Legislature(2013 - 2014)

02/25/2013 02:04 PM JUD


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          HB 63 - EXTEND BAR ASS'N BOARD OF GOVERNORS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 63, "An Act  extending the termination date of the                                                               
Board of Governors  of the Alaska Bar  Association; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:05:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE HAWKER,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
explained that  HB 63  would extend the  termination date  of the                                                               
Board  of   Governors  of  the  Alaska   Bar  Association  (ABA),                                                               
currently scheduled to terminate June  30, 2013.  The Division of                                                               
Legislative  Audit, having  concluded an  audit of  the Board  of                                                               
Governors of  the ABA and  determined that it's operating  in the                                                               
public's  interest   and  has  complied   with  its   duties  and                                                               
responsibilities to  the public, recommends that  the termination                                                               
date  be extended  to  June  30, 2021.    He  mentioned that  the                                                               
Division  of  Legislative Audit  [has  also  determined that  the                                                               
Board of Governors  should again recommend to  the Alaska Supreme                                                               
Court that it  amend the Alaska Bar Rules so  as to] increase the                                                               
number  of continuing  legal education  (CLE)  credit hours  that                                                               
each ABA member be mandated to complete.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  disclosed that  he is  a member  of the                                                               
ABA, and,  remarking on the  importance of mandatory CLE  for ABA                                                               
members, questioned  whether something should  be added to  HB 63                                                               
regarding that recommendation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER expressed  a  preference  for attaching  a                                                               
letter of intent, rather than amending the bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG relayed that  he would draft that letter                                                               
of intent.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:13:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HANNA  SEBOLD,   President,  Board   of  Governors,   Alaska  Bar                                                               
Association  (ABA),  in  response  to comments  and  a  question,                                                               
indicated that the Board of  Governors is willing to discuss with                                                               
the Alaska  Supreme Court the  issue of increasing the  number of                                                               
mandatory CLE credit hours for ABA members.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:14:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN J. VAN  GOOR, Bar Counsel, Alaska  Bar Association (ABA),                                                               
indicated that such discussion would be occurring soon.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:17:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  S. OBERMEYER,  SR.,  Attorney  at Law  -  referring to  a                                                               
letter   he'd  written,   included  in   members'  packets,   and                                                               
mentioning  that he's  licensed  to practice  law  in Missouri  -                                                               
offered his  beliefs that there  are many problems with  the ABA,                                                               
including a  lack of uniform  discipline and  low bar-examination                                                               
passage  rates,  that   Alaska's  bar-examination  passage  rates                                                               
should  be increased,  and that  Alaska's  current passage  rates                                                               
have been kept  low on purpose through manipulation.   He opined,                                                               
therefore, that HB 63 should  not be passed, thereby allowing the                                                               
Board of  Governors of the  Alaska Bar Association  to terminate,                                                               
in  turn  providing an  opportunity  to  reevaluate Alaska's  bar                                                               
examination.    He  also  indicated,   though,  that  he  has  no                                                               
objection to increasing  mandatory CLE.  In  conclusion, he said,                                                               
"I  don't  think this  should  be  just another  rubberstamp  ...                                                               
passage ... of a sunset date."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN GOOR,  in response to comments and  a question, indicated                                                               
that the Board  of Governors of the ABA  is currently researching                                                               
the issue of a uniform bar examination.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER,  ascertaining that no  one else wished  to testify,                                                               
closed  public  testimony on  HB  63,  and  pointed out  that  as                                                               
currently  written, the  bill would  only extend  the termination                                                               
date of the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Association.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:28:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved  to report HB 63 out  of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There  being no  objection, HB  63  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Judiciary  Standing  Committee.    [Note  to  the  reader:    the                                                               
aforementioned  letter of  intent for  HB 63  was adopted  by the                                                               
committee on 2/27/13.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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