Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/22/1995 10:05 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          HJR  5 LIMITING TERMS OF STATE LEGISLATORS                          
 The next item of business before the committee was CSHJR 5(FIN)am.           
 REP. GENE THERRIAULT, sponsor of the measure, gave the following              
 CSHJR 5 (FIN)am resticts a legislator from serving more than 12               
 regular sessions and would require that legislator to wait two                
 consecutive sessions prior to running for election again.  In                 
 previous attempts to address this issue, the time limit was                   
 determined by the number of years served and became complicated due           
 to dates the Legislature convened.  CSHJR 5 (FIN) am refers to                
 sessions to simplify the intent of limiting legislative                       
 participation to 12 consecutive years.   Section 2 exempts periods            
 served during the interim, such as special sessions, and allows a             
 person to complete a term of office after 11 years if they were               
 appointed to a seat.  Section 3 was added on the House floor, and             
 enacts the term limit retroactively with the convening of the first           
 legislative session in the year 2001.  The ballot question will be            
 issued in the next general election, therefore a person could be              
 elected but find he/she is precluded from holding office if the               
 bill becomes effective earlier.  Section 4 places the question on             
 the general election ballot.                                                  
 Number 339                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR noted there is a proposed committee substitute that            
 expands the restriction to judges and all other elected officers in           
 the state, including school board and city council members.  He               
 stated if term limitation is valid and beneficial, then it should             
 apply to all office holders.                                                  
 Number 349                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN asked whether CSHJR 5(FIN) am would override shorter            
 term limits that might currently exist in a city.  SENATOR TAYLOR             
 suggested that the measure be amended to allow cities to enact                
 shorter limits.                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS noted borough mayors are limited to two terms, or six           
 Number 362                                                                    
 REP. THERRIAULT was unaware of what limits are currently in place             
 in cities.                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt the Judiciary committee substitute              
 (Cook, 4/22/95) in lieu of CSHJR 5(FIN)am, as a working document.             
 There being no objection, the motion carried.                                 
 SENATOR TAYLOR explained the District Court and Alaska Court of               
 Appeals were created legislatively, not constitutionally.  The                
 courts that were created by the Constitution provide for the first            
 retention election to occur three years after the first                       
 appointment.  The Judiciary committee substitute restricts judges             
 to serving 15 years, to synchronize the resolution with those                 
 Number 380                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER asked how that would affect the tenure term of                 
 supreme court judges.  SENATOR TAYLOR replied the terms would be              
 modified to two six year terms.  Currently, district court judges             
 are elected every four years, and superior court judges are elected           
 every six years.                                                              
 Number 391                                                                    
 REP. THERRIAULT questioned whether Section 6 in the committee                 
 substitute would make the effective date of the bill the year 2005.           
 SENATOR MILLER stated the date was not changed from the House                 
 version.  SENATOR ADAMS noted that change was added in the House              
 Finance Committee, but was deleted in the Senate Judiciary                    
 committee substitute.                                                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR speculated the House Finance Committee's intent was            
 to extend the date far enough into the future so that no person               
 currently living would ever be affected by this measure.                      
 Number 410                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN asked if the committee had received any comments on             
 the measure from parties affected by its passage.  SENATOR TAYLOR             
 stated the latest version had just been received by the committee,            
 therefore no one has had time to respond.  He announced the bill              
 would be held until the following week for further review and                 
 SENATOR ADAMS commented that term limits are unnecessary since                
 people already have the right to remove a person from office in the           
 voting process.  He noted the turnover in the House was 60 percent,           
 and in the Senate, 18 percent.                                                
 SENATOR ADAMS asked about the retroactive clause.  REP. THERRIAULT            
 replied that although the bill does not take effect until the year            
 2001, all time served to that date would be counted.                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if time served in both bodies of the                     
 Legislature was counted.   REP. THERRIAULT replied affirmatively.             
 Number 450                                                                    
 REP. THERRIAULT asked if the resolution would need a referral to              
 the Senate Finance Committee since a small fiscal note accompanies            
 the bill.  SENATOR ADAMS responded that all constitutional                    
 amendments with a fiscal note have been reviewed by the Finance               
 Committee in the past.                                                        
 SENATOR TAYLOR announced SCSCS HJR 5 (JUD) would be calendared on             
 Monday (April 24) if possible and adjourned the meeting 10:38 a.m.            

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