Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/26/2003 01:34 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 SB  89-DEFINITION OF LOBBYING                                                                              
MR. BRIAN HOVE, Senate Judiciary Committee aide, gave the                                                                       
following explanation of the bill.                                                                                              
     Chapter 45  of Title 24, Regulation  of Lobbying, leads                                                                    
     off  with  a  one  sentence  paragraph  describing  the                                                                    
     legislative  declaration of  purpose: "The  Legislature                                                                    
     finds   and   declares   that  the   operation   of   a                                                                    
     responsible,  representative  democracy  requires  that                                                                    
     the fullest  opportunity be afforded  to the  people to                                                                    
     petition  their government  for redress  of grievances,                                                                    
     and  to express  freely  to individual  members of  the                                                                    
     Legislature,  to its  committees, and  to officials  of                                                                    
     the  executive   branch,  their  opinions   on  pending                                                                    
     legislation  or  administrative  actions and  that  the                                                                    
     people  are  entitled  to know  the  identity,  income,                                                                    
     expenditures, and activities of  those persons who pay,                                                                    
     are  paid,  or  reimbursed  for expenses  or  who  make                                                                    
     expenditures  or   other  payments  in  an   effort  to                                                                    
     influence legislative or administrative action."                                                                           
     The full statute goes on  to describe reports, records,                                                                    
     exemptions,  and so  on until  finally arriving  at the                                                                    
     ubiquitous  section pertaining  to definitions.  Number                                                                    
     eight  defines   the  term  'lobbyist'  in   two  ways.                                                                    
     Clearly,   definition   (B)   is  applicable   to   the                                                                    
     professional  lobbyist. The  sponsors  of the  proposed                                                                    
     legislation fully  recognize and appreciate  the public                                                                    
     interest, which  is well served  by definition  (B). SB
     89 does not alter this in any way.                                                                                         
     On  the   other  hand,   definition  (A)   is  somewhat                                                                    
     ambiguous  to the  extent that  applicability rests  on                                                                    
     two  terms, these  being  'substantial' and  'regular.'                                                                    
     These terms  were not  defined in  statute. So  we must                                                                    
     look   to  the   Administrative   Code  for   guidance,                                                                    
     specifically, 2  AAC 50.545. There, under  item (f), we                                                                    
     see that  substantial and regular  means that  a person                                                                    
     is considered  to be  a lobbyist if,  '... within  a 30                                                                    
     day  period,  he spends  in  excess  of four  hours  in                                                                    
     direct   communication  with   a  public   official  or                                                                    
     legislative  employee  in activities  directed  towards                                                                    
     influencing legislative or administrative action.'                                                                         
     This  definition amounts  to less  than 2.5  percent of                                                                    
     the working  month, given the standard  8-hour day. Now                                                                    
     Webster's tells us  that substantial means considerable                                                                    
     and that considerable means large  and that large means                                                                    
     greater  than average.  Four hours  out  of 173  simply                                                                    
     doesn't  come  close to  fitting  within  any of  these                                                                    
     SB 89 safeguards, as it  should, the second half of the                                                                    
     declaration   of  purpose   by  preserving   definition                                                                    
     (8)(B),  pertaining to  professional  lobbyists. SB  89                                                                    
     seeks only  to alter  definition (8)(A) in  the statute                                                                    
     by clearly defining the  term 'substantial or regular.'                                                                    
     In so  doing, this  action accomplishes that  which the                                                                    
     Legislature  originally intended  with  respect to  the                                                                    
     lobbying law. Specifically, by  allowing the people the                                                                    
     fullest  opportunity to  express their  opinions freely                                                                    
     to  individual members  of the  Legislature on  matters                                                                    
     regarding pending legislation.                                                                                             
CHAIR SEEKINS  wanted to  make it  clear that  the intent  of the                                                               
bill was  to define two  words and,  if the committee  found they                                                               
were creating  a loophole for professional  lobbyists, they would                                                               
attempt to  close the loophole.  Approximately 40,000  people buy                                                               
business licenses  in the State of  Alaska who have zero  to four                                                               
employees and  it's difficult  for these  people to  separate the                                                               
"personal side of their business  with the business side of their                                                               
person."  It's  very  important to  preserve  these  individual's                                                               
right to speak  with their legislator on issues  that affect them                                                               
on a  personal level,  which is  inseparable from  their business                                                               
profession. Professional  lobbyists should  not be able  to avoid                                                               
regulations  and reporting,  but the  net shouldn't  be so  large                                                               
that it  catches people inadvertently  and puts them  in jeopardy                                                               
of losing certain rights.                                                                                                       
TERRY ALDRIDGE,  Chair of the  Fairbanks Chamber of  Commerce and                                                               
small  business  owner, was  in  Juneau  as  part of  the  annual                                                               
Chamber fly-in.  He testified  in support of  SB 89,  which would                                                               
broaden the definition  of lobbyist to allow  business owners and                                                               
concerned citizens  to communicate  with their  elected officials                                                               
