Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/10/2003 10:07 AM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB  89-LOBBYING/LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  CS FOR  SENATE  BILL NO.  89(JUD) am,  "An  Act amending  the                                                               
Regulation of  Lobbying Act and  the definition of  'lobbyist' as                                                               
it  applies  in   the  act  setting  standards   of  conduct  for                                                               
legislators   and  legislative   employees;   and  amending   the                                                               
Regulation  of  Lobbying Act  and  the  legislative standards  of                                                               
conduct  to allow  a lobbyist  to give  and a  person covered  by                                                               
legislative standards of  conduct to accept tickets  to a charity                                                               
event during a legislative session."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 024                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  moved to adopt  HCS CSSB 89,  Version 23-                                                               
LS0396\Q, Craver, 5/8/03, as the working document.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected for discussion purposes.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 035                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  RALPH SEEKINS,  Alaska State  Legislature, spoke  as the                                                               
sponsor  of SB  89.   He  pointed  out that  Version  Q adds  new                                                               
language on page 2, lines  25-26, which says, "except for tickets                                                               
to  a charity  event  described in  AS  24.60.080(c)(10)".   That                                                               
language  would allow  anyone, including  a lobbyist,  to sponsor                                                               
the  participation of  a  legislator  when the  money  goes to  a                                                               
charity.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG interjected,  except  for those  areas for  which                                                               
approval from legislative council must be obtained.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS agreed.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG highlighted  the  success of  the charity  events                                                               
developed  under  the  leadership  of  the  legislature  and  the                                                               
citizens of Juneau.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  continued to review  the changes  encompassed in                                                               
Version Q.   He  directed attention  to the  language on  page 3,                                                               
lines 4-16, which specify what  an administrative action does not                                                               
include.  Therefore, the language  lists some activities that the                                                               
Alaska Public Offices Commission  (APOC) now believes constitutes                                                               
lobbying  under the  current statute  [and  specifies that  those                                                               
activites  aren't  considered  an  administrative  action].    He                                                               
emphasized  that the  activities  [listed] have  to  do with  the                                                               
normal course  of business with  public officials.   The language                                                               
added  in Section  3 was  part  of the  original legislation,  he                                                               
noted.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ removed his objection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that with  no further objection, Version                                                               
Q was before the committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 100                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  remarked  that  when  he  attended  new  member                                                               
orientation,  he discovered  that he  had probably  been breaking                                                               
the lobbying laws by being an  active member of his local Chamber                                                               
of Commerce,  the Alaska Automobile Dealers  Association, as well                                                               
as  many  other associations.    He  emphasized  that he  was  in                                                               
violation of the lobbying laws and  didn't even know it.  He said                                                               
that as  a new member of  the legislature he wasn't  aware of the                                                               
four-hour  limit  because he  didn't  know  all the  regulations.                                                               
Furthermore, he  said he didn't believe  he was aware of  all the                                                               
regulations  under  the  current  definition  of  lobbying.    He                                                               
directed attention  to a February  11, 2003, letter from  APOC to                                                               
Brett  Huber,  Executive  Director, Kenai  River  Sports  Fishing                                                               
Association,  which is  included in  the committee  packet.   The                                                               
letter  says  that an  individual  receiving  a salary  [from  an                                                               
organization] while  talking with  public officials  is receiving                                                               
payment   to   lobby.     Senator   Seekins   characterized   the                                                               
aforementioned as  a "wide net"  that indicates  merely providing                                                               
public officials  with information  is one  way of  attempting to                                                               
influence a  legislative or administrative action.   Furthermore,                                                               
one doesn't  have to be successful  in an attempt to  a influence                                                               
legislative or  administrative action, the attempt  merely has to                                                               
be made.  Senator Seekins  related his belief that the definition                                                               
of lobbying shouldn't  make unknowing criminals and  thus he felt                                                               
there was the need  to be more clear.  He pointed  out that in AS                                                               
24.45.011, the  legislative declaration of purpose  specifies the                                                               
following:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The legislature  finds and declares that  the operation                                                                    
     of responsible  representative democracy  requires that                                                                    
     the fullest  opportunity be afforded  to the  people to                                                                    
     petition   their   government   for  the   redress   of                                                                    
     grievances and to express  freely to individual members                                                                    
     of  the   legislature,  to   its  committees,   and  to                                                                    
     officials of  the executive  branch, their  opinions on                                                                    
     pending  legislation  or  administrative  actions;  and                                                                    
     that  the people  are entitled  to  know the  identity,                                                                    
     income, expenditures,  and activities of  those persons                                                                    
     who pay,  are paid or  reimbursed for expenses,  or who                                                                    
     make  expenditures or  other payments  in an  effort to                                                                    
     influence legislative or administrative action.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  explained that this legislation  tries to define                                                               
a  true  lobbyist versus  a  citizen  trying to  express  his/her                                                               
opinion  on legislation.   Therefore,  this legislation  provides                                                               
more clear  definitions of the  activities of lobbyists  and what                                                               
it entails.  Rather than  redefining "regular" and "substantial",                                                               
this legislation specifies that if  one spends a little less than                                                               
25  percent  of a  40-hour  work  week  month talking  to  public                                                               
officials  he/she   would  have   to  register  as   a  lobbyist.                                                               
Therefore,  the legislature  through  statute would  set the  bar                                                               
rather than APOC.   Senator Seekins said he  would appreciate the                                                               
committee's  support in  getting  this legislation  to the  House                                                               
floor.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 161                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ   commented  that  he   didn't  believe                                                               
Senator Seekins' actions when he  was a new member were criminal.                                                               
Furthermore,  he   didn't  believe   APOC  believes   so  either.                                                               
Representative Berkowitz  said that  he has  a letter  from Tammy                                                               
Kempton,   Regulation   of    Lobbying,   APOC,   Department   of                                                               
Administration,   who   indicates   that   participating   in   a                                                               
legislative "fly-in"  doesn't constitute  a violation  of current                                                               
APOC  rules.    [The  letter] further  indicates  that  volunteer                                                               
lobbyists  and  sole  proprietors  aren't  breaking  APOC  rules.                                                               
Participating in  public proceedings or answering  questions from                                                               
a  legislator  directed  to  a  nonlegislator  aren't  considered                                                               
lobbying.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  informed the  committee that  the letter  he has                                                               
was signed by [Tammy Kempton] as well.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA interjected that  [legislators] do have a                                                               
Fifth Amendment right.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS agreed  that  participating  in a  [legislative]                                                               
"fly-in"  doesn't   [constitute  a   violation],  but   what  the                                                               
individual  does after  arriving does  [constitute a  violation].                                                               
He explained  that if an  individual enters the  capitol building                                                               
and talks to  legislators in an attempt  to influence legislative                                                               
or  administrative action  as a  result of  a "fly-in",  then the                                                               
"clock is  ticking."    Therefore,  this legislation  attempts to                                                               
clarify  the definition  of  a lobbyist  in  statute rather  than                                                               
[continue] with the moving regulations of APOC.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 197                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  said that  the  40-hour  rule in  this                                                               
legislation  seems excessive.   He  asked if  there had  been any                                                               
research  performed   regarding  how  many  of   those  currently                                                               
registered  as  lobbyists  would   continue  to  be  required  as                                                               
lobbyists under the 40-hour rule.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  responded that  he didn't  know if  anyone could                                                               
answer Representative Berkowitz's question.   He opined that many                                                               
of those  currently listed on  the nonprofessional  lobbyist list                                                               
would probably  continue to  register.  In  fact, he  related his                                                               
belief that more  individuals would be required to  register as a                                                               
lobbyist.  He pointed out that  the current law specifies that an                                                               
individual who  communicates personally  or through an  agent for                                                               
four hours, that  individual has to be registered  as a lobbyist.                                                               
Therefore, an  individual who hires  a lobbyist  and communicates                                                               
through  that  lobbyist  for  four hours  would  be  required  to                                                               
register  as  a  lobbyist.     Senator  Seekins  said  that  this                                                               
legislation isn't attempting  to allow anyone who  truly tries to                                                               
influence  public  policy  as  part   of  his/her  job  to  avoid                                                               
[registering as  a lobbyist].  However,  the legislation attempts                                                               
not to incidentally catch people  who are trying to express their                                                               
opinions  freely  to  the legislature  and/or  public  officials.                                                               
Therefore, he didn't believe there  would be a large reduction in                                                               
the number [of registered lobbyists].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 227                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  informed the committee that  112 people                                                               
have registered as  part-time employee lobbyists and  only two of                                                               
those are  from small businesses in  the state.  He  said that he                                                               
hasn't detected  a real problem.   Representative  Berkowitz said                                                               
he  would  like to  hear  from  professional lobbyists  regarding                                                               
whether they actually engage in  40 hours a month of face-to-face                                                               
legislative  contact to  the  legislator or  his/her  staff.   He                                                               
characterized 40 hours of face-to-face time as a lot.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS agreed  and  said those  people  engaging in  40                                                               
hours of  face-to-face legislative contact should  be registered.                                                               
Senator Seekins remarked that if the  real desire is to serve the                                                               
public  interest, then  the legislators  would  report with  whom                                                               
they have  spoken.   "Having someone  on a list  that no  one can                                                               
find hardly does a good job  in protecting the public interest in                                                               
who  we're   talking  too,"  he   said.    He   highlighted  that                                                               
[lobbyists]  don't  have to  report  what  legislation or  public                                                               
policy  he/she is  discussing.   [Lobbyists]  have  to pay  $100,                                                               
appear on  a list, and then  not be able to  participate fully in                                                               
the political process  in the rest of the state.   Therefore, the                                                               
barrier  should   be  reasonably  high  enough   to  capture  the                                                               
professional  lobbyist not  the  individual  with the  occasional                                                               
interest that  would amount to more  than four hours in  a 30-day                                                               
period.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 255                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KERTTULA    turned   to   the    definition   of                                                               
"administrative action" on page 3 of  Version Q.  She asked if an                                                               
individual doing things  that don't fit into  the new definition,                                                               
even if  the individual  accumulated over 40  hours a  week would                                                               
have to register as a lobbyist.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS related his  understanding that an administrative                                                               
action  wouldn't include  those  things specified  on  page 3  of                                                               
Version Q.   He emphasized  that the aforementioned  only relates                                                               
to administrative  actions not  proposed legislation  or existing                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  inquired as to  why the list  related to                                                               
administrative actions  is so broad.   She questioned  what would                                                               
remain to be considered an administrative action.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS directed attention to  Section 2(B) of Version Q.                                                               
He related that a number of years  ago he wanted to put a channel                                                               
in  with  a backwater  slough  and  a pond  at  his  home.   This                                                               
required dealing with  several state agencies in  order to obtain                                                               
the   permits  necessary   to   do  so.      Under  the   current                                                               
interpretation of the regulations  when an individual attempts to                                                               
influence an administrative action for  more than four hours that                                                               
individual has to  [register] as a lobbyist.   However, Version Q                                                               
allows an individual to speak  to someone regarding the issuance,                                                               
amendment,  or revocation  of a  permit, license,  or entitlement                                                               
for use  and not require  registering as a lobbyist.   Therefore,                                                               
an  individual who  goes to  APOC and  requests a  change in  the                                                               
regulations  regarding the  definition  of  lobbyist wouldn't  be                                                               
exempt.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said  that she has never  heard the above                                                               
interpretation.   She agreed if  the above  interpretation occurs                                                               
it  would be  problematic.   However,  people have  the right  to                                                               
personally  represent  themselves in  regard  to  permits.   "The                                                               
broadness of this suggests that you  could have a lawyer that you                                                               
hire to  do these things  ... in a  broad way," she  pointed out.                                                               
She expressed concern with that.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  pointed out that  this particular  [Section 2(B)]                                                               
was included in Version Q at the request of APOC.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BERKOWITZ    commented,   "I    understand   the                                                               
