Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

04/13/2009 08:00 AM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 192 CHILD SUPPORT/CASH MEDICAL SUPPORT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 96 CHILD SUPPORT/ CASH MEDICAL SUPPORT TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS CSSB 96(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 36 INITIATIVES: CONTRIBUTIONS/ PROCEDURES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SSHB 36 - INITIATIVES: CONTRIBUTIONS/PROCEDURES                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:07:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR HOUSE  BILL NO. 36,  "An Act  relating to                                                               
ballot   initiative   proposal   applications   and   to   ballot                                                               
initiatives."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS noted  that public  testimony on  SSHB 36  had been                                                               
closed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:08:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  made  a  motion to  adopt  Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 26-LS0197\E.3, Bullard, 4/9/09, which read:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, lines 4 - 7:                                                                                                       
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 11, through page 7, line 5:                                                                                   
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  explained that  Amendment 1  would delete                                                               
Section  8  and  Section  11.     Section  8  would  preclude  an                                                               
initiative  from  being proposed  if,  [during  the previous  two                                                               
years,] a substantially similar one  failed to be approved by the                                                               
voters,  and raised  the concern  that it  would limit  citizens'                                                               
free speech  and right to  place initiatives  on the ballot.   He                                                               
offered  his  recollection  that  even one  of  the  joint  prime                                                               
sponsors  acknowledged  that  Section  8  could  be  problematic.                                                               
Section 11  would prohibit a  signature gatherer  from collecting                                                               
signatures for more  than one petition at a time,  and raised the                                                               
concern   that   signature   gatherers  would   be   inordinately                                                               
restricted.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS pointed  out  that Amendment  1  would also  delete                                                               
Section 12 [which contained conforming changes].                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES removed her objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:11:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL [made  a  motion to  adopt] Amendment  2,                                                               
labeled 26-LS0197\E.4, Bullard, 4/9/09, which read:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "[AN INITIATIVE,]"                                                                                             
          Insert "a municipal [AN] initiative,"                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 22, following "governor":                                                                                     
          Insert "or the division of elections"                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 27, through page 3, line 8:                                                                                   
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(g)  An initiative committee, person, group, or                                                                      
     nongroup entity receiving  contributions exceeding $500                                                                    
     or  making expenditures  exceeding $500  in a  calendar                                                                    
     year in  support of or  in opposition to  an initiative                                                                    
     on the ballot in a  statewide election or an initiative                                                                    
     proposal   application   filed  with   the   lieutenant                                                                    
     governor under AS 15.45.020 shall  file a report within                                                                    
     10 days after  the end of each calendar  quarter on the                                                                    
     contributions  received  and expenditures  made  during                                                                    
     the preceding  calendar quarter  until reports  are due                                                                    
     under (a) and  (b) of this section. If the  report is a                                                                    
     first  report, it  must cover  the period  beginning on                                                                    
     the  day an  initiative proposal  application is  filed                                                                    
     under  AS 15.45.020 and  ending three  days before  the                                                                    
     due date of the report."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL relayed that  he'd just been notified that                                                               
Amendment 2's currently-proposed changes to  page 2, lines 21 and                                                               
22, would be being made in the wrong place.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:12:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KYLE JOHANSEN,  Alaska State Legislature, speaking                                                               
as one  of the joint  prime sponsors  of SSHB 36,  concurred, and                                                               
suggested  that  the  bill's next  committee  of  referral  could                                                               
address those  proposed changes.   In  response to  questions, he                                                               
indicated  that  he  would  be amenable  to  having  Amendment  2                                                               
divided, since  its proposed change  to page 2, line  27, through                                                               
page 3, line 8, is meant to address [a drafting error].                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a motion  to divide  the question                                                               
such that the changes proposed to  page 2, lines 21 and 22, would                                                               
become Amendment 2a, and the change  proposed to page 2, line 27,                                                               
through page 3,  line 8, would become Amendment 2b.   There being                                                               
no objection, Amendment 2 was so divided.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL withdrew Amendment 2a.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   COGHILL  concurred   that  Amendment   2b  would                                                               