without  registering as  a professional  lobbyist. In  March 2003                                                               
the Board of Directors passed  a resolution supporting the change                                                               
in state law clarifying the  definition of lobbyist in terms that                                                               
would describe  activity. The Chamber doesn't  believe the Alaska                                                               
Public Offices  Commission (APOC) definition  accurately reflects                                                               
the intent of Alaska State  law in defining the true professional                                                               
1:45 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  HOLLIS FRENCH  advised that  one of  the definitions  of                                                               
professional lobbying  specifically excludes testifying  before a                                                               
committee.  Testifying before  the  Legislature  is not  lobbying                                                               
because it's happening within full view of the public.                                                                          
MR. ALDRIDGE admitted it was confusing.                                                                                         
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  Senator  French to  read  the  section  he                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH read:                                                                                                            
     AS  24.45.161. Exemptions.  (a) This  chapter does  not                                                                    
     apply to  (1) an individual ...(B)  who limits lobbying                                                                    
     activities  to appearances  before  public sessions  of                                                                    
     the  legislature, or  its committees  or subcommittees,                                                                    
     or to  public hearings  or other public  proceedings of                                                                    
     state agencies;                                                                                                            
He said  Mr. Aldridge  is not lobbying  when testifying  before a                                                               
legislative committee.                                                                                                          
CHAIR SEEKINS asked what would  happen if Mr. Aldridge spent more                                                               
than  four  hours  talking  with his  legislators  on  issues  of                                                               
importance to the Chamber and to his businesses.                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  replied APOC might  have information on  how they                                                               
view teleconference testimony.                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS  said, "I just wanted  to make sure since  you made                                                               
the  reference. We'll  cross reference  it on  the record  to the                                                               
MR. ALDRIDGE said  those are some of the issues  he would like to                                                               
have  made clear  so he  could pass  the information  along. They                                                               
don't want  to create loopholes;  they simply want to  be assured                                                               
they are abiding by the rules.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  if  he  intended  to  limit  his  lobbying                                                               
activities to those listed in AS 24.45.161.                                                                                     
MR. ALDRIDGE replied he had no limits in mind.                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if he  would be comfortable saying  the time                                                               
spent doesn't count in the four hours.                                                                                          
MR.  ALDRIDGE replied  that's  the definition  he  hopes to  have                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  advised that he  reads the statute to  mean you're                                                               
exempt  if you  limit your  lobbying activities  and there  is no                                                               
exemption  if you  don't limit  them. Therefore,  it's not  clear                                                               
what  time  the  current  testimony   counts  toward.  Under  his                                                               
interpretation  this  time  could  count toward  the  four  hours                                                               
SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT  noted  it is  his  experience that  the                                                               
Chamber will have  the head of the  Fairbanks Interior delegation                                                               
set up  a series of  meetings with legislators in  their offices.                                                               
There are nine members of  the Interior delegation and if someone                                                               
spent a  half hour in  each member's  office, they would  be over                                                               
the four-hour limit  in one trip. That would be  a meeting behind                                                               
closed doors, not open to the  public and without a tape running,                                                               
which is just the kind of meeting  he would want to have with his                                                               
constituents if they want to take the time to meet with him.                                                                    
SENATOR  SCOTT  OGAN pointed  out  the  term lobbyist  came  from                                                               
individuals who  gathered in  the lobby of  the Willard  Hotel in                                                               
Washington D.C.  With that in  mind, simply spending time  in the                                                               
legislative hallways could be construed to be lobbying.                                                                         
MR.  ALDRIDGE responded  they were  looking for  clarification to                                                               
ensure they weren't violating the law.                                                                                          
PAMELA  LaBOLLE,  President  of   the  Alaska  State  Chamber  of                                                               
Commerce and  registered lobbyist,  advised she spends  more than                                                               
four  hours  lobbying  in  some days.  She  explained  the  state                                                               
chamber doesn't  have a problem  with the 1976 lobbying  law, but                                                               
they do  have difficulty with  the definition APOC has  given for                                                               
the term  "substantial or regular" because  they have interpreted                                                               
that as  being four hours  in a 30 day  period. That is  just 2.5                                                               
percent of a  40-hour week for an employee or  business owner. In                                                               
the fall  of 2002 the  Alaska State  Chamber of Commerce  filed a                                                               
lawsuit against  APOC challenging  this regulation arguing  it is                                                               
unconstitutional  and  infringes  on the  rights  of  members  by                                                               
denying them  the opportunity to  address their  public officials                                                               
on issues  that impact  their businesses.  It's not  uncommon for                                                               
business members to travel with  the Governor and other officials                                                               
on trade  missions, but they  must register as  lobbyists because                                                               
of the time  spent. In addition they challenge the  equity of the                                                               
law because public officials, public  employees and the media are                                                               
exempt from the law.                                                                                                            
The  laws  and  regulations  passed  by  the  Legislature  impact                                                               
private business  to a  greater extent than  any other  group and                                                               
yet, those same  businesses are held to a  stricter standard. The                                                               
chamber's  purpose in  requesting  the legislation  is  to get  a                                                               
clear definition  of what  the Legislature  meant when  they said                                                               
"substantial or regular" because it's unclear.                                                                                  
Another  confusing point  is the  requirement that  an individual                                                               
must  register before  they lobby.  Although there  are times  an                                                               
individual may  know they would spend  more than four hours  on a                                                               
certain issue,  this isn't always  the case.  Phone conversations                                                               
and consultations could readily exceed  the four hour limit. APOC                                                               
has added  to the  difficulty by including  social events  in the                                                               
four hour allocation.                                                                                                           
SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS asked her to  be more specific when she said                                                               
the law infringed on a business owner's rights.                                                                                 
MS. LaBOLLE  replied business owners  give up the right  to serve                                                               
on a  political campaign, to  contribute to a candidate  of their                                                               
choice, and  to serve on a  board or commission if  that board or                                                               
commission could impact their earnings.                                                                                         
SENATOR  ELLIS  asked  if campaign  contributions  and  Mr.  Bill                                                               
Allen's concern weren't at the root of the issue.                                                                               
MS. LaBOLLE disagreed.                                                                                                          
CHAIR SEEKINS advised  he introduced the bill as a  result of the                                                               
orientation  class  he  attended   where  he  found  he  probably                                                               
violated the  regulation when he  was a state chamber  member. It                                                               
was at that  time that he determined the four  hour limit was not                                                               
adequate. He  mentioned it to Ms.  LaBolle at a social  event and                                                               
she informed him of the lawsuit.  It was then that they agreed to                                                               
work together to establish a more reasonable number.                                                                            
SENATOR   ELLIS   acknowledged   his  statement   regarding   the                                                               
background related  to the House  version of the  legislation. He                                                               
was aware  that the Chair  was working with  Representative Lesil                                                               
McGuire on the issue.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  her involvement  came after  his suggestions                                                               
and because  he needed  someone to carry  the legislation  in the                                                               
MS. LaBOLLE  agreed. The  chamber felt  confident they  would win                                                               
the case, but they realized  legislation was a better avenue than                                                               
relying on  APOC to  establish a different  number of  hours. She                                                               
added  Mr. Bill  Allen doesn't  run the  Alaska State  Chamber of                                                               
Commerce and the 700 business members.                                                                                          
SENATOR  ELLIS replied  he wasn't  making that  claim; rather  he                                                               
took seriously  the news reports  that he approached  Ms. LaBolle                                                               
and  she approached  the Legislature  and the  state chamber  set                                                               
this in motion after those concerns were raised.                                                                                
MS.  LaBOLLE remarked,  "We should  all  recognize you  certainly                                                               
can't believe everything you read in the newspaper."                                                                            
CHAIR SEEKINS said, "I'll guarantee  you I didn't talk to anybody                                                               
at VECO  or Bill Allen about....  the shock I felt  when I turned                                                               
it up in orientation."                                                                                                          
SENATOR  ELLIS advised  he recently  attended a  town meeting  in                                                               
Anchorage  and there  were many  people there  to talk  about the                                                               
Governor's  proposals  to  impose  increased taxes  and  cuts  to                                                               
education among  other things.  Two people  made comments  on the                                                               
Governor's proposal on APOC and  this legislation. A woman argued                                                               
with Representative  Norman Rokeberg  saying Alaska has  the best                                                               
lobbying  law in  the  country, the  best  public disclosure  and                                                               
ethics laws  in the country  and we should  be proud of  that. In                                                               
fact, SB  89 and SB 119  represent a step backward.  She said she                                                               
wants to  know if someone  is being compensated to  influence the                                                               
Legislature.  That isn't  an unreasonable  citizen request.  When                                                               
she said that a cheer went up in the crowd and he took notice.                                                                  
MS. LaBOLLE  said the point the  state chamber is trying  to make                                                               
is  that 2.5  percent  of your  working time  is  not regular  or                                                               
CHAIR  SEEKINS said,  "I just  had the  entire commission  [APOC]                                                               
come  and lobby  me, but  I don't  think it's  necessary for  the                                                               
people of  the state to know  they were in my  office doing that.                                                               
I'm going  to still  make up my  mind based on  what I  think the                                                               
best approach is."                                                                                                              
2:10 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR  OGAN  remarked,  "There  is a  Supreme  Court  case  law                                                               
somewhere, I  don't remember whether  it's U.S. Supreme  Court or                                                               
Alaska  Supreme Court,  that talks  about First  Amendment rights                                                               
and  people being  able to  contribute to  campaigns and  talk to                                                               
people."  That case  pointed  out the  press  regularly tries  to                                                               
influence  legislative  behavior  in  editorials and  that  is  a                                                               
protected  and  cherished First  Amendment  right.  He asked  Ms.                                                               
LaBolle if she was taking issue  with the fact that as a lobbyist                                                               
you couldn't contribute to whomever they want.                                                                                  
