Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/03/1996 03:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  SENATE BILL NO. 141                                                          
                                                                               
       "An Act  relating to legislative ethics;  and providing                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
       for an effective date."                                                 
                                                                               
  JOHN  GAGUINE,  ASSISTANT   ATTORNEY  GENERAL  commented  on                 
  sections  which  require  individuals  to  file  conflict of                 
  interest statements under AS 39.50.  He noted that there are                 
  currently approximately 600  - 800 high level  employees and                 
  boards and commission members that have  to file conflict of                 
  interest  statements.    The legislation  would  expand this                 
  number to  another 450  - 500 state  employees, including  a                 
  large number of  employees not  in policy making  positions.                 
  He  noted  that  psychiatrists  at  the  Alaska  Psychiatric                 
  Institute  (API), public  defenders, and  assistant attorney                 
  generals  would  be  among  those  required  to  file.    He                 
  questioned if the  legislation would be constitutional.   He                 
  noted  that an  employee has  privacy rights  in regards  to                 
  their finances.  He  explained that to require  a disclosure                 
  there  must be  some  nexus between  the public  interest in                 
  disclosing and the person's privacy  interest.  He suggested                 
  that  the  Court might  find  that  some  of  the  positions                 
  affected  cannot   be  required   to   disclose  under   the                 
  Constitution.    He  added  that the  Court  may  find equal                 
  protection violations.  He pointed out that the bill applies                 
  to  ranges   19  and  above  in  the  executive  branch  and                 
  legislature but not in the judiciary  branch.  He noted that                 
  classified employees do not have to disclose.                                
                                                                               
  Representative Martin asked  if the problem could  be solved                 
  with  a severability  clause.   Mr. Gaguine  replied  that a                 
  severability clause would not hurt.  He did not think that a                 
  severability  clause  was necessary.    He explained  that a                 
  ruling that  some individuals  cannot be  covered would  not                 
  affect the remaining sections of the bill.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  asked  if  employees  of  the  Alaska                 
  Housing  Finance  Corporation  (AHFC)  and  Alaska  Railroad                 
  should  be  covered.    Mr.  Gaguine  observed  that  Alaska                 
  Railroad  senior officials are  in policy  making positions.                 
  He  thought  they  could  be   included  in  the  disclosure                 
  requirements without fear of a constitutional challenge.                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Gaguine commented  on section  72 on page  42 which  was                 
  added by the Senate.  He noted that while the legislature is                 
  in session the governor and lieutenant governor may not fund                 
  raise.  He maintained that the provisions on page 9, section                 
  13  would not preclude  a senator running  for governor from                 
  fund raising during  the legislative  session.  He  observed                 
  that  the intent  was to  allow fund  raising for  statewide                 
  office  during  the legislative  session.   If  the parallel                 
  language was  drawn then the governor could  not raise money                 
  for  legislative  races.   Funds  raised during  the session                 
  could  not be  accepted by  any incumbent  in a  legislative                 
  race.                                                                        
                                                                               
  BROOK  MILES,  JUNEAU  BRANCH ADMINISTRATOR,  ALASKA  PUBLIC                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  OFFICES COMMISSION (APOC) noted that  several sections of SB                 
  141 affect APOC.  She noted  that the Commission has serious                 
  reservations concerning  sections 27  and 28,  Legal Defense                 
  and Election Challenge Funds.   She acknowledged that Senate                 
  Intent Language  would limit  the scope  of the  Fund.   She                 
  expressed concern with possibilities for  abuse of the Fund.                 
  She recommended guidelines  concerning contribution  levels,                 
  when contributions  can be made  and received  and how  much                 
  could  be  spent.   She noted  that  there are  no reporting                 
  requirements.   She observed that  APOC would be required to                 
  issue regulations.   The Legislative  Ethics Committee would                 
  administer and adjudicate cases.  She noted that they are in                 
  different branches  of government.   She  observed that  the                 
  Commission has issued a fiscal note.                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell questioned why the Fund is limited to                 
  defense  of  a civil  criminal  administrative action.   Ms.                 
  Miles noted that the Commission was not consulted in regards                 
  to the legislation.                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Brown referred to section  49, page 27.   She                 
  noted that language relating to gifts and loans was deleted.                 
  Ms. Miles noted that  the deletion is the recommendation  of                 
  the Legislative Ethics Committee.  Gifts will be reported to                 
  the  Committee.   Copies  of  disclosure of  gifts  would be                 
  forwarded to  the APOC  and contained  in each  legislator's                 
  file.                                                                        
                                                                               
  In response  to a  question by  Representative Parnell,  Ms.                 
  Miles  clarified  that  any  person  required  to  submit  a                 
  financial disclosure report under AS 39.50 or AS 24.60 could                 
  raise their own funds.  A  legislative employee has the same                 
  right.                                                                       
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVID  FINKELSTEIN stated that  under current                 
  law a legislator cannot raise funds for a legal defense fund                 
  because money that  is not  earned or given  as a  political                 
  contribution  or  a  legal  gift cannot  be  accepted.    He                 
  emphasized  that there is  no mechanism for  a legal defense                 
  fund.    Money  would have  to  be  accepted  as a  campaign                 
  contribution.  The legislation  would create a new area  for                 
  legal defense funds.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked for a clarification  of effective                 
  dates  in  sections 27  and 28.    Ms. Miles  explained that                 
  section 28 would  take effect if the initiative dealing with                 
  campaign finance reform is enacted by  a vote of the people.                 
  She noted that section 27 would be  effective if legislation                 
  is enacted into law and is found to be substantially similar                 
  to the initiative.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with Amendment 1 (copy                 
  on file).  She noted that the amendment incorporates changes                 
  recommended by APOC.                                                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MIKE MCMULLEN,  PERSONAL  MANAGER,  DIVISION  OF  PERSONNEL,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION discussed sections 68 - 70.  He                 
  noted that a  substantial amount of  work would be moved  to                 
  the  Personnel  Board  in the  Division  of  Personnel.   He                 
  observed that the Personnel Board is a lay board.  There are                 
  three  members  on the  Board.    The three  members  of the                 
  Personnel  Board  are also  members  of the  Public Employee                 
  Retirement  System Board.   They meet several  times a year.                 
  He estimated that the legislation will require an additional                 
  monthly meeting.   He expressed concern with  the additional                 
  responsibilities of the Personnel Board.  He  noted that the                 
  Board has not been informed of the proposed changes.                         
                                                                               
  Mr. McMullen  discussed the  shift of responsibilities  from                 
  the  Legislative Ethics Committee  to the  Executive Branch.                 
  He spoke  against the addition  of language stating  that an                 
  appearance of a  conflict of  interest is a  violation.   He                 
  observed  that  the  Executive  Branch  Ethics  Act  already                 
  applies  to  public  employees.     The  bill  would  add  a                 
  subcategory called a  "state official".  He  maintained that                 
  additional  requirements that  are less  demanding  than the                 
  existing Act  will cause confusion.   He questioned  if both                 
  provisions will  apply to  state officials.   He  noted that                 
  section 69 is already covered under existing statute.                        
                                                                               
  STEVEN   (NEIL)   SLOTNIK,   ASSISTANT   ATTORNEY   GENERAL,                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF  LAW  explained that  existing  law  under AS                 
  39.52.120 is  more stringent then the proposed requirements.                 
  He  compared subsection (a)(1)  on page 37,  to current law.                 
  He observed that "personal interest" is deleted from current                 
  statue.  He asserted that the current law maintains a higher                 
  ethical standard.  He referred to section 71.  He noted that                 
  existing law prohibits  a public  official from accepting  a                 
  gift  in circumstances from which it  could be inferred that                 
  the  gift  is  intended to  influence  the  public officer's                 
  official duties.  The legislation would allow gifts of under                 
  $250 dollars.  There  is no requirement to determine  if the                 
  gift  was intended to  influence the official's  duties.  He                 
  observed that subsection (e) prohibits a state official from                 
  soliciting, accepting,  or receiving,  during a  legislative                 
  session, a gift with any monetary value from a lobbyist or a                 
  person acting on behalf of a lobbyist.  He stressed that the                 
  language implies  that a gift  could be accepted  outside of                 
  session.    He  questioned  the   need  for  the  additional                 
  language.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Slotnik acknowledged his confusion in regards to section                 
  71.   He stated that it is  unclear how the original statute                 
  would be affected.  He noted  that currently gifts under $50                 
  dollars are presumed  not to be meant  to influence official                 
  duties.  He stressed that he is unclear how to interface the                 
  language of the old act with SB 141.                                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Slotnik noted that there is  a new definition of "family                 
  member"  in  section  102,  page 52.    The  new  definition                 
  requires that the child or  parent live with the  individual                 
  and be financially dependent.  The current law covers  blood                 
  relation  regardless  of whether  they  are living  with and                 
  financially dependent on the state official.                                 
                                                                               
  Mr. Slotnik observed that the  legislation creates two tiers                 
  of  public  employees.   He  referred  to  section  69.   He                 
  observed that section  69 is in addition to the prohibitions                 
  under AS 39.52.120.  He stated  that the implication is that                 
  AS 39.52.120 does not reach to the  additional provisions of                 
  AS 39.52.125 as contained in SB 141.  He  suggested that the                 
  prohibitions in section 69 would only  apply to the top tier                 
  of state employees, but not to the remainder of employees in                 
  the classified  service.   Before  the legislation,  current                 
  statute was interpreted to prohibit the use of  state funds,                 
  equipment  or  services in  campaigning.   He  stressed that                 
  since  the  provisions  are  not  contained in  the  current                 
  statute they  would no  longer be  implied to  pertain.   He                 
  maintained  that  there  should  not  be  two tiers  in  the                 
  executive branch.  He emphasized that  it would be easier to                 
  maintain compliance to  a single  high ethical standard  and                 
  educate employees if  there is one executive  branch ethical                 
  act.                                                                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Slotnik noted  that disclosure  requirements are not  in                 
  the Executive Branch Ethics Act.  He acknowledged that there                 
  are currently two tiers in reporting requirements.                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown questioned  the  point of  having  two                 
  tiers in the Executive Branch Ethics Act.  Mr. Slotnik noted                 
  that  he  was  not  consulted  in regards  to  drafting  the                 
  legislation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-158, Side 2)                                            
                                                                               
  In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Brown, Mr.                 
  Slotnik stressed that he is comfortable with the rule in the                 
  existing Executive  Branch Ethics  Act,  which prohibits  an                 
  executive branch employee  from taking  a gift if  it is  in                 
  circumstances that could be inferred that it was intended to                 
  influence their performance of official duties.                              
                                                                               
  Mr.  Slotnik  reiterated  that  the  new statutes  would  be                 
  applied in addition to  the current statute.  He  added that                 
  the transfer  of responsibility  for  advisory opinions  and                 
  investigation of  ethic complaints  from the  Office of  the                 
  Attorney General  to the Personnel Board is problematic.  He                 
  observed that the Personnel  Board is a lay board  that does                 
  not  meet  regularly.   He  pointed  out  that the  Attorney                 
  General's office is equipped to advise agencies.   There are                 
  people  on staff  who are  knowledgeable  in regards  to the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Ethics Act and the operation of the agencies.                                
                                                                               
  Representative  Parnell questioned  if  the Personnel  Board                 
  would  be  more  independent.    Mr. Slotnik  questioned  if                 
  independence is  of concern.   He  noted  that opinions  are                 
  available  for  review.   He did  not  think the  quality of                 
  advise would improve by the transfer.  Mr. McMullen reviewed                 
  new requirements of the Personnel Board in sections  70, 71,                 
  and 90 - 100.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  stressed  that  the  issue  is   the                 
  perception  of independence  and impartiality.   He  thought                 
  that public confidence  would be raised  by the transfer  to                 
  the Personnel Board.   Mr. Slotnik noted that there  are two                 
  issues,  advice and  investigation  of  complaints.    Under                 
  current law,  complaints  are investigated  by the  Attorney                 
  General.  If probable cause is determined then an accusation                 
  is  filed with  the Personnel  Board.   The  Personnel Board                 
  hears  the  case  and  makes  a  decision as  to  whether  a                 
  violation did  occur.   If a  complaint is  filed against  a                 
  attorney general, governor  or lieutenant governor then  the                 
  Personnel     Board     appoints     independent    counsel.                 
  Representative  Mulder stressed that  the perception is that                 
  complaints are  not going  to receive  an impartial  hearing                 
  under current law.                                                           
                                                                               
  Mr. McMullen  noted that  the legislation  would direct  the                 
  Personnel  Board  to  give  the  complaint to  the  Attorney                 
  General to  serve notice and  prosecute the case  before the                 
  Board.                                                                       
                                                                               
  In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Brown, Mr.                 
  McMullen  explained   that  the  Attorney   General's  staff                 
  counsels  the  Board.   Representative  Brown  asked  if the                 
  current system is broken or if  there is a specific problem.                 
  Mr. McMullen  and Mr.  Slotnik did  not know  of a  specific                 
  problem.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  questioned the affect  of not adopting                 
  the  Department  of  Administration's   fiscal  note.    Mr.                 
  McMullen stressed that  there would be standstill  in ethics                 
  investigations.    He emphasized  that  there is  not enough                 
  staff for the existing workload.                                             
                                                                               
  LAURA  WILLIAMS, STAFF,  SENATOR  PEARCE  observed that  the                 
  closest thing in the executive branch to an ethics committee                 
  is the  Personnel Board.   She observed that  Senator Pearce                 
  felt that the Board would be more removed.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Brown questioned why the section  prohibiting                 
  gifts during session was inserted  into the Executive Branch                 
  Ethics  Act  for  year  around   employees.    Ms.  Williams                 
  explained  that the second tier was  created to more closely                 
  reflect the Legislative  Ethics Act.    She  noted that  the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  intent is to make it clear  that state officials should have                 
  the  same  prohibitions as  legislators.    It was  not  the                 
  Senator's intent to weaken the  Executive Branch Ethics Act.                 
  She maintained that the current law would apply to the state                 
  offices.     Representative  Brown  pointed  out   that  the                 
  standards  in  the legislation  would  not pertain  to these                 
  employees.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr.  McMullen  provided members  with  Amendment 2  (copy on                 
  file).    He  explained  that  the  amendment  would  delete                 
  "compensated" and insert  "appointed" on  page 35, line  16;                 
  and add "in the exempt services" on  line 17.  The amendment                 
  would also make this change on page  53, lines 6 and 7.   He                 
  noted that the amendment would cover exempt service.                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brown discussed Amendment 1.   She noted that                 
  the  amendment  was  offered  by  the Administration.    Mr.                 
  Slotnik explained that  the amendment deletes almost  all of                 
  the changes  to the  Executive Branch  Ethics Act.   If  the                 
  amendment is  adopted there  would no  longer be  two tiers.                 
  All state employees would be subject to the Executive Branch                 
  Ethics Act.  The disclosure changes would remain.                            
                                                                               
  Representative Brown MOVED to adopt  Amendment 1.  She noted                 
  that  the  amendment  would  delete   the  transfer  to  the                 
  Personnel  Board  and  the  two  tier  structure  for  state                 
  officials and other public officers.   It would leave in the                 
  bill the changes  in disclosure  reporting for employees  at                 
  range 21 and above.  She noted that it is not the  intent to                 
  weaken the Executive Branch Ethics Act.                                      
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell spoke in opposition to the amendment.                 
  He suggested  that both  new and  old prohibitions  would be                 
  enforced.  He spoke in support of the investigation function                 
  being transferred to  the Personnel  Board.   Representative                 
  Brown WITHDREW Amendment 1.                                                  
                                                                               
  Mr.  Slotnik   clarified  that   current  law   pertains  to                 
  commissioners, directors, board members and other high level                 
  policy  makers.   He  observed  that the  two  branches have                 
  similar ethic regulations.                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. McMullen discussed Amendment  2.  He explained  that the                 
  same 800 individuals would  be affected.  He noted  that the                 
  amendment clarifies  that the requirements would  pertain to                 
  persons that  occupy a  position at  range 21  or higher  as                 
  opposed to receiving pay equal to range 21.  He noted that a                 
  lower  range with  a higher step  could have pay  equal to a                 
  range 21A.  He  explained that every hire is  technically an                 
  appointment  to the  position.    All  range  21  and  above                 
  employees would be covered, not just political appointees.                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Slotnik observed  that the compensation level  was added                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  to  cover exempt employees that  are not scheduled by range.                 
  He questioned the status of  University of Alaska employees.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative   Brown   MOVED   to   adopt   Amendment   2.                 
  Representative Kelly  OBJECTED.  Representative  Brown noted                 
  that  the  amendment would  make  the disclosure  cut-off at                 
  range 21.                                                                    
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-159, Side 1)                                            
                                                                               
  Mr. McMullen further explained that the range level would be                 
  the cut-off point rather than the compensation amount.                       
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly  WITHDREW his objection to Amendment 2.                 
  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Brown amended Amendment 3 to add "limited" on                 
  page 4, line  29 after  "C" (copy  on file).   She MOVED  to                 
  adopt Amendment 3.  Representative Mulder OBJECTED.                          
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder disclosed that his wife is a lobbyist.                 
  Representative Brown disclosed that her husband has filed as                 
  a lobbyist.  She noted that  all legislators are affected by                 
  the legislation.                                                             
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown explained  that  Amendment 3  restores                 
  current  law.    She  noted  that  the  intent  is  that  an                 
  occasional or incidental letter or call not related to their                 
  office which  is  handled by  a  legislator in  their  state                 
  office is permitted.  She argued that without the  amendment                 
  there would  be unlimited use of telephones and fax machines                 
  for non-governmental purposes.                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Finkelstein  clarified that  "limited" would                 
  prevent the running of a campaign  or mailing house from the                 
  office.  Representative Parnell questioned the affect on the                 
  legislator's staff.  Representative Kelly asked if "limited"                 
  is defined.  Representative Mulder stressed that there is no                 
  definition  of  "limited".     He  argued  that   there  are                 
  protections built in to the  current system.  Representative                 
  Martin spoke in opposition to the amendment.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative   Finkelstein   noted  that   the  supervisor                 
  interprets  the  use  of "limited".    Representative  Kelly                 
  expressed concern with the lack of definition.                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Finkelstein  stressed  that   the  amendment                 
  requires  that  employees  comply  with  the policy  of  the                 
  supervisor.                                                                  
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to  adopt Amendment                 
  3.                                                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Therriault, Brown, Kelly                                           
  OPPOSED:  Martin, Mulder, Kohring, Foster                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  and Representatives  Navarre,  Parnell and                 
  Grussendorf were absent from the vote.                                       
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (3-4).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to  adopt Amendment  4 (copy  on                 
  file).  Amendment  4 would delete on  page 3, lines  23 -30.                 
  She reiterated  that her  husband has  filed as  a lobbyist.                 
  She explained  that the  amendment would  delete section  3,                 
  which  bans  legislative spouses  from  being employed  as a                 
  lobbyist.   Representative Martin OBJECTED.   Representative                 
  Brown maintained that spouses should be required to disclose                 
  their  lobbying activities.   She stressed  that legislators                 
  are not prevented  from contracting with or  receiving gifts                 
  from lobbyists.  She  noted that spouses may be  employed in                 
  the  other  body.   She  emphasized  that the  ban  would be                 
  inconsistent.  She stressed that Alaska is a small state and                 
  there are limited things that spouses can do in Juneau.                      
                                                                               
  Representative   Mulder  reiterated  that   his  wife  is  a                 
  lobbyist.     Representative   Martin   spoke  against   the                 
  amendment.    He  stressed  the  poor public  perception  of                 
  allowing  legislative  spouses  to  lobby  the  legislature.                 
  Representative Kelly maintained  that legislators vote their                 
  conscience.  He added that they will have to answer to their                 
  constituents.                                                                
                                                                               
  A  roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to adopt Amendment                 
  4.                                                                           
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Mulder, Therriault, Brown, Kelly, Kohring, Foster                  
  OPPOSED:  Martin                                                             
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  and Representatives  Navarre,  Parnell and                 
  Grussendorf were absent from the vote.                                       
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (6-1).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to  adopt Amendment  5 (copy  on                 
  file).  She explained that the  amendment would clarify that                 
  legislator's offices are considered public areas and are not                 
  appropriate  areas   for  display  of   campaign  materials.                 
  Representative  Mulder  OBJECTED.   He  asked if  a campaign                 
  button on a legislator's  jacket in their office would  be a                 
  violation.                                                                   
                                                                               
  SUSIE BARNETT,  SELECT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE ETHICS noted                 
  that  legislative  employees  cannot wear  campaign  buttons                 
  while performing legislative duties.                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  indicated that a  legislator's office                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  becomes their home  away from home.   Ms. Barnett  indicated                 
  that a division  could be made between  a legislator's inner                 
  and outer office.                                                            
                                                                               
  Representative  Therriault  maintained   that  no   campaign                 
  material should  be distributed  or  posted in  legislator's                 
  offices.  He added that a brochure or pin inadvertently worn                 
  or  carried into  the  office should  not  be considered  as                 
  distributing  or posting.   Representative Brown  noted that                 
  campaign buttons could be excluded.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  spoke in  support of  maintaining the                 
  privacy of legislator's  inner offices.  He  maintained that                 
  legislators are not  campaigning from  their inner  offices.                 
  Representative  Parnell  suggested  that  "distributing  and                 
  posting" be further defined.  He agreed that the inadvertent                 
  position  of  campaign  brochures  or  pins  should  not  be                 
  considered as distributing or posting.  He expressed concern                 
  with the  proposal  to  exempt the  inner  office  from  the                 
  prohibitions.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  summarized that  "distribute or  post"                 
  means  to   deliberately  put  something   out,  proactively                 
  distributing or posting for view.                                            
                                                                               
  A roll  call vote was taken on the MOTION to adopt Amendment                 
  5.                                                                           
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Parnell, Therriault, Brown, Kelly, Kohring                         
  OPPOSED:  Martin, Mulder, Foster                                             
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives Navarre and  Grussendorf                 
  were absent from the vote.                                                   
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (5-3).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to  adopt Amendment  6 (copy  on                 
  file).     She  explained   that  the   amendment  prohibits                 
  legislators from  receiving more  than $100  dollars in  any                 
  form.    The legislation  would  raise this  amount  to $250                 
  dollars.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Finkelstein explained that  the intent is  to                 
  raise  the  threshold  to  $250  for  gifts  outside of  the                 
  legislature, from  friends or  families.   Legislative gifts                 
  would still  be held at  $100 dollars.   He  noted that  the                 
  federal level is $50 dollars.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Martin spoke in support  of reducing the gift                 
  level  to $50.   Representative  Brown noted that  there are                 
  exemptions  for   gifts  that   are  not   connected  to   a                 
  legislator's status.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative  Therriault noted  that  food  consumed at  a                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  social event or meal is not included.                                        
                                                                               
  There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 6 was adopted.                           
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to  adopt Amendment  7 (copy  on                 
  file).   Amendment 7  would delete  discounts when  on state                 
  business.  Representative Kelly spoke against the amendment.                 
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-159, Side 2)                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Finkelstein emphasized that discounts can  be                 
  a way to  circumvent the gift prohibitions.   Representative                 
  Martin pointed out  that many legislators  receive discounts                 
  on housing.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Representative  Kelly  maintained  that  the  danger of  the                 
  ethics law is  not that  a legislator will  make an  ethical                 
  violation,  but  that  there  will  be  a  perception  of  a                 
  violation in the media.  He spoke against the amendment.                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Finkelstein stressed  that pricing  based on                 
  rental length or season is not a discount.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Martin questioned if  he could take advantage                 
  of a 15  percent discount on  carpet cleaning.  Ms.  Barnett                 
  noted that the  discount would be  under $100 dollars.   She                 
  added that the discount  is also being offered to  a broader                 
  group.                                                                       
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to  adopt Amendment                 
  7.                                                                           
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown                                                              
  OPPOSED:  Kelly,   Kohring,    Martin,   Mulder,    Parnell,                 
  Therriault,         Foster                                                   
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives  Navarre and Grussendorf                 
  were absent for the vote.                                                    
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (1-7).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to  adopt Amendment  8 (copy  on                 
  file).    Representative  Finkelstein   explained  that  the                 
  amendment would provide for contribution  and time limits on                 
  legal defense funds.  It also clears up the division between                 
  the  Legislative  Ethic  Committee  and  the  Alaska  Public                 
  Offices Commission.                                                          
                                                                               
  Ms. Miles summarized  that the amendment would  provide more                 
  statutory  guidance concerning  the  accounting behavior  of                 
  legal  defense  funds.    It would  also  require  that  the                 
  Commission  by regulation  determine when  reports would  be                 
  filed disclosing  who contributed to  the Fund.   It provide                 
  that the  Alaska Public  Offices Commission  the enforcement                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  body  and  provide  for civil  penalty  assessments  of late                 
  filings of required reports.                                                 
                                                                               
  In response  to a  question by  Representative Parnell,  Ms.                 
  Miles noted that there would not  be provision for a loosing                 
  candidate  who is  not a  seated legislator,  subject to  AS                 
  24.60.  However, they would be disclosure on their financial                 
  disclosure reports.                                                          
  Representative  Finkelstein noted that  the State  of Alaska                 
  acts on behalf of the winning candidate.                                     
                                                                               
  Representative   Parnell   expressed   concern    with   the                 
  contribution and time  limits.   He felt uncomfortable  with                 
  placing limits on someone who can  be sued just because they                 
  are legislators, when a person who  does not hold office can                 
  raise  all  the money  that they  want  to participate  in a                 
  lawsuit.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Parnell  MOVED  to   AMEND  Amendment  8  by                 
  deleting  the reference to page 16, line 2 and page 16, line                 
  27.   There being  NO OBJECTION, it  was so ordered.   There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 8 was adopted.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with Amendment 9 (copy                 
  on file).  Amendment  9 would delete "political"  "or public                 
  policy" on page 15 and 16.  She questioned the need for this                 
  language.  Ms. Barnett noted that  the language was added by                 
  Senator Donely in the Senate.   She stated that the language                 
  was added to clarify that the defense fund could not be used                 
  to fund divorce proceedings or other personal matters.                       
                                                                               
  Ms. Miles observed that the without the amendment any civil,                 
  criminal or administrative action could be covered.                          
                                                                               
  ANN  RINGSTADT,   STAFF,  SENATE  STATE   AFFAIRS  COMMITTEE                 
  clarified that Senator Donley's intent  that the Fund should                 
  only  refer to the political  position or election.  Divorce                 
  or small claims cases  would not be covered.  She noted that                 
  monies could  be  used to  defend against  a frivolous  case                 
  having to do with a campaign.                                                
                                                                               
  Ms. Miles noted  that expenditures  for election  challenges                 
  are proposed for inclusion in other legislation.                             
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  summarized that the  legislation will                 
  codify  provisions  regarding  legal   defense  relating  to                 
  campaigns.                                                                   
                                                                               
  In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Brown, Ms.                 
  Ringstadt noted  that the  intent is  to cover  the cost  of                 
  actions  arising  against a  legislator  that was  not under                 
  their control.                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Brown HELD Amendment 9.                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative MOVED to  adopt Amendment 10 (copy  on file).                 
  She explained that the amendment would allow  the subject of                 
  a complaint to attend amy  meeting concerning the complaint.                 
  She noted that the Committee can consider the request and if                 
  it decides to  deny the  request notify the  subject of  the                 
  complaint their reasons.                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative   Kelly   spoke   against    the   amendment.                 
  Representative  Finkelstein  noted   that  committee   final                 
  deliberations are not open  to the public or the  subject of                 
  the complaint.  He stressed that the amendment clarifies the                 
  internal inconsistency.                                                      
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault argued that the Legislative Ethics                 
  Committee  should   not   be  elevated   to   jury   status.                 
  Representative Martin spoke against the amendment.                           
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to  adopt Amendment                 
  10.                                                                          
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown                                                              
  OPPOSED:  Kelly,   Kohring,    Martin,   Mulder,    Parnell,                 
  Therriault,         Foster                                                   
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives Navarre and  Grussendorf                 
  were absent for the vote.                                                    
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (1-7).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Finkelstein noted  that page  22, line 17  is                 
  inconsistent.  He noted that  the legislation would prohibit                 
  the subject of the complaint from being present at committee                 
  deliberations and vote on the  dismissal order and decision.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Kelly  MOVED  to  adopt  oral Amendment  11,                 
  delete "or the subject  of the complaint" on page  22, lines                 
  11 and 12.                                                                   
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION.                                    
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Kelly,   Kohring,    Martin,   Mulder,    Parnell,                 
  Therriault,         Foster                                                   
  OPPOSED:  Brown                                                              
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives Navarre and  Grussendorf                 
  were absent for the vote.                                                    
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (7-1).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to  adopt oral  Amendment 12  to                 
  delete on page  23, lines 24 -  28.  Ms. Barnett  noted that                 
  the amendment  would retain  the status quo.   The  language                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  would impose restrictions  on the release of  information by                 
  the  subject  of the  complaint  unless the  complainant has                 
  agree to be bound  by similar restrictions and has  not made                 
  public   the   information  contained   in   the  complaint,                 
  information about the complaint,  or the fact of filing  the                 
  complaint.    She noted  that  the  language would  tie  the                 
  Committee  to  conditions  as  set  by  a  person  that  the                 
  Committee  has no  jurisdiction  over.   She noted  that the                 
  language pertains to be information irrelevant to the case.                  
                                                                               
  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Brown MOVED  to adopt  oral Amendment 13,  on                 
  page  8,  line  29  insert  "incidental"  before  "political                 
  activities".  She maintained that the language is too broad.                 
  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  questioned if a  ethics complaint can                 
  be initiated within 60 days of an election.  He alleged that                 
  ethic  complaints are  being used  as campaign  tools.   Mr.                 
  Gaguine  noted  that  AS  11.56  makes  the crime  of  false                 
  accusation with the Legislative Ethics  Committee, a class A                 
  misdemeanor.   Representative Parnell  pointed out  that the                 
  penalty requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.                            
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  question  by Representative  Martin, Ms.                 
  Barnett noted that the  statues do not speak to a gift given                 
  to a family member and imputed to the legislator.  She noted                 
  that family  members are limited  to those people  listed on                 
  page 13, lines 17 - 23.                                                      
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-160, Side 1).                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Brown spoke  to the  need for changes  within                 
  the proposed legislation.   She  pointed out that  following                 
  communication  with Senator  Pearce's  office, some  changes                 
  would  be permissible.   Representative Brown suggested that                 
  the current bill could cause unfortunate repercussions.  She                 
  stressed that the  legislative ethics  as proposed would  be                 
  "forced" into the Executive ethics,  explaining that the two                 
  concepts are quite different.                                                
                                                                               
  SB 141 was HELD in Committee for further discussion.                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects