Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

01/28/2010 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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08:07:23 AM Start
08:08:17 AM HB53
09:09:43 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB  53-CANDIDATES INELIGIBLE FOR BDS/COMMISSIONS                                                                    
8:08:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  only order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO.  53, "An Act  relating to eligibility for  membership on                                                               
state boards, commissions, and authorities."                                                                                    
8:09:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN made  a  brief remark  concerning  the submission  of                                                               
bills to the committee chair.                                                                                                   
8:10:07 AM                                                                                                                    
PRIYA  KEANE, Staff,  Representative  Mike  Doogan, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented HB 53 on  behalf of Representative Doogan,                                                               
prime sponsor.   She said the proposed  legislation would require                                                               
members  of boards  and commissions  to resign  their memberships                                                               
before filing for  office.  Furthermore, the  bill would disallow                                                               
those who have  run for offices from becoming  members of boards,                                                               
commissions, or authorities for a full calendar year.                                                                           
MS. KEANE said under current law,  a number of people must resign                                                               
their  positions if  they  want to  run  for offices,  including:                                                               
state  employees  and  members  of boards  and  commissions  that                                                               
receive a salary for being on a  board or commission.  Of the 123                                                               
boards, commissions, and authorities  in state government, 22 are                                                               
affected by  this provision.   That equates to  approximately 176                                                               
people.  Ms.  Keane said HB 53 would extend  the provision to the                                                               
remaining  101   boards  and  commissions,  which   would  affect                                                               
approximately 984 members of boards  and commissions if this were                                                               
8:11:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KEANE imparted  that the bill is broken  into three sections.                                                               
The first  section would amend  AS 39.05.100 to stipulate  that a                                                               
person would  not be eligible  for appointment to a  state board,                                                               
commission,  or authority  if that  person  sought nomination  or                                                               
became  a candidate  for elective  or federal  office during  the                                                               
preceding year.   An  exception is  provided for  positions where                                                               
holding  a  particular  elective,  state, or  federal  office  is                                                               
required  by law  for appointment.   Ms.  Keane pointed  out that                                                               
that exception would encompass all  legislators and the boards on                                                               
which  they serve.   Section  2 of  the bill  would require  that                                                               
members  of  board, commissions,  and  authorities  that are  not                                                               
compensated  must  resign  from  their position  when  they  seek                                                               
nomination or become  a candidate for state  or national elective                                                               
office.   Section  3 of  the bill  would provide  that Section  1                                                               
would only  apply to candidates  who run  for office or  file for                                                               
candidacy after the effective date of  the Act, which would be 90                                                               
days after it is signed into law.                                                                                               
8:12:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  asked Ms. Keane  if the bill  would affect him  if he                                                               
were to run for office in  a local municipality, for the State of                                                               
Alaska, or for U.S. Congress.                                                                                                   
MS. KEANE confirmed that is correct.                                                                                            
CHAIR LYNN asked what prompted this proposed legislation.                                                                       
8:13:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE  DOOGAN, Alaska  State Legislature,  as prime                                                               
sponsor, related that when someone  was "put up for a commission"                                                               
who  also filed  for legislative  office, that  is when  he began                                                               
considering  this bill.   He  explained that  there could  be the                                                               
appearance  of wrong-doing,  even  where there  is none,  because                                                               
some boards and  commissions have authority over  that which they                                                               
8:16:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN, in response  to Chair Lynn, confirmed that                                                               
he thinks  HB 53 is a  proactive bill.   He said he thinks  it is                                                               
better to prevent a problematic situation.                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN  indicated that every  member of the legislature  is a                                                               
member  of some  profession  that might  be  benefitted by  their                                                               
position in the legislature.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN pointed out that  being a member of a board                                                               
or  commission goes  further toward  being  able to  "one way  or                                                               
another help people out."  He offered an example.                                                                               
CHAIR  LYNN spoke  of  not being  able  to collect  contributions                                                               
during session.                                                                                                                 
8:19:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  said  she serves  on two  commissions:                                                               
one is  a federal commission that  requires a legislator to  be a                                                               
member; the  other is an  education organization that  wanted her                                                               
to  serve  because  she  is  the chair  of  the  House  Education                                                               
Standing  Committee.   She asked  if  the education  organization                                                               
would need to make changes if HB 53 passes.                                                                                     
8:20:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN offered  his understanding that legislators                                                               
are exempt and would continue to be  exempt under HB 53.  He said                                                               
a legislator's  actions are  scrutinized, which  is not  the case                                                               
with "a group  that numbers more than a 1,000."   He stated, "So,                                                               
