Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

04/08/2015 01:00 PM House JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:00 p.m. Today --
Moved CSHJR 14(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHCR 4(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 123(JUD) Out of Committee
           HJR 14-CALL FOR US COUNTERMAND CONVENTION                                                                        
           HCR  4-US COUNTERMAND CONVENTION DELEGATES                                                                       
2:39:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 14, Making application  to the United                                                               
States Congress to  call a convention of the states  to propose a                                                               
countermand amendment  to the Constitution  of the  United States                                                               
as provided under art. V,  Constitution of the United States; and                                                               
urging the legislatures  of the other 49 states to  make the same                                                               
application, and  HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO.  4, Relating to                                                               
the duties of  delegates selected by the legislature  to attend a                                                               
convention of  the states  called under  art. V,  Constitution of                                                               
the United  States, to  consider a  countermand amendment  to the                                                               
Constitution  of  the  United States;  establishing  as  a  joint                                                               
committee of  the legislature  the Delegate  Credential Committee                                                               
and relating  to the  duties of the  committee; providing  for an                                                               
oath  for delegates  and alternates  to  a countermand  amendment                                                               
convention;  providing for  a chair  and assistant  chair of  the                                                               
state's  countermand  amendment  delegation;  providing  for  the                                                               
duties of  the chair and assistant  chair; providing instructions                                                               
for  the  selection  of a  convention  president;  and  providing                                                               
specific  language for  the countermand  amendment  on which  the                                                               
state's convention  delegates are  authorized by  the legislature                                                               
to vote to approve.                                                                                                             
2:39:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SHELLY HUGHES, Alaska  State Legislature, said she                                                               
will present HJR 14, and HCR 4,  in tandem.  She then referred to                                                               
Article V, of the United States Constitution, which read:                                                                       
     The Congress, whenever two thirds  of both houses shall                                                                    
     deem  it necessary,  shall propose  amendments to  this                                                                    
     Constitution,   or,   on   the   application   of   the                                                                    
     legislatures  of  two  thirds of  the  several  states,                                                                    
     shall  call  a  convention  for  proposing  amendments,                                                                    
     which, in  either case, shall  be valid to  all intents                                                                    
     and  purposes,  as  part  of  this  Constitution,  when                                                                    
     ratified by  the legislatures of  three fourths  of the                                                                    
     several  states, or  by  conventions  in three  fourths                                                                    
     thereof, as the  one or the other  mode of ratification                                                                    
     may  be  proposed by  the  Congress;  provided that  no                                                                    
     amendment  which may  be  made prior  to  the year  one                                                                    
     thousand eight  hundred and eight  shall in  any manner                                                                    
     affect  the  first  and fourth  clauses  in  the  ninth                                                                    
     section  of  the  first article;  and  that  no  state,                                                                    
     without  its consent,  shall be  deprived of  its equal                                                                    
     suffrage in the Senate.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  described the resolutions as  an Article V                                                               
effort and  stated that the  word "countermand" means veto.   She                                                               
advised  this  would  give state  legislatures  veto  power  over                                                               
certain decisions  being decided upon  in Washington, D.C.,  if a                                                               
certain number of  states agree.  She pointed out  that HJR 14 is                                                               
the  call  to  the  Congress,  and  HCR  4  gives  the  delegates                                                               
instructions  and  contains the  actual  language  that would  be                                                               
added at the  bottom of the Constitution, which  would be Article                                                               
XXVIII if  it were to be  amended.  She explained  that calling a                                                               
convention  requires two-thirds  of  the states  (34 states),  to                                                               
ratify  an amendment  it takes  three-fourths of  the states  (38                                                               
states).   She  remarked that  within this  countermand amendment                                                               
there is a  mechanism to give the states veto  power over federal                                                               
decisions,  and the  amendment itself  takes three-fifths  of the                                                               
states (30  states) to veto a  federal decision.  She  pointed to                                                               
the problems Alaska  has with federal overreach and  that she has                                                               
been surprised with how often on  the House floor a resolution is                                                               
passed  with the  theme of  overreach.   She  described those  as                                                               
important  statement made,  but questioned  whether it  moved the                                                               
needle to restore  the balance of power that  Alaskans request be                                                               
restored.   She stated these  resolutions are an  actionable step                                                               
in a  long Article V process  as other states would  have to come                                                               
on board in  order to do this.   She described it  as a necessary                                                               
step and  is important for  Alaska to  take in that  the founders                                                               
put it  in the Constitution at  the time.  She  offered that when                                                               
this nation  was formed  the states  initially came  together and                                                               
formed  the Articles  of Confederation.    As it  turns out,  she                                                               
explained,  the states  retained too  much power  and within  the                                                               
U.S. Constitution is  the idea of a proper  balance between state                                                               
and federal  government.   Issues occurred  over the  decades and                                                               
centuries,  including  the power  to  tax  and once  the  federal                                                               
government held the purse strings it  gained a lot of power.  She                                                               
offered that the  resolutions are not partisan as  they are about                                                               
restoring  the power  between the  state and  federal government.                                                               
She noted there has been concern  that the U.S. Constitution is a                                                               
sacred document so  there has been apprehension  about opening it                                                               
up  and having  a convention.   She  related that  this is  not a                                                               
constitution convention  as it is  a single  amendment convention                                                               
and sideboards  would prevent  it from being  any other  topic so                                                               
the Constitution would not be unraveled.                                                                                        
2:47:10 PM                                                                                                                    
STEWART  CRUGER,  Staff,  Representative Shelley  Hughes,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, said  HJR 14 is the State of  Alaska's call on                                                               
Congress  for an  amendment convention  for the  sole purpose  of                                                               
sending  the  countermand  amendment   back  to  the  states  for                                                               
ratification as  is written  in the first  Resolved.   The second                                                               
Resolve states that  the U.S. Congress will  convene a convention                                                               
within 60 days  after the day it receives the  34th call for that                                                               
convention  from state  legislatures.   The third  Resolve states                                                               
that this  is a  continuing application and  it will  remain with                                                               
Congress  until the  34th application  is received.   The  fourth                                                               
Resolve encourages legislatures of the  other 49 states to pass a                                                               
similar  resolution.    With  regard   to  HCR  4,  Resolved  one                                                               
authorizes the  legislature to appoint  and summon  delegates for                                                               
the  amendment convention.   Resolved  two gives  the legislature                                                               
authority  to  decide  the qualifications  and  total  number  of                                                               
delegates to  send to the  convention.  Resolved three  gives the                                                               
legislature the  ability to  add or  remove delegates.   Resolved                                                               
four  provides  parameters  and   instructions  for  the  state's                                                               
delegates at  the convention and prohibits  delegates from voting                                                               
for any other amendment outside  the countermand amendment at the                                                               
convention.  Resolved five reserves  the countermand amendment as                                                               
the  only amendment  for consideration  for  ratification by  the                                                               
legislatures.    Resolved six  states  that  upon  a call  for  a                                                               
convention by 34 states this  resolved allows for establishing of                                                               
the delegate  credential committee within the  Alaska Legislature                                                               
with  duties  listed  in  Section (A)  later  in  this  document.                                                               
Specifically, the  Speaker of the House  of Representatives shall                                                               
appoint  three  members from  the  House,  one being  a  minority                                                               
caucus member.   The President of the Senate  shall appoint three                                                               
members of the Senate, one being a minority member.                                                                             
2:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CRUGER pointed  out  that Resolved  seven  provides for  the                                                               
replacement  procedure for  members  of  the delegate  credential                                                               
committee.   Resolved eight allows  for a selection  of co-chairs                                                               
of the  delegate credential committee,  one being from  the House                                                               
and  one from  the Senate.   Resolved  nine establishes  when the                                                               
delegate   credential  committee   can   meet.     Resolved   ten                                                               
acknowledges   that  the   delegate  credential   committee  will                                                               
continue  until  the first  day  of  the thirtieth  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  and   also  requests  that  it   be  reevaluated  by                                                               
subsequent  legislatures.    Resolved eleven  requests  that  the                                                               
delegate credential  committee be considered  for reestablishment                                                               
during the  thirtieth Alaska State Legislature.   Resolved twelve                                                               
provides  for removal  and replacement  procedure for  members of                                                               
the credential committee in that  members are removed or replaced                                                               
by the presiding officer that  appointed them.  Resolved thirteen                                                               
provides  for the  duties of  the delegate  credential committee.                                                               
He advised  that this is  a majority vote on  decisions, official                                                               
facilitator  for  the   legislature,  appointment  of  delegates,                                                               
provide  a  committee report  on  selected  delegates, appoint  a                                                               
chair and  assistant chair  of the  delegation, properly  vet and                                                               
confirm delegates,  issue convention passes to  delegates, notify                                                               
legislature  of financial  needs  of  the convention,  administer                                                               
oaths to  the delegates, alternates, chair,  and assistant chair,                                                               
monitor  activities  of  Alaska's  delegation,  submit  quarterly                                                               
reports   to   the   legislature    on   events,   progress   and                                                               
recommendations for  the convention,  and authority  to recommend                                                               
removal  of  a   delegate  or  alternate  for   approval  by  the                                                               
legislature.   Resolved  thirteen,  Section B,  provides for  the                                                               
duties  of  the  chair  of  Alaska's  state  delegation  and  the                                                               
president  of the  convention.    He offered  that  the chair  is                                                               
responsible  for communicating  with other  state delegations  to                                                               
open  convention  for  business, identifying  other  legislatures                                                               
that have approved the delegate  resolution, build consensus with                                                               
at  least  26  state  delegations  to  require  that  each  state                                                               
delegation at the convention has  only one vote, require a simple                                                               
majority vote  at all roll calls,  nominate convention officials,                                                               
require  a quorum  of  26  states to  conduct  business, build  a                                                               
consensus  of  at   least  26  states  to   support  sending  the                                                               
countermand  amendment for  ratification,  work  to conclude  the                                                               
convention in  21 days  or no  longer than  180 days,  nominate a                                                               
candidate for  convention president  from Alaska's  delegation or                                                               
work  to  elect  a  president  from  delegate  resolution  state.                                                               
Resolve thirteen,  Section B, Subsection  J, under duties  of the                                                               
Alaska delegation  chair include supporting the  following duties                                                               
of the  convention president: securing  a vote for  this delegate                                                               
resolution to be  the rules of order at the  convention, focus on                                                               
the purpose  of sending the  countermand for ratification  by the                                                               
states, request security measures  as needed, oversee installment                                                               
of  officers  at  the convention,  establish  convention  agenda,                                                               
provide equal time for floor  discussion for all states, prohibit                                                               
introduction  of any  other subject  other  than the  countermand                                                               
amendment, call for  a vote for sending  countermand amendment to                                                               
the states, report to 50 state legislatures ...                                                                                 
2:53:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LEDOUX asked  Mr. Cruger  to point  out the  highlights as                                                               
opposed to simply reading from the resolution.                                                                                  
MR.  CRUGER stated  that the  above addresses  the duties  of the                                                               
president of  the entire convention.   Resolved thirteen, Section                                                               
C  addresses the  duties and  responsibilities of  the convention                                                               
delegates.   Resolved  thirteen, Section  D addresses  the duties                                                               
and responsibilities of delegate  alternates.  Resolved thirteen,                                                               
Section E  provides the  text of the  countermand amendment.   He                                                               
advised that Mike  Schechter, from the Department  of Law Charles                                                               
Kaeprowiez, from Citizens Initiatives, on line for questions.                                                                   
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony                                                                                            
2:55:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES KACPROWICZ,  Executive Director, Citizen  Initiatives and                                                               
Countermand Amendment, said  he has worked on  amendments for the                                                               
U.   S.   Constitution   either   through   Congress   or   state                                                               
legislatures,  under  Article   V,  for  over  40   years.    The                                                               
difference  he  proposes is  the  idea  that state  legislatures,                                                               
under  Article V,  are sovereign  and are  the final  law in  all                                                               
constitutional  matters.   He  highlighted  that  [America] is  a                                                               
constitutional republic which  is why there is  a constitution to                                                               
protect  that.   The U.S.  Constitution, Article  IV, Section  4,                                                               
guarantees  every state  a republican  form  of government  which                                                               
means  every state  has one  vote, regardless  of the  population                                                               
which goes into the convention as  well.  He highlighted that the                                                               
biggest problem  existing during the constitution  convention and                                                               
before  deliberations started,  was  sovereignty.   George  Witt,                                                               
delegate,   notable   attorney,   professor   and   distinguished                                                               
gentleman at the time, headed up  a committee and put eight rules                                                               
together.      He  described   an   important   rule  being   the                                                               
recommendation that each state has  an equal vote, the convention                                                               
agreed and went  forward as a republican form of  convention.  He                                                               
stated  that this  issue has  to be  settled at  every Article  V                                                               
Convention,  and   noted  that  currently  there   could  be  534                                                               
politically charged  delegates.  He  pointed out that  the states                                                               
will probably be allotted the  same number of representatives the                                                               
states have  in Congress.  He  said the point to  address here is                                                               
to ascertain  that sovereignty is retained  by state legislatures                                                               
as  sovereignty trumps  legal  precedent, convention  experience,                                                               
historical events,  and is  the one  thing the  legislatures must                                                               
not  advocate as  if they  do, they  will not  get it  back.   He                                                               
stated that  every Article  V Convention has  to be  protected so                                                               
rather  than letting  the 534  delegates decide  the matter,  the                                                               
state legislatures are the deliberative  body in deciding matters                                                               
related  to the  states  including  how to  use  Article  V.   He                                                               
related   that  as   the  deliberative   body,  the   legislature                                                               
determines what these delegates do  at the convention as they are                                                               
ambassadors and not  free agents.  As a result,  he remarked, the                                                               
outcome  of  that  convention  will be  successful  and  will  be                                                               
completed in approximately seven days.                                                                                          
3:01:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KACPROWICZ advised  that the amendment itself  will allow the                                                               
State of  Alaska to address some  of the most critical  issues it                                                               
has  to currently  deal with.   He  pointed out  that Nevada  has                                                               
approximately 82  percent of its  land controlled by  the federal                                                               
government and Alaska has approximately  67 percent.  He reminded                                                               
the  committee  Alaska  recently   received  an  Executive  Order                                                               
locking up  more land and  preventing Alaska from using  the land                                                               
for whatever purposes it chooses.   The Countermand Amendment can                                                               
address that  issue as there  are 38 energy producing  states and                                                               
only  30 Countermand  Amendments  are necessary.   Should  Alaska                                                               
decide to countermand  a particular EPA, or BLM  ruling, it would                                                               
send  it to  the appropriate  federal agencies  together with  an                                                               
invitation to  the other 49  states inviting them  to countermand                                                               
the same  law.  He opined  that Alaska will more  than likely get                                                               
the  30 states  necessary just  on  the issue  of energy.   As  a                                                               
result, it  will put the  state legislatures in a  respected role                                                               
by the federal government, he explained.                                                                                        
3:02:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  no one                                                               
further wished to testify.                                                                                                      
3:03:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN said  the idea  of trying  to make  it the                                                               
framework in  which states can  take up certain acts  of Congress                                                               
may have  some validity, but  advised that this  proposal, unless                                                               
it was  modified, probably goes too  far.  For example,  page 11,                                                               
on CSHCR 4, the provisions allowing  a state's vote to overturn a                                                               
judicial decision as  well as the U.S. Senate  action approving a                                                               
treaty are both  going farther than is appropriate in  terms of a                                                               
state's  role   in  America's   constitutional  democracy.     He                                                               
described it as a positive idea  that needs refining before it is                                                               
ready for prime time.                                                                                                           
3:04:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER stated  that generally that this  is a good                                                               
effort and there are many Article  V's out there with low risk to                                                               
the  Alaska State  Legislature.   He  referred to  the Article  V                                                               
effort passed last  year on the balanced budget  amendment that 4                                                               
states  have now  joined  and that  the effort  takes  time.   He                                                               
explained that  he has been  involved with the Assembly  of State                                                               
Legislators which is  a national group of  legislators working on                                                               
approximately the same thing as  the countermand process, but the                                                               
effort there is  to attempt to come up with  the rules and agenda                                                               
for the first convention.  He  pointed out that there are several                                                               
Article V's out there, and they  all help Alaska because they are                                                               
raising awareness  that states have  the option of  using Article                                                               
V, which was intended for states to use.                                                                                        
3:05:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to  report CSHJR  14(STA)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.  There being  no objection, CSHJR 14(STA) moved out                                                               
of the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                      
3:05:59 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:05 to 3:08 p.m.                                                                            
3:08:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to report  CSHCR 4 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection, CSHCR 4 moved out of the House                                                                
Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
3:09:17 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR4 Fiscal Note, LAA.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4 Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4 Support Document Charles Kacprowicz Commentary.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4 Support Document, Natelson Report.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4 Support Document, New Mexico Rep. Herrell.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4 Ver N.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HCR4, HJR14 Support Document - emails.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Fiscal Note, LAA.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Support Document, Countermand Amendment Text.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Support Document, Louisiana.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Support Document, New Hampshire.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Support Document, New Mexico Rep. Herrell.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Support Document, New Mexico.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Support Document, North Dakota Rep. Fehr.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 ver N.pdf HJUD 4/8/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR 14