Legislature(2003 - 2004)
05/06/2004 09:08 AM House STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 544-PERM FUND BOARD PUBLIC MEMBER REMOVAL Number 1450 CHAIR WEYHRAUCH announced that the next order of business was HOUSE BILL NO. 544, "An Act providing that public members of the Board of Trustees of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation may be removed only for cause; and providing for an effective date." Number 1465 REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to adopt the committee substitute (CS) for HB 544, Version 23-GH2142\H, Cook, 5/4/04, as a work draft. [No objection was stated and Version H was treated as before the committee.] Number 1483 MICHAEL BARNHILL, Assistant Attorney General, Commercial/Fair Business Section, Civil Division (Juneau), Department of Law, said HB 544 would limit removal of permanent fund trustees only for cause. He noted that the last committee substitute (CS) for HB 544 that was adopted before the committee was Version 23- GH2142\D, Cook, 5/4/04, and it included language regarding the types of cause, a provision for a hearing, and filing of a decision with the lieutenant governor. He recollected that, at the last hearing of the bill, Representatives Seaton, Gruenberg, and Holm expressed concerns about "all the bells and whistles in the bill." Subsequently, the bill was trimmed down so that public members of the permanent fund board of trustees could be removed only for cause. He continued as follows: We took that version to the Senate side. It passed out of [the Senate Finance Committee], went to the floor yesterday, [and] passed out of the Senate floor 20-0. In the mean time, a request for a House CS was sent over to [Legislative Legal and Research Services] and they prepared Version H, which is before you now, and that added this first sentence to clarify that a governor may remove a nonpublic member from the board. That sentence is not in the Senate version that passed out yesterday, and it's my view that that concept is absolutely understood in the Senate version and is not necessary. It can be in there; it doesn't have to be in there. But certainly we've all along intended that the governor may remove nonpublic members - [for example] the commissioner of the Department of Revenue and the other cabinet member - from the board at any time. Number 1578 CHAIR WEYHRAUCH offered his understanding that the synonym for nonpublic is private. MR. BARNHILL responded, "I suppose that's one interpretation." CHAIR WEYHRAUCH concluded that the governor may remove a private member from the board. MR. BARNHILL replied that that's not what was intended by Legislative Legal and Research Services. He said, "They intended that to refer to the commissioner of the Department of Revenue and the other cabinet members. REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, in response to a comment from Chair Weyhrauch, said he thinks the term "public" in "this area" is a term of art which means, "the people who are appointed not from the administration." Number 1612 REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said he doesn't think that the additional wording that was added is really necessary. He said he thinks when it says the governor may remove a public member that it is fully known what that means. Number 1637 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he thinks the governor has a constitutional right to move his commissions, at will, and he doesn't know that language needs to be added to reinforce that. He suggested, "Putting it in here might create a chain reaction." REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested deleting the sentence that read: "The governor may remove a nonpublic member from the board." CHAIR WEYHRAUCH clarified that Version H was before the committee. Number 1703 CHAIR WEYHRAUCH clarified that Representative Gruenberg's [Amendment 1] would delete the previously stated sentence from page 1, line 6, of Version H. He asked if there was any objection to [Amendment 1]. There being none, it was so ordered. Number 1725 REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to report CSHB 544, Version 23- GH2142\H, Cook, 5/4/04, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 544(STA) was reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.