Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

03/19/2021 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:31:00 PM Start
01:31:41 PM Attorney General, Department of Law
02:57:34 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Attorney General, Dept. of Law, Treg Taylor
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 19, 2021                                                                                         
                           1:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Liz Snyder, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
Representative Christopher Kurka                                                                                                
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
Attorney General, Department of Law                                                                                           
     Treg Taylor - Anchorage                                                                                                    
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
HOUSE BILL NO. 57                                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to  the budget  reserve fund  established under                                                               
art.  IX,  sec.  17(d),  Constitution of  the  State  of  Alaska;                                                               
relating  to money  available for  appropriation for  purposes of                                                               
applying art. IX,  sec. 17, Constitution of the  State of Alaska;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 3                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to the definition of 'disaster.'"                                                                              
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 29                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to liability of an electric utility for contact                                                                
between vegetation and the utility's facilities; and relating to                                                                
vegetation management plans."                                                                                                   
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 62                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to solemnization of marriage."                                                                                 
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SHELDON FISHER                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided invited  testimony in  support of                                                             
the  confirmation  of Mr.  Treg  Taylor,  appointee for  attorney                                                               
PHYLLIS RHODES                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided invited  testimony in  support of                                                             
the  confirmation  of Mr.  Treg  Taylor,  appointee for  attorney                                                               
MIKE GERAGHTY                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided invited  testimony in  support of                                                             
the  confirmation  of Mr.  Treg  Taylor,  appointee for  attorney                                                               
SHELLY CORDOVA, Senior Vice President/General Counsel                                                                           
ASRC Energy Services                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided invited  testimony in  support of                                                             
the  confirmation  of Mr.  Treg  Taylor,  appointee for  attorney                                                               
TREG TAYLOR, Appointee                                                                                                          
Attorney General                                                                                                                
Office of the Attorney General                                                                                                  
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as the  appointee for  attorney                                                             
BARRY JACKSON                                                                                                                   
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During the  confirmation  hearing for  Mr.                                                             
Treg Taylor, appointee for  attorney general, testified regarding                                                               
an investigative report conducted by Mr. Taylor.                                                                                
DAVID CARTER                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  opposition to the confirmation                                                             
of Mr. Treg Taylor, appointee for attorney general.                                                                             
VERI DI SUVERO                                                                                                                  
Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  opposition to the confirmation                                                             
of Mr. Treg Taylor, appointee for attorney general.                                                                             
ANDREE MCLEOD, Good Government Director                                                                                         
Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  opposition to the confirmation                                                             
of Mr. Treg Taylor, appointee for attorney general.                                                                             
THERESA OBERMEYER, PhD                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  opposition to the confirmation                                                             
of Mr. Treg Taylor, appointee for attorney general.                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:31:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order at 1:31  p.m.  Representatives Drummond, Snyder,                                                               
and Claman  were present at  the call to order.   Representatives                                                               
Eastman,  Kurka,  and  Vance  arrived   as  the  meeting  was  in                                                               
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
^Attorney General, Department of Law                                                                                            
              Attorney General, Department of Law                                                                           
1:31:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
the  confirmation   hearing  for  Treg  Taylor,   the  governor's                                                               
appointee for attorney  general, Department of Law.   He reminded                                                               
members that this is the  committee's second confirmation hearing                                                               
for Mr. Taylor.                                                                                                                 
1:32:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN opened invited testimony.                                                                                          
1:33:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SHELDON  FISHER provided  invited  testimony in  support of  Treg                                                               
Taylor, appointee  for attorney general,  Department of Law.   He                                                               
stated he  has known  Mr. Taylor for  many years,  including when                                                               
they served  together at McKinley Capital  [Management], and they                                                               
are personal  friends.  Over these  years, he said, he  has found                                                               
Mr. Taylor to be honest,  motivated by principle in his dealings,                                                               
hardworking,  intelligent,  and  thoughtful.     He  offered  his                                                               
appreciation for  the committee taking Mr.  Taylor's confirmation                                                               
seriously and reiterated his support for Mr. Taylor.                                                                            
1:34:46 PM                                                                                                                    
PHYLLIS  RHODES provided  invited  testimony in  support of  Treg                                                               
Taylor, appointee for  attorney general, Department of  Law.  She                                                               
said her  working career was  with the federal courts  in Alaska,                                                               
and her  retirement career  has been aimed  at equality  for all.                                                               
She related  that her  personal knowledge of  Mr. Taylor  is from                                                               
working  closely with  him over  a two-year  period in  a diverse                                                               
group   of  individuals   seeking   to   devise  what   statewide                                                               
nondiscrimination  legislation  would  look like  that  could  be                                                               
supported across party lines.   She specified that Mr. Taylor was                                                               
fully involved  in the endeavor,  truly believed in  equality for                                                               
everyone,  was attentive,  actively  participated in  compromise,                                                               
and  presented  innovative  solutions  to be  considered  in  the                                                               
group's discussions.   She said legislators will  find Mr. Taylor                                                               
receptive to ideas,  easy to work with, and  dedicated to finding                                                               
workable compromise where  needed to further a  better Alaska for                                                               
all citizens.                                                                                                                   
1:36:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  GERAGHTY  provided invited  testimony  in  support of  Treg                                                               
Taylor, appointee  for attorney general,  Department of Law.   He                                                               
stated he  has been an  active attorney  in Alaska for  almost 43                                                               
years and served as attorney  general under Governor Parnell from                                                               
2012-2014.   He  related  that he  hired Mr.  Taylor  out of  law                                                               
school in  2004 and Mr.  Taylor worked  as an associate  with the                                                               
firm for  about five years.   He said he worked  closely with Mr.                                                               
Taylor  on several  matters of  litigation including  trials, and                                                               
Mr. Taylor was a hard worker,  a very good attorney, and a valued                                                               
member of the firm.   He said he was pleased  for Mr. Taylor when                                                               
the governor announced his appointment.   Mr. Geraghty added that                                                               
he has  known Mr. Taylor as  an honest and ethical  attorney with                                                               
strength  of  character and  would  never  question Mr.  Taylor's                                                               
desire  and commitment  to do  the right  thing and  to seek  the                                                               
input and  guidance he needs  to determine  the right thing.   He                                                               
pointed  out that  as the  attorney  general Mr.  Taylor has  the                                                               
resources  of  the Department  of  Law  to  help him  with  those                                                               
decisions  and Mr.  Taylor would  not  hesitate to  draw on  that                                                               
knowledge to  assist him in  the discharge  of those duties.   He                                                               
stated that  the attacks  on Mr.  Taylor's character  in previous                                                               
testimony  were unwarranted  and malicious,  and he  endorses Mr.                                                               
Taylor's appointment without any qualifications.                                                                                
1:39:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SHELLY  CORDOVA, Senior  Vice  President,  General Counsel,  ASRC                                                               
Energy Services,  provided invited  testimony in support  of Treg                                                               
Taylor, appointee for  attorney general, Department of  Law.  She                                                               
related that  she was  general counsel  and Mr.  Taylor's manager                                                               
when he worked  as senior corporate counsel at her  company.  She                                                               
said  she is  testifying on  behalf  of herself  and ASRC  Energy                                                               
Services  to state  that Mr.  Taylor's  integrity, legal  acumen,                                                               
work ethic, and other strong  qualities make him the right person                                                               
to be Alaska's  attorney general.  Regarding  integrity, she said                                                               
Mr.  Taylor is  the  kind  of person  who  does  the right  thing                                                               
because  it is  the  right thing  to do,  and  his commitment  to                                                               
honesty,  transparency,  and  accountability would  serve  Alaska                                                               
well.  She specified that  Mr. Taylor's legal experience across a                                                               
broad range  of fields  makes him well  qualified, and  that this                                                               
experience  includes  employment,  environmental,  investigation,                                                               
litigation,  and  matters  worth  many hundreds  of  millions  of                                                               
dollars.   She added that  Mr. Taylor's work ethic  is exemplary,                                                               
and  Alaskans can  count  on  him to  work  hard advancing  their                                                               
interests.   For  these reasons,  she said,  she and  ASRC Energy                                                               
Services wholeheartedly  support Mr.  Taylor's confirmation.   As                                                               
well, she  continued, Mr. Taylor  is kind, strongly  committed to                                                               
his family, authentically  cares about others, helps  others on a                                                               
person-by-person basis,  and takes on volunteer  projects to help                                                               
his community, all of which show  that he is fundamentally a good                                                               
person.  She stated that Mr.  Taylor will be able to fix Alaska's                                                               
problems, both big and small, and will do so with integrity.                                                                    
1:42:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  invited committee members  to ask questions  of Mr.                                                               
1:42:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND related  that in 2018 House  Bill 119 was                                                               
passed by  the legislature and  signed into law by  the governor.                                                               
She  said  House Bill  119  contained  a provision  that  stated:                                                               
"Section  4,  AS  42.40.350(a)  is   amended  to  read:  (a)  the                                                               
corporation shall receive  from the United States and  in its own                                                               
name take  title to  all rail property  transferred under  45 USC                                                               
1201-1214, the  Alaska Railroad 14  Transfer Act of  1982, except                                                               
that  the corporation  does not  have authority  over any  right,                                                               
title, or interest in property  transferred under this subsection                                                               
that  was  not  vested  in  the United  States  at  the  time  of                                                               
transfer."   She explained  that this  provision was  intended to                                                               
instruct the  railroad to stop  charging private  property owners                                                               
along the railroad for using their  own land.  In October 2020 it                                                               
was  reported  that  the  railroad was  suing  the  Flying  Crown                                                               
Homeowners  Association   to  obtain  such  payments   in  direct                                                               
violation of this  new law put in  place by House Bill  119.  She                                                               
asked Mr. Taylor whether he has any knowledge of this situation.                                                                
1:45:06 PM                                                                                                                    
TREG  TAYLOR,  Appointee,  Attorney General,  Department  of  Law                                                               
(DOL), confirmed he has knowledge of the bill and the issues.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  inquired  whether Mr.  Taylor  believes                                                               
that  the  state-owned  Alaska  Railroad  Corporation  can  flout                                                               
legislative instructions.                                                                                                       
MR. TAYLOR responded  he is in an awkward position  to answer the                                                               
question because  he has recused  himself from that  issue within                                                               
the Department  of Law (DOL) due  to a conflict of  interest.  He                                                               
explained that in an abundance  of caution he has removed himself                                                               
from this question because his  personal residence abuts railroad                                                               
property  in  south  Anchorage.    He said  he  has  very  strong                                                               
personal  feelings  about that  issue  but  hesitates to  provide                                                               
those here and  give them the clout of the  attorney general when                                                               
he has a clear conflict of interest on the issue.                                                                               
1:46:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  whether as  the attorney  general                                                               
sworn to  uphold state law, Mr.  Taylor will take action  on this                                                               
issue or assign someone in DOL to take that action.                                                                             
CHAIR CLAMAN answered  on behalf of the appointee.   He explained                                                               
that if Mr.  Taylor has recused himself, he  cannot have anything                                                               
to do  with it.   Responding further to  Representative Drummond,                                                               
Chair Claman said  Mr. Taylor could answer  questions but because                                                               
Mr.  Taylor has  recused himself,  he has  no involvement  in the                                                               
decision.  He asked Mr. Taylor to correct him if he is wrong.                                                                   
MR. TAYLOR confirmed Chair Claman is  correct.  He said it is out                                                               
of his hands whether someone within  his section takes that up or                                                               
whether someone  within the Civil  Division takes up  that issue,                                                               
as he doesn't have the ability  to encourage that or to even talk                                                               
about that  with those individuals.   He  informed Representative                                                               
Drummond that she  can submit the questions to  the Department of                                                               
Law and  the administrative assistant  will ensure  the questions                                                               
get to the appropriate person to address her concerns.                                                                          
1:47:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SNYDER addressed  the  topic  of restrictions  on                                                               
employment after  leaving state service  and the use  of waivers.                                                               
She said  this ethics rule is  in place to protect  the interests                                                               
of the  public and  ensure unfair  advantages aren't  afforded to                                                               
one  business over  another when  someone leaves  public service.                                                               
She added  that those safeguards  are in place to  strengthen and                                                               
promote  the faith  and confidence  that Alaskans  have in  their                                                               
public  officers.   With respect  to  former chief  of staff  Ben                                                               
Stevens, she  noted that  Mr. Taylor  previously shared  with the                                                               
committee that  he didn't think  a waiver was necessary  based on                                                               
some verbal and  undocumented conversations, that in  his new job                                                               
as  vice  president of  external  affairs  and transportation  at                                                               
ConocoPhillips Alaska,  Inc. Mr. Stevens wouldn't  be advising on                                                               
matters  under  consideration by  the  governor's  office and  in                                                               
which Mr. Stevens had participated,  in particular matters having                                                               
to do  with the oil industry.   She requested Mr.  Taylor to help                                                               
the committee better understand how  this job position entered by                                                               
Mr. Stevens did not require a waiver.                                                                                           
MR. TAYLOR  replied that  his understanding  of Mr.  Stevens' job                                                               
description is  general, and  that it was  the ethics  counsel at                                                               
DOL who got into the details.   He said his understanding is that                                                               
Mr.  Stevens  is  participating  in a  wide  variety  of  things,                                                               
including  Conoco's tanker  fleet, working  with stakeholders  in                                                               
various areas  in which ConocoPhillips has  projects or potential                                                               
projects, and overseeing ConocoPhillips' paid lobbyists.                                                                        
1:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SNYDER  noted   that  ConocoPhillips  spokeswoman                                                               
Natalie Lowman specifically mentions  in a 2/24/[21] article that                                                               
the job  responsibilities of Mr. Stevens  will include government                                                               
relations.   She  recounted that  Mr. Taylor's  view in  his last                                                               
conversation with the committee  was that it's the responsibility                                                               
of  Mr.  Stevens  to  self-report should  his  duties  create  an                                                               
ethical  conflict.   She  requested Mr.  Taylor  to provide  more                                                               
detail on  what that self-reporting  would look like in  terms of                                                               
timing  and  what  the  requirements would  be  if  Mr.  Stevens'                                                               
responsibilities were to change.                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR responded that at  the last hearing he indicated there                                                               
would be  times that he  expects to hear  a request for  a public                                                               
interest  waiver from  Mr.  Stevens.   He  said  he guesses  that                                                               
occasions  will  arise  where,  in an  abundance  of  caution  or                                                               
because of personal  and substantial involvement in  a matter Mr.                                                               
Stevens is dealing  with on the Conoco side that  he had as chief                                                               
of staff (COS), that DOL is  going to receive specific waivers to                                                               
specific  job duties  that Mr.  Stevens has.   Mr.  Taylor stated                                                               
that the  Alaska Executive  Branch Ethics  Act ("Ethics  Act") is                                                               
designed  for  self-reporting.   Given  many  people leave  state                                                               
service, he said,  one can imagine the fiscal note  that would be                                                               
attached to putting  an investigator on each of  those persons to                                                               
monitor their  daily activities.   Training is provided  to those                                                               
individuals on their duties under  the Ethics Act, he advised, so                                                               
he expects  that Mr. Stevens would  request a waiver if  asked to                                                               
do something in the course of  his job duties that he feels would                                                               
require a waiver or questions whether a waiver is required.                                                                     
MR.  TAYLOR further  noted that  Mr.  Stevens has  access to  DOL                                                               
ethics  attorneys  for  the  next   two  years  and  has  already                                                               
developed a  relationship with those  individuals.   He explained                                                               
that if Mr.  Stevens asks for a waiver, then  the governor and he                                                               
[as  the  attorney general]  would  discuss  the aspect  of  that                                                               
waiver  and  whether Mr.  Stevens  had  personal and  substantial                                                               
involvement  at the  COS level  and  then whether  granting of  a                                                               
waiver  would  be  in  the  public's best  interest.    If  those                                                               
criteria are met,  he continued, the waiver would  be granted and                                                               
would  become public;  if he  and the  governor didn't  grant the                                                               
waiver, that would be the end  and Mr. Stevens would be precluded                                                               
from  working on  that  specific  task.   He  specified that  any                                                               
violations of  the Ethics Act  are an entirely  different matter.                                                               
He explained  that if an  ethics complaint were  to be seen  in a                                                               
year  a   so  that  Mr.   Stevens  has  violated   that  two-year                                                               
prohibition  on doing  something  in which  he  had personal  and                                                               
substantial involvement  while he  was COS,  then the  Ethics Act                                                               
would kick into  place and the repercussions outlined  in the Act                                                               
would occur after an investigation.                                                                                             
1:54:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SNYDER recalled  that  at the  last hearing  this                                                               
approach  was noted  as somewhat  unprecedented and  represents a                                                               
departure from how these things  have been approached in the past                                                               
for these types of positions.                                                                                                   
MR. TAYLOR stated  he is not aware  of what has been  done in the                                                               
past, he  is simply going  on his reading  of the Ethics  Act and                                                               
the information  he has received  from DOL ethics attorneys.   He                                                               
said the  question is  whether a blanket  waiver on  Mr. Stevens'                                                               
activities is  in the best interest  of the state.   He stated he                                                               
feels a blanket waiver is not  in the best interest of the public                                                               
and therefore a tact has been  taken of looking at a case-by-case                                                               
basis and  making those decisions  based upon the  specific facts                                                               
of that  case, and then making  that determination of what  is in                                                               
the public's best interest.                                                                                                     
1:55:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  stated for  the  record  that the  first                                                               
testifier was too  humble because Mr. Fisher was a  member of the                                                               
Walker Administration's cabinet.  He  maintained that as a former                                                               
appointee who  went through this  same confirmation  process, Mr.                                                               
Fisher's testimony is even more relevant.                                                                                       
1:55:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KURKA noted that  the attorney general often gives                                                               
advice  on  the  separation  of   powers  between  the  different                                                               
branches  of  government.   He  related  that in  the  Federalist                                                               
Papers,  No. 78,  Hamilton talks  about the  Judiciary Branch  as                                                               
being the weakest branch of  government because it depends on the                                                               
Executive  Branch  and  the Legislative  Branch  to  enforce  its                                                               
judgements.    He  asked  whether Mr.  Taylor  agrees  with  that                                                               
assessment that the Judicial Branch  must depend on the other two                                                               
branches of government to confirm its actions.                                                                                  
MR. TAYLOR  answered he is  a staunch believer in  the separation                                                               
of powers.   He recalled  he spoke to  that in the  prior hearing                                                               
when  he  said  there  is  inherent  tension  between  the  three                                                               
branches, and  that the  inherent tension  is what  produces good                                                               
law and the  best results for the public served  by the branches.                                                               
He stated that the very makeup  for the Judicial Branch's lack of                                                               
enforcement mechanism  - a court  order - depends on  outside the                                                               
court branch to  enforce, whether that's law  enforcement or when                                                               
the  court  strikes  down  a  statute.   So,  he  continued,  the                                                               
Judicial  Branch does  have  to  rely on  the  other branches  to                                                               
respect the decisions that the Judicial Branch has made.                                                                        
1:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SNYDER  thanked Mr.  Taylor for mentioning  at his                                                               
first confirmation  hearing that  sexual violence  and harassment                                                               
is a priority  to address in Alaska's communities  and should not                                                               
be tolerated in Alaska's governmental  institutions.  She brought                                                               
up the  topic of former  Attorney General Kevin  Clarkson sending                                                               
558 harassing texts  to a subordinate over 27  days and requested                                                               
Mr. Taylor's  perspective on moving  forward and  lessons learned                                                               
from this  issue.  She  recalled Mr. Taylor's statement  that Mr.                                                               
Clarkson was an honorable man and  that the right thing was done.                                                               
She asked  whether the committee should  interpret this statement                                                               
to mean  that the  one month of  unpaid administrative  leave was                                                               
enough recourse  for Mr.  Clarkson's actions  or whether,  as the                                                               
attorney general [designee] Mr. Taylor's  opinion would be that a                                                               
different course should have been taken.                                                                                        
MR. TAYLOR  qualified he  must be careful  how he  comments given                                                               
this is a personnel issue.  He  stated he does not think the one-                                                               
month suspension in and of  itself was adequate and doesn't think                                                               
it was ever  intended to be the  final say.  He  said he believes                                                               
that it  was the  opportunity for Mr.  Clarkson's boss  to review                                                               
what  had gone  on, review  the findings  of the  human resources                                                               
investigation, and make a final  decision about the status of Mr.                                                               
Clarkson's employment.   This  second part,  he pointed  out, was                                                               
preempted  from  taking  place because  ultimately  Mr.  Clarkson                                                               
resigned as attorney general.  Given  the nature of the texts and                                                               
given  it  was  a  subordinate,  although  a  subordinate  within                                                               
another department  of the Executive  Branch, not  the Department                                                               
of Law, he  said it was the right conclusion  for Mr. Clarkson to                                                               
step  down  and,  if  not,   the  right  conclusion  to  probably                                                               
terminate his employment.                                                                                                       
2:00:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SNYDER  surmised  there   might  have  been  some                                                               
shortcomings in the vetting process  in that specific appointment                                                               
decision.   She asked Mr.  Taylor what  could be done  to prevent                                                               
situations like this from occurring again in the future.                                                                        
MR. TAYLOR replied he has many  ideas on that subject, and he has                                                               
shared some  of them  with the governor's  office.   He explained                                                               
that a sort  of investigation takes place, and he  hopes there is                                                               
some  element where  residents  of Alaska  know  they can  submit                                                               
comments to  the chief executive  about their observations.   Not                                                               
speaking  specifically to  this appointment,  he said  there have                                                               
been times  when this ability  would have prevented some  of this                                                               
and  would have  aided  the  state and  the  executive in  making                                                               
2:02:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said  some people are of  the opinion that                                                               
the oath  taken by  legislators or  attorney general  is symbolic                                                               
and that deference should be given  to what the courts say is the                                                               
constitution rather  than viewing  their own  oath as  a relation                                                               
directly  to  the  constitution.     He  requested  Mr.  Taylor's                                                               
thoughts in this regard.                                                                                                        
CHAIR CLAMAN  stated that this  discussion has occurred  in prior                                                               
attorney general nominations, and that  as a member of Alaska Bar                                                               
Association ("Bar") Mr. Taylor is  required to follow the court's                                                               
decisions  on  the interpretation  of  the  constitution.   Chair                                                               
Claman said he is therefore ruling that question out of order.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether Chair Claman  is suggesting                                                               
he direct  that question to Mr.  Taylor in private.   He said his                                                               
vote is dependent on Mr. Taylor's  views on these matters as "the                                                               
constitution and our oath is very important."                                                                                   
CHAIR CLAMAN responded that as a  member of this body and citizen                                                               
of  this  state  and  this  country,  Representative  Eastman  is                                                               
entitled to ask on a personal  level or direct from his office to                                                               
the attorney general  nominee any question that he  wants but not                                                               
during  this committee.   He  said that  when asking  about areas                                                               
which Mr.  Taylor's oath as  a member  of the Bar  would prohibit                                                               
him from answering,  he thinks Mr. Taylor is not  going to answer                                                               
in this  committee.  He  inquired whether  Representative Eastman                                                               
has other questions.                                                                                                            
2:04:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  stated  that the  Alaska  Supreme  Court                                                               
decision on Valley Hospital Association  Inc. v. Mat-Su Coalition                                                             
for Choice hit close  to home in his area.  He  said that in this                                                             
decision the  court held  that "we  are under  a duty  to develop                                                               
additional constitutional rights and  privileges under our Alaska                                                               
constitution."  He asked whether that  is how Mr. Taylor sees the                                                               
role of the courts.                                                                                                             
MR.  TAYLOR answered  that as  cases come  to the  Alaska Supreme                                                               
Court,  oftentimes the  constitutional rights  of individuals  of                                                               
this  state,  constitutional rights  of  citizens  of the  United                                                               
States, are brought  to light; so, issues come up  that there's a                                                               
constitutional question  about.  He  said he doesn't think  it is                                                               
the  court's duty  to invent  new constitutional  rights, but  he                                                               
does believe it is the court's  duty to sort of define what those                                                               
constitutional  rights  are  in   questions  that  are  of  first                                                               
impression;  so, they  are taking  the old  constitutional rights                                                               
and applying  them to current  situations.  He stated  he doesn't                                                               
think  constitutional rights  change over  time, but  that blanks                                                               
are being filled in where there are matters of first impression.                                                                
2:06:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  noted that numerous cases  started before                                                               
Mr. Taylor's  tenure began, one being  Alaska Legislative Council                                                             
v.  Dunleavy.   He  noted  that  as a  party  to  that case,  the                                                             
legislature might like the attorney  general to takes its side in                                                               
that opinion.   He inquired  whether Mr. Taylor, as  the attorney                                                               
general, has an obligation to  maintain the position advocated by                                                               
the administration  prior to  his tenure.   In response  to Chair                                                               
Claman, he confirmed that this case involves appointments.                                                                      
MR. TAYLOR  replied he doesn't  want to comment and  second guess                                                               
his  predecessors,  but stated  he  will  look at  cases  afresh,                                                               
including prior decisions that attorneys  general have given, and                                                               
look at  the application of law.   He specified he  will weigh in                                                               
on those if he thinks there has  been an error in the advice that                                                               
was  given.   He  said he  doesn't think  that  once an  attorney                                                               
general gives  an opinion that  that is law.   There should  be a                                                               
willingness to  take a  new look  at these  things and  engage in                                                               
discussions  on these  issues, he  continued, especially  in this                                                               
case  with Legislative  Legal.   Mr. Taylor  added that  he is  a                                                               
believer  in talking  through  things,  communicating sides,  and                                                               
working to  solutions rather  than to  head to  the courts.   The                                                               
courts ultimately play a role in  that if both parties can't come                                                               
to a  position in which  they agree, he  advised, then it  is the                                                               
natural duty  of the  courts to decide  those issues  between the                                                               
Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch.                                                                                    
2:09:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE said  it has come to her  attention that Mr.                                                               
Taylor  issued an  opinion on  Alaska's Open  Meetings Act.   She                                                               
related that some  of her constituents have  concerns about AIDEA                                                               
[Alaska Industrial  Development and Export Authority]  and others                                                               
that  are  consistently  going into  executive  session,  thereby                                                               
cutting  out much  of  the  public process.    She requested  Mr.                                                               
Taylor's thoughts.                                                                                                              
MR. TAYLOR responded he believes  the Open Meetings Act should be                                                               
followed.    He  said  the   transparency  that  the  legislature                                                               
intended with that  Act is an important aspect  of government and                                                               
gives  the public  confidence  in their  government.   There  are                                                               
exceptions within  that Act that allow  these executive sessions,                                                               
he  advised,  and  whether those  executive  sessions  are  being                                                               
abused would be  a case-by-case look and  investigation into that                                                               
matter.  He  offered his hope that that is  not being abused, but                                                               
said  if that  is the  case, they  are in  violation of  the Open                                                               
Meetings Act.                                                                                                                   
2:10:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN stated  it is troubling to hear  complaints from his                                                               
constituents  that executive  sessions start  five minutes  after                                                               
AIDEA begins a  meeting and sometimes the public must  sit on the                                                               
phone for  as long as three  hours before the meeting  is finally                                                               
reopened.  He said that while  he understands the need to go into                                                               
executive  session, it  is frustrating  that AIDEA  cannot manage                                                               
its agenda to  give meaningful opportunity for public  input.  He                                                               
urged that Mr. Taylor's office try  to direct AIDEA that way when                                                               
giving counsel.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  said she concurs  as her  constituents have                                                               
expressed the very  same frustration.  She said AIDEA  has met in                                                               
executive session  more than  what it has  offered to  the public                                                               
and therefore AIDEA is not  offering the transparency.  She asked                                                               
whether Mr.  Taylor has compared  the open meeting acts  of other                                                               
states with Alaska's and how Alaska could improve.                                                                              
MR. TAYLOR answered  that he has not yet had  the opportunity but                                                               
is sympathetic  to the  concerns expressed  by both  Chair Claman                                                               
and Representative Vance.                                                                                                       
2:12:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN said he understands  the administration became aware                                                               
of complaints  about Mr.  Clarkson's behavior  in these  texts in                                                               
May  or early  June [2020].    He asked  when the  administrative                                                               
leave occurred.                                                                                                                 
MR. TAYLOR replied  he became aware of the general  nature of the                                                               
allegations against  Mr. Clarkson  at the  time Mr.  Clarkson was                                                               
asked  to take  administrative  leave, but  he  said he  couldn't                                                               
recall when that  exactly occurred and would have to  look at the                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN  inquired whether  Mr. Clarkson  told Mr.  Taylor as                                                               
the deputy attorney general or  whether Mr. Taylor heard that Mr.                                                               
Clarkson  went  on  administrative  leave  but  didn't  know  the                                                               
reasons [for that leave].                                                                                                       
MR. TAYLOR responded that it  involved a personal conversation as                                                               
Mr. Clarkson  left the office.   He said Mr. Clarkson  had a very                                                               
brief  conversation with  several people  of the  leadership team                                                               
that  he  was  taking  some  time off  and  did  not  provide  an                                                               
explanation at that time.   It was soon thereafter, he continued,                                                               
that  the  team  became  aware  of  the  general  nature  of  the                                                               
complaint against Mr. Clarkson.                                                                                                 
2:13:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN recalled that during  his first confirmation hearing                                                               
in response to questions  from Representative Kreiss-Tomkins, Mr.                                                               
Taylor stated that  he knew Mr. Clarkson to be  an honorable man.                                                               
He inquired whether  Mr. Taylor thinks Mr. Clarkson  was being an                                                               
honorable man  when he sent the  first of those text  messages to                                                               
the employee of the Executive Branch.                                                                                           
MR. TAYLOR  answered that he in  no way condones what  took place                                                               
with  those text  messages  and it  was wrong.    He said  action                                                               
should have been  taken and was taken that ultimately  led to Mr.                                                               
Clarkson resigning.  That was the  right result, he added, and he                                                               
would never condone action of that nature in any circumstance.                                                                  
CHAIR CLAMAN stated  that Mr. Taylor did not  answer the specific                                                               
question of whether Mr. Clarkson  was being an honorable man when                                                               
he sent that first text.                                                                                                        
MR. TAYLOR replied  he isn't sure whether that  first text would.                                                               
He said he  hasn't gone through all the texts  Mr. Clarkson sent,                                                               
but  it was  not an  honorable exchange  that took  place.   Good                                                               
people make  mistakes, he stated,  and he believes  in redemptive                                                               
quality.   It  was not  honorable  that Mr.  Clarkson sent  those                                                               
texts, he continued, but he  doesn't think those texts define Mr.                                                               
Clarkson as a  person.  He related that he  thought highly of Mr.                                                               
Clarkson when  he worked  with him, the  texts were  a revelation                                                               
and something  he has to consider.   He said he  thinks the texts                                                               
were  wrong, should  not have  been  sent, and  should have  been                                                               
acted upon, and they were acted upon.                                                                                           
2:16:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked whether  Mr. Taylor  thinks Mr.  Clarkson has                                                               
been held accountable for his conduct in sending the 558 texts.                                                                 
MR. TAYLOR responded  that Mr. Clarkson lost  his employment with                                                               
the  state, which  was the  appropriate action  for the  state to                                                               
take  and the  appropriate result.   Some  soul searching  by Mr.                                                               
Clarkson  probably  needs to  take  place,  he  added.   He  said                                                               
another possibility is  a civil action from  the employee against                                                               
Mr. Clarkson for those texts, but he has no knowledge of that.                                                                  
CHAIR CLAMAN pointed out that a  civil action would be a decision                                                               
by the employee, not anyone else.                                                                                               
MR. TAYLOR answered correct.                                                                                                    
2:17:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN recalled that when  asked about the losing string of                                                               
cases  [during  his  first confirmation  hearing],  Mr.  Taylor's                                                               
response included a comment that  the governor doesn't make those                                                               
decisions,  the  attorney general  decides  those  in the  public                                                               
interest.  Chair Claman noted  that one case currently pending on                                                               
appeal involves the Alaska  State Employees Association regarding                                                               
union  affiliation and  a certain  interpretation  of the  "Janus                                                               
case" that  led to an  injunction from  the superior court  and a                                                               
ruling against  the state.   He  said he doesn't  see that  as an                                                               
attorney general's  decision and rather a  governor's decision to                                                               
take  that executive  action, but  it's  upon the  advice of  the                                                               
attorney general  to take that action.   He asked how  Mr. Taylor                                                               
views the attorney general's role in  a case where it is not just                                                               
the attorney general making a  decision, but the governor wanting                                                               
to do  something and getting  advice from the  attorney general's                                                               
office which  in that  case was  contrary to  a statute  in prior                                                               
decisions of the supreme court.                                                                                                 
MR. TAYLOR replied Chair Claman  is almost answering the question                                                               
for himself.   He said his role,  to the best of  his ability, is                                                               
to provide  the best advice on  how the governor should  act; his                                                               
role isn't  to sugarcoat  any of the  realities of  the potential                                                               
decision or  the outcomes of  any of  those decisions.   He noted                                                               
that there is  no statutory requirement for the  governor, who is                                                               
elected by  the people,  to listen to  the attorney  general, who                                                               
isn't  elected  by  the  people.   Once  the  governor  acts,  he                                                               
continued, then  the attorney general  has a decision to  make if                                                               
it  results in  litigation.    The part  played  by the  attorney                                                               
general in  that process,  he said,  is to  both give  advice and                                                               
then defend state action if it's in the public interest.                                                                        
2:19:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN surmised  that in this particular  case the decision                                                               
to  proceed to  appeal and  appeal the  trial court's  ruling was                                                               
made by  the attorney  general at  that point  and no  longer the                                                               
governor making that decision.                                                                                                  
MR. TAYLOR responded  correct.  He said the governor  is a client                                                               
and like any client [the  attorney] consults with the client, but                                                               
ultimately the attorney  relationship is unlike a  client in that                                                               
the  attorney  general  ultimately  has say  on  whether  a  case                                                               
proceeds,  whether a  case is  appealed,  and whether  a case  is                                                               
instigated.   He specified that  when [the state] gets  sued [the                                                               
attorney general]  has a  statutory duty to  defend the  state, a                                                               
role given to [the attorney general] by the legislature.                                                                        
CHAIR CLAMAN  noted that  when an attorney  recognizes a  case is                                                               
weak and  the odds of prevailing  very low there are  options for                                                               
resolving that case  sooner than later and  not necessarily going                                                               
all  the way  to  final judgement,  not  necessarily choosing  to                                                               
appeal.   He asked where the  point is that the  attorney general                                                               
can exercise  independent judgement  and say, "Governor,  you may                                                               
want to  but we're  just not going  to do that,  it's not  in the                                                               
state's interest  to appeal this  anymore or proceed  any further                                                               
because we're just going to lose."                                                                                              
MR. TAYLOR concurred there is  a point where that conversation is                                                               
had with the  governor, then the attorney general  acts, and then                                                               
the  governor  is  free  to  act based  upon  that  action.    He                                                               
reiterated  that  it's  up  to  the  attorney  general  to  bring                                                               
litigation  that's  in  the  state  interest,  pursue  litigation                                                               
that's in the public's interest.   If [an attorney general] makes                                                               
a  decision that  is contrary  to  what the  governor would  like                                                               
done, then the governor can  act with the governor's authority if                                                               
he or she so chooses.                                                                                                           
2:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN surmised  the governor's authority would  be to fire                                                               
the  attorney general  because, if  the attorney  general is  not                                                               
willing to file the appeal,  the governor must find somebody else                                                               
to do it.                                                                                                                       
MR. TAYLOR confirmed that that's  one of the options available to                                                               
the governor.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR CLAMAN  cited the  abortion funding veto  as an  example in                                                               
which the trial court ruled  against the state and the Department                                                               
of  Law did  not appeal  that  ruling.   He surmised  that was  a                                                               
decision  made  by  the  Department of  Law  independent  of  the                                                               
governor saying the state should not appeal this case.                                                                          
MR.  TAYLOR answered  that due  to  attorney-client privilege  he                                                               
can't get  into what  was in those  conversations.   He explained                                                               
that in  a case  like that  the attorney  general listens  to the                                                               
client about what the client wants  done, whether the client is a                                                               
department  or  the  governor,  and  then  the  attorney  general                                                               
advises the  governor as to  what the attorney general  thinks is                                                               
the right  course of  action and  the reasons  why, and  then the                                                               
decision on appeal is a decision for the attorney general.                                                                      
2:22:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  noted  the governor  recently  withdrew  Executive                                                               
Order (EO) 119, which would  have [reorganized] the Department of                                                               
Health  and  Social  Services.   He  recounted  that  before  the                                                               
withdrawal there  were legislative hearings and  meetings between                                                               
the attorney  general and Legislative  Legal Services on  the EO.                                                               
He inquired whether  Mr. Taylor recognized that if  EO 119 wasn't                                                               
withdrawn a lawsuit would likely have been quickly filed.                                                                       
MR. TAYLOR agreed that [a  lawsuit filed against the state] would                                                               
likely have  happened and said  that would  not have been  in the                                                               
state's  best interest.   The  Department of  Law, he  explained,                                                               
looked with fresh eyes at  the concerns brought up by Legislative                                                               
Legal  Services  and  made  a   determination.    He  said  DOL's                                                               
recommendation to  withdraw the EO  and to work  with Legislative                                                               
Legal  Services  to  address  those  concerns  was  in  the  best                                                               
interest of  the state.   He related  he is hopeful  a compromise                                                               
can be reached  on this issue, and something put  forward that is                                                               
going  to withstand  legal scrutiny  and  be a  positive for  the                                                               
residents of Alaska.                                                                                                            
2:24:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  complimented Mr. Taylor  for his focus  on criminal                                                               
cases.   He shared that  in his conversations with  other lawyers                                                               
there has  been discussion that  lawyers appointed to  the Alaska                                                               
attorney general's office are always  civil experts, not criminal                                                               
experts,  yet this  huge  job is  the criminal  side.   He  asked                                                               
whether Mr.  Taylor has  any criminal  law experience  other than                                                               
his time serving as attorney general.                                                                                           
MR. TAYLOR  replied he has no  criminal law experience.   He said                                                               
that  historically an  appointed attorney  general usually  comes                                                               
from the  civil side, while  an elected attorney  general usually                                                               
rises through  the prosecution or  defense ranks and  becomes the                                                               
attorney general of  the state.  He said his  focus regarding the                                                               
Criminal Division  is to learn  that side  so he can  be hands-on                                                               
and able  to help  prioritize the division's  concerns so  it can                                                               
become stronger and more effective in its prosecutions.                                                                         
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  whether in his prior practice  Mr. Taylor had                                                               
any appellate  matters before the  Alaska Supreme Court  in which                                                               
he was the lead counsel.                                                                                                        
MR. TAYLOR responded no.                                                                                                        
CHAIR  CLAMAN inquired  whether Mr.  Taylor has  tried any  civil                                                               
jury trials.                                                                                                                    
MR. TAYLOR  pointed out that  in today's testimony  Mike Geraghty                                                               
testified that  the two of  them did  some trials together.   Mr.                                                               
Taylor  said he  was  co-counsel  on those  trials.   In  further                                                               
response to Chair Claman, Mr.  Taylor confirmed that Mr. Geraghty                                                               
was the lead counsel in those trials.                                                                                           
CHAIR CLAMAN asked whether Mr.  Taylor has been actively involved                                                               
in any oil and gas tax matters.                                                                                                 
MR.  TAYLOR replied  he has  not in  his prior  capacity had  any                                                               
involvement in specific oil and tax issues.                                                                                     
2:26:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE recounted that  in the previous confirmation                                                               
hearing she asked how, given the  breadth of the work required of                                                               
an attorney  general, Mr. Taylor  comes to prioritize  cases that                                                               
the state  should pursue.   She inquired  whether Mr.  Taylor has                                                               
been able to reflect upon that  question and how he plans to make                                                               
that prioritization.                                                                                                            
MR.  TAYLOR  responded  that  it's a  tough  question  given  the                                                               
diversity of the  legal issues taken on by DOL.   He related that                                                               
DOL has nearly  300 attorneys, all of whom are  experts in one or                                                               
another area  of law and who  work hard on behalf  of the public.                                                               
It's almost  impossible for  an attorney general  to come  in who                                                               
has experience in  all those diverse issues, he stated,  so he is                                                               
all  ears when  DOL attorneys  have issues  come up.   As  far as                                                               
prioritization,  he said  he has  certain  things that  he has  a                                                               
statutory obligation  to take on and  that is defense.   Any time                                                               
the state is  sued, he explained, DOL engages  in that litigation                                                               
to  defend the  state  whether  it is  a  statute  passed by  the                                                               
legislature or  a decision made  by a department.   Regarding the                                                               
state's  defense, he  said he  would order  those in  priority of                                                               
being  constitutional  issues,  statehood defense  issues  making                                                               
sure  the state  receives the  things promised  at statehood  and                                                               
that there is not encroachment on  those issues, and third is the                                                               
resource  development aspect  because  that is  the lifeblood  of                                                               
this state.                                                                                                                     
2:29:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN pointed  out that statistics show  the Department of                                                               
Corrections  population  overrepresents minorities,  particularly                                                               
Alaska Natives.   He noted that Mr. Taylor talked  in his opening                                                               
statement about  his youth connection on  Indian reservations and                                                               
concern for  people in  minority communities.   He  requested Mr.                                                               
Taylor's  thoughts as  attorney general  on steps  that could  be                                                               
taken  to  make it  so  that  this overrepresentation  of  Alaska                                                               
Natives is no longer seen in a few years.                                                                                       
MR. TAYLOR  said that is  a big issue on  which he has  not fully                                                               
developed an  opinion.   He said  as he  learns more  about these                                                               
issues and  why Alaska has  an overrepresentation within  some of                                                               
those minority groups it is  obviously going to be a multifaceted                                                               
problem.  He  stated he is willing to address  those issues as he                                                               
becomes  more aware  and will  take them  on to  make sure  there                                                               
isn't  any  bias  in  Alaska's   system  in  the  way  cases  are                                                               
prosecuted and that it  is based on the law and  not the color of                                                               
skin.  He added that in  making these comments he has zero reason                                                               
to believe  that the  state's prosecutors  are engaging  in that,                                                               
but he is willing to look at that issue.                                                                                        
2:31:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  stated  he  will  ask  Mr.  Taylor  more                                                               
questions  after the  hearing is  over [given  Mr. Taylor's  time                                                               
constraint].   He offered his  congratulations to Mr.  Taylor for                                                               
stepping forward.                                                                                                               
2:32:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN opened  public testimony on the  confirmation of Mr.                                                               
Treg Taylor, appointee for attorney general.                                                                                    
2:33:01 PM                                                                                                                    
BARRY  JACKSON  testified he  is  a  retired state  employee  who                                                               
worked  for 30  years in  procurement  and all  aspects of  state                                                               
purchasing.   He said his  concerns about Mr.  Taylor's potential                                                               
service  as the  attorney general  have to  do with  Mr. Taylor's                                                               
investigative  report on  the Alaska  Industrial Development  and                                                               
Export  Authority (AIDEA)  and the  Clark Penney  contract, which                                                               
was done to ascertain how  procurement came about, the contractor                                                               
selection   process,  and   whether  AIDEA   complied  with   the                                                               
procurement process.   He  related that the  report was  just one                                                               
paragraph  basically  saying that  AIDEA  had  all the  necessary                                                               
papers in  place in its files.   He said the  report ignored that                                                               
the   procurement  began   with  the   Department  of   Commerce,                                                               
Community, and Economic Development  (DCCED) through Mr. Penney's                                                               
drafting of  the contract,  and that once  the contract  had been                                                               
largely negotiated  it was  offloaded to AIDEA  which then  did a                                                               
sole source  contract procurement.   He asserted that  DCCED knew                                                               
it  would never  get this  contract through  the process  of sole                                                               
source  procurement.    He  charged   that  the  amount  of  this                                                               
investigation  was  astoundingly bad  and  seems  to indicate  an                                                               
intent to cover up what really happened.                                                                                        
2:36:50 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID CARTER  testified he is  a retired lawyer who  practiced in                                                               
Anchorage from 1984-2013.  He  stressed that the attorney general                                                               
position is  a very important  position for which there  are many                                                               
qualified people in the state.   But, he continued, Mr. Taylor is                                                               
not  one of  them  given  how he  approached  the  matter of  Ben                                                               
Stevens receiving  money from VECO  [while a state senator].   He                                                               
maintained that  the ethics policy  of ConocoPhillips is  that it                                                               
doesn't tolerate ethics.   He asserted there are  no penalties of                                                               
any consequence  and no  criminal penalties  for violations.   He                                                               
charged  that there  is too  much  money involved,  and too  many                                                               
revolving  doors  and  incestuous  relationships.   He  said  Mr.                                                               
Taylor is not  the proper person to be  Alaska's attorney general                                                               
and urged members to not support Mr. Taylor's confirmation.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE clarified  for the record that  while it may                                                               
be a public concern, Mr. Stevens  was not found guilty for any of                                                               
his actions with VECO.                                                                                                          
CHAIR CLAMAN offered  his understanding that Mr.  Stevens was not                                                               
even charged.                                                                                                                   
2:40:00 PM                                                                                                                    
VERI DI  SUVERO, Alaska Public Interest  Research Group (AKPIRG),                                                               
testified in opposition  to the confirmation of Mr.  Taylor.  Mx.                                                               
Di  Suvero  said  AKPIRG is  a  statewide  nonpartisan  nonprofit                                                               
organization  advocating on  behalf of  consumers and  the public                                                               
interest.   They referenced a  statement by Mr.  Taylor regarding                                                               
not judging  people on their worst  days and related that  when a                                                               
white supremist  recently killed six  Asian American women  a law                                                               
enforcement official  said the  supremist was  having a  bad day.                                                               
This  rhetoric,  they argued,  is  used  to absolve  and  forgive                                                               
predators, murderers, and white  supremists in positions of power                                                               
while  women,  communities  of   color,  and  other  marginalized                                                               
communities are  left to  bear burdens  of violence  without ever                                                               
seeing accountability.   They related  that when  former Attorney                                                               
General Clarkson resigned, AKPIRG  sent a letter alongside others                                                               
requesting Governor  Dunleavy to commit to  combatting the sexual                                                               
assault  crisis in  Alaska  by assuring  that  the next  attorney                                                               
general be  a woman  and/or a  person of color  and not  a sexual                                                               
predator.  Instead, the governor  appointed another predator, Mr.                                                               
Sniffin, who  also resigned  due to  sexual improprieties  with a                                                               
high school student.                                                                                                            
MX. DI SUVERO recalled Mr.  Taylor's statement about Mr. Clarkson                                                               
being  an honorable  man and  said Mr.  Taylor does  not seem  to                                                               
understand  that  those behaviors  share  the  same fate  as  the                                                               
current sexual  violence crisis  that Alaska  faces and  that Mr.                                                               
Taylor purports  to address  as attorney  general, the  top legal                                                               
office for the  state.  They added that  Mr. Taylor's doublespeak                                                               
continues into the realm of  public trust in government.  Through                                                               
a recent  information request for  within the Department  of Law,                                                               
they continued, AKPIRG learned that  Mr. Taylor actively colluded                                                               
to circumvent ethics  statutes that would lead  to written waiver                                                               
mandates for certain  conflicts of interest.   They asserted that                                                               
this  was  confirmed  during   Mr.  Taylor's  first  confirmation                                                               
hearing  when he  stated that  only  certain circumstanced  would                                                               
require a  conflict waiver, circumstances  of which  have already                                                               
been  satisfied by  Ben Stevens'  job  description of  government                                                               
affairs.    They said  Mr.  Taylor  seems  to have  directed  Mr.                                                               
Stevens to ask for forgiveness  instead.  They stated that AKPIRG                                                               
believes Mr. Taylor is unfit to serve the public's interest.                                                                    
2:43:20 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREE MCLEOD,  Good Government Director, Alaska  Public Interest                                                               
Research Group  (AKPIRG), testified that Mr.  Taylor's statements                                                               
during  his first  confirmation  hearing left  no  doubt that  he                                                               
ought  not to  be confirmed  as Alaska's  attorney general.   She                                                               
said  Mr. Taylor  promises  the  sun, moon,  and  stars, but  his                                                               
actions related  to the jump  of Ben Stevens from  the governor's                                                               
office to  ConocoPhillips reveal  that either Mr.  Taylor doesn't                                                               
understand the state's  laws, or he does understand  them and has                                                               
purposely,  willfully, and  intentionally  chosen  to ignore  and                                                               
disregard  them.    She  noted  that she  has  submitted  to  the                                                               
committee a copy of all written  waivers filed since 2005 per the                                                               
Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.   She said it shows that many                                                               
former public officials did take to  heart their oath to do right                                                               
by the  public they  served, did  follow Alaska's  laws regarding                                                               
written waivers, and  that they knew appearances  of conflicts of                                                               
interest existed and took them  seriously.  Oftentimes corruption                                                               
is thought  of as  money changing  hands, she  stated.   But, she                                                               
charged, during  his first hearing  Mr. Taylor  misconstrued laws                                                               
put on the  books to protect the public interest  and prevent and                                                               
mitigate conflicts of interest, which  is corruption.  She stated                                                               
that   after  the   2006  FBI   raids  of   legislative  offices,                                                               
legislators took  great pains to  right the wrongs  that occurred                                                               
because of  the actions  of corrupt public  officials.   She said                                                               
corruption  can be  changed if  each committee  member takes  the                                                               
necessary action to not confirm Mr. Taylor.                                                                                     
2:45:37 PM                                                                                                                    
THERESA  OBERMEYER, PhD,  testified that  she cannot  support Mr.                                                               
Taylor.   She cited  Mr. Taylor's statement  that good  people do                                                               
bad things  and asked, "Where are  any limits?"    She noted that                                                               
the Alaska  Bar Association is  an integrated bar, so  anyone who                                                               
is  a member  must  pay Bar  dues.    She said  the  Bar has  not                                                               
disciplined  Mr. Clarkson,  Mr. Sniffin,  or Mr.  Berkowitz; they                                                               
have  kept  their licenses  to  do  whatever  they please.    She                                                               
pointed out that  only 2 of 24 attorneys general  have finished a                                                               
term, the  two being Avrum Gross  and Bruce Botelho.   She argued                                                               
it is not a  sensible system to leave it up  to the individual to                                                               
be ethical.   She questioned whether Mr. Taylor  will do anything                                                               
to Ben  Stevens and noted  that nothing happened to  Mr. Clarkson                                                               
for several months until the press published a story.                                                                           
2:48:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  no one                                                               
else wished to testify.                                                                                                         
2:49:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE thanked Mr. Taylor  for stepping up to serve                                                               
and stated it isn't easy to  serve after people who haven't acted                                                               
honorably.   She said it  doesn't matter  who is next  after such                                                               
concerning actions and  allegations, this person has  a hard line                                                               
to toe.   She recounted that Mr. Taylor has  stated he intends to                                                               
pursue a different  avenue and different course of  action in his                                                               
office  and will  be prioritizing  sexual  misconduct and  sexual                                                               
assault in Alaska.  She related  that she has met with Mr. Taylor                                                               
and asked  him what  his priorities  are, how he  is going  to do                                                               
things different.   She said the  sense she has from  Mr. Taylor,                                                               
and from looking  at how he has served and  his personal life, is                                                               
that Alaska  can expect a  better environment from  this attorney                                                               
general in the future.  She said  it is up to the people involved                                                               
in those previous actions to  pursue that on behalf of themselves                                                               
and the public, it's not up  to this attorney general to do that.                                                               
She offered her belief that  this committee wants to respect that                                                               
everyone is innocent until proven guilty.                                                                                       
2:51:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  thanked  the day's  testifiers  and  Mr.                                                               
Taylor.   He  recalled that  during  the hearing  there was  some                                                               
criticism  levied at  the  Executive  Branch regarding  executive                                                               
sessions  and the  public being  locked  out of  the process  for                                                               
hours at  a time.  While  that criticism may be  well founded, he                                                               
continued, just  today a constituent  told him about  waiting for                                                               
an  hour locked  out  of the  House floor  session  and was  then                                                               
confused about why  it ended with 100  percent executive session.                                                               
So, he stated, everyone has work to do in this area.                                                                            
2:51:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SNYDER offered  her appreciation  for the  themes                                                               
that Mr. Taylor addressed regarding  what he would like his focus                                                               
areas to  be.  She stated  she would have appreciated  a bit more                                                               
detail and  some of the specific  ways in which he  would address                                                               
those issues both  statewide and within government  offices.  She                                                               
expressed  her  hope  that through  continued  conversations  the                                                               
committee will continue  to receive additional detail.   She said                                                               
it is straightforward  to say, "Yes these  are important themes,"                                                               
but  it is  also  clear  that these  things  continue to  persist                                                               
because they  are difficult to address,  and it is going  to take                                                               
persistence, research, and detailed focus approaches.                                                                           
2:52:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN thanked the testifiers and Mr. Taylor.                                                                             
2:53:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND expressed her  appreciation to the public                                                               
and colleagues  of Mr. Taylor  who testified.   She said it  is a                                                               
tough decision on whether to  accept the attorney general and she                                                               
still isn't there  on how she is  going to vote on  Mr. Taylor in                                                               
joint  session.   She stated  she was  inspired by  the train  of                                                               
thought of  some of  the suggestions  and questions,  one example                                                               
being Chair Claman's reference to  the percentage of incarcerated                                                               
Alaska  Natives.   She offered  her belief  that there  are other                                                               
paths to reduce that,  but they don't have to do  with the law or                                                               
the attorney general's  office; rather it has to  do with looking                                                               
across   departmentally   at   things  like   adverse   childhood                                                               
experiences  and  how  to  stop them  from  happening  to  Alaska                                                               
citizens.   She  said  she  will call  Mr.  Taylor  to have  this                                                               
conversation with  him.  She  added that she likes  the direction                                                               
Mr. Taylor appears to be wanting to take the department.                                                                        
2:55:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN stated  it is always interesting  when Dr. Obermeyer                                                               
testifies  because she  often  brings  information the  committee                                                               
might not  have thought  about.  For  example, he  continued, her                                                               
reference  to how  few attorneys  general have  served an  entire                                                               
governor's  term, whether  a single-  or  two-term governor,  and                                                               
Alaska  has only  had two  governors who  served two  terms.   It                                                               
raises significant questions, he  said, and regardless of whether                                                               
confirmed  Mr. Taylor  will  not  serve the  entirety  of a  term                                                               
because it is already more  than halfway through [this governor's                                                               
term].   He offered his appreciation  to Mr. Taylor for  his time                                                               
[before the committee].                                                                                                         
2:56:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SNYDER  moved to advance the  confirmation of Treg                                                               
Taylor,  appointee for  attorney general,  Department of  Law, to                                                               
the joint session for consideration.   She reminded the committee                                                               
that  signing the  reports regarding  appointments to  boards and                                                               
commissions does not  reflect intent by any  individual member to                                                               
approve or disapprove confirmation of the appointee during any                                                                  
further sessions.  [The nomination is merely forwarded to the                                                                   
full legislature for confirmation or rejection.]                                                                                
2:57:34 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:58 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Attorney General Appointment - Treg Taylor Resume 3.15.2021.pdf HJUD 3/15/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
Attorney General Appointment - Treg Taylor
Attorney General Appointment - Testimony - Received as of 3.22.2021.pdf HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HB 57 v. B 2.18.2021.PDF HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Sponsor Statement 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Sectional Analysis v. B 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - OMB Letter 7.12.2019.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - CBR Sweep Breakdown by Fund - LFD March 2020 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - AEA Memo on PCE Sweep 8.24.2019.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - Hickel v. Cowper May 27, 1994 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - Legislative Finance Outline of AS 37.10.420 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - Legislative Research Memo GF Definitions 9.1.2020.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - FY19 Single Audit - Finding No. 2019-089 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Additional Document - FY20 CAFR General Fund Accounts 3.8.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 Statement of Zero Fiscal Impact 3.6.2021.pdf HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57
HB 57 PowerPoint Presentation 3.10.2021.pdf HJUD 3/10/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/24/2021 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 3/29/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 57