Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/22/1995 10:05 AM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 presentation. 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 years. 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 requirements. 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 discussion. 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.