Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/13/2001 08:10 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 1 - MOVE LEGISLATURE TO ANCHORAGE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0112                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL announced  that the topic before  the committee was                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.   1,  "An  Act  relating  to   the  location  of                                                               
legislative sessions; and  providing for an effective  date."  He                                                               
stated  that  it  was  his  intention to  hear  HB  1  and  begin                                                               
discussion, but  not to vote  on passing the bill  from committee                                                               
before having  another meeting,  perhaps on  a Saturday,  to hear                                                               
further testimony.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0200                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN, Alaska  State Legislature, testified as                                                               
co-sponsor  [with Representative  Rokeberg] of  HB 1.   He  noted                                                               
that the  co-sponsors are "coming  at this in  slightly different                                                               
ways  but the  same result,  we hope."   Representative  Rokeberg                                                               
will discuss problems  with the building and with  the ability to                                                               
find lodging  in Anchorage, while Representative  Green's premise                                                               
is  that  for   the  past  eight  years,  the   majority  of  his                                                               
constituents have  been suggesting strongly that  the legislature                                                               
should be  convening in a place  that is much more  accessible to                                                               
the majority  of the people  of the  state," he said.   "Although                                                               
there are electronic ways to communicate  and a couple of ways to                                                               
get into the  capital, there is a problem in  connecting with the                                                               
majority  of our  people.   About  60 percent  of the  population                                                               
lives within about  a 50-mile radius and many of  them commute to                                                               
work [in Anchorage]."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN told the committee  it is time to reconsider                                                               
where the  legislature convenes.   He noted that  the legislature                                                               
has been  "on a roll for  the last eight years"  trying to reduce                                                               
costs of  state government.   This [HB 1] certainly  would reduce                                                               
the  commuting costs  of 57  of  our 60  legislators coming  into                                                               
Juneau; 60 percent of them wouldn't  even have to move.  Further,                                                               
the location  in Juneau discourages many  good people, especially                                                               
those with young families, from  serving in the legislature.  The                                                               
result is  not a  good representation of  a cross-section  of the                                                               
people of  the state.  The  pool from which we  to select elected                                                               
officials is diminished.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said it is  important that on any given day,                                                               
people can easily go down to  the capitol to testify in person or                                                               
to see the legislators in action.   He noted that school children                                                               
who are the state's future leaders, could benefit from visiting.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0738                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   NORMAN  ROKEBERG,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
testified  as  co-sponsor  of  HB  1.   The  primary  reason  for                                                               
introducing HB  1 is the  issue of access  for the people  of the                                                               
State of Alaska.   He has lived in Alaska since  1946.  The first                                                               
time he  entered the capitol  was to be sworn  in when he  was 52                                                               
years old.   He said that is indicative of  what citizens believe                                                               
is their inability to access  to this particular building to talk                                                               
to  their representatives  and participate  in the  policy-making                                                               
activities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG acknowledged that  strides have been made                                                               
in  teleconferencing,  but said,  "We  haven't  even touched  the                                                               
technology in  terms of videoconferencing  and other things.   He                                                               
suggested  that one  of  the  problems is  the  lack of  building                                                               
capability  and  structure.   The  present  capitol building  was                                                               
delivered  in  1931  and  he believes  it  is  inappropriate  and                                                               
obsolete.   The  state has  matured  to a  level [that  justifies                                                               
having] a legislative  hall in which the people of  the state can                                                               
take pride and that also is  a functional building.  He testified                                                               
that  Room 17  and  the  House and  Senate  chambers are  illegal                                                               
because fire [escape] access is  through them.  The corridors and                                                               
door  systems are  illegal and  "not  fixable unless  we were  to                                                               
totally rework  the building,"  he said.   He alluded  to another                                                               
bill [HB 57]  he is sponsoring, characterizing  that approach as,                                                               
"build it and they will come."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG explained  that  his expertise  includes                                                               
three decades  of marketing office  space in the  Anchorage area.                                                               
It is only  recently that the market there has  tightened up, and                                                               
he thinks space  can still be obtained there that  would serve on                                                               
an interim basis until a legislative hall is built.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  addressed  the  fiscal  notes,  echoing                                                               
Representative  Green's  statement  that  the  legislature  would                                                               
achieve  substantial savings  [by moving  to Anchorage]  although                                                               
the administration  would incur substantial cost  in meeting with                                                               
the legislature if  [the administration] were to  remain sited in                                                               
Juneau.  "That might be a wash [in terms of cost]," he said.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1085                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  emphasized that  the real issue  is what                                                               
he called "a  private fiscal note," that individuals  who want to                                                               
travel to  meet with their  legislators incur  substantial costs.                                                               
There  are some  35,000 people  in Juneau  and more  than 635,000                                                               
people in the rest of the state.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the people  of this state want a new                                                               
capital location, and  have voted to [move the  capital] at least                                                               
twice.    He disagreed  with  the  FRANK [Frustrated  Responsible                                                               
Alaskans  Needing   Knowledge]  Initiative   [AS  44.06.050-060],                                                               
saying it  is based  on the  false premise  that the  state would                                                               
incur extraordinary  costs in relocating  the capital.   He said,                                                               
"I would be more than happy  as a real estate developer, to build                                                               
the  state capitol  building  [and] all  the  other premises  ...                                                               
needed ... for the state  capitol building for absolutely no cost                                                               
to the state.   You just give me the  additional land around that                                                               
capitol site and I'll make up the difference and make a profit."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG then  addressed the  issue of  so-called                                                               
"reparations for  the municipality of  Juneau."  He would  be the                                                               
first to admit that the  community would be severely impacted, he                                                               
said, but on the other hand:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I would  call this  the most  anti-business environment                                                                    
     I've  ever seen  in my  life  of any  community in  the                                                                    
     United States of America, even  to the point of federal                                                                    
     white collar research  jobs that pay very  much and are                                                                    
     in  the   area  of  environmental  science   have  been                                                                    
     repudiated in my understanding by  this community.  The                                                                    
     community  has  also  voted down  any  additional  road                                                                    
     access ...  and also  has put up  barriers to  even the                                                                    
     extension  of the  north  road so  that  the ferry  run                                                                    
     between  this   area  and   Haines  could   be  reduced                                                                    
     substantially,   to  say   nothing  of   rejecting  its                                                                    
     historic  roots ...  [as a]  community built  mostly on                                                                    
     old mine tailings.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  went on  to  say  that people  need  to                                                               
recognize  that Alaska  is basically  a  natural resource  state,                                                               
and:                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     This community  has been the  hotbed for, I  think, the                                                                    
