by  making initiatives  one  page and  posting                                                                   
        them  as Adobe  Acrobat  files  on  the  Division  of                                                                   
        Elections website.  Currently the  State pays for the                                                                   
        cost of printing 500  petition booklets at  no charge                                                                   
        for  every  initiative  that  the   Attorney  General                                                                   
        approves for circulation.   That  money could  be put                                                                   
        to much better use.                                                                                                     
   ·    Preventing the "supposed tyranny" of the densely                                                                        
        populated areas  over the  sparsely populated  areas,                                                                   
        that could  be addressed using  a solution  practiced                                                                   
        in Switzerland.   There  cantons can  vote to  repeal                                                                   
        laws either statewide or within  a particular canton.                                                                   
       That option has not yet been tried in Alaska.                                                                            
Mr. Anders addressed additional  points that make the changes                                                                   
proposed  in HJR  5  ill advised.  He  referenced the  report                                                                   
entitled "Initiative  and Referendum  in the 21   Century" by                                                                   
the  National  Conference  of  State  Legislators.  (Copy  on                                                                   
File).   In  that  report  there  are 34  recommendations  to                                                                   
improve the  initiative process.   Almost every one  of these                                                                   
proposals is  already in force in  Alaska.  The two  that are                                                                   
not are as follows:                                                                                                             
   ·    Recommendation 2.2: "The Legislature should provide                                                                     
        for public hearings on the initiative proposals".                                                                       
   ·    Recommendation 4.3: "The States should require the                                                                      
        drafting  of  a  fiscal  impact  statement  for  each                                                                   
        initiative proposal".                                                                                                   
Those proposals  are not addressed  in HJR 5.   Moreover, the                                                                   
report   criticizes  initiative   abuses   in  most   notably                                                                   
California  and Oregon  but the solutions  that are  proposed                                                                   
are almost  all in place in  Alaska.  One criticism  that was                                                                   
leveled in the  report is abuse of the initiative  process by                                                                   
too many initiatives  appearing on the ballot,  which has not                                                                   
been  a  problem  in  Alaska.     Since  statehood,  only  34                                                                   
initiatives have  appeared on Alaska ballots, which  is 34 in                                                                   
42 years and 21 elections.                                                                                                      
TAPE HFC 03 - 71, Side B                                                                                                      
Mr.  Anders stated  that  the  drafters of  our  constitution                                                                   
debated  the question  of how  many signatures  needed to  be                                                                   
required and what distribution  to require.  An amendment was                                                                   
proposed to require "from each  of two-thirds of the election                                                                   
districts  of the  State with  signatures  equaling not  less                                                                   
than 3% of the number of voters  casting ballots for Governor                                                                   
in each district  in the preceding general election  at which                                                                   
a governor  was elected".   That amendment  failed 31  to 17.                                                                   
He  asked  if the  founding  fathers  and mothers  of  Alaska                                                                   
thought  35 from  2/3  of the  districts  was  too onerous  a                                                                   
requirement,  why  then  is  the  Legislature  considering  a                                                                   
requirement  more than twice  the amount.   Mr. Anders  urged                                                                   
that the  members of  the Legislature  honor the drafters  of                                                                   
the Alaska Constitution and vote against HJR 5.                                                                                 
Mr.  Anders  submitted  ideas for  improving  the  initiative                                                                   
   ·    Remove the restriction of paying only $1 per                                                                            
   ·    Extend the time period to allow for the gathering of                                                                    
   ·    Return the thirty-day grace period for initiatives                                                                      
        that fail to gather the necessary signatures within                                                                     
        the allotted time.                                                                                                      
   ·    Allow initiative sponsors to submit signatures to                                                                       
        election officials for certification as they are                                                                        
   ·    Make petitions one page and post on the Division of                                                                     
        Elections website.                                                                                                      
   ·    Make proponents pay for the cost of their own                                                                           
Representative  Croft  MOVED  to  ADOPT  Amendment  #1,  #23-                                                                   
LS0202\A.1, Kurtz, 4/29/03.  (Copy on File).                                                                                    
Co-Chair Williams OBJECTED.                                                                                                     
Representative Croft  explained that the  amendment addresses                                                                   
the issue regarding  repealing an initiative.   The amendment                                                                   
would insert  new language  "and the law  enacted may  not be                                                                   
repealed  by  the  legislature  within two  years  after  the                                                                   
effective date of the law".  He  stated that it is a process,                                                                   
which  the   Constitutional  Convention  believed   that  the                                                                   
legislature would do and would continue to do.                                                                                  
Mr. Barry responded that Co-Chair  Williams, the sponsor, had                                                                   
been working on this issue for  several legislative sessions.                                                                   
The amendment proposes a different  issue from which HJR 5 is                                                                   
intended  to  address.   The  current  system  has a  set  of                                                                   
"checks   and  balances".     Under  current   law,   if  the                                                                   
Legislature wanted  to repeal  a law, they  could do it.   In                                                                   
the event  that there were  technical problems with  the law,                                                                   
like the  one proposed  in Amendment  #1, it  would keep  the                                                                   
Legislature from fixing the "bad law" for two years.                                                                            
Representative Croft  WITHDREW Amendment #1.   There being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was withdrawn.                                                                                                    
Representative Croft MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment #2 which would                                                                   
change language  on Page  1, Line 11,  deleting the  "7%" and                                                                   
inserting "3%".                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Williams OBJECTED.                                                                                                     
Representative  Croft stated  that the  7% might be  onerous.                                                                   
He acknowledged  that it made  sense for it  be over 1%.   He                                                                   
agreed that  there needs  to be  something that still  allows                                                                   
initiatives to  be done and significant participation  from a                                                                   
lot of districts without making it too burdensome.                                                                              
Co-Chair Williams  noted that  the intent of  the bill  is to                                                                   
get "more  democracy" out to the  outline areas.   The people                                                                   
of  the State  need  to  be more  a  part of  the  initiative                                                                   
process.  He stated that three percent was just not enough.                                                                     
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR:      Stoltze, Croft                                                                                                   
OPPOSED:       Chenalut, Foster, Hawker, Joule, Meyer,                                                                          
Representative  Whitaker, Representative  Moses and  Co-Chair                                                                   
Harris were not present for the vote.                                                                                           
The MOTION FAILED (2-6).                                                                                                        
Representative  Joule referenced  Line 11,  "7% of  ¾ of  the                                                                   
districts of those  people that voted in the  last election".                                                                   
He asked  if the signature of  someone that was  a registered                                                                   
voter but did  not vote in the last election,  would qualify.                                                                   
Mr. Barry  clarified that  the person does  not have  to have                                                                   
voted in the last  election.  The 7% number is  the number of                                                                   
signatures  needed  equal  to   the  number  of  people  that                                                                   
actually voted in that district in the last election.                                                                           
Representative  Stoltze asked  if the  district numbers  were                                                                   
determined by  reapportionment.  Mr. Barry replied  that they                                                                   
were and  the most  recent numbers were  taken from  the 2000                                                                   
Representative Foster MOVED to  report HJR 5 out of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal note.  Representative Croft OBJECTED.                                                                                    
Representative  Croft reiterated  that the process  currently                                                                   
is not broken and at this time,  there would be a significant                                                                   
impact to rural  Alaska.  He maintained that  it is important                                                                   
to be careful when affecting the  peoples right to initiative                                                                   
referendum  and recall.    These are  the  "checks" that  the                                                                   
people have  on the  Legislature and people  do not  like the                                                                   
Legislature  "messing around"  with them.   This  legislation                                                                   
will lower the  public's esteem even more.   The requirements                                                                   
proposed  in  the bill  of  10%  and  7%  will make  it  more                                                                   
difficult for  Alaskans to pass  or repeal laws.   Doing that                                                                   
is  their  right.    He  reiterated  that  there  is  not  an                                                                   
overwhelming problem with current system.                                                                                       
Representative Stoltze indicated his concern with the bill.                                                                     
Co-Chair Harris inquired how many  other states had this type                                                                   
process on  their books.   Mr. Barry  advised that  26 states                                                                   
currently use some sort of initiative process.                                                                                  
Co-Chair Harris  asked what  other states  use it to  reflect                                                                   
the will of the  public.  Mr. Barry replied  that the framers                                                                   
of  the  U.S. Constitution  considered  the  concept  of  the                                                                   
initiative  process.    Co-Chair  Williams  interjected  that                                                                   
Washington State uses the initiative process.                                                                                   
Co-Chair Harris  noted that  he did support  the idea  in the                                                                   
past  and  that  he  would  support it  at  this  time.    He                                                                   
understands  the  need  to  make  sure  that  there  is  some                                                                   
representation from all precincts  around the State to better                                                                   
reflect the State's will.                                                                                                       
Representative   Foster  spoke   to   people  attempting   to                                                                   
determine what is good for Bush  Alaska.  He commented on how                                                                   
the  legislation will  affect  that area.   Initiatives  have                                                                   
been  "pushed down"  by the  majority of  urban Alaskans  for                                                                   
many years.   He thought that the disagreement  regarding the                                                                   
legislation is a "joke" and that  the bill would be a "safety                                                                   
net" for his people.                                                                                                            
A roll  call vote was  taken on the  motion to move  the bill                                                                   
from Committee.                                                                                                                 
IN FAVOR:      Whitaker, Foster, Hawker, Joule, Meyer,                                                                          
               Stoltze, Harris, Williams                                                                                        
OPPOSED:       Chenault, Croft                                                                                                  
Representative Moses was not present for the vote.                                                                              
The MOTION PASSED (8-2).                                                                                                        
HJR  5  was  reported  out  of  Committee  with  "individual"                                                                   
recommendations and with fiscal  note #1 by the Office of the                                                                   

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