the idea  that a legislator's going  to be able to  use that kind                                                               
of a  position to get an  advantage is, frankly, just  not really                                                               
well founded, I think, in the real world."                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON asked then  why someone who  is running                                                               
for the legislature  is not exempt if a legislator  does not have                                                               
to resign to run for a state board, commission, or authority.                                                                   
8:22:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KEANE  noted that AS  39.25.160(b) lists those  employees who                                                               
currently have to resign any  position held in state service when                                                               
seeking nomination or becoming a  candidate for state or national                                                               
elective political office,  while a member of  the legislature is                                                               
listed as one of the exemptions in paragraph (3).                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN  explained that the exemption  applies to a                                                               
legislator's status.                                                                                                            
8:24:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  said she  understands the  idea behind                                                               
the  exemption of  a  standing legislator,  but  questions why  a                                                               
person running  to be a legislator  is not exempt.   She asked if                                                               
that is constitutional.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN answered that he  has been told there is no                                                               
constitutional problem.                                                                                                         
8:26:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN, in response to  Chair Lynn, said he thinks                                                               
the director of  Boards and Commissions is always  having to fill                                                               
positions, for many  reasons.  He said he does  not think [HB 53]                                                               
would  increase  [the  number  of  times  positions  have  to  be                                                               
CHAIR LYNN  opined that  serving on  a board  or commission  is a                                                               
good way to earn public policy experience.                                                                                      
8:27:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  asked if  those  serving  on boards  and                                                               
commissions   fall  under   the  same   ethics  requirements   as                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN said he does not know.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  suggested that  may make a  difference in                                                               
Representative Wilson's  concern.   He then  asked if  the Alaska                                                               
State Legislature  has the power  to force someone to  resign who                                                               
is running for a federal office.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN  offered his  understanding that  since the                                                               
legislature  is  setting  the  rules  for  board  and  commission                                                               
membership, rather  than for membership for  a particular office,                                                               
it is allowable to tell someone  who is filing for a federal seat                                                               
that he/she cannot be on a board or commission.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON referred to language  [on page 1, lines 5-                                                               
7],  which  states that  a  person  "would  not be  eligible  for                                                               
appointment to  a state  board, commission,  or authority  if the                                                               
person  sought  nomination or  became  a  candidate for  elective                                                               
state  or  federal  office  during   the  preceding  year".    He                                                               
questioned  whether  that may  deny  someone  the opportunity  to                                                               
serve,  and he  asked  the bill  sponsor how  big  an issue  that                                                               
language is.                                                                                                                    
8:31:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN responded as follows:                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN  explained that  the provision  is included                                                               
to address a situation in which  a legislator, who is a member of                                                               
a board or  commission, resigns his/her position on  the board or                                                               
commission in  order to  run for  state or  federal office.   The                                                               
situation  could  be  one  in  which during  the  course  of  the                                                               
campaign,  the  legislator may  or  may  not receive  a  campaign                                                               
contribution  by  someone  who  is   affected  by  the  board  or                                                               
commission.  Upon  completion of the campaign,  the legislator or                                                               
elected  official  could  return   to  his/her  position  on  the                                                               
commission  or  board  and  help  or  not  help  someone  in  the                                                               
profession [related  to the board  or commission on  which he/she                                                               
sat].  Therefore,  the language on page 1, lines  5-7, provides a                                                               
sort of a one-year, cooling-off period.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON explained  his concern  is filling  board                                                               
positions.  He said very few  people run over and over again, but                                                               
the person  who runs  once and  does not  get an  appointment may                                                               
still  have a  desire to  serve.   He said  he does  not want  to                                                               
curtail that knowledge pool.                                                                                                    
8:33:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN, in  response to Chair Lynn,  said the bill                                                               
is strictly about memberships on [state] boards and commissions.                                                                
8:34:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  named  two  board positions  on  which  he                                                               
served before  election, one of  which was  a paid position  on a                                                               
school  board.   He said  when  he ran  for office,  he kept  his                                                               
position on  the school board for  as long as possible.   He said                                                               
he  knew that  as  a state  legislator he  could  favor a  school                                                               
board.  He said the non-paying  board on which he served was with                                                               
the Parks & Recreation Division.                                                                                                
8:35:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KEANE  responded that the  proposed legislation  applies only                                                               
to  state  boards, commissions,  and  authorities;  it would  not                                                               
require a person on  a school board seat to give  up that seat in                                                               
order to  run for  office.  Ms.  Keane offered  her understanding                                                               
that the Parks  & Recreation board to  which Representative Gatto                                                               
referred is state affiliated.                                                                                                   
8:36:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   said  he   thinks  it  is   the  sitting                                                               
legislator that  has the most  influence, not the  person running                                                               
for office who  does not already have  a seat.  He  said it seems                                                               
as though the bill would protect incumbents.                                                                                    
8:38:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN  responded that legislators and  members of                                                               
the public who  serve on the same board have  equal power, but it                                                               
is not desirable to allow  people to take whatever authority they                                                               
might have  and try to  "parlay it into a  bunch of money  to run                                                               
for higher office."                                                                                                             
8:40:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  interpreted that  the bill  sponsor thinks                                                               
there is less perceived ability for  a legislator who is a member                                                               
of a  board or  commission to  leverage money  from the  board or                                                               
commission than someone  who is not a legislator who  is a member                                                               
of a board or commission.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN answered  that that  is not  correct.   He                                                               
offered an example to clarify.   He said people will not make the                                                               
decision whether or not to  contribute to an incumbent's campaign                                                               
based  on  his/her membership  on  a  board,  but will  make  the                                                               
decision based on  what that legislator has  accomplished so far.                                                               
Conversely, he  said a  person on  a board  or commission  who is                                                               
running for the  legislature may raise money based  on how he/she                                                               
has helped  the voters  in the past  and will, as  a member  of a                                                               
board or commission, help the voters  in the future.  He spoke of                                                               
expecting money for favors done.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON,    regarding   Representative   Wilson's                                                               
previously stated  concern, asked  for a legal  opinion regarding                                                               
whether  it is  okay to  discriminate between  the incumbent  and                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN said he would get that legal opinion.                                                                     
8:44:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN said  there are a lot of  small towns and                                                               
villages in  Alaska and  approximately 900  people on  the boards                                                               
who  represent different  parts of  the state.   He  related that                                                               
having come from  a small town in  Iowa, he knows how  hard it is                                                               
to get people  to serve on boards.   He said there  is a tendency                                                               
for a small  number of people within a small  community to end up                                                               
serving on  most all of  the boards.   He expressed  concern that                                                               
the proposed  legislation would  make it  more difficult  to fill                                                               
these positions.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN said  he  knows  it is  not  easy to  fill                                                               
positions.   However, he said  there are already people  who have                                                               
to remove  themselves from compensated positions  on state boards                                                               
or commissions before  running for office, and he  does not think                                                               
there will  be a significant  increase in those having  to remove                                                               
themselves from  [non-compensated] board or  commission positions                                                               
as  a  result of  HB  53.   He  emphasized  that  his concern  is                                                               
regarding the  risk to the  public, and  he stated that  the only                                                               
question is  whether "we"  want to  have a  system that  is above                                                               
8:48:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN,  in response  to  Representative  Johnson, said  the                                                               
committee  members  will  decide  what  action  to  take  on  the                                                               
proposed  legislation today.   He  noted that  the legal  opinion                                                               
requested would take time to get.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  said he  wants to  know which  boards and                                                               
commissions fall within "the executive ethics branch."                                                                          
8:50:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  directed attention to the  following three                                                               
members listed on page 4 of  4, from a table showing compensation                                                               
for   members  of   Alaska  boards,   commissions,  and   related                                                               
organizations,  dated January  2008, [included  in the  committee                                                               
packet]:   Seismic Hazards Safety Commission,  Suicide Prevention                                                               
Council,  and Wood-Tikchik  State  Park Management  Council.   He                                                               
said he  is trying to figure  out how having a  position with one                                                               
of  those entities  would give  a  person any  leverage power  in                                                               
"soliciting funds from someone."                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN  said a  person  who  works on  boards  or                                                               
commissions often has  more exposure to the public,  which can be                                                               
an advantage  in running  for office.   The concern,  however, is                                                               
whether the person  running for office who has  had that exposure                                                               
is  in   a  position   to  "advantage   other  people   with  the                                                               
understanding  that those  other  people are  going  to give  him                                                               
money."   He said  he considered all  the boards  and commissions                                                               
when creating  HB 53.   He indicated  that while some  people may                                                               
have more  advantages than others, he  did not know how  to "draw                                                               
that line."                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  said   [those  serving   on  boards   or                                                               
commissions] do have an advantage  through their public exposure.                                                               
He said  he thinks  Representative Doogan is  trying to  find the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN  said that is  correct.  He  reiterated his                                                               
desire  to  prevent unfair  advantage  and  assist the  state  in                                                               
conducting its business in the best way possible.                                                                               
CHAIR  LYNN  observed that  every  candidate  has advantages  and                                                               
disadvantages from his/her life  experience and the public "sorts                                                               
it out."                                                                                                                        
8:58:18 AM                                                                                                                    
JASON  HOOLEY, Director,  Boards and  Commissions, Office  of the                                                               
Governor, said he would do his  best to answer questions from the                                                               
committee.  He said he would not  be speaking in support of or in                                                               
opposition  to the  bill, even  though  the proposed  legislation                                                               
could impact his work by limiting  the pool of candidates who are                                                               
able to  serve the  state in  a volunteer  capacity.   Mr. Hooley                                                               
noted that the State of Alaska  currently has over 120 boards and                                                               
commissions,  which represents  1,200-1,300 seats  for which  the                                                               
governor    works   annually    to    make   approximately    300                                                               
reappointments.   He  said he  does not  know how  many of  those                                                               
people are planning  to run for office in the  upcoming year, but                                                               
he  does  know  there  are  a couple  legislators  serving  in  a                                                               
nonlegislative capacity  on a board  who would be affected  by HB
53.   For  example, Senator  Fred Dyson  is serving  as a  public                                                               
member on the Board of Marine Pilots.                                                                                           
Mr. Hooley  said there is always  some level of vacancy  on board                                                               
rosters, and it is his job  to recruit and retain people to serve                                                               
on boards.  He  noted that he has only been on  the job for eight                                                               
months.   In  response to  Representative Johnson's  question, he                                                               
related  that  each  board  has  different  requirements  of  its                                                               
members.   Some members, after  appointment, are not  required to                                                               
fill  out financial  disclosures or  similar forms,  while others                                                               
are.   Some  members are  even required  to be  confirmed by  the                                                               
legislature.    He  said  he   could  provide  a  list  of  those                                                               
requirements to the committee.                                                                                                  
9:01:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HOOLEY, in  response  to Representative  Gatto,  said it  is                                                               
difficult to conjecture  the exact impact of HB 53.   He said the                                                               
bill  sponsor's office  has  said the  number  of those  affected                                                               
would be from  800-900; however, that does not  include those who                                                               
may be  planning to apply  for a board and  run for office.   Mr.                                                               
Hooley  related  that  when  "the  Legislative  Ethics  Act"  was                                                               
strengthened in recent years  and additional financial disclosure                                                               
laws were required, some members  who thought the new requirement                                                               
was too onerous were lost.                                                                                                      
9:02:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  questioned   whether  a  legislator  could                                                               
reduce the number  of people who could run against  him/her in an                                                               
election by supporting HB 53.                                                                                                   
MR.  HOOLEY responded  that he  thinks  the proposed  legislation                                                               
would not  restrict who  may run for  office, but  would restrict                                                               
the candidates'  activities.  He added  that he does not  want to                                                               
speak for the bill sponsor.                                                                                                     
9:03:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN asked  if  Mr.  Hooley knows  of  anyone running  for                                                               
office this year who is currently on a board or commission.                                                                     
MR.  HOOLEY  replied that  he  has  not  viewed the  Division  of                                                               
Elections'  candidate list  against the  department's rolls,  but                                                               
could do so and bring that  information back to the committee and                                                               
bill sponsor.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LYNN remarked  that it  is unknown  who will  file in  the                                                               
9:03:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. HOOLEY, in response to  Representative Johnson, said regional                                                               
advisory  councils  are  not  state  boards,  but  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries  and  the  Board  of  Game  are  state  entities.    He                                                               
commented  that  different  boards  draw  in  varying  levels  of                                                               
9:04:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said he  would like clarification regarding                                                               
the distinction between a candidate  for state office and one for                                                               
a political subdivision of the state.                                                                                           
MS. KEANE said she would provide that information.                                                                              
9:07:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN,  after ascertaining  that there was  no one  else who                                                               
wished to testify,  closed public testimony.  He  offered to hold                                                               
the bill depending on the wishes of the committee.                                                                              
9:09:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON recommended the committee hold the bill.                                                                 
[HB 53 was held over.]                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB 53- Bill.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
02 HSTA - HB 53 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
03 HB053-OOG-EO-01-22-10.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
04 HSTA - HB 53 Sectional Analysis.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
05 HSTA - HB 53 Leg. Research Report.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
06 HSTA - HB 53 Back Up Charts.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
07 HSTA - HB 53 Statutues Affected by HB 53.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
08 HB 53 - Back Up Report.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 3/18/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 53
09 HB - 53 Back Up Table.pdf HSTA 1/28/2010 8:00:00 AM