Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

04/10/2017 01:00 PM House JUDICIARY

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04:06:08 PM Start
04:06:48 PM HB200
05:09:09 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 4:00 PM --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HB 200-NONPARTISAN OPEN PRIMARY ELECTIONS                                                                        
4:06:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 200, "An  Act establishing a top  two nonpartisan                                                               
open  primary election  system for  elective state  executive and                                                               
state  and national  legislative offices;  repealing the  special                                                               
runoff  election  for the  office  of  United States  senator  or                                                               
United  States  representative; changing  appointment  procedures                                                               
relating to  precinct watchers and  members of  precinct election                                                               
boards,   election  district   absentee  and   questioned  ballot                                                               
counting  boards,  and  the  Alaska  Public  Offices  Commission;                                                               
requiring  certain   written  notices   to  appear   in  election                                                               
pamphlets  and  polling  places;   relating  to  declarations  of                                                               
candidacy and letters  of intent; and amending  the definition of                                                               
'political party.'"                                                                                                             
4:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  advised  that  she and  her  staff  would                                                               
present HB  200 today and  advised that  she is pleased  to bring                                                               
forward the "Top Two Nonpartisan  Primary" bill because this idea                                                               
takes  the  State  of  Alaska  out of  the  business  of  running                                                               
primaries  for private  political  parties.   She explained  that                                                               
rather than a  party nomination process which  serves to nominate                                                               
candidates for each party, it  would serve as a winnowing process                                                               
wherein the candidates, in the  primary, are narrowed down to the                                                               
top two vote  receivers.  She explained that  while walking door-                                                               
to-door  and speaking  with  her  constituents, she  consistently                                                               
heard  complaints regarding  the  semi-closed  primary system  in                                                               
place  in  Alaska.   The  State  of  Alaska benefited  from  open                                                               
primaries from  1946 until 2000,  when the United  States Supreme                                                               
Court ruled under  California Democratic Party v.  Jones, [530 US                                                             
567 (2000)] that  private parties could not be forced  to open up                                                               
their  primaries, and  this bill  brings the  will of  the people                                                               
back to a more open primary system, she explained.                                                                              
4:09:38 PM                                                                                                                    
COURTNEY ENRIGHT, Staff,  Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  advised  she   would  focus  on  the  bill's                                                               
highlights, noted  four substantive  changes, and  paraphrased as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
       Section 8.  Establishes a top two nonpartisan open                                                                       
       primary that allows any voter regardless of party                                                                        
     affiliation, to  vote for any candidate,  regardless of                                                                    
     party affiliation.                                                                                                         
     Section 21.   The  primary election  does not  serve to                                                                    
     determine  the  political  party  nominee,  but  rather                                                                    
     serves  as a  winnowing  process.  Note, however,  that                                                                    
     nothing in  this bill prohibits political  parties from                                                                    
     establishing  an alternative  nominating process  (i.e.                                                                    
     conventions, preferential poll, etc.).                                                                                     
4:10:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ENRIGHT   offered  that  under  current   statute,  Alaska's                                                               
primaries serve  as a nominating  process for  political parties,                                                               
and this section is a key change to the current primary system.                                                                 
     Section 9.   Candidates may list either  their party of                                                                    
     affiliation or may  opt to be listed  as nonpartisan or                                                                    
     undeclared.  However, note  that this  does not  give a                                                                    
     candidate the  option to  list their  party affiliation                                                                    
     as a  different political group  or party than  the one                                                                    
     they are  currently registered  as. For  example, under                                                                    
     HB 200 a Republican could  not be listed as Democrat or                                                                    
     Green Party candidate on the ballot.                                                                                       
     Section   6.     Eliminates  the   requirement  for   a                                                                    
     nominating  petition  for nonpartisan  or  unaffiliated                                                                    
     candidates. Under  HB 200  no candidate  is "nominated"                                                                    
     through the primary election.                                                                                              
     Presently, in the Alaska  State Legislature Statues, we                                                                    
     provide  that   all  nonpartisan  candidates   have  to                                                                    
     collect  a   certain  number   of  signatures   as  all                                                                    
     candidates  would be  running, effectively,  not to  be                                                                    
     nominated  in  this  process.   Every  candidate  would                                                                    
     apply to be on the primary  the same way.  So, it would                                                                    
     eliminate that nominating petition piece.                                                                                  
4:12:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER referred  to Sec. 6, and  surmised that in                                                               
a general  election there would never  be more than two  names on                                                               
the ballot for any state office.                                                                                                
MS. ENRIGHT  answered that  he was  mostly correct  and explained                                                               
that there is a provision  regarding a general election wherein a                                                               
candidate could  still elect to  be a write-in candidate.   There                                                               
would  only  be  two  names on  the  ballot,  except  technically                                                               
speaking, there  could be  a third candidate  as a  write-in, she                                                               
4:12:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  asked  that   Ms.  Enright  explain  the                                                               
history of  the primary system,  its purpose, and when  it became                                                               
part of the election process.                                                                                                   
MS. ENRIGHT  explained that in 1945,  during Alaska's Territorial                                                               
Days, Alaska implemented a ballot  initiative for open primaries,                                                               
and  unfortunately, was  unable to  locate information  regarding                                                               
the system  prior to  1945.   She offered  that in  reviewing the                                                               
federal election process, it appears  that primaries in different                                                               
capacities  existed  during   the  second  national  presidential                                                               
4:13:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  offered a scenario of  a candidate coming                                                               
from an area  that was heavily one party or  the other, and asked                                                               
whether the bill adds a second  layer wherein one person wins the                                                               
primary with  no one  running from the  other party,  that person                                                               
wins  unless there  is a  write-in candidate.   Suddenly,  HB 200                                                               
adds a second bite of the  apple and he paraphrased that it reads                                                               
"Now  we get  to go  at this  again for  another --  another four                                                               
months -- or, three."                                                                                                           
MS.   ENRIGHT   responded   that  from   a   strictly   statutory                                                               
perspective,  currently all  candidates  participate unless  they                                                               
are nonpartisan  in both the  primary and the  general elections.                                                               
There is  not an additional  layer added  in terms of  the actual                                                               
application,  she  explained,   and  deferred  to  Representative                                                               
LeDoux regarding Representative Fansler's specific scenario.                                                                    
4:15:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  explained that everyone still  runs in the                                                               
general election  and what  this does, in  general, is  that more                                                               
people  vote  in  the  general   election  than  in  the  primary                                                               
election.   She acknowledged,  that for  a specific  candidate it                                                               
may be inconvenient  to have to run in the  general election when                                                               
that candidate believed everything  was completed in the primary.                                                               
She offered  her belief  that from  the perspective  of governing                                                               
and  the  philosophy of  having  people  buy  into who  is  their                                                               
representative,  to have  someone  picked by  a  majority of  the                                                               
voters in the general election  where the vast majority of people                                                               
vote, outweighs that inconvenience  compared to a great governing                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE    FANSLER   requested    statistics   of    other                                                               
jurisdictions operating in  the same manner as  the bill, whether                                                               
there are any trends wherein  it encourages more participation in                                                               
the  elections, whether  it drives  voter turnout  for primaries,                                                               
and whether more candidates generally  run for offices.  He noted                                                               
that his  requested information  could wait  until the  next bill                                                               
4:17:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said that  during the  last few  years in                                                               
Alaska there has  been a high percentage of  candidates who [win]                                                               
the primary  and end up not  running in the general  election for                                                               
whatever reason.                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked  whether Representative  Eastman  said  that                                                               
candidates withdraw after winning the primary.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN answered that  candidates do withdraw, and                                                               
offered a scenario  wherein someone withdraws or  is coerced into                                                               
withdrawing after  the primary election,  and asked  what happens                                                               
in that situation under this bill.                                                                                              
MS. ENRIGHT  differed to Alpheus  Bullard, Legislative  Legal and                                                               
Research Services.                                                                                                              
4:19:16 PM                                                                                                                    
ALPHEUS  BULLARD, Legislative  Legal  Counsel, Legislative  Legal                                                               
and  Research  Services,  answered that,  currently,  if  someone                                                               
withdraws  after  the  primary  election,  there  is  a  petition                                                               
process  wherein  the party  can  have  that candidate  replaced.                                                               
That  process is  eliminated in  this bill  because only  the two                                                               
most  successful candidates  for each  office can  appear on  the                                                               
general  election ballot.    In  the event  a  candidate were  to                                                               
withdraw, there would  still be the potential for  someone to run                                                               
as the write-in against that candidate, he explained.                                                                           
4:20:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  commented that  in  other  parts of  the                                                               
world a candidate  could be the subject of  coercion and pressure                                                               
to  withdraw because  if the  person withdraws  the other  person                                                               
wins and  there is no one  to "take up  the banner."  He  said he                                                               
was hopeful  that type  of situation was  taken into  account and                                                               
the state  doesn't end up in  a situation where there  is greater                                                               
incentive  to  put pressure  on  a  person's opponent  to  resign                                                               
because now it  would be easier to get them  to resign.  Whereas,                                                               
currently in  the party system,  he said, "you talk  to somebody,                                                               
they resign, the parties replaces  them with somebody else, you -                                                               
- I mean,  you still have to  run against them.   It's not really                                                               
an incentive for  you," and questioned the impact of  the bill in                                                               
that regard.                                                                                                                    
