Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/30/2004 09:12 AM Senate FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 302(JUD)                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to  the authority to take oaths, affirmations,                                                            
     and  acknowledgments   in  the  state,  to  notarizations,   to                                                            
     verifications,   to  acknowledgments,   to  fees  for   issuing                                                            
     certificates  with  the  seal  of  the state  affixed,  and  to                                                            
      notaries public; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken stated  this bill,  sponsored by  the Senate  Rules                                                            
Committee by  request of the Governor,  "comprehensively  updates AS                                                            
44.50, the  chapter that  governs notary publics.  The last  time we                                                            
did this was in 1961."                                                                                                          
SCOTT  CLARK,  Notary   Commission  Administrator,   Office  of  the                                                            
Lieutenant Governor,  deferred to Ms. Kreitzer to  present the bill.                                                            
ANNETTE  KREITZER,   Chief  of  Staff,  Office  of  the   Lieutenant                                                            
Governor, testified  via teleconference from an off  net location in                                                            
Anchorage,   and  referenced   a  table   titled,  "Notary   Statute                                                            
Comparison  - CS SB 302  (JUD)" [copy on  file], which demonstrates                                                             
the current  requirements and the  proposed changes. Upon  review of                                                            
the current procedures, potential improvements were identified.                                                                 
Ms. Kreitzer  noted the change of  the minimum age requirement  from                                                            
19 years to 18 years. This  is to accommodate the significant number                                                            
of  banking clerks  who  are  18 years  of  age and  require  notary                                                            
Mr. Kreitzer stated  that the residency requirement  would change to                                                            
be consistent  with the general residency  statute AS 01.10.055.  It                                                            
was also discovered  that felons are  not currently restricted  from                                                            
becoming  notaries   and  this  legislation  would  stipulate   that                                                            
applicants  may not be convicted or  incarcerated felons  within ten                                                            
years of application.  The original  version of the bill  would have                                                            
imposed a zero  tolerance and would have prohibited  all felons from                                                            
obtaining  notary  authorization.  However,  statistics demonstrate                                                             
that  most felons  who have  not re-offended  within  ten years  are                                                            
likely to remain lawful  citizens, and the bill was amended to allow                                                            
for those felons to become notary publics.                                                                                      
Ms.  Kreitzer  noted  the terms  would  remain  unchanged  with  the                                                            
exception  of  Limited Governmental  Notaries  Public,  which  would                                                            
remain active  until termination of  employment in the governmental                                                             
capacity that necessitates the notary authority.                                                                                
Ms. Kreitzer told  of the proposed increase in the  price from $2 to                                                            
$5 for each  notary public certificate  issued by the Office  of the                                                            
Lieutenant  Governor  to  reflect  increased  postage  and  printing                                                            
expenses.  The Notary  Bond requirement  would  remain unchanged  at                                                            
$1,000,  although  Limited  Governmental  Notaries would  no  longer                                                            
require  the  bond  because  the  governmental  entities  are  self-                                                            
Ms. Kreitzer  explained  that Limited Governmental  Notaries  Public                                                            
are currently  restricted to providing  notary services only  in the                                                            
capacity of their employment  unless they purchase a separate public                                                            
commission.  This legislation would  allow the Limited Governmental                                                             
Notaries Public  to perform notary  services independently  as well.                                                            
Ms. Kreitzer  informed that currently  the Administrative  Procedure                                                            
Act  must be  invoked to  review all  complaints  against  notaries,                                                            
regardless of the seriousness  of the allegations. The House Finance                                                            
Committee  is considering  legislation  that would  consolidate  the                                                            
appeals processes  of many State agencies  to a centralized  hearing                                                            
officer. A proposed amendment  to SB 302 would include notary public                                                            
activities in the centralized appeals process.                                                                                  
Ms. Kreitzer  reported that  improvements would  be made to  the web                                                            
site detailing the locations  of notary publics available to provide                                                            
notary  services.  Additional  information  would be  gathered  from                                                            
notary publics,  including e-mail  addresses and phone numbers  that                                                            
would  not  be made  public  but  would  assist  the Office  of  the                                                            
Lieutenant Governor in maintaining current contact information.                                                                 
Senator  Dyson asked  if this legislation  only  pertains to  notary                                                            
Ms. Kreitzer responded  that Section 1 of the bill provides that the                                                            
presiding  officers of the  House of Representative  and the  Senate                                                            
would become  notary publics  upon appointment  to those  positions.                                                            
This is  necessary because  an official must  be a notary public  to                                                            
administer  an oath of  office, which  is done  to swear in  persons                                                            
appointed to fill vacant legislative seats.                                                                                     
Senator Dyson told of allegations  that seated legislatures were not                                                            
"validly  serving" because  they had  not taken  the oath of  office                                                            
under  the "proper  [State] seal"  and  had not  spoken the  correct                                                            
language  in  taking the  oath.  He asked  if  this issue  would  be                                                            
Ms.  Kreitzer had  heard similar  compliant  and  replied that  this                                                            
situation would be corrected with the language in Section 1.                                                                    
Amendment #1:  This conceptual amendment inserts a  new bill section                                                            
on page 16, following line 25 to read as follows.                                                                               
     Sec. 12. AS 44.50.068(e) is repealed and reenacted to read:                                                                
          (e) If the lieutenant governor finds that formal                                                                      
     disciplinary  action may be warranted, the lieutenant  governor                                                            
     shall  refer  the  matter  to  the  office  of  administrative                                                             
     hearings for a hearing.                                                                                                    
This amendment also inserts  new bill sections on page 18, following                                                            
line 8 to read as follows.                                                                                                      
     Sec. 18.  The uncodified law of the State of  Alaska is amended                                                            
     by adding a new section to read:                                                                                           
          CONDITIONAL EFFECT. Section 12 of this Act takes effect                                                               
     only if a  bill is passed by the Second Session  of the Twenty-                                                            
     Third  Alaska State  Legislature,  and enacted  into law,  that                                                            
     establishes  procedures for administrative  hearings  conducted                                                            
     by an  office of administrative  hearings in the Department  of                                                            
     Sec. 19.  If sec. 12 of this Act takes effect  under sec. 18 of                                                            
     this  Act,  it  takes  effect  on the  effective  date  of  the                                                            
     provisions described in sec. 18 of this Act.                                                                               
Co-Chair Wilken moved for adoption.                                                                                             
Senator Dyson objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                 
Ms.  Kreitzer  noted  the  conceptual  amendment   would  allow  the                                                            
Division of  Legal and Research Services  to make technical  changes                                                            
where necessary. The language  of this amendment pertains to SB 203.                                                            
If  SB  203 does  not  pass,  existing  statute  is  retained,  that                                                            
provides that the lieutenant  governor determines whether sufficient                                                            
evidence exists for a complaint to proceed.                                                                                     
Senator Dyson  surmised that the Office  of the Lieutenant  Governor                                                            
and the Office of the Governor do not oppose this amendment.                                                                    
Ms. Kreitzer affirmed.                                                                                                          
Senator Dyson  removed his objection and the amendment  was ADOPTED.                                                            
Senator   Bunde  relayed   concerns  that   all  commissioners   and                                                            
appointees do not take an oath of office.                                                                                       
Ms. Kreitzer  was unsure  of the concern,  as all commissioners  are                                                            
required to take the oath.                                                                                                      
Senator  Bunde  clarified  that  State  appointees  to  the  federal                                                            
Subsistence  Board  do not  take an  oath  promising  to uphold  the                                                            
Alaska  Constitution.  If this  oath  were taken,  those  appointees                                                            
would  be unable  to  make  allocations  of fish  and  wildlife  for                                                            
subsistence users.                                                                                                              
Ms.  Kreitzer  responded  that  this bill  would  not  address  that                                                            
Amendment  #2: This conceptual  amendment  would insert language  in                                                            
Section 4,  amending AS 09.63.090.  Certificate of acknowledgment.,                                                             
and Section 5,  amending AS 09.63.100. Forms of acknowledgment.,  on                                                            
page  3,  line  1 through  page  7,  line  3,  relating  to  limited                                                            
liability partnerships to reflect language included in HB 439.                                                                  
Ms. Kreitzer  proposed this amendment  to align this legislation  to                                                            
its  companion  bill  in  the  House  of  Representatives.   It  was                                                            
discovered  that  this  legislation  would not  pertain  to  limited                                                            
liability partnerships. This is "housekeeping language".                                                                        
SFC 04 # 102, Side A                                                                                                            
Co-Chair Wilken moved for adoption.                                                                                             
Without objection the amendment was ADOPTED.                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Green offered  a  motion to  report  CS SB  302 (JUD),  as                                                            
amended,  from   Committee  with   individual  recommendations   and                                                            
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
There was  no objection  and CS  SB 302 (FIN)  MOVED from  Committee                                                            
with zero fiscal note #1.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair Green  spoke to public comments on complications  caused by                                                            
provisions in  the FY 04 supplemental budget. She  announced she has                                                            
been communicating  with the Office  of the Governor and  Department                                                            
of Health and  Social Services to  achieve an "interim solution"  to                                                            
this  "anomaly"  to ensure  that  assisted  living and  health  care                                                            
providers and other vendors receive payment without delay.                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects