Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

03/29/2010 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 348(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 381(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 348 - PERSONNEL BOARD MEMBERSHIP                                                                           
1:52:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  announced that the next  order of business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 348, "An Act relating  to the membership                                                               
of the  state personnel board."   [Before the committee  was CSHB
348(STA), 26-LS1360\E.]                                                                                                         
1:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN,  speaking as the sponsor,  explained that HB
348 would increase  the range of representation  to the personnel                                                               
board allowing  for greater independence.   He noted that  HB 348                                                               
would increase  the personnel board  membership to  five members,                                                               
     allows  the governor  to make  an  appointment from  at                                                                    
     least three  people nominated by  the chief  justice of                                                                    
     the Alaska Supreme  Court, subject to the  right of the                                                                    
     governor  to request  additional  recommendations.   It                                                                    
     also ensures the board has  at least one member of each                                                                    
     of  the two  parties that  got  the most  votes in  the                                                                    
     previous election.                                                                                                         
He opined  that the current  board representation allows  for the                                                               
public perception that  it is "a creature of  the governor rather                                                               
than a  totally independent body  when it comes  to investigating                                                               
executive branch ethics complaints."   He stated that the purpose                                                               
of the  bill was to create  a better foundation of  trust between                                                               
the public and elected officials.                                                                                               
1:55:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  SICA,  Staff  to  Representative  Bob  Lynn,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, explained that HB 348  increased the personnel board                                                               
membership  from   three  to  five,   and  it  allowed   for  the                                                               
appointment of  a member from  each of the two  political parties                                                               
receiving the highest number of  votes in the gubernatorial race.                                                               
He  noted  that Section  2  was  just  conforming language.    He                                                               
pointed out  that the two changes  in CSHB 348 (STA),  Version E,                                                               
were in  Section 3:  page  2, line 14 adds  "political" after the                                                               
word "or"; and  page 2, lines 16-18 reflects that  these were now                                                               
reformatted into separate paragraphs (3), (4), and (5).                                                                         
MR. SICA  described this as  a friendly  bill.  He  described the                                                               
personnel board to be very visible,  and of great interest to the                                                               
public.    He  pointed  out  that  public  policy  questions  are                                                               
discussed at the board meetings.   He read the description of the                                                               
personnel  board:  "the  personnel  board, also  created  by  the                                                               
Personnel  Act,  is an  independent  agency  composed of  members                                                               
appointed by the governor."  He  stated a desire for the board to                                                               
maintain its independence.                                                                                                      
1:59:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO,  referring to Version  E, page 1,  line 15,                                                               
asked if  the language "until  a successor is  confirmed" allowed                                                               
the governor an  opportunity to control the board  for many years                                                               
simply by not submitting any names for confirmation.                                                                            
MR. SICA offered his understanding  that language was included to                                                               
allow for interim appointments.                                                                                                 
1:59:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO mentioned  the  possibility for  unintended                                                               
consequences.  He  questioned whether the bill  should be amended                                                               
to ensure  that the governor would  not be able to  exercise this                                                               
2:01:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JUDY BOCKMON, Assistant Attorney  General, State Ethics Attorney,                                                               
Opinions,  Appeals, &  Ethics, Civil  Division (Anchorage),  also                                                               
expressed concern for unintended consequences.                                                                                  
[Representative Herron returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                     
MS. BOCKMON expressed  concern for the scope  of the restrictions                                                               
in  Section  3.    She  pointed out  that  Section  3  adds  some                                                               
prohibitions  and restrictions  on  conduct  for campaigning  and                                                               
lobbying,  which  includes employees  of  the  board and  persons                                                               
under contract.   She asked whether the intention of  the bill is                                                               
to impose these  restrictions uniquely on employees  hired by the                                                               
board or would  these restrictions also be  imposed on Department                                                               
of Administration  (DOA) employees  working in the  [Division] of                                                               
Personnel.  She questioned how  these would relate to the "rights                                                               
and  responsibilities"  listed in  AS  39.25.178.   Referring  to                                                               
Section  3, she  questioned to  whom the  persons under  contract                                                               
specifically  referred,  and  if  the  restrictions  were  on  an                                                               
individual or also the business.                                                                                                
MS.  BOCKMON directed  attention  to  the specific  restrictions,                                                               
which she  opined are placed  on the members, not  the employees.                                                               
She questioned  whether the restrictions  make sense  for members                                                               
of the  personnel board.  She  asked whether the intention  is to                                                               
restrict the  voluntary board members  from any  lobbying efforts                                                               
on behalf of  their personal businesses.  She  asked to determine                                                               
the scope of  the restrictions before imposing them.   She opined                                                               
that the workload of the board would demand more members.                                                                       
2:08:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  agreed   with  the   distinction  between                                                               
employees of  the board and  persons under contract.   He offered                                                               
his belief  that "we  don't intend to  eliminate those  people as                                                               
people who might have a special interest."                                                                                      
MS.  BOCKMON clarified  that  the  concern is  for  the scope  of                                                               
restrictions  on  an  employee,   and  for  which  employees  are                                                               
specified.  She pointed out  the different types of lobbyists and                                                               
asked if this  threat of restrictions was appropriate  for all of                                                               
2:10:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG offered  his understanding that "imputed                                                               
disqualification  for   a  conflict  of  interest"   would  often                                                               
disqualify all members of the law firm.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested a conceptual amendment,  as a                                                               
solution, which he stated:                                                                                                      
     Page 2, lines 8-9, following "board members"                                                                               
          Delete "and board employees and contractors"                                                                          
     Page 2, lines 9-10, following "personnel board"                                                                            
         Delete "an employee of the board, or a person                                                                          
       under contract to provide personal services to the                                                                       
     Page 2, lines 11-12                                                                                                        
        Delete "or employment or during the term of the                                                                         
     person's contract"                                                                                                         
2:12:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BOCKMON agreed  that either the employees  or the contractors                                                               
should not be  included, or the intent of  the restrictions needs                                                               
to be clarified.                                                                                                                
2:13:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO,  referring to Version  E, page 2,  line 11,                                                               
expressed his difficulty in  understanding the difference between                                                               
a  "person"  and  an  earlier  reference  to  a  "member  of  the                                                               
personnel board"  and the associated  restrictions.  He  asked if                                                               
the proposed conceptual amendment would clarify this.                                                                           
2:14:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, directing  attention to  page 2,  line                                                               
11, suggested deleting "person's" and adding "member's".                                                                        
CHAIR  RAMRAS expressed  his desire  to hear  testimony prior  to                                                               
discussion of any amendments.                                                                                                   
2:15:11 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  WOOLIVER,  Administrative Attorney,  Administrative  Staff,                                                               
Central  Office, Office  of the  Administrative Director,  Alaska                                                               
Court  System  (ACS),  explained   the  differences  between  the                                                               
personnel board  and the  ethics committee.   He stated  that ACS                                                               
did  not want  a  role  in the  personnel  management of  another                                                               
2:16:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  FORD, Assistant  Attorney  General  & Legislative  Liaison,                                                               
Legislation  &  Regulations  Section,  Civil  Division  (Juneau),                                                               
Department of Law  (DOL), directing his comments to  Section 1 of                                                               
the  bill,  pointed  out  the  constitutional  concerns  for  the                                                               
insertion of  the judicial branch  into the  appointment process.                                                               
He  pointed out  that  the Alaska  State  Constitution gives  the                                                               
governor  the  power  to  appoint   the  members  of  boards  and                                                               
commissions.    He reflected  that  DOL  views  Section 1  as  an                                                               
encroachment on those powers.   He referenced Bradner v. Hammond,                                                             
1979, and suggested that expansion of this mechanism would not                                                                  
be viewed favorably.                                                                                                            
2:18:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR RAMRAS, after ascertaining that no one else wished to                                                                     
speak, closed public testimony on HB 348.                                                                                       
2:18:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved to adopt Amendment 1, labeled 26-                                                                     
LS1360\E.1, Bullard, 3/29/10, which read:                                                                                       
     Page 2, line 9, following "contractors.":                                                                                
          Insert "(a)"                                                                                                          
     Page 2, line 14:                                                                                                           
          Delete ", political committee,"                                                                                       
     Page 2, following line 18:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                      
          "(b)  In this section,                                                                                                
               (1)  "political group" has the meaning given                                                                     
     to "group" in AS 15.13.400;                                                                                                
               (2)  "political party" has the meaning given                                                                     
     in AS 15.13.400."                                                                                                          
There being no objections, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                             
2:19:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved to adopt Amendment 2, which read                                                                 
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 10:                                                                                                           
           Delete "of the candidate for governor who                                                                            
     received the highest number of votes"                                                                                      
           Insert "that has had the highest number of                                                                           
     registered voters"                                                                                                         
     Page 1, lines 11-12:                                                                                                       
           Delete "of the candidate for governor who                                                                            
     received the second highest number of votes"                                                                               
       Insert "that has had the second highest number of                                                                        
     registered voters"                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  relayed that  this same issue  had been                                                               
discussed  in the  House State  Affairs Standing  Committee.   He                                                               
referenced the gubernatorial campaign in  which Mr. Hickel ran as                                                               
an independent,  not as a  member of a  major party.   He pointed                                                               
out that with  the current language of the bill,  this would have                                                               
allowed for  an Independent  and a  Republican Party  member, but                                                               
not a Democratic Party member, to  be nominated to the board.  He                                                               
explained that Amendment  2 would guarantee that  the two largest                                                               
political  parties in  Alaska would  have a  member on  the state                                                               
personnel board.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO requested more discussion.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  offered his belief that  the purpose of                                                               
the bill is  to require a bipartisan membership on  the board and                                                               
ensure membership of the two  major political groups.  He pointed                                                               
out  that  the remaining  members  of  the  board could  be  non-                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO removed his objection.                                                                                     
CHAIR  RAMRAS,  noting that  there  were  no further  objections,                                                               
announced that Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                         
2:23:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  3, which read                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     page 2 lines 8-13                                                                                                          
          delete all material                                                                                                   
     and insert                                                                                                                 
          "Sec.39.25.064. Prohibited conduct by board                                                                           
       members.  A member of the personnel board may not,                                                                       
     during the member's term of office,"                                                                                       
CHAIR  RAMRAS, noting  that there  were no  objections, announced                                                               
that Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  reflected on  discussions in  the House                                                               
State  Affairs Standing  Committee whether  the chief  justice of                                                               
the  supreme   court  should  be  involved   [in  the  nomination                                                               
CHAIR RAMRAS replied  that he was content with  CSHB 348(STA), as                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN concurred.                                                                                                  
2:24:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  whether   the  courts  objected  to                                                               
submitting a list of nominees.                                                                                                  
MR. WOOLIVER replied  that the court, although  preferring not to                                                               
be involved, will submit the nominations.                                                                                       
2:25:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON moved to report  CSHB 348(STA), as amended,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection,  CSHB
348(JUD)  was   reported  from   the  House   Judiciary  Standing                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
08 HB381 Proposed HJUD CS.pdf HJUD 3/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
CS HB 381 Sponsor Statement HJUD.pdf HJUD 3/29/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 381