4:21:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  surmised that all candidates  for a specific                                                               
race will be compete in an  open primary, and that a person could                                                               
self-designate their own party without  any party endorsement, or                                                               
support.  He asked whether he understood the bill correctly.                                                                    
MS.  ENRIGHT  replied that  he  was  correct  to an  extent,  for                                                               
example,  under  this  bill,  the  Division  of  Elections  would                                                               
prohibit  someone who  is, for  example, a  democrat from  saying                                                               
they are a republican, but  it wouldn't prohibit that person from                                                               
saying they were  nonpartisan.  The person can  either choose the                                                               
party they are registered or  affiliated with, or they can choose                                                               
to be nonpartisan, she said.                                                                                                    
4:22:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP offered  that it would "kill  the purpose" of                                                               
members of a  party to vote in  a primary as far as  a process of                                                               
identifying  a  person's  specific  candidate  to  advance  to  a                                                               
general election.   On the face  of it, he noted,  it appears the                                                               
purpose  of the  bill is  to  ..., and  if that  is the  purpose,                                                               
whether the sponsor's  office had heard from  the various parties                                                               
because much  of the  bill changes the  entire foundation  of the                                                               
current election process.                                                                                                       
4:23:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX commented  that the  committee heard  loud                                                               
and clear  from Tuckerman  Babcok in a  press interview  that the                                                               
Republican Party  does not  support HB 200,  and she  was unaware                                                               
whether  Mr. Babcok  bothered to  forward a  letter.   She opined                                                               
that she had not heard  officially from the Democratic Party, and                                                               
that she unsure whether the  Democratic Party liked this bill any                                                               
more than the  Republican Party.  She pointed out  that this bill                                                               
is open  for public testimony,  and all entities have  the option                                                               
to submit letters.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  commented   that  she  believed  former                                                               
Representative Max Gruenberg was working  on a bill similar to HB
200, and it was her  understanding that both parties were opposed                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
4:24:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  offered  a scenario  wherein  candidates                                                               
running for governor and lieutenant  governor support each other,                                                               
except  the governor  receives fewer  votes than  their opponent.                                                               
Under  this  bill,  the other  gubernatorial  candidate  has  the                                                               
"option  to grab"  that lieutenant  governor candidate  and bring                                                               
them  onto  the  ticket,  and  whether  the  lieutenant  governor                                                               
candidate has the option to decline to be chosen.                                                                               
MS. ENRIGHT answered, not in  the statute, it could possibly fall                                                               
under  regulation,  or  possibly   something  the  sponsor  could                                                               
consider as  an alternative approach.   She offered that  "In the                                                               
current  manner  it's written  --  statute  -- the  gubernatorial                                                               
candidate with the highest number of votes gets to select."                                                                     
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked whether the  current statute is such  that if                                                               
gubernatorial  candidate   "Smith"  had  been   campaigning  with                                                               
candidate  "A"  for  lieutenant   governor,  and  in  the  actual                                                               
election, gubernatorial candidate  "Jones" wins the gubernatorial                                                               
election  and  candidate  "A"   wins  the  lieutenant  governor's                                                               
election.   Under  current statute,  "they  are lumped  together,                                                               
it's  not like  on the  presidential  election where  you get  to                                                               
choose your  vice-president there, that's  who they get  and they                                                               
could  always resign  and then  somebody  else get  picked."   He                                                               
noted that in that sense, it would  be the same as the process is                                                               
today.  Under  current statute, there is a  separate campaign for                                                               
lieutenant governor,  a separate  campaign for governor,  and the                                                               
governor  lives  with whoever  the  party  picked for  lieutenant                                                               
4:26:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  opined that the difference  is where both                                                               
the  governor  and  lieutenant  candidate  make  it  through  the                                                               
winnowing process  and both are  on the general  election ballot.                                                               
The  bill gives  the  person with  even just  one  more vote  the                                                               
opportunity to  reach down and  choose which  lieutenant governor                                                               
candidate  they are  going  to run  with, so  there  is a  multi-                                                               
ballot, except now they are obliged to run against each other.                                                                  
4:27:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX questioned  that comment  "running against                                                               
each other," and  explained it will be the  top two gubernatorial                                                               
candidates, and  it's not that  the candidate coming  second gets                                                               
to  be  lieutenant  governor.    She  explained  the  process  as                                                               
follows:  there is  an open  primary  for governor,  and an  open                                                               
primary  for  lieutenant  governor;  whoever comes  in  first  as                                                               
governor in  the gubernatorial primary  gets to choose  which one                                                               
of  the top  two  candidates they  want  as lieutenant  governor.                                                               
Actually,  she described,  it offers  the governor  slightly more                                                               
choice than  currently, and acknowledged that  she struggled with                                                               
this and would prefer that no  one ran as lieutenant governor and                                                               
the  governor  could  simply  choose  their  lieutenant  governor                                                               
candidate,  such  as  in  the  national  presidential  elections.                                                               
Except,  she remarked,  Legislative Legal  and Research  Services                                                               
pointed out that the constitution  requires that the election for                                                               
lieutenant governor be performed in the same manner as governor.                                                                
4:28:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   noted  that   the  restraints   of  the                                                               
constitution puts a  wrinkle in this arrangement  such that there                                                               
is  almost  a perverse  incentive  for  a  person to  choose  the                                                               
opponent's former  running mate as lieutenant  governor, thereby,                                                               
forcing that team to run against each other.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   LEDOUX  offered   that  Representative   Eastman                                                               
described the  current problem because a  gubernatorial candidate                                                               
could end  up with a lieutenant  governor they don't like  or get                                                               
along  with, which  has actually  happened  in this  state.   She                                                               
remarked that the current system is not exactly perfect.                                                                        
4:29:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KOPP   referred  to   Representative   Eastman's                                                               
scenario as  to what would  happen if someone resigned  after the                                                               
open primary and  asked whether he had heard  correctly, that the                                                               
other candidate would basically win the election by default.                                                                    
MS. ENRIGHT answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP then  offered a scenario that one  of the top                                                               
two vote  getters, for  whatever reason, was  unable to  serve in                                                               
public office, currently  the party can get together  and come up                                                               
with another nominee.   This language appears to be  a deficit in                                                               
its current structure, he said.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX agreed  with Representative Kopp's concern,                                                               
and  pointed out  that  that  is the  wonderful  thing about  the                                                               
committee process.  She remarked  that she will discuss the issue                                                               
with Legislative  Legal and Research Services  whether the person                                                               
with third place votes could advance to second place.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  noted that if he  was a member of  the other                                                               
party,  he would  be  concerned that  someone,  such as  himself,                                                               
would  move out  of their  district  and into  the other  party's                                                               
district,  become an  independent  candidate, and  compete in  an                                                               
open  primary.   There is  professional honesty  and courtesy  in                                                               
knowing that "we're tied to a  set of beliefs and a platform" and                                                               
can  agree to  disagree on  issues.   Although,  he pointed  out,                                                               
erasing all distinction becomes a  lethal threat to the integrity                                                               
of  the process,  and integrity  is lost  when the  candidate can                                                               
self-identify with  the intent  of winning  a seat  and deceiving                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  responded that  under the  current system,                                                               
someone  who affiliated  with one  party all  of their  lives can                                                               
self-identify  as  an independent  and  win  the election  as  an                                                               
independent.     In  addition,   she  said,   the  considerations                                                               
[Representative Kopp]  set forth are  part of the  current system                                                               
because someone who  has been a member of one  party all of their                                                               
lives, with a  stroke of the pen, can become  a member of another                                                               
4:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  argued there  were huge  differences because                                                               
in  an  open  primary  a  person can  hide  behind  the  enormous                                                               
obfuscation of multiple  people running and it's hard  to hit one                                                               
bee in a beehive.   There may be a good  turnout, but the chances                                                               
of surviving  on bad behavior  go up  enormously in that  type of                                                               
environment.   He referred  to the  primary system  with multiple                                                               
party  candidates, and  said that  people are  more focused,  the                                                               
candidate is  more accountable, and if  he was a voter,  he would                                                               
want the primary system.                                                                                                        
4:34:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  noted concern  in situations  where three                                                               
people  run,  and  there  is   a  hypothetical  34  percent  vote                                                               
candidate,  33  percent  vote  candidate,  and  32  percent  vote                                                               
candidate  split.   The 34  percent  vote candidate,  and the  33                                                               
percent vote candidate go on, they  then make a collusion to drop                                                               
someone out and  the 32 percent vote candidate can't  get up into                                                               
it.   He said he was  interested in the possibility  of the third                                                               
place candidate  moving up  into position.   He then  referred to                                                               
Representative Kopp's scenario, and  offered the scenario wherein                                                               
both the first and second  place candidates became incapacitated,                                                               
and  questioned  whether  it suddenly  became  a  large  write-in                                                               
campaign with no power to get any names on the ballot.                                                                          
MS.  ENRIGHT answered  that Representative  Fansler had  found an                                                               
oversight in the bill because there  must be a process to replace                                                               
candidates if they drop out before the general election.                                                                        
4:36:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  opined that  the  bill  "takes a  way  a                                                               
little  of  the  parties'  powers" because  it  would  no  longer                                                               
orchestrate a closed  primary, essentially, for a party.   In the                                                               
event the goal is strip these  powers away from parties, he asked                                                               
whether  thought had  been given  to  having people  run with  no                                                               
party affiliation  with everyone just a  name on a list,  as in a                                                               
municipality election.                                                                                                          
MS. ENRIGHT  responded that  in 1936,  by ballot  initiative, the                                                               