constraints   that  APOC   is   operating   under  these   days."                                                               
Representative   Berkowitz   said   although   Senator   Seekins'                                                               
interpretation  seems   to  be   strained,  it   is  problematic.                                                               
Therefore, he suggested that it could  be remedied if, on page 3,                                                               
line 8, before "use", the word "personal" could be inserted.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  explained that  when he  represents some  of the                                                               
corporations  he  does  and  tries to  get  permits  or  licenses                                                               
issued,  amended, or  revoked  that  isn't personal  use.   As  a                                                               
business  owner, regardless  of  the structure  of his  business,                                                               
Senator Seekins said  he believes that other  forms of businesses                                                               
in the  state shouldn't be  restrained from operating  under this                                                               
exception.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 322                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  requested that Senator  Seekins provide                                                               
some  specific  examples in  which  businesses  have gotten  into                                                               
trouble due to the absence of the proposed provision.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  answered  that  he  couldn't  provide  specific                                                               
examples.  "I  didn't think, Mr. Chairman, that  it was important                                                               
... that we  be able to point to examples  where the law ensnared                                                               
someone if the law or the  regulations was improper on its face,"                                                               
he  remarked.   Merely  because something  may  not be  enforced,                                                               
isn't a reason to have the regulation or law in place, he said.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ   said  that  the   normal  legislative                                                               
response  is that  when things  are changed  that aren't  broken,                                                               
unintended consequences are created.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS agreed, but related his  desire not to have a law                                                               
on the books that could allow selective enforcement.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 337                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  related  his   understanding  that  one  of  the                                                               
problems is APOC's  regulations not the statute.   Chair Rokeberg                                                               
turned attention to a memo dated  May 7, 2003, from Brooke Miles,                                                               
Executive Director, APOC.  This  memo specifies that accompanying                                                               
the  governor on  a trade  mission;  playing golf  with a  public                                                               
official;  and  participating  in   a  legislative  "fly-in"  are                                                               
excluded.   However, he understood  that not  to be the  case, in                                                               
terms of APOC's past activities.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  agreed.  He  said he was  aware of at  least one                                                               
instance in  which an individual  playing golf with  a legislator                                                               
was told that his time "had  expired" and thus he should register                                                               
as a lobbyist.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG said  that was of concern to him.   Chair Rokeberg                                                               
remarked that the  current law makes it  virtually impossible for                                                               
a legislator to have any friends.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 356                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ interpreted  Senator  Seekins to  think                                                               
that there  shouldn't be  any lobbying requirements  at all.   If                                                               
that's  not the  case, he  inquired as  to where  Senator Seekins                                                               
would draw the line.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said, "There's lots  of places I would  draw the                                                               
line.  And  that isn't what I  said."  He specified  that what he                                                               
said  was   that  the   net  is  too   large  today   because  it                                                               
inadvertently  draws people  into  it who  are  merely trying  to                                                               
exercise  their   free  opportunity   to  communicate   with  the                                                               
legislature  and the  administration.   Although Senator  Seekins                                                               
said he  wasn't sure where  the line  is, the current  barrier is                                                               
too  low,  he specified.    [The  proposal  in  Version Q]  is  a                                                               
reasonable  bar that  keeps  people  from inadvertently  stepping                                                               
over  the  line while  providing  legislators  guidance as  well.                                                               
Senator Seekins  said that he sees  people in the Capitol  who he                                                               
believes  may be  breaking the  regulations  now, although  these                                                               
individuals  are merely  trying  to relate  their feelings  about                                                               
legislation.   He  stated that  it's part  of his  job to  defend                                                               
their  right  to  freely  communicate  with  legislators.    This                                                               
legislation provides  the balance to  do so, without  letting the                                                               
professionals and  those employed  to lobby  to escape  [from the                                                               
rules].                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  pointed  out that  the  committee  has  received                                                               
written testimony from Ms. Kempton,  APOC.  Ms. Kempton's written                                                               
testimony  specifies   that  APOC  supports  the   definition  of                                                               
"administrative  action" and  "communicate  directly"  in SB  89.                                                               
Furthermore, APOC  supports how SB  89 changes the  definition of                                                               
lobbyist to more  clearly define a professional  lobbyist as well                                                               
as changing the  definition of part-time or  employee lobbyist to                                                               
eliminate  the phrase  "substantial  or regular".   However,  Ms.                                                               
Kempton's written testimony specifies  that APOC opposes changing                                                               
the amount of time an employee can  lobby to 40 hours in a 30-day                                                               
period  and  proposes  changing  that  to  16  hours.    Per  Ms.                                                               
Kempton's  written testimony,  "At 16  hours, employee  lobbyists                                                               
would be allowed 62 15-minute  meetings per month; that's a total                                                               
of 64 hours  per legislative session; 248  15-minute meetings per                                                               
session."   Chair Rokeberg asked if  the aforementioned testimony                                                               
means that  anyone coming in through  the doors would have  to be                                                               
issued  a  time card  in  order  to  track  the time  spent  with                                                               
legislators and staff.   He suggested that this  almost makes the                                                               
case that the [current regulations] are constrained.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS commented that Chair  Rokeberg made a good point.                                                               
He  highlighted that  Ms. Kempton's  example is  based on  evenly                                                               
spacing every meeting  in each 30-day period, which  is a rolling                                                               
30-day period.   He said that he didn't know  anyone who can plan                                                               
his/her time in such a way.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG   surmised  that   when  [a  legislator]   has  a                                                               
conversation   with   someone   who  is   clearly   lobbying   on                                                               
legislation,  would that  individual have  to keep  track of  the                                                               
time spent  on the  specific issue versus  personal matters.   If                                                               
so,  it becomes  a  matter of  how one  calculates  the time,  he                                                               
supposed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  agreed and clarified  that the [time  limit] was                                                               
made a bit more  liberal so that one really has  to be a lobbyist                                                               
to reach the bar established.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ noted that he  didn't have a copy of the                                                               
earlier referenced February letter from Ms. Kempton.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS provided  the chair  with an  extra copy  of the                                                               
February letter from Ms. Kempton.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 431                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA directed attention  to page 4, Section 6,                                                               
and  although  she said  clarifying  the  law  is good,  she  was                                                               
concerned that  the charity  tickets may  entitle the  bearer "to                                                               
other gifts or services involved in  the charity event."  This is                                                               
of concern because  sometimes the gifts are large.   She asked if                                                               
gifts from a  charity event that are over a  certain amount would                                                               
have  to  be reported  to  the  Select Committee  on  Legislative                                                               
Ethics (Ethics).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said he would report  such a gift in order not to                                                               
run afoul of the Ethics rules.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG agreed  that a gift [from a  charity event] should                                                               
be  reported.   However, he  understood the  question to  be with                                                               
regard to whether the reporting of  [a gift from a charity event]                                                               
should be mandatory.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  related  her  belief  that  legislators                                                               
can't take  a gift  [from a  charity event]  if the  gift's value                                                               
amounts to over $250.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   SEEKINS  pointed   out   that   without  the   language                                                               
"Notwithstanding other  law" at the beginning  of this paragraph,                                                               
one would have to comply with the existing Ethics law.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  opined  that   under  the  current  language,  a                                                               
legislator would be able to accept the gift.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ pointed out  the language "may entitle",                                                               
which   he  interpreted   to  mean   that   the  other   [Ethics]                                                               
requirements supercede these.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  highlighted  that   the  ticket  to  the                                                               
charity event may only cost $1  while the prize could amount to a                                                               
$400 flight.   Therefore, the  question becomes whether  the $400                                                               
flight is  a gift or a  prize and whether [the  legislator] could                                                               
take it or not.  Under the  Ethics rules, the prize would have to                                                               
be reported  at least.   However,  he wasn't sure  that it  was a                                                               
direct gift.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 479                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PAM LaBOLLE, President, Alaska State  Chamber of Commerce (ASCC),                                                               
informed the committee  that ASCC has worked very hard  to get SB                                                               
89 going  because the  lack of  a clear set  of rules  defining a                                                               
lobbyist  has been  problematic for  members of  ASCC.   She said                                                               
that most of the members of ASCC  don't want to be a lobbyist and                                                               
have  never intended  to  be  such.   However,  ASCC members,  as                                                               
frontline  business  people, know  that  they  are the  ones  who                                                               
should  provide  the  information   upon  which  legislators  and                                                               
administrators  make decisions.   Ms.  LaBolle related  that ASCC                                                               
didn't  have  any  problems  with the  existing  law  rather  the                                                               
problem was  with APOC's interpretation of  the law, specifically                                                               
saying that 2.3 percent of one's  job is a substantial portion of                                                               
an  individual's job.   Furthermore,  ASCC doesn't  concur APOC's                                                               
proposal of  with 16 hours,  9 percent  of a person's  job, being                                                               
considered a substantial portion of an individual's job.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. LaBOLLE commented on the differences  in what APOC says.  For                                                               
instance, ASCC's position paper dated  January 15, 2003, quotes a                                                               
letter  from APOC  to  one  of ASCC's  members  regarding a  golf                                                               
tournament.  She related that APOC said:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Note  that  the regulations  do  not  require that  the                                                                    
     activities  influence   legislative  or  administrative                                                                    
     action ....   It may have  been a social event,  but it                                                                    
     was certainly directed  towards influencing legislative                                                                    
     action.   By spending  time with legislators  and their                                                                    
     staffers, lobbyists  hope to  establish a  rapport with                                                                    
     them that will help the  lobbyists when they later meet                                                                    
     with  legislators and/or  staffers to  influence action                                                                    
     on legislation of interest to the lobbyists' clients.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ requested  that Ms.  LaBolle distribute                                                               
the  letter  if she  is  going  to  continue  to quote  from  it.                                                               
Representative  Berkowitz  said he  read  the  letter in  another                                                               
committee and he came to  a vastly different conclusion than what                                                               
Ms. LaBolle is inferring.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. LaBOLLE turned to the February  11, 2003, letter from APOC to                                                               
the  executive   director  of  the  Kenai   River  Sport  Fishing                                                               
Association.   She  pointed  out  that the  letter  says, "To  be                                                               
considered a volunteer lobbyist  and exempt from the registration                                                               
requirement, you would need to be  on leave from your job and pay                                                               
all your own  expenses."  The letter also says,  "In other words,                                                               
lobbying  is  not confined  to  working  towards the  passage  or                                                               
defeat  of  any  specific  piece of  legislation  or  regulation.                                                               
Lobbying  can be  educating public  officials so  that when  they                                                               
consider a particular issue or  legislative item, they include in                                                               
that consideration the information you  have provided."  She also                                                               
highlighted the  sentence in the  letter that says, "If,  as part                                                               
of your  job, you encourage  other people to  contact legislators                                                               
or other public officials, that is  also lobbying."  In regard to                                                               
this latter statement, Ms. LaBolle  asked if that would mean that                                                               
teachers  who   have  students   contact  legislators   would  be                                                               
considered  lobbyists.    Perhaps  that isn't  what  APOC  meant.                                                               
Therefore, Ms.  LaBolle said the  specifics should be put  in law                                                               
so that no one is guessing.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 528                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  returned  to Ms.  LaBolle's  testimony                                                               
[regarding a  golf tournament] and  said that he  heard testimony                                                               
on that matter  in the [House State  Affairs Standing Committee].                                                               
He recalled that the letter referred  to a trip to Las Vegas that                                                               
was  paid  for by  an  individual.   This  had  to  do with  VECO                                                               
Corporation and  Mr. Rick Smith  being required to register  as a                                                               
lobbyist.   Representative  Berkowitz  related his  understanding                                                               
that APOC  said [in the  letter] that  lobbying has to  be viewed                                                               
not only on the event, but on  the duration and the extent of the                                                               
contact.   Given the circumstances  surrounding the trip  and Mr.                                                               
Smith's other contact  with legislators, he would  be required to                                                               
register.   Therefore, Representative  Berkowitz said  unless Ms.                                                               
LaBolle is referring  to a different incident,  he didn't believe                                                               
Ms. LaBolle is fully disclosing all the facts of the case.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. LaBOLLE said that she  recalled testifying in the House State                                                               
Affairs  Standing Committee,  but she  didn't recall  speaking to                                                               
this matter in that committee.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  inquired  as  to how  many  of  ASCC's                                                               
members have been  in trouble with APOC.  He  also inquired as to                                                               
who those individuals are.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LaBOLLE answered  that  although she  didn't  know how  many                                                               
people have  gotten into  trouble with  APOC, she  didn't believe                                                               
there have been many because APOC works on complaints.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  related his understanding,  from APOC's                                                               
testimony  in the  House State  Affairs Standing  Committee, that                                                               
APOC  has  only taken  actions  against  Frank Prewitt  and  Bill                                                               
Allen.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  announced that  if  there  is already  a  public                                                               
record on this  testimony, then it isn't necessary  to rehash the                                                               
topic.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 560                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ highlighted that  this is the only House                                                               
committee  of  referral  for SB  89.    Representative  Berkowitz                                                               
turned  to  ASCC's  position paper,  included  in  the  committee                                                               
packet, and ascertained  that ASCC doesn't feel  that 2.3 percent                                                               
is a substantial portion of an individual's job.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LaBOLLE  agreed.   In  further  response  to  Representative                                                               
Berkowitz,  Ms.  LaBolle  said  that she  didn't  feel  that  2.3                                                               
percent is a substantial portion of an individual's income.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ surmised then  that a 2.3 percent income                                                               
tax would be acceptable to Ms. LaBolle.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. LaBOLLE replied, "Personally, it would be."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG, upon  determining no one else  wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ informed  the committee  that during  a                                                               
House State  Affairs Standing Committee hearing  the 16-hour rule                                                               
was  of  concern for  some,  including  members of  the  Majority                                                               
Caucus.   Representative Berkowitz  announced that he  objects to                                                               
this legislation.  He related that  he comes from a profession in                                                               
which  one avoids  the appearance  of impropriety.   Although  he                                                               
appreciated  the  First  Amendment   arguments  that  people  are                                                               
wrapping  themselves in,  that isn't  the  issue.   The issue  is                                                               
public trust  and the need to  preserve that public trust.   When                                                               
the  rules  are "cracked  open"  as  they  are  [in SB  89],  the                                                               
perception of impropriety is violated.   Therefore, this would be                                                               
a disservice  to the legislature's  public role.   Representative                                                               
Berkowitz said, "I think this is  a retreat from the high ethical                                                               
standards of  this house and from  the legislature.  And  I think                                                               
if there are particular problems  related to the agency question,                                                               
we should  address those narrowly,  but, in essence,  gutting the                                                               
lobbying requirements,  which is the  consequence of going  to 40                                                               
hours, is a step in the wrong direction."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG pointed  out that the committee  packet includes a                                                               
letter from Andree McLeod.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   contrasted  Representative  Berkowitz's                                                               
remarks  by highlighting  the  danger of  gutting  the rights  of                                                               
people to freely talk with legislators.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-4, SIDE B                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  explained that [the rules  should be such                                                               
that] when a person is a  paid lobbyist, there is the opportunity                                                               
to make  sure that  is clearly  what is  being done.   Obviously,                                                               
there have been  some gray areas and  thus Representative Coghill                                                               
applauded  this  effort.    Representative  Coghill  related  his                                                               
belief that this is merely drawing a brighter line.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 590                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved  to report HCS CSSB  89, Version 23-                                                               
LS0396\Q,  Craver,  5/8/03,  out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  related her  belief that four  hours [of                                                               
contact with  a legislator] is a  minimal amount.  She  said that                                                               
[this  current  law]  doesn't  stop anyone  from  coming  in  and                                                               
speaking  with   legislators  on  their  own   behalf  when  that                                                               
individual isn't  paid to do  so.  By  going to 40  hours, things                                                               
will  be greatly  confused and  [the requirement]  will eliminate                                                               
the need  for 111 people to  register as a lobbyist.   Therefore,                                                               
Representative  Kerttula said  she  feels this  legislation is  a                                                               
step in the wrong direction.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG remarked that the  current four-hour regulation is                                                               
an  imposition on  the freedom  of speech  of all  people in  the                                                               
state.   The paramount issue to  keep in mind is  to allow people                                                               
to  be able  to  communicate with  their representatives  without                                                               
feeling the  constraint of any  possible action against  them, he                                                               
related.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 569                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  highlighted  that under  current  law  a                                                               
public employee  isn't required to  register.  However,  a public                                                               
employee in this  state has unfettered access  to the legislature                                                               
and  the  administration  and  isn't   required  to  report  that                                                               
activity under  any circumstance.  Representative  McGuire opined                                                               
that what's critical about this  legislation is that one is being                                                               
required  to report  to  a government  agency  regarding who  the                                                               
individual is  talking to and  with regard  to the subject.   The                                                               
aforementioned  is  where  the   First  Amendment  issue  enters.                                                               
Without ASCC members  testifying on issues, she  wondered how the                                                               
legislation would actually  end up.  She  mentioned that everyone                                                               
has seen  legislation in committee  and hasn't thought  about how                                                               
the  legislation  would  impact   real  people.    Representative                                                               
McGuire emphasized,  "It's about your government  keeping tabs on                                                               
your speech.  ... and at  the same time stacking the deck against                                                               
you,  allowing  their [departmental  staff]  agents  to speak  as                                                               
often as they want ... about whatever topic they want."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ clarified  that public  individuals can                                                               
only  address public  issues/interests; it  isn't an  open slate.                                                               
Private  interests  are  separate.   With  regard  to  the  First                                                               
Amendment  argument, Representative  Berkowitz  pointed out  that                                                               
it's   subject   to   reasonable,   time,   place,   and   manner                                                               
restrictions.   The aforementioned is  the heart of  this debate,                                                               
he said.  Letting people know  who is addressing government - who                                                               
has financial stakes  in government - is a critical  point.  With                                                               
the state's current fiscal gap there  will be the need for people                                                               
to contribute  to the cost  of government.  In  this transitional                                                               
period it's particularly important for  the public to know who is                                                               
talking to  the legislators.   The only  way [for the  public] to                                                               
know who  is talking to  legislators is if those  individuals are                                                               
required  to register  as lobbyists.   Most  who are  required to                                                               
register as lobbyists are people who  are willing to stand up for                                                               
their  causes and  subject themselves  to  some public  scrutiny.                                                               
Representative Berkowitz emphasized that  he didn't see requiring                                                               
lobbyists to  register as such  as an  onerous burden.   "I think                                                               
it's in  the best interest of  the public as part  of transparent                                                               
government, and  I think that's what  all of this is  about.  How                                                               
transparent do we want our government to be," he said.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  said she didn't disagree  with the points                                                               
made  by Representative  Berkowitz.   However,  she informed  the                                                               
committee  that she  has spent  time  in her  office with  public                                                               
employees during which other items  have been discussed, not just                                                               
those  related   to  the  public   interest.    On   that  point,                                                               
Representative McGuire  disagreed with  Representative Berkowitz.                                                               
Representative McGuire  opined that the  real goal is to  be able                                                               
to use this as a weapon against  people.  She said if she had any                                                               
confidence that  this regulation  was being acted  on in  a fair,                                                               
responsible,  efficient  manner  and was  working,  then  perhaps                                                               
there  wouldn't be  a need  for this  legislation.   However, the                                                               
four-hour  regulation   isn't  working  and  is   being  enforced                                                               
arbitrarily.   She related  that the  executive director  of APOC                                                               
agrees that the four-hour regulation doesn't work.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 507                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL restated  his motion  to report  HCS CSSB                                                               
89, Version  23-LS0396\Q, Craver,  5/8/03, out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Kott,  Coghill,                                                               
McGuire, Morgan,  and Rokeberg  voted in  favor of  reporting HCS                                                               
CSSB  89, Version  Q, from  committee.   Representatives Kerttula                                                               
and Berkowitz voted against it.   Therefore, HCS CSSB 89(RLS) was                                                               
reported out of  the House Rules Standing Committee by  a vote of                                                               
5-2.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects