Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/10/1995 01:06 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJUD - 03/10/95 HJR 1 - REPEAL OF REGULATIONS BY LEGISLATURE REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS, bill sponsor, introduced HJR 1. She explained that this joint resolution is a proposal to place a constitutional amendment before the voters of the State of Alaska on the 1996 general election ballot. The amendment would permit the legislature to repeal regulations promulgated by state agencies that do not properly implement state statutes. Although many resolutions do conform to, and accurately implement the laws passed by the legislature, there are an increasing number of situations where regulations imposed on the citizens of this state do not. In many cases, legislative directives are ignored, or regulations are promulgated that go far beyond the scope of what the legislature intended. As you know, once regulations go into effect, they have all the full force and effect of law. This is the case, even though regulations are promulgated by agency bureaucrats who do not have to answer to the voters. The Alaska Constitution provides a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government. The people of Alaska have their own check on government through the voting booth, the initiative process, and final authority over amendments to the constitution. However, one area that is beyond access to the people's voice, is the tremendous volume of administrative regulations which are developed by the state agencies. These regulations affect every aspect of our people's lives, yet the people are virtually powerless to change them. This constitutional amendment proposed in HJR 1 will provide people a reasonable avenue to seek the repeal of improper regulations. This issue has been before the voters three different times, and prior efforts to persuade the voters to support similar amendments have failed. Nevertheless, a better campaign presentation, clear ballot language, and the current popular support for regulatory reform will allow us to bring this constitutional amendment, and make it a reality. Now, more than ever, Alaskans understand how regulations affect their daily lives, and the support of this ballot proposition brings state regulations closer to the people. REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked what has happened since 1986. He remembered this being on the ballot since 1986. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS said it has not been on the ballot since 1986. It has been on the ballot three times, 1986 being the last time. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what happened to this in the last legislature. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS answered that it went all the way through and died on the Senate floor on the last day of session. It received a vote of 14 to five, but needed 15 votes, because it is a constitutional amendment. Number 100 CHUCK ACHBERGER, Executive Director, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, was also representing the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. He said they support HJR 1. The cost of regulations in Alaska is becoming one of the biggest costs of doing business. While regulations are necessary, some make no sense; or worse yet, are being used by regulatory agencies as blunt instruments against business. The act of writing regulations is often without public input, with an eye to making life easier for the regulator than for the citizen. This is just human nature. What is truly disturbing is that when regulatory agencies set out to protect you, me and the environment, an individual's bias often takes the regulation away from the intent of the law that was passed. In doing so, they become the lawmakers. HJR 1 would provide some recourse for both you, the lawmakers, and myself, as well as to the business community, to correct some of these digressions; and in doing so, return the making of the laws to those who are elected. CHAIRMAN PORTER read a resolution from the State Chamber of Commerce into the record: "Whereas Alaska is competing in a global economy in increasingly competitive areas working to attract industry and business worldwide, and whereas the perception of Alaska as a favorable place to do business is vital to its success in this competitive arena, and whereas excessive and burdensome regulation constrains and discourages business; therefore be it resolved that the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce asks the Administration and the State Legislature to focus its efforts toward creating a regulatory, economic environment, supportive of business development which encourages business to locate and grow in Alaska. "And be it further resolved that the Alaska State Chamber also asks the Legislature and the Administration to provide for oversight to assure that regulations are producing effective results which follow legislative intent." CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if there was anyone else who wished to provide testimony. Hearing none, he closed the public hearing on HJR 1. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY made a motion to pass the resolution out of committee with individual recommendations. Seeing no objection, HJR 1 was moved.