State of Nebraska  put in place a nonpartisan  primary system and                                                               
the system runs  all candidates without party  affiliation on its                                                               
ballot.  She offered that  consideration was given to that issue,                                                               
and  as to  the final  decision, she  deferred to  Representative                                                               
4:37:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  answered that  consideration was  given to                                                               
that issue and it  appeared to be too big of  a jump because this                                                               
bill, in  and of itself,  was a big enough  step.  She  asked Ms.                                                               
Enright  whether  or  not,  within the  State  of  Nebraska,  its                                                               
governor runs  in the open  primary as a nonpartisan,  or whether                                                               
it solely refers to the state's legislature.                                                                                    
MS. ENRIGHT advised  that she would have to  double-check, but as                                                               
she  recalled  it  was  all state  candidates,  and  not  federal                                                               
4:38:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  further requested  information as  to the                                                               
current system,  and asked the  thresholds for  multiple parties,                                                               
whether every  party receives a  primary, whether  an independent                                                               
or the  Alaska Constitution  Party receives a  primary put  on by                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
MS. ENRIGHT deferred to Jose Bahnke, Division of Elections.                                                                     
4:39:47 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSE   BAHNKE,  Director,   Division  of   Elections,  Lieutenant                                                               
Governor's  Office,  advised  that   currently,  in  the  state's                                                               
primary, the Independent  Party and Democratic Party  can all run                                                               
on one ballot.  She explained  that for the purpose of conducting                                                               
a  primary, the  Division of  Elections produces  "three separate                                                               
ballots"  as  follows:  republican ballot,  is  for  republicans,                                                               
undeclared,  and  nonpartisans;  the democratic  ballot,  is  for                                                               
democrats, Alaska  Independents, the Green party,  and anyone can                                                               
select that ballot.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  questioned that, for instance,  if he was                                                               
a member  of the  Green party  and wanted to  get on  the general                                                               
election ballot,  would he  run in  the primary  election against                                                               
the democrat  on their ballot,  or how would  he get his  name on                                                               
the ballot, otherwise.                                                                                                          
MS. BAHNKE deferred to Libby Bakalar, Department of Law.                                                                        
4:41:41 PM                                                                                                                    
LIBBY   BAKALAR,  Assistant   Attorney  General,   Transportation                                                               
Section, Department of Law, asked  that Representative Fansler to                                                               
repeat his question                                                                                                             
CHAIR  CLAMAN  restated  Representative  Fansler's  question  and                                                               
asked that  in the event a  candidate was in the  Green party and                                                               
was on the open primary ballot, what happens next.                                                                              
MS.  BAKALAR  offered her  understanding  that  there is  the  "R                                                               
Ballot" for the Republican Party;  the "ADL Ballot" is the Alaska                                                               
Democratic  and  Libertarian  Party  ballot;  and  the  "Combined                                                               
Ballot" is the Alaska  Independent, Democratic, Libertarian Party                                                               
ballot.  They are essentially,  she explained, separate primaries                                                               
on one  piece of paper,  it is not  that the libertarian  and the                                                               
democrat are running against each  other on that combined ballot,                                                               
the   libertarian  runs   against   whatever  other   libertarian                                                               
candidates  are on  that ballot,  and the  democrat runs  against                                                               
other  democrats  on the  ballot.    Those  then proceed  to  the                                                               
general  election, and  oftentimes  are uncontested  races.   She                                                               
noted  that she  was unaware  whether the  Green Party  had party                                                               
status at the moment, because  parties lose and gain party status                                                               
depending  upon the  amount of  votes  it gains  in the  previous                                                               
election.    Essentially, she  explained,  it  is not  one  party                                                               
pitted against  another on that  ADL Combined Ballot,  but rather                                                               
they  are  separate  primary  races  of  parties  that  chose  to                                                               
associate,  and under  their bylaws  chose to  appear on  a joint                                                               
ballot together.                                                                                                                
4:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER noted  that that  was his  understanding,                                                               
and there are  mechanisms in place that essentially  say that "if                                                               
you are a  recognized party that you can even  go into the ballot                                                               
system at  all."  In  other words, he  explained, if he  goes out                                                               
and creates  the Representative  Fansler Party,  he can't  get on                                                               
the ballots because he has to be a recognized political party.                                                                  
MS. BAKALAR  agreed, and she  noted that currently there  are two                                                               
routes  to the  general election  ballot in  Alaska, the  primary                                                               
system,  and  the  petition  nominating  system  for  independent                                                               
candidates.  When  affiliated with a political  party, the person                                                               
has the party  apparatus behind them to advance  from the primary                                                               
to the  general election,  and in  the event a  person is  a sole                                                               
candidate, they go through the  nominating petition process.  The                                                               
political  party status  is  a creature  of  statute and  certain                                                               
criteria must be  met to become a political party  or a political                                                               
group, and it  depends on the modicum of  public support accorded                                                               
to  each of  those entities  by statute.   She  further explained                                                               
that  some of  the smaller  political  parties may  gain or  lose                                                               
political party status over time  depending upon votes secured in                                                               
prior elections.   Whereas, the  more established parties  do not                                                               
gain or lose status regularly, she said.                                                                                        
4:45:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  surmised  that  currently,  the  general                                                               
election ballot  could have a republican,  democrat, libertarian,                                                               
or  anyone with  a  petition,  on the  ballot.    Under this  new                                                               
method,  there   could  only   be,  for   instance,  republicans,                                                               
democrats,  and libertarians,  and he  asked whether  two out  of                                                               
those three  parties and the  independent candidate can  still do                                                               
the petition process to get on the ballot.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX shook her head no.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER surmised  there could be ten  names on the                                                               
primary election  ballot down  to just two  names in  the general                                                               
election ballot.                                                                                                                
MS. BAKALAR opined  that he was correct as  the system envisioned                                                               
by  this  bill, Top  Two  Primary  was,  in  theory, held  to  be                                                               
constitutional  by   the  United   States  Supreme   Court  under                                                               
Washington  State Grange  v. Washington  State Republican  Party,                                                             
552 US  442 (2008).   She offered her belief  that Representative                                                               
Fansler's  characterization of  how that  would look  is correct,                                                               
there would  no longer be this  distinction in the way  those two                                                               
parallel routes to  the ballot are envisioned  under current law,                                                               
between independent candidates and party candidates,                                                                            
4:46:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  advised  that  she,  and  all  republican                                                               
legislators,  received  a  fascinating memorandum  today  from  a                                                               
gentleman  involved in  the Republican  Party  advising that  the                                                               
party is looking  into nominating its candidates  through a state                                                               
convention, and requested feedback.   She referred to the idea of                                                               
any party  choosing its candidates through  a convention process,                                                               
and asked  how that  would gel with  current statute  relating to                                                               
MS.  BAKALAR  referred to  AS  15.25.010,  Provision For  Primary                                                               
Election, which read as follows:                                                                                                
     Candidates for  the elective state executive  and state                                                                    
     and national legislative offices  shall be nominated in                                                                    
     a primary election by direct  vote of the people in the                                                                    
     manner prescribed  by this chapter. The  director shall                                                                    
     prepare and provide a primary  election ballot for each                                                                    
     political party. A voter  registered as affiliated with                                                                    
     a  political  party may  vote  that  party's ballot.  A                                                                    
     voter  registered as  nonpartisan or  undeclared rather                                                                    
     than as  affiliated with  a particular  political party                                                                    
     may  vote the  political  party ballot  of the  voter's                                                                    
     choice  unless  prohibited  from   doing  so  under  AS                                                                    
     15.25.014  . A  voter registered  as affiliated  with a                                                                    
     political party may not vote  the ballot of a different                                                                    
     political  party unless  permitted  to do  so under  AS                                                                    
     15.25.014 .                                                                                                                
MS. BAKALAR  opined that  that system  would require  a statutory                                                               
amendment  because the  statute  currently reads  that the  state                                                               
holds a primary election.                                                                                                       
4:48:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   referred  to   earlier  comments                                                               
regarding the State  of Nebraska, and advised  the committee that                                                               
all  of its  statewide  offices  are still  party  specific.   He                                                               
commented  that  a scenario  exists  wherein  there are  lifelong                                                               
nonaffiliated or nonpartisan  people who feel the  call to serve,                                                               
get  to the  state level  and realize  that only  dogs, generally                                                               
speaking,  that hunt  are the  Democratic or  Republican Parties.                                                               
Therefore,  even  though  a  person   doesn't  strongly  feel  an                                                               
affiliation, they  kind of have to  get pigeon holed into  one or                                                               
the  other [party]  even  if  that isn't  quite  square with  the                                                               
person's  self-identity.    He   asked  the  sponsor's  staff  to                                                               
research  information  regarding  a   scenario  wherein  the  two                                                               
leading candidates somehow are incapacitated,  and to include how                                                               
that scenario  would be handled  in the states of  California and                                                               
Washington.   He referred to  Nick Begich's 1992  airplane crash,                                                               
and noted that it wasn't as though he was replace on the ballot.                                                                
4:51:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN offered  his  understanding  that the  constitution                                                               
requires  a separate  election for  the  lieutenant governor,  at                                                               
least at the primary level.   Although, he said, assuming a third                                                               
party had  not made  it into  the top  two names  moving forward,                                                               
what happens under  the bill when the top  two primary candidates                                                               
are both from the same party.                                                                                                   
MS. ENRIGHT replied that under HB  200 and the open primary, they                                                               
would not necessarily be running with members of the same party.                                                                
She explained, it would be irrelevant  as to what party they were                                                               
affiliated because  their moving forward was  irrelevant to their                                                               
party status, rather,  it would be the number  of votes received.                                                               
Therefore,  in the  scenario where  two republicans  move forward                                                               
and there is  a democrat and republican  for lieutenant governor,                                                               
one  of those  candidates for  governor would  be running  with a                                                               
democrat, she said.                                                                                                             
4:53:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  surmised that  under  the  bill, the  governor  is                                                               
essentially  left  with  whoever  receives  the  most  votes  for                                                               
lieutenant governor.   He offered  a scenario of  a gubernatorial                                                               
race in which there was one  democrat and one republican, and the                                                               
top two  in the lieutenant  governor's race was one  democrat and                                                               
one republican.   In  the event  the voters  so chose,  under the                                                               
bill,  people  could  vote  for   a  democratic  governor  and  a                                                               
republican lieutenant governor.                                                                                                 
MS.  ENRIGHT  asked  Chair  Claman  to  clarify  whether  he  was                                                               
speaking as to  whether they are elected  separately because they                                                               
do  run together  on the  ticket in  the general  election.   She                                                               
answered that  in the  event the  republican governor  that moved                                                               
forward chose to run with  the democratic lieutenant governor, it                                                               
was possible they could be elected with separate parties.                                                                       
4:54:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN   surmised  that  if   there  are   two  republican                                                               
candidates that make it out of  the primary, such as with Senator                                                               
Lisa Murkowski's  election, when looking  at the number  of votes                                                               
it may have been Joe Miller  and Lisa Murkowski as top two coming                                                               
out  of the  primary, and  then  they would  have another  battle                                                               
against each other  in the general election.  He  offered that in                                                               
this scenario  two republicans  are the top  vote getters  in the                                                               
lieutenant  governor's  race  and that  candidates  for  governor                                                               
choose  from those  two  who  they want  to  be their  lieutenant                                                               
governor.   Today, he  commented, that  is a  choice made  by the                                                               
voters, whereas,  under this scenario,  the candidate  would just                                                               
get to say that they choose candidate A or B.                                                                                   
MS. ENRIGHT answered that Chair Claman's statement was accurate.                                                                
4:55:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN disagreed that  the statement was entirely                                                               
accurate because he was unsure  it was always the people choosing                                                               
as sometimes  the candidates themselves  choose.  He  referred to                                                               
recent history and  said he wanted to incorporate  those types of                                                               
situations into the conversation, where  there is a change in the                                                               
pairing coming out of the primary election.                                                                                     
CHAIR CLAMAN  explained that those situations  occur when someone                                                               
resigns  from  the  voters'  choice.    Under  current  law,  for                                                               
example,  the  current  governor  selected a  person  to  be  his                                                               
lieutenant  governor  candidate,  that person  stepped  down  and                                                               
someone  took  their  place, and  the  democratic  candidate  for                                                               
governor elected not  to stay on the ballot and  the party didn't                                                               
replace them.                                                                                                                   
There certainly  have been  times when  someone withdrew,  but he                                                               
opined that when  the voters choose who they  want for lieutenant                                                               
governor, that's  the person  who goes  with the  republican, and                                                               
that's the  person who  goes with the  democratic candidate.   In                                                               
the event  "they could  convince" that person  to step  down, the                                                               
party would have  the ability to nominate another  candidate.  In                                                               
theory, he  said, as of  today absent a resignation,  the voter's                                                               
get  to  foist  upon  their   party's  candidate  the  lieutenant                                                               
governor they  choose, and historically  there have  been changes                                                               
after the primary, but that's different.                                                                                        
4:58:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD noted  that she  supports Representative                                                               
Kopp's  position with  regard to  the clearer  choice as  it does                                                               
cause a  candidate to grill  down and work  hard to win  over the                                                               
hearts  and minds  of their  constituents, and  that the  primary                                                               
election   is   an   important  process.      She   referred   to                                                               
Representative LeDoux's  comment that "with  the stroke of  a pen                                                               
you can change  your party," and asked  Representative LeDoux why                                                               
it is okay  for a person, at  a stroke of a pen,  to change their                                                               
party affiliation.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX advised  Representative Reinbold that under                                                               
current law, a person can  switched their party affiliation.  She                                                               
stressed  that she  will not  speak to  Representative Reinbold's                                                               
question because that is not her bill.                                                                                          
CHAIR CLAMAN added that when she  was married, by the stroke of a                                                               
pen  she was  allowed to  change her  name, so  too can  a person                                                               
change their party affiliation.                                                                                                 
5:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  commented  that  people  work  hard  in                                                               
creating platforms  in the different parties  and candidates need                                                               
to  support  those platforms.    She  offered that  she  received                                                               
information from  the National  Conference of  State Legislatures                                                               
(NCSL) through Legislative Legal  and Research Services regarding                                                               
the Top  Two Primary,  and paraphrased as  follows: "The  top two                                                               
format uses  a common ballot  listing all candidates on  the same                                                               
ballot,  advocates  for  the  top   two  primary  argue  that  it                                                               
increases the likelihood of moderate  candidates advancing to the                                                               
general  election  ballot.   Opponents  of  the Top  Two  Primary                                                               
maintain that it reduces voter  choice by making it possible that                                                               
two candidates  of the  same party  may face  off in  the general                                                               
election.   They  also contend  that it  is tilted  against minor                                                               
parties who will face slim odds  of earning one of only two spots                                                               
on the  general election ballot.   And, it does say  that there's                                                               
several states  that use these, California,  Louisiana, Nebraska,                                                               
and Washington."                                                                                                                
5:02:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN commented  that  he  finds it  "American"                                                               
that any  person, at any time,  can be humble and  recognize they                                                               
may have been  part of the wrong party, found  a better party, or                                                               
decided  not to  be  a member  of any  party.   President  Ronald                                                               
Regan, for example, was a member  of the Democratic Party, and he                                                               
switched that, and most republicans  don't hold that against him,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
5:03:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   FANSLER   thanked  Representative   LeDoux   for                                                               
bringing this  bill forward  as he has  a similar  election style                                                               
bill,  and finds  this  to  be an  excellent  discussion so  that                                                               
society  continues to  have these  discussions to  determine what                                                               
does not work and  what does work.  He expressed  that he is now,                                                               
more than  ever, worried  about the  governor/lieutenant governor                                                               
situation where candidates were  vehemently opposed to each other                                                               
and work  to compromise  the campaigns.   He offered  a situation                                                               
wherein  someone became  incapacitated and  now the  governor did                                                               
not  have that  person on  the ballot  with no  avenue to  obtain                                                               
another  candidate.    He  requested  information  regarding  the                                                               
states that  have enacted Top  Two Primary, whether any  have the                                                               
same constitutional  requirement as Alaska, and  whether they run                                                               
everything as a ticket at the primary level.                                                                                    
MS.  ENRIGHT advised  that  none of  those  states have  Alaska's                                                               
constitutional provision.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER surmised that they  all run as a ticket at                                                               
the primary level.                                                                                                              
CHAIR CLAMAN  commented that that  creates this  unique situation                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
5:04:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  moved to  adopt  CSHB  200, Version  30-                                                               
LS0038\U, Bullard, 4/917,  as the working document.   There being                                                               
no objection, Version U was before the committee.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD requested  public testimony  notice, and                                                               
asked that  the committee slowly  move through the  bill section-                                                               
5:06:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN advised that he  expects public hearing testimony to                                                               
take place on Wednesday, [April 12, 2017], on CSHB 200.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX commented that  she welcomes moving through                                                               
this bill  thoroughly, which  is the  purpose of  these committee                                                               
hearings.   The concern expressed  regarding what avenue  to take                                                               
in the  event a candidate  becomes incapacitated is  an excellent                                                               
point that was  probably not considered because  the other states                                                               
adopting  Top  Two  Primary, have  gone  through  the  initiative                                                               
process but,  she pointed  out, the  initiative process  does not                                                               
vet bills.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN referred  to the  provision regarding  "a                                                               
vacancy  in  office  after  the  election"  specifying  that  the                                                               
parties can dictate who is replaced  in the event of a vacancy of                                                               
a legislator  or other official.   Under this bill,  he commented                                                               
there  is   now  a  situation   "for  you  to  have   a  personal                                                               
registration with  one party,  but refer  something --  you know,                                                               
refer  to  something  else,  nonpartisan  or  something,  on  the                                                               
ballot.  Which  of the two is  going -- you know, is  going to be                                                               
controlling  when  it  comes  time   to  replace  a  --  deceased                                                               
legislator and why."                                                                                                            
[HB 200 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB200 Draft Proposed CS ver U 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Sponsor Statement 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Explanation of Changes ver U 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Sectional Analysis ver O 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Bill Highlights 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Supporting Document-Washington Supreme Court Ruling 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Supporting Document-Letters 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Additional Document-Top Two Primaries Nationally 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Additional Document-Legal Opinion 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB200 Fiscal Note OOG-DOE 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 200
HB208 ver A 4.10.17.PDF HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Sponsor Statement 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Sectional Analysis ver A 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 PowerPoint Sectional 4.10.17.pptx HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Decanting Matrix 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Decanting Rankings 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Trust Estate Glossary 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Letter Peak Trust Company 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Letter Manley & Brautigam 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Letter ABA 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Supporting Document-Letter Northern Law Group 4.10.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208
HB208 Fiscal Note LAW-CIV 4.7.17.pdf HJUD 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 208