[address a drafting error].                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN said he supports Amendment 2b.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   RAMRAS   sought   clarification   regarding   the   terms                                                               
"initiative committee", "person",  "group", and "nongroup entity"                                                               
as used in Amendment 2b.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:17:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANET  DeYOUNG,  Chief  Assistant Attorney  General  -  Statewide                                                               
Section  Supervisor,  Labor  and  State  Affairs  Section,  Civil                                                               
Division  (Anchorage), Department  of Law  (DOL), explained  that                                                               
the term "person" is broadly  defined in Title 1, and encompasses                                                               
both real people - individuals  - and corporate or other business                                                               
groups.  The  term "group" as used in  Amendment 2b is considered                                                               
by  the  Alaska  Public  Offices  Commission  (APOC)  to  mean  a                                                               
political action committee (PAC),  an organization that registers                                                               
with the  APOC in  order to  participate in  election fundraising                                                               
and spending.   The term "nongroup entity" is the  creature of an                                                               
Alaska Supreme  Court ruling and  was later codified,  and refers                                                               
to groups that  are formed for the purpose  of advocating certain                                                               
points  of  view  but not  specifically  organized  for  election                                                               
purposes but may from time to time participate in elections.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS  questioned  whether  Amendment  2b's  proposed  AS                                                               
15.13.110(g) would be the appropriate  place to add language that                                                               
would   forbid   corporations   from  contributing   [to   ballot                                                               
initiatives].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. DeYOUNG said it would not be the appropriate place.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  whether  Amendment  2b's  reporting                                                               
requirement would apply to any  contributions received before the                                                               
day  an  initiative  proposal  application   is  filed  under  AS                                                               
15.45.020.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:21:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINA  ELLINGSON, Assistant  Director, Alaska  Public Offices                                                               
Commission (APOC), Department  of Administration (DOA), indicated                                                               
that  it  would  because  initiative  sponsors,  in  their  first                                                               
quarterly  report,  are required  to  either  start with  a  zero                                                               
balance or disclose where any startup money came from.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES removed her objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked whether  [Amendment 2b] would apply to                                                               
unions.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELLINGSON said yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that Amendment 2b was adopted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:25:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  made  a  motion to  adopt  Amendment  3,                                                               
labeled 26-LS0197\E.5, Bullard, 4/10/09, which read:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, lines 9 - 10:                                                                                                      
          Delete "the sponsors shall hold public hearings                                                                       
     concerning  the  proposed bill  in  at  least 30  house                                                                    
     districts"                                                                                                                 
          Insert "the lieutenant governor or a designee of                                                                      
     the lieutenant governor shall hold  at least two public                                                                    
     hearings concerning the proposed  bill in each judicial                                                                    
     district  of the  state.   Public  hearings under  this                                                                    
     section shall be conducted in  a manner that allows the                                                                    
     initiative's  sponsors, other  affected and  interested                                                                    
     parties  supporting  or  opposing the  initiative,  and                                                                    
     citizens an opportunity to be heard"                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "sponsors"                                                                                                     
          Insert "lieutenant governor or a designee of the                                                                      
     lieutenant governor"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 13:                                                                                                           
          Delete "sponsors"                                                                                                     
          Insert "lieutenant governor or a designee of the                                                                      
     lieutenant governor"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 15, through page 8, line 12:                                                                                  
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  explained that  Amendment 3  would remove                                                               
the burden  on an initiative  sponsor to hold public  hearings in                                                               
[at  least  30 house  districts],  and  would instead  place  the                                                               
burden on the lieutenant governor  or his/her designee to hold at                                                               
least two public hearings in  each judicial district.  He offered                                                               
his understanding that the bill's  sponsor considers this to be a                                                               
good  way  of addressing  the  concern  that the  bill's  current                                                               
provision  regarding  public hearings  would  be  too onerous  on                                                               
initiative sponsors.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS asked  how many judicial districts there  are in the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES and REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN said there are                                                               
four judicial districts in the state.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS,  surmising that Amendment  3 would result  in eight                                                               
meetings,  asked when  those meetings  would be  held.   He noted                                                               
that  although  several  potential ballot  initiatives  might  go                                                               
through  the  signature-gathering  phase, generally  only  a  few                                                               
actually get certified for placement on the ballot.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:28:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JASON HOOLEY,  Deputy Chief  of Staff,  Juneau Office,  Office of                                                               
the Lieutenant Governor, acknowledged that  point, and said he is                                                               
assuming that the  meetings would be held  [during the signature-                                                               
gathering phase].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS  expressed concern that  a group could come  up with                                                               
what  he characterized  as a  sensational  ballot initiative  and                                                               
force  public  meetings  to  be held  before  the  initiative  is                                                               
certified for placement on the ballot.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL acknowledged that  under the bill - either                                                               
with Amendment  3 or without  it -  the public meetings  would be                                                               
held after the ballot initiative  application is filed but before                                                               
it is certified for placement on the ballot.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS  expressed  concern   that  sponsors  of  a  ballot                                                               
initiative could force public meetings  to be held but then never                                                               
follow through  with gathering the required  number of signatures                                                               
for placement on the ballot.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOOLEY offered  his belief that the public  hearings would be                                                               
held regardless of the merits  of the proposed ballot initiative,                                                               
and  reiterated  that  the  meetings  would  be  held  after  the                                                               
application is filed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL noted  that  litigation sometimes  occurs                                                               
between the  time that a  ballot initiative application  is filed                                                               
and the time that it is certified for placement on the ballot.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  expressed  concern  that  the  lieutenant                                                               
governor's office  would be spending  State funds to  hold public                                                               
hearings on every potential ballot  initiative, and noted that it                                                               
is  also not  clear how  the lieutenant  governor's office  would                                                               
know  how long  it's  going  to take  sponsors  to gather  enough                                                               
signatures, and so could have  difficulties scheduling the public                                                               
meetings  in  a timely  manner.    She  said  she would  be  more                                                               
comfortable if the  bill required the public meetings  to be held                                                               
after  a ballot  initiative  is certified  for  placement on  the                                                               
ballot but before the election.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS  reiterated his concern,  and questioned  whether it                                                               
would be the  sponsor's intent to have the  public hearings after                                                               
an initiative is certified.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:34:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  said his  intention is  to have  as much                                                               
information  about proposed  ballot  initiatives  made public  as                                                               
soon  as possible,  regardless that  some of  them might  not get                                                               
certified.   He noted  that voter  pamphlets currently  include a                                                               
pro statement  and a con  statement, and  opined that it  will be                                                               
the  duty  of   the  lieutenant  governor  to   expand  on  those                                                               
statements during the public hearings,  which, he surmised, could                                                               
be paid  for out of  the lieutenant governor's travel  budget and                                                               
be held at legislative information offices (LIOs).                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS   expressed  a  preference  for   the  language  of                                                               
Amendment 3 over the language currently  in the bill, but said he                                                               
is not  in favor with having  the public hearings occur  before a                                                               
proposed  ballot initiative  gets certified.   He  suggested that                                                               
Amendment 3  be amended  such that the  public hearings  would be                                                               
held after a proposed initiative  gets certified for placement on                                                               
the ballot.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN said:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I  guess it's  all perspective;  the public's  right to                                                                    
     petition  the government  and have  initiatives on  any                                                                    
     subject, whether it's  deemed wacko ... or  not, ... is                                                                    
     part of  the point; ...  I'd argue that  the lieutenant                                                                    
     governor would  provide an  opportunity for  both sides                                                                    
     of an issue  to be put out  there, and if it  is so out                                                                    
     there  and  wacko,  then  I think  it  would  be  quite                                                                    
     apparent.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN, in response  to comments and a question,                                                               
indicated  that  it is  his  intention  for  there to  be  public                                                               
hearings  on  every  issue  that could  potentially  get  on  the                                                               
ballot.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOOLEY,  in response  to questions,  explained that  both the                                                               
initial application for an initiative  proposal and any resulting                                                               
proposed ballot  initiative must  be certified by  the lieutenant                                                               
governor; if  the goal  is to  have the  public hearings  after a                                                               
proposed  ballot initiative  is  certified for  placement on  the                                                               
ballot, the  phrase that should  be used is, "after  the petition                                                               
has been properly filed".                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:44:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG [made  a motion]  to amend  Amendment 3                                                               
such that the  correct term of art be used  to [indicate that the                                                               
public hearings would  occur once a proposed  initiative has been                                                               
certified for placement on the ballot].                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN indicated  that such  a change  would be                                                               
acceptable to him.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HOOLEY mentioned  that  although  the lieutenant  governor's                                                               
office  has  some  discomfort  with  such a  change,  it  has  no                                                               
opposition  to  it.    The lieutenant  governor's  office  is  an                                                               
unbiased and impartial administrator  of the citizens' initiative                                                               
process, and applies the same  standards to every initiative that                                                               
comes into  the office; these  standards are provided for  by the                                                               
Alaska State Constitution and Alaska's  statutes.  In response to                                                               
comments, he explained  that once an initiative  is certified for                                                               
placement   on  the   ballot,  the   legislature  has   one  full                                                               
legislative  session  to   act  on  the  matter   raised  by  the                                                               
initiative.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS questioned whether there  ought to also be statutory                                                               
timeframes  for  when  the  public meetings  have  to  occur,  or                                                               
whether having something in regulations would be sufficient.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOOLEY  indicated that he  would have to research  that issue                                                               
further.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  offered his belief that  the lieutenant                                                               
governor's office  should have flexibility  in that regard  so as                                                               
to  be able  to hold  the  meetings when  and where  it sees  fit                                                               
depending on  the topic  of the proposed  ballot initiative.   He                                                               
acknowledged  that regulations  could be  promulgated to  address                                                               
this issue further.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:51:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HOOLEY   offered  his  understanding  that   the  lieutenant                                                               
governor's  office  would  prefer  not   to  have  that  kind  of                                                               
discretion, and would instead prefer  to have any such timeframes                                                               
set  out  in  either  statute   or  regulation  so  as  to  avoid                                                               
accusations of prejudice.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS   expressed  concern  that  political   bias  could                                                               
influence  the choice  of venue  for the  public hearings  if too                                                               
much flexibility in that regard is provided.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOOLEY, in  response to a question, said  that the lieutenant                                                               
governor's office wants the force  of law behind the decisions it                                                               
makes,  particularly  since  any person,  regardless  of  whether                                                               
he/she is associated with a  proposed ballot initiative, can file                                                               
an action in court regarding those decisions.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG offered  his  belief that  promulgating                                                               
regulations  [regarding  the  timeframes  and  locations  of  the                                                               
public meetings]  would be sufficient, but  acknowledged that the                                                               
lieutenant governor's office may  prefer to have the legislature,                                                               
via statute, set out those requirements.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOOLEY again said he would research this issue further.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS indicated  that amendments  addressing corporations                                                               
and the single-subject rule would  also be offered, and suggested                                                               
that further  work be done on  Amendment 3 and any  amendments to                                                               
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  relayed that  he was amenable  to having                                                               
the bill held over in order to address the questions raised.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG,   characterizing  the   applicability                                                               
section  of the  bill  as awkward,  indicated  that an  amendment                                                               
addressing that section would also be offered.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[SSHB 36, as amended - with  the motion to amend Amendment 3, and                                                               
the motion to adopt Amendment 3, left pending - was held over.]                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects