Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/10/1995 01:06 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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             
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what happened to this in the last            
 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.                                                   

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