Legislature(1999 - 2000)
05/15/1999 12:27 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 225-CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND LEGISLATIVE ETHICS CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced a new Senate Judiciary Committee substitute was prepared based on the changes made at the previous committee hearing. He also informed committee members that he asked the Division of Legal Services whether Amendment 9 was contrary to the bill title and was told a resolution will be necessary to amend the title. Amendment 9 prevents legislators from having spouses or significant others employed as lobbyists. He asked for a motion to adopt SCSHB 225(JUD), Version V, Kurtz, 5/15/99. SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt SCSHB 225(JUD) as the working vehicle of the committee. There being no objection, SCSHB 225(JUD) was adopted. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR moved to delete all material on page 12, lines 11- 13, and to insert "AS 15.13.011(16)(b) and AS 24.45.021(b)(7)" on page 16, line 25, following "Sec. 21," and to renumber all sections accordingly (Amendment 10). He explained the amendment would delete Amendment 9, related to lobbying by spouses of legislators, and it cleans up the change made to the close economic association disclosure requirement. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the existing provision related to disclosure of a close economic association is unharmed by Amendment 10. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said that is his understanding. SENATOR ELLIS objected to the motion to adopt Amendment 10. The motion carried with Senators Donley, Halford and Taylor voting "yea," and Senator Ellis voting "nay." SENATOR ELLIS asked for a copy of the memo from the Division of Legal Services. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he would provide one to committee members. He noted he, like Senator Ellis, would like to keep the provision on lobbyists in the bill however he did not want to do too much damage to the process in the last few days. SENATOR HALFORD said spousal lobbying makes a mockery of all of the "little piddly stuff in the bill." SENATOR DONLEY moved SCSHB 225(JUD) as amended from committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ELLIS objected and stated that although several people have put effort into this bill to clean up some of the ambiguities involved, this bill will be perceived, somewhat accurately, as self-serving to legislators. He said it is contrary to the spirit of the citizen initiative on campaign finance reform and the citizen drive for improved legislative ethics. He agreed with Senator Halford's comment that the little points in this legislation are completely overshadowed by the bigger issues that go unaddressed. He noted his opposition to the bill. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he feels much as Senator Ellis does because he believes the perception that this bill is self serving and is a major change to the initiative will be conveyed to the public. He stated from his perspective, he does not believe this bill does anything more than clean up a few "nits and lice" within the process. It is a bit more user friendly for someone who may want to run for office, but he agreed that it fails to address the major problems. He maintained that the bill does not address the fact that no one is willing to enforce the laws on the books, nor does it address how an average Alaskan could ever possibly run against a multimillionaire in this State with a level playing field, nor does it address the violations that occurred during the last campaign. He said, in his opinion, justice delayed is a total denial of justice, and as a consequence most of this bill is superficial. He wagered there will be a campaign against this bill by the public based on the premise that HB 225 makes draconian changes. He stated he will support the bill because it cleans up a few things but it does not go as far as he would prefer. The motion to pass SCSHB 225(JUD) from committee with individual recommendations carried with Senators Halford, Donley, and Taylor voting "yea," and Senator Ellis voting "nay."