Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

04/14/2010 08:30 AM Senate JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 251(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved HB 253 Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 408(JUD) Out of Committee
         HB  36-INITIATIVES: CONTRIBUTIONS/ PROCEDURES                                                                      
8:37:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced the consideration  of HB 36. The committee                                                               
heard an overview of the  bill yesterday and public testimony was                                                               
taken. He  welcomed Lieutenant Governor  Campbell and  noted that                                                               
he  was available  to answer  questions. [CSSSHB  36(FIN) AM  was                                                               
before the committee.]                                                                                                          
CHAIR FRENCH moved to adopt  Amendment 1, labeled 26-LS0197\CA.2,                                                               
and objected for the purpose  of discussion. He explained that it                                                               
clarifies that the  hearings on initiatives will  be certified by                                                               
the  lieutenant governor  and it  narrows the  scope of  the work                                                               
that the Legislature will do to review an initiative.                                                                           
                          AMENDMENT 1                                                                                       
     Page 7, lines 30 - 31:                                                                                                     
                Delete "Review of initiatives certified by                                                                    
     the lieutenant governor by standing committees of the                                                                    
          Insert "Legislative hearings on initiatives                                                                         
     certified by the lieutenant governor"                                                                                    
     Page 8, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "conduct reviews"                                                                                              
          Insert "hold at least one hearing"                                                                                    
8:39:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH moved  to adopt a conceptual  amendment to Amendment                                                               
1 on  page 8, line 3,  to clarify that the  presiding officers of                                                               
the House  and Senate  shall select  the standing  committee that                                                               
will hear the initiative.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if on  page  8, line  1, the  phrase                                                               
"shall  consider  an  initiative"  will be  changed  to  "have  a                                                               
CHAIR FRENCH agreed the language  should be consistent throughout                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
Finding no  objection to the  conceptual amendment,  Chair French                                                               
announced  that it  is  adopted  and that  Amendment  1 is  again                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI suggested it would  be reasonable to add the                                                               
language in subsection  (c) on page 7, lines 16-17  to Section 15                                                               
of the bill.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  agreed. Finding no further  objection, he announced                                                               
that Amendment 1, [as conceptually amended], is adopted.                                                                        
8:44:02 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE moved Amendment 2.                                                                                              
                          AMENDMENT 2                                                                                       
     Page 8, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "consider"                                                                                                     
          Insert "hold a hearing on"                                                                                            
There being no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                              
CHAIR FRENCH  said Amendment  3, by  Senator Wielechowski,  is to                                                               
add to  Section 15,  the language  that is  in subsection  (c) of                                                               
Section 12.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI suggested making  it applicable to the whole                                                               
CHAIR FRENCH  said he completely  agrees with the idea  of adding                                                               
it to Section  15, but he'd want to hear  from Mr. Bullard before                                                               
going further than that.                                                                                                        
8:45:40 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI moved to adopt conceptual Amendment 3.                                                                     
                     CONCEPTUAL AMENDMENT 3                                                                                 
     Add the following language to Section 15:                                                                                  
       "Penalties for a violation of this section may not                                                                       
     include removal of an initiative from the ballot."                                                                         
SENATOR COGHILL objected. Noting  that there isn't an affirmative                                                               
penalty,  he asked  if the  idea is  to leave  it open  for other                                                               
CHAIR FRENCH asked Mr. Bullard to comment.                                                                                      
ALPHEUS   BULLARD,   attorney,    Legislative   Legal   Services,                                                               
Legislative  Affairs   Agency,  said  he  wouldn't   advise  this                                                               
language being  applied anywhere. It's clear  in the Constitution                                                               
that the  only way  that an  initiative can  be removed  from the                                                               
ballot  is  if the  Legislature  passes  a substantially  similar                                                               
measure or if a court finds  that it's an unconstitutional use of                                                               
the initiative power. Including  the proposed language throughout                                                               
the bill obscures that fact, he said.                                                                                           
CHAIR FRENCH  summarized that Mr.  Bullard is  cautioning against                                                               
the   Legislature   inserting   itself   statutorily   when   the                                                               
Constitution already gives clear direction.                                                                                     
MR. BULLARD agreed that is his position.                                                                                        
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  questioned  the   harm  in  including  the                                                               
MR. BULLARD replied  the fact that the language is  in Section 12                                                               
begs the  question of why  it wasn't  included in Section  15 and                                                               
others. "While it won't change  what the constitution provides, I                                                               
think that it obscures that reality," he said.                                                                                  
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said that's why  he advocates applying it to                                                               
the whole chapter.                                                                                                              
CHAIR FRENCH reviewed Article 11 of the Alaska Constitution                                                                     
8:49:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI offered  to withdraw  the amendment  if the                                                               
committee wanted to think about it overnight.                                                                                   
CHAIR FRENCH asked  Miss Christensen to tell  the committee about                                                               
the House debate on this provision.                                                                                             
SONIA  CHRISTENSEN, staff  to Representative  Johansen, explained                                                               
that the  language in Section  12, subsection (c)  was conceptual                                                               
added in the House Finance  Committee. Representative Gara wanted                                                               
to make it clear that "funny  business" by the Legislature or the                                                               
lieutenant  governor  would not  result  in  an initiative  being                                                               
defaulted from the  ballot. The sponsor doesn't  object to adding                                                               
the provision to Section 15, she said.                                                                                          
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  if Representative  Gara made  the conceptual                                                               
amendment  with the  benefit of  counsel  from Legislative  Legal                                                               
MS CHRISTENSEN replied she wasn't sure.                                                                                         
CHAIR FRENCH asked Senator Wielechowski  if he would withdraw the                                                               
amendment because  Senator Coghill  had to  leave due  to another                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said  the point that it could  set off legal                                                               
challenges if it's in one section  and not another is well taken,                                                               
which is why he would urge consistency.                                                                                         
CHAIR FRENCH  said he's considered removing  the provisions about                                                               
a public  hearing and  hearings by  the Legislature  because some                                                               
people see it as an impediment to the initiative process.                                                                       
8:52:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI withdrew conceptual Amendment 3.                                                                           
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  asked  the  committee   to  consider  adding  a                                                               
severability clause.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  Mr. Bullard  to remind  the committee  about                                                               
MR. BULLARD advised that there  is a severability clause in Title                                                               
1 of the  statutes, so while it  would do no harm  to include it,                                                               
it's not necessary.                                                                                                             
CHAIR FRENCH  said the basic  idea behind  Amendment 4 is  to ask                                                               
the lieutenant  governor to make reasonable  efforts to broadcast                                                               
the  hearings so  that they  reach  people who  aren't living  in                                                               
population centers.                                                                                                             
8:55:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH moved Amendment 4, labeled 26-LS0197\CA.5.                                                                         
                          AMENDMENT 4                                                                                       
     Page 7, following line 17:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                           
          "(d)  If the lieutenant governor determines that                                                                      
     it  is technologically  and economically  feasible, the                                                                    
     division  shall   provide  a   live  audio   and  video                                                                    
     broadcast  of  each  hearing held  under  (a)  of  this                                                                    
     section on the division's Internet website."                                                                               
There being no objection, Amendment 4 was adopted.                                                                              
CHAIR FRENCH, noting  that HB 36 was drafted  before the Citizens                                                               
United  decision, asked  Mr.  Bullard if  the  language could  be                                                               
tightened  by substituting  the  word  "person" for  "individual,                                                               
person, nongroup entity, or group" throughout the bill.                                                                         
MR. BULLARD  cautioned that he  hadn't had much time  for review,                                                               
but the language  could be amended a little in  sections 1 and 6.                                                               
Section 1,  page 1, lines 6  and 8, could read  "every person" on                                                               
each line. Section  6, page 3, line 7, could  read "An initiative                                                               
committee or other person".                                                                                                     
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if  he agrees that  this changes  nothing; it                                                               
simply makes it more concise.                                                                                                   
MR.  BULLARD replied  he was  hesitant to  say that's  completely                                                               
true because he hadn't given it the time to know for certain.                                                                   
CHAIR FRENCH said  he wouldn't offer the amendment  just yet, but                                                               
it's on his mind.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  FRENCH announced  he would  hold  HB 36  in committee  for                                                               
further work.                                                                                                                   

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