MS. LaBOLLE  replied this too  is an important point  for chamber                                                               
members  because  many  of  them  have  businesses  in  different                                                               
districts throughout the state and  are therefore concerned about                                                               
issues  that  impact those  districts.  They  should be  able  to                                                               
support whomever they believe to  be the best candidate, but they                                                               
are limited.  That isn't  the driving  force however;  they don't                                                               
believe they  should have to  give up  any rights if  they aren't                                                               
really lobbyists.                                                                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if the people  in the Capitol hallways at the                                                               
end of each session should be considered lobbyists.                                                                             
MS. LaBOLLE  said she  believes the majority  of those  that burn                                                               
the midnight oil at the end of session are lobbyists.                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS added  some of those are public  employees that are                                                               
trying to influence legislation and they're exempt.                                                                             
SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT referenced  the cheer elicited  from the                                                               
crowd  at the  Anchorage  town meeting  and remarked  legislators                                                               
must  understand  the  intricacies  of the  laws  and  they  must                                                               
determine what makes sense and  what doesn't. He wondered whether                                                               
Senator  Ellis  asked  the  individual   whether  they  knew  the                                                               
intricacies and whether  they knew the reasoning  behind the four                                                               
hour limit.  Did they know  the impact  on the individual  in not                                                               
being able  to participate in  a campaign  or being able  to give                                                               
contributions  in elections?  A  room full  of applauding  people                                                               
gives  no  indication  whether   or  not  they  understand  these                                                               
intricacies.  If a  discussion regarding  the intricacies  didn't                                                               
ensue, the applause would be largely meaningless.                                                                               
SENATOR ELLIS explained the context for  his statement.  It was a                                                               
publicly  noticed   town  hall  meeting  that   was  attended  by                                                               
individuals  of  various  political  persuasions.  The  woman  he                                                               
referred  to   was  well  informed   and  became   offended  when                                                               
Representative  Rokeberg announced  he  likes to  play golf  with                                                               
lobbyists and  if the  game is  under four  hours there's  no big                                                               
deal.  She made  the point  that  if someone  is compensated  for                                                               
promoting a  certain interest in  Juneau, she would like  to know                                                               
who  that  is  and  what  he  or  she  is  paid.  That's  not  an                                                               
unreasonable request in the public interest.                                                                                    
He used Kevin Meyers with  ConocoPhillips as an example. He comes                                                               
to Juneau  to represent a  significant corporate interest  in the                                                               
state  and has  undoubtedly registered  as a  lobbyist. It  would                                                               
probably take him a very  short time to influence legislation. In                                                               
fact  professional  lobbyists,   corporate  executives  or  small                                                               
business  owners  might  spend  a  very short  time  with  a  key                                                               
committee chair to profoundly affect  the outcome of legislation.                                                               
If that is to occur, the public has a right to know.                                                                            
CHAIR SEEKINS stated  the right to know should be  for anyone who                                                               
seeks  to  influence.  The  APOC  members  he  met  with  had  no                                                               
knowledge of  his intent when he  introduced SB 89 so  he doesn't                                                               
see how anyone reading the  Anchorage paper would know either. No                                                               
one from  the Anchorage  paper asked  him so  he didn't  know how                                                               
they could  report on the  intent of  the legislation or  what it                                                               
was designed to do.                                                                                                             
Kevin Meyer wouldn't  influence him any more  than Terry Aldridge                                                               
who he  has known and  regarded highly for  a long time.  The law                                                               
doesn't  handicap  the  Kevin  Meyers;   it's  the  40,000  small                                                               
businesses that are handicapped. The  net is too large. "Nobody's                                                               
concentrating on  Kevin Meyer  or Bill  Allen or  any of  the big                                                               
boys out  there. We're trying  not to  make criminals out  of the                                                               
little guys out there."                                                                                                         
SIDE B                                                                                                                        
2:20 p.m.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS introduced Margaret Russell  who has worked for him                                                               
as his business general manager since 1978.                                                                                     
MARGARET RUSSELL,  Fairbanks Chamber of  Commerce representative,                                                               
testified  in  support  of  SB  89.  After  reading  the  current                                                               
statute,  reviewing  the  Administrative Codes,  regulations  and                                                               
interpretations,   she   and   the  Fairbanks   Chamber   support                                                               
redefining "regular  and substantial" because they  are currently                                                               
problematic.  The  Fairbanks  Chamber represents  more  than  700                                                               
businesses  most of  which have  five or  fewer employees.  Their                                                               
primary mission is  to promote a climate that  fosters growth and                                                               
development within the community  and to be influential advocates                                                               
for  the community.  This  in the  purest sense  of  the term  is                                                               
They deal  with health concerns, education  and child development                                                               
issues,  rural  and  urban   issues,  transportation  issues  and                                                               
military issues  among many others.  They're all issues  that add                                                               
to a better quality of life  for the Fairbanks community and many                                                               
of  those issues  involve the  state process.  Chamber volunteers                                                               
and board members are required  to be regular working members and                                                               
as  a result,  and  to  accomplish their  mission,  they spend  a                                                               
number of  hours gathering information and  influencing decisions                                                               
on the issues. If they  weren't influencing decisions there would                                                               
be little reason for their  existence. They regularly participate                                                               
in  government   and  military   affairs  committees   trying  to                                                               
influence the issues that come  before those different venues. To                                                               
accomplish that, and without admitting  guilt, it takes more than                                                               
four hours of time with legislators.                                                                                            
Part of  her job description is  to be a community  leader so she                                                               
is  involved in  more than  just business  issues. She  served as                                                               
past president of  the United Way Board of the  Tanana Valley and                                                               
in  that capacity  worked with  a number  of executive  directors                                                               
from  social  services  agencies,  non-profits,  and  faith-based                                                               
organizations. Funding  for these organizations is  tied into the                                                               
state process and they depend  on state legislation to accomplish                                                               
what  they have  set  out  to do.  It's  not  uncommon for  these                                                               
executive  directors  to spend  more  than  the allowed  time  to                                                               
influence their special  interests. They do this  in the capacity                                                               
of  their  jobs and  they  aren't  registered lobbyists.  They're                                                               
grass-roots professionals  and volunteers  working to  make their                                                               
community a better place.                                                                                                       
As the manager of a Fairbanks  business and now that she is fully                                                               
aware of the  criteria and the current  interpretation, she would                                                               
be  less inclined  to ask  employees to  be actively  involved in                                                               
community organizations that  tie into the state  process. If she                                                               
told those  same employees  they had to  register as  a lobbyist,                                                               
she's uncertain whether  they would want to do  that. Regular and                                                               
substantial is  too restrictive  and risks  losing ground  in the                                                               
area of community involvement.                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if her  community work provided  an indirect                                                               
benefit to the company that employs her.                                                                                        
MS. RUSSELL replied they volunteer because  it is a return to the                                                               
community  that supports  the  business and  she  has a  personal                                                               
interest in  making Fairbanks  a better place  to live.  She also                                                               
acknowledged that, if Fairbanks grows  as a community and, if the                                                               
state grows as well, it's likely she would sell more cars.                                                                      
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if she  felt her previous  actions were                                                               
in violation of the law.                                                                                                        
MS. RUSSELL replied she was,  absolutely, but she admits no guilt                                                               
on the record.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if many  others she interacts  with and                                                               
knows of were also in violation.                                                                                                
MS. RUSSELL said they were.                                                                                                     
2:30 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR FRENCH  commented she  didn't look  like a  lawbreaker to                                                               
him  and  his  interpretation  of   the  definition  differed.  A                                                               
lobbyist must  be employed and  receive payment so if  she wasn't                                                               
paid for her United Way and  chamber work, then she wouldn't be a                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS said  he pays Ms. Russell a salary  and part of her                                                               
job description is  to be actively involved in  her community and                                                               
other areas that can have an  indirect benefit to the company. It                                                               
should  be  very  clear  that  someone  working  as  a  community                                                               
volunteer  who is  paid a  salary to  be involved  would not  run                                                               
afoul of the law.                                                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH  addressed the committee  and said he  was looking                                                               
for someone who has been wounded  as a result of the current law.                                                               
He needed a concrete example of injury.                                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS responded it's not a  good law if it puts people in                                                               
SENATOR OGAN  said nice  people do break  laws because  there are                                                               
unreasonable laws  on the books.  If the "lobbyist  police" spent                                                               
times in the  legislative hallways they'd probably find  a lot of                                                               
people that are breaking the  law and that's the reasoning behind                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR THERRIAULT pointed out Ms.  Russell now knows the law and                                                               
must consider whether  she will register as a  lobbyist. In doing                                                               
so  she  gives up  her  constitutional  right to  participate  in                                                               
political activities. He  asked where it makes sense  to draw the                                                               
line  between  a professional  lobbyist  and  the small  business                                                               
owner that has someone on the payroll like Ms. Russell.                                                                         
MS.  RUSSELL said  the non-profit  executive director  is clearly                                                               
being  paid a  salary and  lobbying on  things that  might create                                                               
economic  benefit to  their special  interest. She  asked whether                                                               
the intent of the  law was to make them a  lobbyist and that they                                                               
could not  spend more than four  hours in a thirty-day  period to                                                               
accomplish  their  job.  Redefining the  terms  "substantial  and                                                               
regular" clears up the definition  of a lobbyist and the original                                                               
intent of the law.                                                                                                              
SENATOR ELLIS  said there  was substantial  legislation regarding                                                               
car dealerships  before the Legislature several  sessions ago. If                                                               
she  lobbied on  that  legislation  in her  capacity  at the  car                                                               
dealership, he asked if it would  be reasonable for the public to                                                               
know she was engaged in that activity.                                                                                          
MS.  RUSSELL replied  if  it  were an  ongoing  part  of her  job                                                               
description  to influence  legislation on  behalf of  car dealers                                                               
then  perhaps, at  some point,  it would  be appropriate  for the                                                               
public to know. At  issue in SB 89 is what is  the point that the                                                               
public should  know that I'm  a lobbyist or just  doing something                                                               
that arises in the course of business.                                                                                          
CHAIR  SEEKINS   clarified  the  Alaska   Automobile  Association                                                               
employed a lobbyist  for that legislation and  Ms. Russell didn't                                                               
spend  four hours  talking  with legislators  on  that issue.  He                                                               
admitted he  might have  spent that  much time,  but most  of the                                                               
work was done through the paid lobbyist.                                                                                        
2:40 p.m.                                                                                                                     
The Chair called an at ease.                                                                                                    
2:44 p.m.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS called Andrea Jacobson forward.                                                                                   
ANDREA JACOBSON,  APOC Chair, stated  they are the choir  to whom                                                               
they have been  preaching. In prior meetings  they discussed that                                                               
the four  hour limit  was not  enough and in  light of  that they                                                               
were surprised the lawsuit was filed.                                                                                           
She clarified:                                                                                                                  
     · To her knowledge no one has ever had to file as a                                                                        
       lobbyist for going on a trade mission because the purpose                                                                
       of a trade mission has never been to influence                                                                           
     · It isn't true that lobbying laws are applicable only to                                                                  
       businesses. Non-profits, social service organizations,                                                                   
      hospitals and associations are registered lobbyists.                                                                      
The  majority of  the  people that  are  currently registered  as                                                               
lobbyists would  not have to  register if SB 89  passes. Although                                                               
the commission believes  four hours is too  restrictive, 80 hours                                                               
in a  30-day period is  excessive. They were also  concerned with                                                               
Section B because the language  specifically excluded some people                                                               
they consider professional lobbyists.                                                                                           
After  speaking  with  the Chair,  they  understood  they  didn't                                                               
understand the intent, which initially  seemed as though it would                                                               
wipe out  the lobbying bill.  The Alaska State  Constitution says                                                               
the Legislature will  regulate lobbyists and they  didn't want to                                                               
face  constitutional  problems  that  would  arise  if  lobbyists                                                               
weren't regulated.  They now understand  that was not  the intent                                                               
and believe  language could be  found that would  be satisfactory                                                               
to everyone.                                                                                                                    
A community  volunteer has  never been a  lobbyist in  their view                                                               
unless they  were acting  under the control  of someone  that was                                                               
paying them  to be there. There  is a difference of  opinion with                                                               
regard  to  the requirement  to  do  community service  work  and                                                               
having  that  translate  into  a  lobbying  effort  to  influence                                                               
As  a public  disclosure agency  their foremost  goal is  to make                                                               
sure the public  has the knowledge. The public can  then make the                                                               
decision  how they  want  to vote  regarding  who is  influencing                                                               
whom. Having the information regarding  who was paid to influence                                                               
a legislator is important.                                                                                                      
LARRY WOOD,  APOC Republican appointee,  explained APOC  has five                                                               
commissioners. Ms.  Jacobson is the  public member and  there are                                                               
two Republican  appointees and  two Democrat  appointees. Members                                                               
are not  paid, but  they are  reimbursed for  expenses. Currently                                                               
two members  are in business, two  are in public service  and one                                                               
is retired.                                                                                                                     
There are  four types of  individuals under discussion,  but just                                                               
one merits discussion.                                                                                                          
   · The first group is professional lobbyists and Section 1 (B)                                                                
     makes it very clear there is no intent to impact that                                                                      
   · The second group consists of employees that are charged, at                                                                
     least partially, with doing lobbying work in the course of                                                                 
     their job.                                                                                                                 
     He worked for a company that required him to travel to                                                                     
     Juneau as part of his duties and he was spending more                                                                      
     than four hours every thirty days so he registered as                                                                      
     a lobbyist.                                                                                                                
     It seems as though there is interest in including these                                                                    
     individuals in the group that is required to register.                                                                     
   · Group number three consists of those small businesses the                                                                  
     State  Chamber spoke  of. The  individuals  aren't paid  and                                                               
     their expenses  might not  even be  reimbursed. The  way the                                                               
     legislation  is   written,  if  you're  not   paid  and  not                                                               
     reimbursed, you're not going to be covered by the law.                                                                     
   · The fourth group is public officials and they are exempted                                                                 
     in the law and aren't under consideration in SB 89.                                                                        
The conversation  centers on  the third group  and how  much time                                                               
should trigger the requirement to  register. SB 89 sets the limit                                                               
at  80  hours  while  a  House bill  sets  a  40-hour  limit.  He                                                               
suggested deleting  the word "regular"  because it  is confusing,                                                               
but if an individual is spending  a substantial amount of time in                                                               
the course  of his  or her  regular duties,  then they  should be                                                               
required to register.                                                                                                           
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if there  was a legitimate issue for the                                                               
Legislature to make a policy call.                                                                                              
MR. WOOD  replied yes, four  hours is too  little, but 40  and 80                                                               
hours is too much.                                                                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if they had a number to suggest.                                                                       
MS. JACOBSON said they were looking  at 16 hours because it would                                                               
be difficult  for a small  business owner  to be away  from their                                                               
business for longer that that length of time.                                                                                   
Lobbying  laws don't  apply to  just legislative  lobbyists; they                                                               
also apply  to administrative lobbyists  she said.  Therefore, in                                                               
determining  the number  of hours,  the time  period needs  to be                                                               
such that  it covers not  just session time  but also a  block of                                                               
time that is easy to assess for the administrative lobbyists.                                                                   
SENATOR   THERRIAULT   asked   for   further   clarification   of                                                               
administrative lobbyists.                                                                                                       
MS.  JACOBSON  explained  there  are  lobbyists  that  lobby  the                                                               
Legislature   and   there   are    lobbyists   that   lobby   the                                                               
Administration. All are covered under the lobbying laws.                                                                        
SENATOR  OGAN said  he  works  with a  company  that applies  for                                                               
resource  permits  and  they  have   lots  of  contact  with  the                                                               
Administration to influence them to  see issues in a certain way.                                                               
Those people are  paid to do that and  technically, that activity                                                               
could  come under  the  definition  of administrative  lobbyists.                                                               
This would  probably include everyone  that writes permits  for a                                                               
resource development agency.                                                                                                    
MS. JACOBSON agreed if they engage in those activities.                                                                         
SENATOR OGAN emphasized  anyone that fills out a  permit is doing                                                               
that activity because they're  trying to influence administrative                                                               
action. He opined there is a problem in the statute.                                                                            
MS. JACOBSON said there is  an administrative ruling that exempts                                                               
the permitting process from the lobbying disclosure.                                                                            
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  how she  would respond  to striking  a                                                               
balance between  Bill Allen, the  owner of VECO  Corporation, and                                                               
the owner of a Hallmark store in Fairbanks.                                                                                     
MR.  WOOD replied  the commission  arrived  at the  16 hour  mark                                                               
because it is two workdays every  30 days. Of course there's room                                                               
for disagreement, but  16 hours is quite a lot  of time and seems                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS asked about phone time and social time.                                                                           
MR. WOOD  said that would  be included.  It's time spent  for the                                                               
purpose of influencing legislation.                                                                                             
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if the  commission members  would agree                                                               
that when someone is required  to register as a lobbyist, they're                                                               
giving up rights other citizens have.                                                                                           
MS.  JACOBSON replied  that  question is  directed  to the  wrong                                                               
individuals because  as commission members they  cannot engage in                                                               
those  activities   and  she  doesn't   look  upon  that   as  an                                                               
unreasonable sacrifice.  Those regulations  are in  place because                                                               
the public wants  to know and they're trying to  be responsive to                                                               
the public in that regard.                                                                                                      
MR.  WOOD  added  the  courts  have said  that,  with  regard  to                                                               
lobbying, some restriction is reasonable  in the public interest.                                                               
He said he  believes in that, but if you're  a private individual                                                               
and  you're not  being paid,  wholly or  in part,  or you're  not                                                               
being  reimbursed, you  wouldn't be  subject to  the registration                                                               
requirements. A  private businessperson that isn't  reimbursed or                                                               
paid wouldn't  trigger the requirement  regardless of  the number                                                               
of hours spent.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR THERRIAULT  pointed out that  others are giving  up their                                                               
rights  as  part  of  their  livelihood.  That's  different  than                                                               
volunteering to be on a commission.                                                                                             
MS JACOBSON  said they aren't prohibited  from all contributions;                                                               
it's  from contributing  to anyone  outside their  district. It's                                                               
important to  look at the  specifics of whom they  aren't allowed                                                               
to contribute to.                                                                                                               
SENATOR THERRIAULT said it could be  their brother or a number of                                                               
others they  have a  natural connection  to. They're  barred from                                                               
giving up  to a maximum of  $500, which is one  thing the general                                                               
public doesn't know.                                                                                                            
SENATOR OGAN  read the  definition of  lobbyist from  Black's Law                                                               
Dictionary. It  is, "One who makes  it a business to  procure the                                                               
passage or  defeat of bills  pending before a  legislative body."                                                               
He asked how to define that person.                                                                                             
MR.  WOOD replied  that is  a  legal dictionary  and therefore  a                                                               
collection of common definitions. In  Alaska there is a structure                                                               
that has  been laid out for  many years and the  changes proposed                                                               
by Senator Seekins  don't change that. The  discussion centers on                                                               
part time people and those that aren't paid at all.                                                                             
3:10 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  FRENCH  noted  one  of the  strains  of  argument  heard                                                               
throughout  the  issue  is  that people  that  must  register  as                                                               
lobbyists  give  up  important  rights  and  the  right  to  make                                                               
contributions is brought up most  frequently. That argument is in                                                               
the position  paper of the  Alaska State Chamber of  Commerce and                                                               
referred  to   obliquely  in  the   sponsor  statement   that  it                                                               
unconstitutionally  restricts  business   people.  This  argument                                                               
needs to  be dispelled because  the U.S. Supreme Court  has taken                                                               
up this issue  several times. (Buckley versus  Vallejo) Each time                                                               
the Court said it's okay  to regulate political contributions and                                                               
that's  what's  under  discussion,  the right  to  contribute  to                                                               
political candidates. He asked if  they were aware of any rulings                                                               
to the contrary.                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  he  would   argue  it's  okay  to  restrict                                                               
contributions but not contributors.                                                                                             
SENATOR ELLIS called a point  of order. He respectfully asked the                                                               
Chair for forbearance  when committee members pose  a question to                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS said he didn't hear a question.                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH restated his question  asking whether Mr. Wood was                                                               
aware of  any legal  ruling that was  contrary to  Buckley versus                                                               
TAPE 03-12, SIDE A                                                                                                            
3:13 p.m.                                                                                                                     
MR.  WOOD  replied  his  recollection was  the  same  as  Senator                                                               
French's. The courts  have permitted more regulation  in the area                                                               
of lobbying.  However, he understands  the current law  that says                                                               
you can't  make contributions during the  registration period and                                                               
one year thereafter is being litigated.                                                                                         
BROOKE MILES, APOC director, said  that section of law was upheld                                                               
by the Alaska State Supreme  Court as constitutional and the U.S.                                                               
Supreme Court didn't hear it.                                                                                                   
SENATOR OGAN opined it is  appropriate, as the courts have ruled,                                                               
to  regulate contributions,  but he  didn't know  whether it  had                                                               
been  constitutionally tested.  It's an  arbitrary discrimination                                                               
based  on  residency  to  tell someone  they  may  contribute  to                                                               
someone in their district but not in another district.                                                                          
MR.  WOOD  advised, as  per  Ms.  Miles'  comments, it  has  been                                                               
litigated  and  upheld  by  the Alaska  Supreme  Court.  It's  in                                                               
statute, however, so the Legislature could reconsider it.                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS said  the question is, what is regular  and what is                                                               
substantial? "If  we're going  to do  this, we  should not  do it                                                               
lightly and we should not do it with a very low threshold."                                                                     
MS. JACOBSON said  Mr. Wood's suggestion of  eliminating the word                                                               
"regular" is good.  That would make half APOC's  task easier. For                                                               
years they  have regulated who  can contribute to  whom regarding                                                               
out-of-state contributors  so there  is precedent  in legislation                                                               
regarding contributors as opposed to contributions.                                                                             
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  for the  impact of  dropping the  word                                                               
MR. WOOD agreed it's confusing. Either  word could be used and he                                                               
would recommend using substantial.                                                                                              
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked   if  regular  had  any   tie  to  the                                                               
legislative session.                                                                                                            
MR. WOOD said it's a "substantial"  amount of time or a "regular"                                                               
amount  of time  and it's  confusing to  use both  terms. It  has                                                               
nothing to do with the regular legislative session.                                                                             
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked whether  a  person  that was  speeding  and                                                               
wasn't stopped was still breaking the law.                                                                                      
MS.  JACOBSON replied  they were  still breaking  the law  and it                                                               
still  wasn't acceptable  behavior just  because they  didn't get                                                               
TED  QUINN,  small business  owner  in  Juneau, testified  he  is                                                               
currently  acting  as  Chair  of  the  Alaska  State  Chamber  of                                                               
Commerce,  but  he  was representing  his  business.  He  related                                                               
examples from  his own business  that raised questions  about the                                                               
limit. The definition  of "substantial" should be  in statute and                                                               
not be  left to a  regulatory decision. He encouraged  passage of                                                               
the legislation as written.                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS held SB 89 in committee.                                                                                          

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