Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/08/2010 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 209 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 260(JUD) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Moved SCS CSHB 6(JUD) Out of Committee
                  SB 284-CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES                                                                              
2:54:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  announced the consideration  of SB 284.  He related                                                               
that it is  a judiciary committee bill and is  in response to the                                                               
recent U.S. Supreme Court decision  that opens what some feel are                                                               
the floodgates  with respect to independent  expenditures for and                                                               
against  candidates. Because  Alaska has  had a  complete ban  on                                                               
corporate spending in elections,  the statutes are largely silent                                                               
with  respect  to  whether  a  corporation  reports  and  how  it                                                               
discloses expenditures.                                                                                                         
He described  sections 2  and 4  as the meat  of bill.  Section 4                                                               
deals with disclosures to APOC  about expenditures that have been                                                               
made  for  and  against  a   candidate.  Section  11  deals  with                                                               
disclaimers or  placing words in  the advertisements to  tell the                                                               
public who is paying for the communication.                                                                                     
2:56:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL said  he likes many things in the  bill, but he'd                                                               
like to challenge  some. He asked if  the best way to  do that is                                                               
by an amendment.                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  said yes. He  noted that Mr. Bullard,  the drafter,                                                               
Mr. Ptacin  with the  Department of  Law, and  Ms. Hill  with the                                                               
Alaska  Public  Offices  Commission   were  available  to  answer                                                               
questions. He opened public testimony.                                                                                          
2:56:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT   WALLACE,  Executive   Director,  Alaska   Public  Interest                                                               
Research Group (AKPIRG), stated support  for SB 284. He said that                                                               
although  the recent  U.S. Supreme  Court decision  didn't invent                                                               
the problem of  big money influence in politics, it  did make the                                                               
problem  worse   by  opening   the  floodgates   for  independent                                                               
expenditures in elections.  Ultimately, aggressive federal action                                                               
may  be  needed to  address  the  systemic problems  in  campaign                                                               
finance  and  big  money  influence,  he  opined.  We  at  AKPIRG                                                               
certainly think there is a lot that  can be done at the state and                                                               
federal  level to  mitigate  the influence  of  the decision,  he                                                               
said. SB  284 is  a piece of  much-needed legislation  that would                                                               
help  to  mitigate  unlimited corporate  and  union  spending  in                                                               
MR. WALLACE  said AKPIRG  is particularly  pleased that  the bill                                                               
requires significant disclaimers  for independent expenditures in                                                               
campaign  ads.   Where  many  are  familiar   with  the  negative                                                               
political ads that  are paid for by an  innocuous sounding front-                                                               
group,  the  bill  notably  would   require  that  the  top  five                                                               
contributors  for those  front groups  be disclosed.  This is  in                                                               
addition  to the  very laudable  reporting requirements  that are                                                               
also included in the legislation, he said.                                                                                      
2:59:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MARILYN  RUSSELL,  President, League  of  Women  Voters (LWV)  of                                                               
Alaska, said the league supports  SB 284 because it believes that                                                               
the goals of the campaign system should be:                                                                                     
   1. To ensure the public's right to know;                                                                                     
   2. To combat corruption and undue influence;                                                                                 
   3. To enable candidates to compete more equitably for public                                                                 
      office; and                                                                                                               
   4. To promote citizen participation in the political process.                                                                
      Polls show that 8 of 10 support disclosure and disclaimer.                                                                
MS.  RUSSELL reported  that the  League of  Women Voters  filed a                                                               
brief  in  support  of  the  provisions  in  McCain  Feingold  to                                                               
restrict   corporate   participation   in   elections   and   was                                                               
disappointed  in  the recent  court  decision.  In light  of  the                                                               
decision, it is vital to  amend Alaska's campaign laws to require                                                               
full  disclosure of  campaign contributions  by corporations  and                                                               
labor  unions  because  they aren't  covered  under  the  state's                                                               
existing  disclosure and  disclaimer  laws. The  league has  long                                                               
supported public  disclosure of campaign contributions  of money,                                                               
goods, and  services believing that  citizens should know  who is                                                               
spending  money  supporting  or opposing  candidates  and  ballot                                                               
issues.  This information  should  be part  of the  communication                                                               
itself   like  all   other   campaign  communications.   Alaska's                                                               
reporting  laws  simply  must  be  amended  before  the  upcoming                                                               
primary election, she concluded.                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH closed public testimony  and announced he would hold                                                               
SB 284 in committee for further work.                                                                                           
3:02:07 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair French adjourned the meeting at 3:02 p.m.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB284 Sponsor Statement.doc SJUD 3/8/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 284
Sectional Analysis SB 284.PDF SJUD 3/8/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 284
SB202 Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/8/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 202