     total  destruction  of  the  timber  industry  and  the                                                                    
     forestry industry  in Southeast  Alaska.  I  don't mean                                                                    
     to pick on  this community too much.  I  would say that                                                                    
     the people [of] this town  are some of the nicest folks                                                                    
     I've ever met in  my life ... and I think  it is a very                                                                    
     hospitable city.   But I  think they need  to recognize                                                                    
     eventually,  the  capitol of  the  state  of Alaska  is                                                                    
     going to be moved.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  concluded by predicting that  the people                                                               
of Alaska  "will take  up the initiative  process once  again and                                                               
speak to this issue."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1385                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  asked Representative Rokeberg if  he thinks moving                                                               
the legislature  would [make]  any difference  in access  to some                                                               
parts  of   the  administration,  perhaps  creating   "a  greater                                                               
disconnect in communication."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said  he thinks there has  already been a                                                               
major  division,  as  many  state   departments  have  "the  vast                                                               
majority  of  their  employees"  in the  Anchorage  area  ...  or                                                               
throughout the  state" [while] the core  executive activities are                                                               
maintained in Juneau.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL anticipated  that there  will be  discussion about                                                               
the  cost  of real  estate,  and  he referred  to  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg's expertise in that area.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  noted  that   he  had  participated  in                                                               
discussions  about what  is now  known  as the  Robert B.  Atwood                                                               
Building, in Anchorage.  He  helped develop that structure in the                                                               
early 1980s and was responsible for  marketing it for a number of                                                               
years.  He had advised the  legislature that he thought it was an                                                               
excellent bargain  when they  bought a  $50 million  building for                                                               
less than $25 [million].  In  doing so, they got $5 million worth                                                               
of  additional  land  for  nothing  in  downtown  Anchorage  that                                                               
includes Block  80 of  the original  town site.   He said  he has                                                               
always regarded  that property as  a choice piece of  real estate                                                               
in terms of  potential development.  He said there  has been some                                                               
discussion of  using the Atwood  Building as a  legislative hall,                                                               
and although  that would  be feasible,  he would  counsel against                                                               
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  went on  to say  that HB  1 contemplates                                                               
use of  existing premises and office  space that would be  on the                                                               
market.   In recent years,  there was  a surplus of  office space                                                               
extending  all the  way back  to the  economic collapse  in 1986.                                                               
Now, people are  "jockeying to build new  premises in Anchorage,"                                                               
he said.  He said there should be plenty of space available.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1645                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL noted that in Fairbanks,  "some of us have a little                                                               
problem ...  letting Anchorage  have everything."   On  the other                                                               
hand, they have to  spend quite a bit to get to  Juneau.  If [the                                                               
legislature] is moved,  he is not sure he would  want it moved to                                                               
Anchorage.  He  asked Representative Rokeberg if he  had done any                                                               
polling or seen any other indication of what the people want.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG said  [he thought  the people  of Mat-Su                                                               
would  understand]  that  relocating  to Anchorage,  even  on  an                                                               
interim  basis,  would  "break  the barriers  we  might  have  on                                                               
relocating out of  Juneau."  He said, quite frankly,  that is one                                                               
reason  he  introduced another  bill  he  had mentioned  earlier.                                                               
That bill  [HB 57]  allows any municipality  in Alaska  with more                                                               
than 30,000  residents to vie  to build a state  capitol building                                                               
and  lease   it  to   the  state   government  for   the  nominal                                                               
consideration of  $1 a year.   "It's like build it  and they will                                                               
come," he  repeated. That would  create competition ...  and also                                                               
reduce  the expense.    The  state would  pay  for all  operating                                                               
costs,  repairs, and  maintenance, and  then have  a reversionary                                                               
interest in  the property  after 30  years or  whatever financing                                                               
period was necessary to build it.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  observed that people  in Fairbanks  might struggle                                                               
with that parochial geographic problem.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  volunteered  that  his  college  senior                                                               
thesis at  Willamette University  had been on  Alaska's sectional                                                               
politics  in the  late 1960s  to 1971.   "It's  an ongoing  thing                                                               
that's  been with  Alaska  since  Day 1,  since  before the  fish                                                               
traps," he said.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  asked  about  the  economic  impacts  on                                                               
community and asked Representative  Rokeberg to delineate some of                                                               
those.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG  acknowledged,   "They  [the   economic                                                               
impacts] would be clearly pretty  severe.  I think Juneau depends                                                               
in large  part on the  legislature, particularly in  their winter                                                               
season,  which is  their off-tourist  season ....  I think  there                                                               
would  be  dislocation.   But  frankly  ...  my sympathy  ...  is                                                               
mollified to a large degree by  the attitude ... I perceive."  He                                                               
said he  had not done any  analysis of the economic  impacts, but                                                               
recognizes that they would be substantial.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  about  statistics  that show  where                                                               
visitors go in Alaska.  She  said she assumes they come to Juneau                                                               
because it's the capital, but thinks  they also make their way up                                                               
to  Anchorage.   She wondered  if visitors  would still  come [to                                                               
Juneau if it were not the capital.]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1930                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said  he thinks that depends  on how much                                                               
Juneau charges as a head tax  on cruise ship passengers.  "That's                                                               
just one  more nail in  the coffin in my  opinion ... not  to say                                                               
that  those  tourists that  visit  this  community shouldn't  pay                                                               
their fair  share in  the infrastructure  costs."   Responding to                                                               
Representative  Wilson, he  said  he does  not  have the  numbers                                                               
[regarding tourist  destinations], but he knows  they are readily                                                               
available from the travel industry.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON commented, "It  really does depend on where                                                               
you live in  the state how you  feel about this.  I  used to live                                                               
in  Tok  and  I  can  remember  at the  time  I  thought  it  was                                                               
ridiculous  that I  had  to  come to  Juneau  to  ... [reach]  my                                                               
legislators and  ... [see] what's going  on.  However, I  live in                                                               
the Southeast  now, and it  does change your perspective  quite a                                                               
bit and I think that the  Southeast really is in economic trouble                                                               
at this point  in time and I think pulling  the capital out would                                                               
be devastating.   I really think that would have  a big effect on                                                               
all of Southeast."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  recalled living  in North  Carolina, where                                                               
the  population is  dense and  there are  roads everywhere.   She                                                               
served in  the legislature there,  too, and was  "totally amazed"                                                               
to find  that people in  Alaska have  more access to  the capital                                                               
than those  in North  Carolina, "despite all  those roads."   She                                                               
said that  because of teleconferencing,  many Alaskans  take part                                                               
on a regular  basis.  "Our legislators are  very, very accessible                                                               
to the people in the state just  because of the way we do conduct                                                               
business  here,  and  it's  really quite  remarkable  and  it  is                                                               
wonderful," she said.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  said due to  the debate over  the timber                                                               
industry in the last few years,  "I think there's a lot of people                                                               
in Southeastern  and people in  Ketchikan particularly  [who] are                                                               
not as fond of this community any  more," he said.  "They view it                                                               
(and I think probably wrongly)  as the hotbed of environmentalism                                                               
and the reason  that the timber industry has ...  almost gone out                                                               
of business  here.   And so  I think that  [some of]  the support                                                               
that  Juneau  shared  for  many   years  in  the  old  battle  of                                                               
coalitions  [of  anti-Anchorage elements]  has  been  lost."   He                                                               
asked Representative  Wilson if when  she lived in Tok,  she ever                                                               
came to the state capital.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON replied, "Yes, I did."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked how much it cost her.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  said she  could not remember,  adding that                                                               
she was  in Juneau for a  month one summer while  her husband was                                                               
in school there.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2155                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  asked  Representative Rokeberg  if  he  had                                                               
considered a  "piggyback phenomenon," whereby even  though [only]                                                               
the legislative  session is  moved, other  administrative offices                                                               
would be  forced to move  in the future.   "Do you  envision that                                                               
there  would be  more and  more curtailing  of the  activities in                                                               
Juneau as far  as state government is concerned?"   he asked.  It                                                               
was his understanding that HB 1  does not propose a total capital                                                               
move, but only a session move.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  said he  would characterize the  move as                                                               
evolutionary.     He  said  Representative  Fate's   analysis  is                                                               
probably correct, that  there would be "kind of  a leakage toward                                                               
the legislative  activity by the  executive." He  reiterated that                                                               
many  commissioners now  live in  Anchorage and  travel a  lot to                                                               
Juneau.   Representative Rokeberg then  referred to a  $2 million                                                               
fiscal note on  HB 1 from the administration  related to "running                                                               
people back  and forth," and  said it  ... doesn't make  sense to                                                               
him.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HAYES referred  to  the three  fiscal notes,  and                                                               
asked which one the committee should be looking at.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied, "Add 'em up."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES said  he has a big problem with  what [HB 1]                                                               
is going  to cost,  a great deal  of money when  one adds  up all                                                               
three fiscal notes.  He stated:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     On top  of it, we  don't have a long-term  fiscal plan,                                                                    
     and  this  is a  minute  issue  compared to  the  other                                                                    
     issues facing  our state at  this moment.  When  I went                                                                    
     through talking to my constituents,  no one said moving                                                                    
     the session from Juneau to  Anchorage or wherever was a                                                                    
     hot-button issue.  I guarantee  you [that] safety [and]                                                                    
     education,  were  ...  paramount issues.    Moving  the                                                                    
     capital was  not.  Moving the  session was not.   I had                                                                    
     no one tell me that they  had a major argument with the                                                                    
     way  that  we do  business  currently.   I  think  that                                                                    
     you'll have  folks looking  at this  as a  "power grab"                                                                    
     from Anchorage  and hurting Southeast, and  I don't see                                                                    
     what  the  true  benefit  of  this  is  other  than  to                                                                    
     increase   the  prosperity   of  the   Municipality  of                                                                    
     Anchorage.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2327                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  said that might  be characteristic of some  of the                                                               
division  [of  opinion] in  Fairbanks.    He  added that  if  the                                                               
capital were closer to the  people, more people might be involved                                                               
in building that [economic] plan.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  said  he  tended to  agree  with  Chair                                                               
Coghill  and  Representative  Hayes  about the  priority  of  the                                                               
issues  for  the  state.     "I  don't  think  this  [moving  the                                                               
legislature]  is  on  the  very   top  of  the  list,"  he  said.                                                               
"However, given  the age of  this building and the  issues coming                                                               
forward,  we are  going to  have to  confront this  sooner rather                                                               
than  later ...  because we  are going  to need  a new  facility.                                                               
Frankly, the life  support systems of this  building are failing.                                                               
There's no sprinkler system....   This building by any stretch of                                                               
the imagination doesn't meet fire code ...."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG   emphasized   that   the   people   of                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska  "overwhelmingly"  would  like  to  see  the                                                               
capital  closer  to them.    There's  a huge  difference  between                                                               
[participating in]  a teleconference  and being  able to  talk to                                                               
somebody  face to  face. There's  "a huge  disconnect," he  said.                                                               
The  people of  Anchorage participate  in their  government to  a                                                               
very limited degree.  It's only  the people that have an interest                                                               
that do participate.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  recalled how frustrating it  was to him when  as a                                                               
private  citizen,  he would  take  time  from  work  to go  to  a                                                               
teleconference, and be "out of sight  and out of mind."  He noted                                                               
that   it  takes   constant  vigilance   to   make  sure   people                                                               
participating  from  remote locations  are  not  squeezed out  by                                                               
those present and are heard properly.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  then returned  to the  issue of  access.   He said                                                               
Anchorage is  not as accessible  as he  would like "as  a country                                                               
boy from Nenana,"  and that finding a parking  space in Anchorage                                                               
can be difficult.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  replied, "Worse  than Juneau?"   He said                                                               
he was late  this morning because somebody parked in  back of him                                                               
and he couldn't get his car out.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL brought up the  possibility of people playing "hide                                                               
and seek."   When a person  comes to Juneau to  see a legislator,                                                               
that legislator will  be in the capitol building.   In Anchorage,                                                               
he  said, legislators  would be  more likely  to escape  from the                                                               
building and go into other parts of town.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL also noted that  access to committees is important,                                                               
and if  he could  drive to  a building and  get into  a committee                                                               
meeting,   would  more   likely  do   that  than   to  go   to  a                                                               
teleconference.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  agreed, adding, "That is  another one of                                                               
the problems  with this structure.   There is no  public parking.                                                               
There's  no public  lounge.   You  can get  a cup  of coffee  and                                                               
that's  about all.   This  building is  not consumer-  or public-                                                               
friendly.   The poor press is  in this little room  down there in                                                               
the end of a hallway ... next to Room 17."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2642                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  emphasized that  he is  not trying  to move                                                               
the capital,  but to move  the legislative session closer  to the                                                               
people, and that if [the  capitol building] were road accessible,                                                               
it would  make a major difference.  He then pointed out  that the                                                               
power goes with the number of  votes you have, and there are more                                                               
votes  coming  from  Anchorage  than there  are  from  any  other                                                               
community  in the  state.   So  wherever  the legislature  meets,                                                               
Anchorage is going to have the  power.  He also said it shouldn't                                                               
be forgotten  that the capital  originally had been in  Sitka and                                                               
that moving it  to Juneau had not decimated Sitka.   "Juneau is a                                                               
beautiful and quaint town and tourists  do not [come] here to see                                                               
the capital," he said.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS noted for  the historic record that before                                                               
the capital was in Sitka, it was in Kodiak.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HAYES  referred  to previous  remarks  about  the                                                               
quality  of legislators.    He  said one  of  the  things he  has                                                               
noticed  in the  House is  that its  membership is  diverse, with                                                               
ages ranging  from the 20s  up to 70.   He said those  people are                                                               
making  choices about  whether they  can make  the commitment  to                                                               
[serve], and he doesn't think that  has much to do with where the                                                               
capital is.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN took  exception, noting  that Senator  Sean                                                               
Parnell left the  legislature because he has  two young daughters                                                               
of school  age.  He  said he could provide  a list of  people who                                                               
have young  families and  who won't run  for the  legislature for                                                               
the next 10 years because it would disrupt their families.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES replied  that he thinks that has  less to do                                                               
with  family than  it has  to do  with salary.   Again,  he said,                                                               
that's the  kind of  choice a  person has  to make  when deciding                                                               
whether to run for office.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL said having raised  a family, he can understand who                                                               
some people would  not want to leave their families  to come down                                                               
here [to Juneau].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-11, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2915                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BILL  HUDSON,   Alaska  State  Legislature,  came                                                               
forward to testify.   He separated himself "from  the comments of                                                               
Representative Rokeberg when he tries  to assign the will and the                                                               
feelings of the people of Juneau as relates to economics."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON  then pointed out  "that all of us  who are                                                               
in  this  body  ...  have  a responsibility  to  look  after  the                                                               
holistic health  of the whole  state."  Each legislator  needs to                                                               
look at what is  good for the other districts as  well as for the                                                               
12,000   people  that   legislator  represents.     "Juneau   has                                                               
everything  to lose  in this  particular instance  and has  every                                                               
year that  I've been  in the  legislature.   This is  perhaps the                                                               
most  divisive and  difficult issue  that  a representative  from                                                               
Juneau will have  to deal with because it is  ... a back-breaker.                                                               
This is not  just moving the session to Anchorage....   This will                                                               
be a de facto capital move...."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HUDSON   reminded   the   committee   that   the                                                               
legislatures principal  contacts during the session  are with the                                                               
administration,  "because  we're  sitting here  developing  a  $7                                                               
billion budget  that the  governor and  all of  his commissioners                                                               
and  all of  the  "hands and  feet of  government"  have to  live                                                               
with."  He continued:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  fact that  we're  here and  the  governor is  here                                                                    
     [facilitates]    that     interaction    between    the                                                                    
     administrative   and    the   legislative    sides   of                                                                    
     government.         If  we  move   the  legislature  to                                                                    
     Anchorage, the governor and  all of these commissioners                                                                    
     are going to be up there  as well, and they're going to                                                                    
     be  on per  diem.   Instead  of  having 57  legislators                                                                    
     sitting in  rented rooms,  you would  have most  of the                                                                    
     centralized arm  of government  sitting in  motel rooms                                                                    
     in Anchorage  waiting until they  are called.   And for                                                                    
     those  four  months  the  legislature  is  convened  in                                                                    
     Anchorage,  they  would  be  all  be  away  from  their                                                                    
     primary responsibilities.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON  recalled that when he  was commissioner of                                                               
administration,  he was  responsible for  15 to  17 divisions  of                                                               
government. He testified:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     When I left my office  and walked across the street and                                                                    
     stayed here for an hour  or two and interacted with the                                                                    
     legislative committees, I then  went back over and took                                                                    
     up my work.  If the  legislature is up in Anchorage and                                                                    
     I'm sitting  in Juneau,  I've got to  go up  there with                                                                    
     the  directors   and  fiscal   people  and   the  other                                                                    
     specialists I  need to  back up my  position.   Most of                                                                    
     them are  here because  the governor is  here.   If you                                                                    
     move the  legislature to Anchorage, you  will in effect                                                                    
     be moving the capital to Anchorage.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUDSON reminded  proponents of  HB 1  that moving                                                               
the capital  is not  a new  idea, and that  a procedure  has been                                                               
established:                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     First of all you have to  get a vote of the public that                                                                    
     you want to  move the capital.  Then,  ... all bondable                                                                    
     costs [for the next 12  years] of moving the capital or                                                                    
     the legislature  ... have to be  prepared and presented                                                                    
     to the  public for  a vote.   That  is required  by the                                                                    
     FRANK Initiative  ... that  was passed  resoundingly by                                                                    
     the people of Alaska not once but twice.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUDSON  agreed  with to  some  of  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg's concerns,  including [the  need for more]  parking and                                                               
for modifications to the capitol  building.  He suggested that if                                                               
the  governor  were  to  consent  to move  to  the  State  Office                                                               
Building, the legislature  could take over and  modify the entire                                                               
third floor of  the capitol building.  It also  would be possible                                                               
to construct  three new  floors behind  the capitol  building for                                                               
very  little  money.   Work  is  in  progress  with the  city  on                                                               
developing better parking, and there  are "ways in which we could                                                               
triple the  parking ... within  a stone's throw of  the capitol."                                                               
He thinks all of those things are very important.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2556                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON  emphasized that  the capital in  Juneau is                                                               
an anchor or linchpin for Southeast  Alaska.  The region has been                                                               
hit very hard by recent  closures in the Tongass National Forest,                                                               
the diminishment  of the timber  that is available,  the sawmills                                                               
that have closed down, the pulp  mills that have closed down, the                                                               
impact  on fishing  of the  farmed salmon  coming from  Chile and                                                               
Norway.   The economic health of  the region is a  very important                                                               
consideration.  He  went on to counter the  assertion that Juneau                                                               
has not  been attracting new  businesses in recent  years, noting                                                               
the  dramatic  increase in  the  number  of tourists  and  cruise                                                               
ships, and  the opening of  the Greens Creek Mine,  which employs                                                               
400-500 people  and affects twice  that many people  [involved in                                                               
related work].                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON  said in his opinion,  discussion] needs to                                                               
focus  primarily  on  [addressing]   the  inefficiencies  of  the                                                               
capitol building  rather than  on moving  the whole  capital. The                                                               
fiscal implications of  moving even just the session,  "at a time                                                               
when  we are  $530 million  in  arrears [and]  have no  long-term                                                               
fiscal plan -- I just think that it's the wrong way to go."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HUDSON   referred  to   Representative   Green's                                                               
assertion  that  the  capital's  location  deterred  people  from                                                               
running for  public office.   He observed  that he had  seen very                                                               
few  uncontested races.    He noted  that  the legislature  holds                                                               
interim hearings, and that legislators  who do not live in Juneau                                                               
have  eight  months  a  year  [when the  legislature  is  not  in                                                               
session] and can  have an office in their home  town right in the                                                               
middle of their 10,000-12,000 constituents  and can draw per diem                                                               
for just  going down  and spending four  hours a  day interacting                                                               
with those constituents.   There can be interim  hearings, and he                                                               
would support the  leadership of the House and  the Senate taking                                                               
action to  hold hearings in  Anchorage and Fairbanks and  even in                                                               
the villages of Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2397                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  noted that  another  bill  that referred  to  the                                                               
committee  deals  with  having  committee  authority  outside  of                                                               
regular  session times,  and that  other  bills are  going to  be                                                               
before the  legislature dealing with  limiting the length  of the                                                               
session and different building issues.  He said his commitment in                                                               
[foster] discussion  of any of  the problems and issues  and then                                                               
to look for solutions to some of those problems.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON wished to put  on the record that the FRANK                                                               
Initiative [passed  in 1994] requires  that before the  state can                                                               
spend money  to move the  capital or the legislature,  the voters                                                               
must  know the  total  cost  and approve  a  bond  issue for  all                                                               
bondable  costs  of  the  move   for  the  12-year  period  after                                                               
approval.  A  commission would determine both  bondable and total                                                               
costs  of  the  move  including moving  personnel,  offices,  and                                                               
social, economic,  [and] environmental  costs to the  present and                                                               
the  new sites.   It  would also  include costs  to plan,  build,                                                               
furnish,  use, and  finance facilities  at least  equal to  those                                                               
provided by  the present capital.   Representative Hudson pointed                                                               
out that  159,000 Alaska voters, 77  percent, voted in favor   of                                                               
the FRANK Initiative on November 8,  1994.  He said, "This is the                                                               
last spoken word  of the majority of the people  of Alaska, and I                                                               
think ... if  people want to move the capital,  this is what they                                                               
have to do.   They have to convince the people  of Alaska that it                                                               
is the right thing  to do and then they have to [put  it up to a]                                                               
public vote."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  said he  also  understands  that  an act  of  the                                                               
legislature could affect the FRANK Initiative.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON  said he was not  completely certain [about                                                               
that].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL said he, too, would have to find out for certain.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HUDSON  noted   that   there   have  been   many                                                               
initiatives  to move  the capital,  and  that has  been an  issue                                                               
since the 1960s.   There's no other state that  holds its session                                                               
in [another city  than] the capital, he emphasizes,  and there is                                                               
a provision  in the [Alaska]  constitution that says  the capital                                                               
of Alaska is in Juneau.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OGAN  said  he  thinks one  reason  to  move  the                                                               
legislative session at least part of  the time is what he called,                                                               
"grocery store  politics."   When legislators  are back  in their                                                               
districts  in the  interim between  sessions, "It's  off people's                                                               
radar screens,"  he said.   [During session,] when the  media are                                                               
putting the  issues of  the day  before the  people on  a regular                                                               
basis and  he goes home to  his district, people stop  him in the                                                               
grocery store.   "I think  it's important that  your constituents                                                               
look  you in  the eye  during session  and figure  out if  you're                                                               
lying or not," he declared.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OGAN  recalled  the   end  of  the  session  when                                                               
legislators passed a Permanent Fund  tax out of the House without                                                               
a vote  of the people.   Jerry Sanders  stood up and  said, "This                                                               
could only happen after 180 days of isolation in Juneau."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OGAN said  he thinks  that sums  it all  up.   "I                                                               
think there's  something in  the water here  or something  in the                                                               
building here  that makes  people's behavior just  get kind  of a                                                               
little  off kilter.   A  lot  of it's  the influence  of and  the                                                               
access the  administration has, the  lack of access  that regular                                                               
people, ordinary  people from all  walks of life that  can't come                                                               
here  because  they  can't  afford  to.    I  think  it  makes  a                                                               
difference."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN then commented on  the point of that had been                                                               
made  about commissioners  having to  go up  north.   He said  he                                                               
thinks the  legislature now hears  a lot testimony  from division                                                               
directors based  in Anchorage who  come down here [to  Juneau] to                                                               
give their presentations during budget  time, so he would suspect                                                               
[the cost of] that would probably be a wash.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1979                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES asked Representative  Ogan how often he goes                                                               
home to  his district, which  he thinks  is one of  the important                                                               
functions  of  a  legislator.     He  recalled  that  during  the                                                               
Permanent  Fund controversy,  there had  been many  opportunities                                                               
for folks  to comment, and that  the office where he  was working                                                               
as an aide received quite a few comments.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN  said he  goes home to  his district  and has                                                               
town meetings about once a month.   About 30-40 people come every                                                               
time,  and many  of  those are  "regulars."   But  he finds  that                                                               
people who  won't come to  a town  meeting, call, or  e-mail will                                                               
"sure stop  you in  the grocery  store and  they'll let  you know                                                               
what they think ....  You're public property."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL commented  that from either side of  the issue, the                                                               
fact  that  legislators  want  to   assure  the  best  access  is                                                               
heartening, and  one of the things  the committee is going  to be                                                               
discussing is how to keep that access as clear as possible.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1854                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SALLY  SMITH, Mayor,  City and  Borough  of Juneau,  acknowledged                                                               
that it  is hard  to represent  a community and  listen to  it be                                                               
disparaged.   She  recognized that  [the  disparagement] was  not                                                               
meant to be personal.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH  noted that she had  spent three terms in  the Alaska                                                               
Legislature  representing  Fairbanks,  and said  she  had  looked                                                               
forward  to the  drive  to  Juneau and  the  trip  on the  Marine                                                               
Highway System.  "Southeast does  have a highway system; it's the                                                               
Marine Highway System,"  she stressed.  "We may not  have all the                                                               
vessels we need, but we've got the roadway."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH continued:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     During the interim was the time  when I got close to my                                                                    
     constituency  and I  learned what  they wanted  and the                                                                    
     issues that were  going to be important.   Those issues                                                                    
     don't change  when you  come to Juneau.   They  may get                                                                    
     refined  a bit,  but  that's  where the  teleconference                                                                    
     system comes in,  and I'm proud to have been  on of the                                                                    
     pioneers  of the  teleconferencing system.   I  believe                                                                    
     that  Juneau  is  accessible  for   the  needs  of  the                                                                    
     capital, and  I'm also proud  of this  community, which                                                                    
     is my  now adopted home,  because of the things  it has                                                                    
     done  to make  it a  capital city.   We  have been  the                                                                    
     capital for  101 years.   We've  had this  building for                                                                    
     ... 70  years.   That's a  long heritage.   There  is a                                                                    
     campus here  ... that  includes the  administration and                                                                    
     ... the judicial branch as well.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I could  go on and  reinforce some of the  speakers who                                                                    
     have  spoken up  in favor  of Juneau,  but I  want more                                                                    
     importantly  to  say  that   our  assembly  last  night                                                                    
     [appropriated] $150,000  [for] planning to  improve the                                                                    
     footprint  of  this  building.   Representative  Hudson                                                                    
     mentioned the [addition] that could  be put in.  We can                                                                    
     also look  at crossing Fifth  Street over to  the Terry                                                                    
     Miller  Building.   That  would  perhaps provide  ample                                                                    
     space.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     But as  I bring this  up, I  also want to  suggest that                                                                    
     any condition that this building  is in falls solely on                                                                    
     the shoulders of the Legislative  Council.  Juneau does                                                                    
     not own  the building.  But  we are here to  make it as                                                                    
     hospitable  as  we possibly  can.    Again, I'm  really                                                                    
     proud of our  community and I'm proud of what  to we do                                                                    
     to make  legislators welcome.   I was on  the receiving                                                                    
     end of that for six years.   Now I'm on the giving end,                                                                    
     and I'm happy to have you here....                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1688                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL concurred  that the  community had  made a  strong                                                               
effort to welcome the legislature.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS asked  Mayor Smith to go  into more detail                                                               
about the  $150,000.  "That's city  funds that they are  going to                                                               
invest into  looking at how  to improve the  state-owned building                                                               
here ... and hiring architects?"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH  explained that the  city is allocating the  money to                                                               
the Alaska Committee ...[to have]  an architect draw up potential                                                               
plans.   "We want to cooperate  with you in that  direction," she                                                               
emphasized.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  said he  was very  pleased to  see Juneau                                                               
step up and take part in this.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL said it also  should be mentioned that [Juneau] has                                                               
been involved in providing  Gavel-to-Gavel television coverage of                                                               
the legislature. That is a big  help, although access still is an                                                               
issue.  He added that  the House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                               
room  is  going  to  be   used  for  a  demonstration  of  closed                                                               
captioning [for Gavel-to-Gavel coverage]  that Juneau is going to                                                               
present February  22.   People who  have certain  impairments are                                                               
going to be brought into the  discussion, and he thought that was                                                               
another important part of the access issue.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH mentioned that she  had seen a demonstration of video                                                               
streaming with closed  captioning last week, and that  it is very                                                               
exciting.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL said  that it is another worthwhile  effort that is                                                               
being made  to improve access.   He added, "But if  you're coming                                                               
from Kotzebue  or Wainwright, it takes  two days to get  here [to                                                               
Juneau], and that is part of the issue, too."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH stated:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Anchorage  is a  marvelous city,  but Anchorage  is not                                                                    
     typical  of  Alaska  or of  the  problems  that  Alaska                                                                    
     faces.  I believe that when  we get out of the city and                                                                    
     we  see another  region,  we then  begin to  understand                                                                    
     that we're  part of a  bigger picture, we're part  of a                                                                    
     larger fabric.   If we stay where the  majority are, we                                                                    
     don't  get that  broadening and  we see  Alaska through                                                                    
     distorted eyes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1461                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES asked who owns the capitol building.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH said she believes the state does.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES  asked if the legislature  could appropriate                                                               
funds to bring the building up to code.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR SMITH said the legislature could do so.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON expressed  appreciation for  Mayor Smith's                                                               
ability to  speak to  both sides  of the  issue [as  a legislator                                                               
coming from Fairbanks and as a resident of Juneau].                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  asked about an  earlier reference to  a road                                                               
from Juneau, and asked if that is still being considered.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR  SMITH  said an  opinion  poll  had  been taken  of  Juneau                                                               
voters.   The question  was, "Do  you prefer  a road  or enhanced                                                               
ferry service?"   The difference in  votes was about 100  more in                                                               
favor of  enhanced ferry  service.  She  said her  perspective is                                                               
that there  is a  whole series of  communities in  Southeast that                                                               
would benefit from  improved ferry service, whereas  a road would                                                               
serve  only  Juneau,  Skagway,  and Haines.    "Where  funds  are                                                               
limited, it seems  prudent to serve the greater  good," she said.                                                               
"Enhanced ferry  service would  improve it for  all of  you, too,                                                               
when you come down in the winter," she added                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA introduced  herself as the representative                                                               
from downtown Juneau.   She said she has a  unique perspective on                                                               
the issue  because she was  raised as a legislative  child, every                                                               
year  moving back  and  forth  between Palmer  and  Juneau.   She                                                               
recalled family  jokes about  living out  of boxes,  and (despite                                                               
her mother's efforts) playing in  the capitol building.  She said                                                               
she felt very fortunate to have  grown up getting to know some of                                                               
the great  leaders of the state,  living in the capital  and then                                                               
going home  to the  Matanuska Valley and  watching her  father in                                                               
his political activities  there. "I also know from  growing up as                                                               
a legislative  child what a  huge sacrifice  it is to  serve, and                                                               
I'm finding that out every day as I [am] serving myself".                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA pointed  out  that  legislators need  to                                                               
look at what they themselves need to  do ... "so that we can keep                                                               
our families  with us, so  that we can travel  back appropriately                                                               
to our districts, because the bottom  line is, no matter where we                                                               
are in  the state,  some families,  some people,  will not  be at                                                               
home."   That raises  the issue of  legislative salary  and about                                                               
better travel budgets.  Some of  the problem is exactly that, she                                                               
said, and no matter where we are, that will be an issue.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  emphasized  that  "the  real  issue  is                                                               
access: How do our constituents, no  matter where they are in the                                                               
state, feel close  to us?  How  do we give them  ... the "grocery                                                               
store" factor,  no matter where  we are?"  She  thinks television                                                               
and closed captioning  are pieces of the answer.   She noted that                                                               
now one can log onto the computer and listen to a hearing.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA pointed  out that,  "No matter  where we                                                               
are in the state,  someone is not going to be  able to visit us."                                                               
Rural Alaska will  not be able to drive and  many people will not                                                               
be  able to  fly [to  the session],  no matter  where it  is, She                                                               
asked the  committee to think  carefully about  HB 1 and  what it                                                               
means to  the state as  a whole. "I think  all of you  realize we                                                               
are one state,  we are one people,  and it doesn't make  a lot of                                                               
sense to focus  on moving a locality when what  we really need to                                                               
do is continue to improve our access," she said.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL remarked that the  discussion is a good one because                                                               
it is bringing up many  other [associated] issues, including some                                                               
he would like to address.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0982                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WIN  GRUENING, Chair,  The Alaska  Committee, explained  that The                                                               
Alaska Committee is  is a 21-member group  representing a "pretty                                                               
good cross-section  of the community."   The volunteer  group has                                                               
been working  since 1994 to  make the capital more  accessible to                                                               
all  Alaskans  and to  make  the  capital  city and  the  capitol                                                               
building better places.   He distributed a  card with information                                                               
on the  committee's efforts, including constituent  airfares that                                                               
the committee  worked out  with Alaska  Airlines, Gavel  to Gavel                                                               
television  coverage, and  the  Global  Positioning System  (GPS)                                                               
approach   to  the   Juneau   International   Airport  that   has                                                               
"dramatically improved" access.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING described  "streaming"  Gavel-to-Gavel coverage  to                                                               
the Internet.   Currently, it is possible to  hear some committee                                                               
hearings,  but  what  they  are  talking  about  doing  and  have                                                               
recently   have   demonstrated    is   technology   that   allows                                                               
simultaneous coverage  of live events  on the  Internet including                                                               
the  regular  Gavel  to  Gavel coverage  plus  audio  of  several                                                               
committee hearings.   Constituents would  be able to  hear events                                                               
going on in several places at the  same time.  All of that can be                                                               
archived and played  back later.  Video  streaming also overcomes                                                               
the  need for  cable  as a  connection.   He  said  it should  be                                                               
available during this session or the next.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  said the Alaska  Committee feels the  [condition of                                                               
the  capitol]  building  is  an   important  issue  not  just  to                                                               
legislators,  but  also to  the  public.   He  mentioned  crowded                                                               
committee hearings,  limited gallery  space, and the  scarcity of                                                               
parking.   Current legislation [several bills]  proposes to build                                                               
a  new building,  but there  are  more cost-effective  solutions.                                                               
Mayor  Smith mentioned  the committee's  cooperative effort  with                                                               
the City  and Borough of Juneau  to work with the  legislature in                                                               
developing  some proposals  for building  improvement.   Money is                                                               
available  to   contract  with  architects   to  work   with  the                                                               
legislature.   He  asked for  cooperation  from the  legislators,                                                               
saying  he assumes  their  goals  are the  same,  to improve  the                                                               
facilities and access as well.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  said the Alaska  Committee does not think  there is                                                               
political support  for constructing  a brand-new  building either                                                               
in Juneau or  anywhere else in the state.   "In fact, our polling                                                               
suggests ... that  most people feel that building  a new building                                                               
or moving  the legislature is  ... a  de facto capital  move," he                                                               
said.  "I  would respectfully suggest that even though  we have a                                                               
fiscal note,  that that fiscal  note should ... disclose  all the                                                               
costs  of moving  the capital,  not  just the  legislature."   He                                                               
concluded  by  assuring  legislators that  the  Alaska  Committee                                                               
stands  ready to  assist  them in  improving  the facilities,  in                                                               
improving access,  or in any  other ways they feel  are important                                                               
to carrying out their business.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0440                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL expressed  appreciation  for the  work the  Alaska                                                               
committee has  done and  for actually putting  "feet to  it" with                                                               
money.   He noted that issues  rising to the surface  include the                                                               
cost of moving  the capital and the cost of  moving people to the                                                               
capital to visit,  lobby, or see their legislators  -- costs that                                                               
are never fully expressed in the fiscal note.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING said the Alaska  Committee views the cost of getting                                                               
to the  capital as  an access issue.   That is  why they  work on                                                               
issues  like  the constituent  fare,  road  access, and  enhanced                                                               
ferry service.  It is costly not  only to get to Juneau, but also                                                               
to get out of Juneau.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS asked about  the timeline for the $150,000                                                               
study.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING  said the  Alaska  Committee  would like  to  start                                                               
working  with  the legislature  before  the  end of  the  current                                                               
session.   That  would  mean leadership  identifying some  people                                                               
within  the legislature  to help  determine what  the legislature                                                               
needs.   Part of  the study will  inventory and  evaluate current                                                               
facilities, but the  intent is to move beyond  that and determine                                                               
what the  legislature's requirements actually are.   He envisions                                                               
working  on  the study  through  the  current calendar  year  and                                                               
presenting a draft product early next session.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES  asked if the  Alaska Committee  would share                                                               
the polling information to which he had referred.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.   GRUENING  volunteered   results  of   the  1998   poll  and                                                               
information from a new poll being taken this summer.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  said  he  would  like  to  provide  that  to  all                                                               
committee members.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0069                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JEFF  LOGAN,   Staff  to   Representative  Green,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, assured  the committee  that the reasons  behind the                                                               
introduction of HB 1 "are sound  and true, and that every time we                                                               
have  done a  constituent survey,  knocking on  doors, when  this                                                               
question is  included, percentages ...  upwards of 70  percent of                                                               
[Representative  Green's}   constituents  indicate  that   it  is                                                               
something they would like to see happen."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-12, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JEFF LOGAN continued  his testimony, noting that  although it may                                                               
not be a  top state issue, it is certainly  an important issue in                                                               
Representative Green's district.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOGAN  indicated that he would  like to fill in  some gaps in                                                               
the testimony.   He began  by referring  to the fiscal  note that                                                               
states a potential cost of office  space in Anchorage at the rate                                                               
of  $2.25  per  square  foot.   He  noted  that  the  legislature                                                               
currently rents  office space  in Anchorage  at $1.39  per square                                                               
foot.   Regarding constituent [airline]  fares, he quoted  a news                                                               
article saying that  the city [of Juneau]  contributed $27,000 to                                                               
publicize the  fares.   He noted that  the discount  is available                                                               
only to members  of the Alaska Airlines mileage  plan.  Regarding                                                               
the executive  branch moving north,  he quoted  another newspaper                                                               
article reporting that another state  commissioner had moved from                                                               
Juneau to  Anchorage, and that  six of 14 commissioners  now live                                                               
primarily  in  Anchorage.    "During the  interim  when  we  work                                                               
outside the  district, we certainly  see an increasing  number of                                                               
key departments  and key functions  being performed  in Anchorage                                                               
already," he  said.  "The  nation that there  will be a  bunch of                                                               
commissioners  sitting in  hotel  rooms in  Anchorage instead  of                                                               
legislators isn't quite the way we see it."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOGAN referred  to testimony about video  and audio streaming                                                               
over  the Internet  "and maybe  over  the legislature's  system."                                                               
The  technology is  available, but  it  is very  expensive.   The                                                               
Information Technology  Group, the division of  the Department of                                                               
Administration  that handles  telecommunications and  information                                                               
technology,  has put  out a  Request for  Proposals to  privatize                                                               
some of those  services.  If that happens, it  is likely that the                                                               
cost  to  the  legislature  for  some  of  these  services  could                                                               
increase dramatically.   It is important to balance  out the cost                                                               
of some  of these  technologies and  ... there  may come  a point                                                               
when  it does  make  sense  ... to  simply  move our  proceedings                                                               
north.  He concluded, "What we  hear in Anchorage is that it will                                                               
be an issue until it happens...."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0464                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD noted  that he  was the  other Anchorage                                                               
representative  on  the   committee  [along  with  Representative                                                               
Hayes]. He  said had  heard a lot  of interesting  arguments this                                                               
morning about  why the legislature  should or shouldn't  move the                                                               
capital.   Most  of  his  constituents "would  like  to have  the                                                               
legislature  in Anchorage,  but it's  not anywhere  near the  top                                                               
issue," he  said.  "That's not  what people sent me  down here to                                                               
do.   They  sent me  down here  to get  a long-term  fiscal plan.                                                               
They sent  me down  here to  deal with  education issues  [and] a                                                               
number of other things.  This one  seems to be way down the list,                                                               
and it's hard for me to  understand why we're spending time every                                                               
session on moving  the capital when we've got so  many other more                                                               
pressing issues."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL cited an analogy  to raising children:  "If they're                                                               
hungry,  that's   an  immediate  issue,  it's   important.    But                                                               
disciplining them and clothing them properly and giving a long-                                                                 
range  structural thing  is  important, too.    So important  and                                                               
immediate ... have to  go hand in hand, and I  think part of this                                                               
discussion is  [about what is] structurally  important to Alaska.                                                               
Access  to government  and the  place of  population, how  we can                                                               
access our policy makers ...  is an important issue [although] it                                                               
may not  be an immediate  issue."   He noted that  time remaining                                                               
for the  meeting was short, and  that he did not  intend to close                                                               
public testimony, but to continue it.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  agreed with  Representative  Crawford's                                                               
prioritization of  issues.   He reminded  the committee  that the                                                               
state  constitution provides  for three  branches of  government:                                                               
the executive, the court system,  and the legislature.  The court                                                               
system  has done  a  wonderful job  of  capital expenditures  and                                                               
getting new  additions, including a new  courthouse in Anchorage.                                                               
The administration in  the Anchorage area is  housed primarily in                                                               
the Atwood building.   It's important that the  legislature be in                                                               
a functional,  accessible, friendly, and safe  [facility] just as                                                               
the  administration  and  the  courts   are.    When  [the  state                                                               
government] has  a depreciated  asset that's  not doing  its job,                                                               
that is an issue  that needs to be addressed.   He said he thinks                                                               
the vast majority of people in  the state ... recognize that, and                                                               
that's why it's been an issue for the 40 years since statehood."                                                                
The issue is  one of those that  are near and dear  to his heart.                                                               
Another  is that  of interim  committee hearings.   "We  can have                                                               
interim  hearings now  but we  can't take  substantive action  in                                                               
those," he explained                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  said  things like  a  shorter  session,                                                               
interim  hearings, and  even a  biennial budget  could help  with                                                               
some  of   the  problems  of   access  and  recruitment   if  the                                                               
legislature remains  in Juneau.   "If we can shorten  the session                                                               
and make  it more efficient and  less costly, and also  carry out                                                               
interim activities  that are  more accessible  to the  public and                                                               
have hearings around the state,  I think those are positive steps                                                               
in overcoming  and ameliorating  some of  those problems  that we                                                               
have," he said.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG continued:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I do appreciate  the point the mayor  made about people                                                                    
     being  statesmanlike,  holistic,  and  looking  at  the                                                                    
     entire state  when you  make decisions.   I  think each                                                                    
     one  of us,  as  a legislator,  is  first and  foremost                                                                    
     responsible to  our own constituency and  district, but                                                                    
     also I agree with that theory.   We have to look at the                                                                    
     whole state.   And I  think that this  particular issue                                                                    
     is a matter  of concern for the whole  state.  Clearly,                                                                    
     major economic impacts on the  City of Juneau should be                                                                    
     considered,  make  sure  that  they  are  part  of  the                                                                    
     equation ....                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  said he  is very  pleased to  hear about                                                               
the activities of  the Alaska Committee and  the appropriation of                                                               
funds from the  City and Borough of Juneau.   "Those are positive                                                               
steps, and I think that perhaps  in a very small way, maybe we've                                                               
helped keep  the fire lit and  ... this issue before  the public.                                                               
It is something that is very important."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He concluded:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     This may  be my last term  in the legislature --  and I                                                                    
     emphasize "may" -- in large  part because of the access                                                                    
     issue   ...  and   hardships   it   leaves  on   family                                                                    
     life....After  this number  of years,  it becomes  very                                                                    
     telling.     And  I  think   that  the   comments  that                                                                    
     Representative Ogan  made regarding  how we  finish our                                                                    
     sessions ...  how there's an anxiousness  to leave this                                                                    
     community  and  get  back  home, that  puts  a  lot  of                                                                    
     pressure on  people.   Some people  think theoretically                                                                    
     that's  a good  thing in  terms of  our decision-making                                                                    
     process.   I don't agree  with that.   I think  that we                                                                    
     should make  the best decisions  in the best  time when                                                                    
     the  time is  right and  not necessarily  to meet  that                                                                    
     deadline.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1172                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  said  it  is an  interesting  discussion,  he  is                                                               
grateful  for the  Juneau community  coming  forward and  sharing                                                               
with  us what  their intentions  are, trying  to make  access and                                                               
work a little  easier for the legislature.  He  thinks how to get                                                               
people  involved  in  government  is  going to  be  part  of  the                                                               
discussion.   Geography  definitely  has  a part  to  play in  it                                                               
because  the  vast  majority  of  the  population  of  Alaska  is                                                               
somewhere in  the central part  of the state.   He said  he would                                                               
like to  see the legislature moved,  but that he also  is open to                                                               
discussion.   He  plans to  continue  hearings on  the issue  and                                                               
wants get  other communities involved  in the discussion.   [HB 1                                                               
was held over.]                                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects