Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/17/2001 10:03 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB   1-MOVE LEGISLATURE TO ANCHORAGE                                                                                          
[Note: The  counter numbers reflect  the amount of time  that has                                                               
elapsed since the beginning of the meeting.]                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  announced that the  only order of  business before                                                               
the committee would be HOUSE BILL  NO. 1, "An Act relating to the                                                               
location of legislative sessions;  and providing for an effective                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   NORMAN  ROKEBERG,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
testified as one of  the sponsors of HB 1.   He began by pointing                                                               
out  that  the  voters  have   taken  up  the  issue  of  capital                                                               
relocation a number of times.   Representative Rokeberg said, "My                                                               
interest  in introducing  this  bill was  to  endeavor to  ensure                                                               
greater access  by the  people of  the State  of Alaska  to their                                                               
elected  representatives."    Alaska   is  the  only  state  that                                                               
requires its citizens to pass  through a foreign country in order                                                               
to  reach the  capital by  road or  ferry.   Additionally, flying                                                               
into Juneau and staying overnight  there is a substantial burden.                                                               
Representative  Rokeberg calculated  that  airfare, lodging,  and                                                               
other   expenses  in   Juneau   would  amount   to  about   $700.                                                               
Furthermore,  Representative  Rokeberg  said  that  the  existing                                                               
capitol  building  in Juneau  is  "obsolete  and antiquated  and,                                                               
quite frankly,  has a number  of life-safety issues  that revolve                                                               
around it."   Over  the years Legislative  Council has  done well                                                               
working  with the  current structure,  particularly  in terms  of                                                               
accessibility.   However,  Representative Rokeberg  believes that                                                               
the building  is not  designed to  serve the  public well  and he                                                               
didn't  believe that  some  of the  life-safety  issues could  be                                                               
corrected  in the  existing structure.   For  example, there  are                                                               
dead end corridors and traffic  patterns that don't meet any fire                                                               
and building code  that he is aware of, even  with the exceptions                                                               
for historic  buildings.  Therefore,  he believes that  the state                                                               
should review  the issue  of having a  new capitol  building that                                                               
meets  the needs  of  the public.   Also,  other  than the  small                                                               
coffee stand,  there is  no where  for a  visitor to  the capitol                                                               
building  to  obtain  food or  refreshments.    Furthermore,  the                                                               
committee rooms are  inadequate.  For example,  committee room 17                                                               
in  the capitol  building has  a fire  exit staircase  inside the                                                               
room, which  is illegal under any  fire code.  He  reviewed other                                                               
problems with room 17.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG noted that he  has also introduced HB 57,                                                               
which would  provide any political  subdivision of  people 30,000                                                               
or greater with  the ability to build a new  legislative hall and                                                               
lease it  to the legislature  for $1  a year and  the legislature                                                               
would pay for  all the operating costs,  repair, and maintenance.                                                               
He  pointed out  that it  does  allow Juneau  to be  part of  the                                                               
competition.   Representative  Rokeberg  informed the  committee,                                                               
"It's  my desire  to develop  a  Anchorage ...  committee to  ...                                                               
build  a  capitol  building  hopefully  this  year  and  generate                                                               
further  interest in  it."   He  acknowledged that  the folks  in                                                               
Juneau are  aware of  this situation  and there  is a  group, the                                                               
Alaska  Committee, that  is working  towards keeping  the capital                                                               
and  the  legislature  in  Juneau.    The  Alaska  Committee  has                                                               
retained  architectural consultants  to  add an  addition to  the                                                               
rear  of   the  capitol  building,   which  would   also  include                                                               
additional parking.   He mentioned  the difficulty for  staff and                                                               
capital visitors to find parking in downtown Juneau.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN, Alaska  State Legislature, testified as                                                               
one of the  sponsors of HB 1.  Representative  Green said that he                                                               
views  this  issue from  both  an  economic and  a  philosophical                                                               
standpoint.    He  informed  the  committee that  57  of  the  60                                                               
legislators have  to come from  elsewhere.  Were  the legislature                                                               
to convene in Anchorage, 45  percent [of the legislators] live in                                                               
Anchorage and  up to 60 percent  live within a one  hour commute.                                                               
Obviously,  there  is  a significant  difference  in  cost  [when                                                               
reviewing  having  the  capital   in  Anchorage  versus  Juneau].                                                               
Representative Green  mentioned that  he had spoken  with several                                                               
Bush legislators who  preferred to have the  capitol in Anchorage                                                               
because they can get from  their home to Anchorage, while getting                                                               
to  and  from  Juneau  is  questionable.    Representative  Green                                                               
returned  to the  average cost  for  [a constituent]  to come  to                                                               
Juneau,  which is  about $700.   He  informed the  committee that                                                               
just this week he attempted to  change his departure time by four                                                               
hours and that  was going to cost $375  additional dollars, which                                                               
is absurd.   That  occurred because Juneau  has only  one airline                                                               
company, which results in no competition and no fair prices.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN turned  to the  philosophical side  of this                                                               
issue.   That is, he  believes the pool of  potential legislators                                                               
would be  significantly increased [by  moving the capitol].   Too                                                               
many  of the  people that  would  make good  legislators are  not                                                               
willing to make the sacrifice to  their home life.  He pointed to                                                               
Senator Parnell as  one example of a legislator  who left because                                                               
he didn't  want to  continue the  disruption to  his family.   He                                                               
agreed with Chair  Coghill that this disruption to  the family is                                                               
also  felt by  the  legislative staff.   Although  Representative                                                               
Green commended  the staff  that lives  in Juneau,  he maintained                                                               
that the difficulty  and expense of having the  capital in Juneau                                                               
excludes  potential legislative  staff  from other  parts of  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN pointed out that  Alaska is a resource state                                                               
and thus  is very much  in the  public's eye in  Washington, D.C.                                                               
However,  Alaska's  small population  of  a  little over  600,000                                                               
people  provides   only  a  small   voice  in   Washington,  D.C.                                                               
Therefore, the  result is the  need to make trips  to Washington,                                                               
D.C.,  in  order  to  make  a  point  known.    Such  a  trip  is                                                               
problematic,  especially in  the  first two  months [of  session]                                                               
when the fog  can settle in Juneau such that  flights cannot come                                                               
in and  out.  Although  there may  times in which  other airports                                                               
might also have to be closed  or have limited flight service, the                                                               
cancellation of  flights out of  Anchorage is a fraction  of what                                                               
it is in Juneau.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN  addressed  the   charge  that  moving  the                                                               
legislative session out of Juneau  would destroy the economics of                                                               
the city.   Representative  Green questioned  that argument.   He                                                               
informed the  committee that in  his first  year in Juneau  [as a                                                               
legislator],  the   legislative  session  was  extended.     That                                                               
extension   extended   into   the   tourist   season   and   some                                                               
[legislators]  were  thrown  out  of their  rentals  because  the                                                               
tourists paid  more money.   Representative Green  indicated that                                                               
Juneau hasn't  looked at other  sources of income, such  as local                                                               
mineral deposits  in the Juneau  area.   He clarified that  he is                                                               
suggesting  that   there  are  other   avenues  other   than  the                                                               
legislature that could  cover the time before the  arrival of the                                                               
SENATOR RANDY  PHILLIPS, Alaska  State Legislature,  informed the                                                               
committee that he has some  community meetings scheduled today in                                                               
Chugiak  and  Muldoon.   At  those  meetings,  he said  he  would                                                               
inquire  as  to how  many  of  those  present  want to  move  the                                                               
legislature.   Senator  Phillips  assured the  committee that  at                                                               
least  three out  of four  will support  moving the  legislature.                                                               
Senator Phillips then turned to  the issue of access and remarked                                                               
that  the  time  of  legislators is,  in  general,  dominated  by                                                               
lobbyists  or   bureaucrats,  which  he  didn't   believe  to  be                                                               
appropriate.  Furthermore, Senator  Phillips didn't believe it to                                                               
be fair  that children  outside the Juneau  area can't  visit the                                                               
legislature.   He emphasized the importance  of exposing children                                                               
to the legislature  in order to encourage children  to enter into                                                               
public  [service].   In conclusion,  Senator  Phillips said  that                                                               
when HB  1 passes the  House he would  do everything he  could to                                                               
forward it through the Senate.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  informed  everyone that  the  Close  Up                                                               
Program  provides transportation  mainly  for  rural children  to                                                               
visit the  legislature.   However, he  highlighted the  fact that                                                               
there are  never any  children from  the Anchorage  area visiting                                                               
the legislature,  except on a rare  occasion.  He inquired  as to                                                               
Senator Phillips' opinion of that.                                                                                              
SENATOR PHILLIPS  answered that  the Close Up  Program is  a good                                                               
program as long as everyone is on  a level playing field.  In his                                                               
25 years, Senator Phillips said  that only five children from his                                                               
district  have  been  to  Juneau  to see  the  legislature.    He                                                               
reiterated the  importance of  access and  the need  to eliminate                                                               
the  dominance  of bureaucrats  and  lobbyists  on the  political                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN informed  the  committee that  this is  his                                                               
fifth  time  sponsoring  [capital]  move legislation.    He  also                                                               
informed the  committee that Senator Phillips  has sponsored such                                                               
legislation  in the  past  as well.   Therefore,  this  is not  a                                                               
single member or body issue.                                                                                                    
SENATOR PHILLIPS recalled that the  legislation of five years ago                                                               
failed on  a 7:12  vote.  He  said, "I've been  told that  is the                                                               
furtherest its come,  in the state's history."   He expressed the                                                               
hope that this issue would proceed even further.                                                                                
BOB  MONSON informed  the committee  that he  has been  in Alaska                                                               
about 50  years and has  only be in  Juneau twice, both  of which                                                               
when he was a state employee.   He agreed with the aforementioned                                                               
average  cost to  go to  Juneau of  $700.   Mr. Monson  noted his                                                               
support  of  HB  1.    He related  his  belief  that  moving  the                                                               
legislature  would  cause the  dynamics  of  it  to change.    He                                                               
pointed out  that there is  much infrastructure within  the state                                                               
to  build,   but  [the  state]   can't  hardly   build  anything.                                                               
Therefore,  if  the legislature  was  moved,  perhaps some  other                                                               
avenues would open  up.  Although Juneau has  been very effective                                                               
in squelching  capital move efforts,  there isn't  anyone present                                                               
in Juneau to testify.                                                                                                           
CHAIR COGHILL interjected that he  has already had one hearing on                                                               
HB 1 during  which there were witnesses from  Juneau.  Therefore,                                                               
he  believes that  his  announcement that  he  wanted to  provide                                                               
Anchorage  with  the  opportunity  [to  testify]  on  this  issue                                                               
probably led them [not to testify].                                                                                             
MR. MONSON  concluded by expressing  his hope that  the committee                                                               
would take action  on HB 1 so  that it could be  forwarded to the                                                               
House floor for a vote.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA  informed everyone that constituents                                                               
and people in Juneau are listening.                                                                                             
UWE KALENKA  noted that he  was in  Juneau recently and  took the                                                               
time to  visit the capitol building.   Mr. Kalenka said  that the                                                               
capitol  building and  office  are  a disgrace  to  the State  of                                                               
Alaska.   He suggested either  tearing down the  capitol building                                                               
or making it a museum.  He  acknowledged that there is a force to                                                               
move  the  governor from  the  capitol  building.   However,  Mr.                                                               
Kalenka  believes that  the entire  legislature  should be  moved                                                               
from   Juneau   to   Alaska's  population   center,   namely   in                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska.   At this  point in  time, Juneau  does not                                                               
represent  Alaska very  well  and  thus, "it  does  not send  the                                                               
proper message to the rest of  the nation to have the legislature                                                               
or,  for  that matter,  the  capital  in  Juneau."   Mr.  Kalenka                                                               
informed the  committee that signatures are  being collected [for                                                               
an  initiative to  move the  capital] and  the paperwork  will be                                                               
forwarded   to   the   lieutenant    governor   next   week   for                                                               
certification.   He reiterated  the need to  move the  capital to                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska, where  the climate  is better  and land  to                                                               
build  on is  cheaper.   There is  no room  to expand  in Juneau,                                                               
which is  probably why the average  cost of a dwelling  in Juneau                                                               
is $220,000.   Mr. Kalenka  remarked, in response to  the average                                                               
cost  of a  dwelling in  Juneau,  "That's obscene.   The  average                                                               
income in Alaska is only $33,000."                                                                                              
MR. KALENKA  said that over the  last 30 years, he  has witnessed                                                               
several movements to  move the legislature, the  capital, or both                                                               
out  of  [Juneau].    In  the  past,  it  was  thwarted  by  some                                                               
"ingenious politician."   Therefore, this time the  movement is a                                                               
citizen  initiative.    In  conclusion,  Mr.  Kalenka  noted  his                                                               
support of the efforts of Representatives Green and Rokeberg.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  expressed  his  desire  to  review  the                                                               
initiative that Mr. Kalenka spoke of  before he submits it to the                                                               
lieutenant    governor.       Representative    Rokeberg    said,                                                               
"Fundamentally, I  agree with  the concept.   Right now,  I don't                                                               
think politically - because of  the influence of Southeast and so                                                               
forth -  that any bill will  have a very good  chance of becoming                                                               
law."   Therefore,  "this  is  ... a  paradigm  case  for use  of                                                               
initiatives,"   he  said.     Although   Representative  Rokeberg                                                               
commended Mr. Kalenka,  he expressed the following  concerns.  He                                                               
asked   if  Mr.   Kalenka's  initiative   dealt  only   with  the                                                               
legislature and not the capital.                                                                                                
MR. KALENKA  affirmed that,  at this  point, the  initiative only                                                               
deals  with  moving the  legislature.    In further  response  to                                                               
Representative Rokeberg, Mr. Kalenka  said that the initiative is                                                               
similar to  what is in HB  1 with one exception.   That exception                                                               
is that  the initiative would  propose moving the  legislature to                                                               
the Mat-Su Borough.  However, "We  are wide open on that one," he                                                               
said.  Mr.  Kalenka explained that the Mat-Su  Borough was chosen                                                               
because of its location and  cheap building land, while Anchorage                                                               
is  running out  of buildable  land.   Mr.  Kalenka said,  "Quite                                                               
frankly,  we'd   support  either  ...  Anchorage   or  Mat-Su  or                                                               
wherever, as long as it's Southcentral where the population is."                                                                
Mr. Kalenka,  in response to  Representative Rokeberg,  said that                                                               
he had not reviewed HB 57.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  suggested that Mr. Kalenka  review HB 57                                                               
because it  has specs on building  that could be expanded.   That                                                               
legislation,  HB 57,  involves Legislative  Counsel creating  the                                                               
mechanism  for  any  action, if  the  initiative  is  successful.                                                               
Therefore, he reiterated the need  for Mr. Kalenka to provide the                                                               
initiative  to legislators  for review  before submitting  it for                                                               
certification.   For  example, HB  57 deals  with where  to build                                                               
[the capitol building]  on a competitive basis and  lease it back                                                               
for $1 on  nominal consideration.  Therefore, if  there are state                                                               
lands available, those lands could be  utilized at no cost to the                                                               
developer in  the political subdivision.   For example,  when the                                                               
Atwood Building was purchased, $5  million worth of downtown land                                                               
was acquired  as part of the  deal.  Between the  Atwood Building                                                               
and  the Phillips  66 tower,  the state  owns a  full block  that                                                               
would seem to  be an excellent location for the  development of a                                                               
new legislative hall.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD  pointed  out  that  if  the  initiative                                                               
specifies  the Mat-Su  Borough as  the location,  then it  is not                                                               
open to be changed.                                                                                                             
MR. [MONSON] agreed, but noted  that [he and Mr. Kalenka] support                                                               
[HB 1].                                                                                                                         
MR.  KALENKA clarified  that should  HB  1 not  pass through  the                                                               
legislature, the initiative will move forward.                                                                                  
DANIEL  BOONE  testified via  teleconference.    He informed  the                                                               
committee that  he is  a member of  the Chitina  Fire Department.                                                               
Mr.  Boone related  his understanding  that  prior to  statehood,                                                               
Juneau  was the  main hub  when  traveling to  Alaska.   However,                                                               
Juneau  is no  longer the  hub  of the  main traffic  flow.   The                                                               
construction of the  road during World War II gave  access to the                                                               
Interior of Alaska.   Mr. Boone felt that  moving the legislative                                                               
offices  and  even  the  capital to  Anchorage  [or]  the  Mat-Su                                                               
Borough  would  provide  [citizens]  of the  state  with  greater                                                               
access and more input.  Mr.  Boone said that he supports the move                                                               
because many  of the rural  communities in  Alaska have to  go to                                                               
Anchorage  and   then  proceed  to   Juneau  [if  they   want  to                                                               
participate  in  the state  government],  which  is costly.    He                                                               
informed the  committee that he can  take a one week  vacation to                                                               
Hawaii cheaper than going to Juneau for one day.                                                                                
MR. BOONE, in  response to Chair Coghill, said that  via the road                                                               
it  takes him  approximately 5  hours to  get to  Anchorage.   He                                                               
clarified that  if he did  travel to  Juneau, it would  amount to                                                               
three days  of travel.   In response to  Representative Rokeberg,                                                               
Mr.  Boone provided  the following  opinion regarding  whether he                                                               
preferred  moving [the  legislature] to  Anchorage or  the Mat-Su                                                               
Borough.  He  believes that the Mat-Su Borough  location would be                                                               
in   the  best   interest  of   Alaskans  because   Anchorage  is                                                               
overcrowded and has traffic problems.                                                                                           
ED KNOEBEL, retired businessman, testified via teleconference.                                                                  
[There is about one  minute of blank tape at the  end of Tape 01-                                                               
23, Side A.]                                                                                                                    
TAPE 01-23, SIDE B                                                                                                              
MR.  KNOEBEL  acknowledged that  Anchorage  has  a building  that                                                               
could  be  used  to  house legislative  sessions.    However,  he                                                               
preferred  that the  [legislature] be  located in  the Mat-Su  or                                                               
Talkeetna area, which  was originally passed and  [approved].  In                                                               
regard to the  argument that moving [the  legislature] would cost                                                               
too much, Mr.  Knoebel related his understanding  that moving the                                                               
[legislature] to  Talkeetna wouldn't  have cost  anything because                                                               
state land  could have  been used.   Furthermore, the  cost would                                                               
only  be  for  leasing  the   buildings,  which  is  the  current                                                               
situation.  Mr.  Knoebel said, "I'm all for it."   In response to                                                               
Chair Coghill,  Mr. Knoebel said  that moving the  legislature to                                                               
Anchorage would be a start.                                                                                                     
JOSEPH HENRI,  testifying via  teleconference, announced  that he                                                               
is opposed  to HB  1.   He informed  the committee  that he  is a                                                               
lawyer  and has  represented the  Alaska State  Legislature as  a                                                               
contract lawyer.   Furthermore,  he served  on the  Commission on                                                               
Privatization.   Mr. Henri suggested  that the  legislature spend                                                               
some  time  on   [the  recommendations]  regarding  privatization                                                               
rather than on the fantasies of  the money that would be saved by                                                               
moving the capital.   Mr. Henri also informed  the committee that                                                               
he  was  the Commissioner  of  the  Department of  Administration                                                               
under Governor Egan, when the  Commissioner of Administration ran                                                               
the  state budget.   Therefore,  Mr. Henri  is familiar  with the                                                               
cost of doing business and how government works.                                                                                
MR. HENRI expressed his astonishment  in hearing Senator Phillips                                                               
say that  he didn't like to  hear from bureaucrats all  the time.                                                               
Mr. Henri emphasized, "No bureaucrat,  Mr. Chairman, ever goes to                                                               
the legislative hall unless invited  by some legislator.  There's                                                               
a very strict  rule about that."  Therefore, that  is the largest                                                               
defect in  moving only  the legislature  and leaving  the state's                                                               
general  bureaucracy in  Juneau.   In  Mr.  Henri's opinion,  the                                                               
legislature can't function without bureaucratic input.                                                                          
MR. HENRI  turned to  Mr. Kalenka's work  [on the  initiative] to                                                               
place  the  legislature  in  the   Mat-Su  Borough.    Mr.  Henri                                                               
predicted that moving only the  legislature to the Mat-Su Borough                                                               
would result in an expense for  the legislature that is 100 times                                                               
more than  it is  currently.   Therefore, he  felt that  such was                                                               
unworkable and  probably illegal.   Furthermore,  the legislative                                                               
and  executive  branches have  to  work  together or  nothing  is                                                               
accomplished.   Mr. Henri questioned  the legality  of separating                                                               
the legislative and executive branches.                                                                                         
MR.  HENRI continued  by addressing  the  deep divisiveness  that                                                               
such action  would bring to  Alaska.   He recalled that  there is                                                               
already quite a  bit of divisiveness such as  associated with the                                                               
subsistence  issue  as  well   as  other  rural-urban  conflicts.                                                               
[Moving the legislature]  will alienate an entire  segment of the                                                               
state, the Southeast panhandle.  This is extremely bad policy.                                                                  
MR. HENRI, in regard to  Representative Rokeberg's comments about                                                               
how old  the capitol is,  said that he  worked in the  capitol of                                                               
the United States, which is  an old building that perhaps doesn't                                                               
adhere to  the Americans with  Disabilities Act.   Therefore, Mr.                                                               
Henri  didn't  believe that  argument  to  be a  legitimate  one.                                                               
"There's an unstated  conclusion to all this,  Mr. Chairman, that                                                               
if  the legislature  were  moved  to where  the  majority of  the                                                               
people are,  everything would be  better," he said.   However, he                                                               
didn't believe  that would be the  case.  Mr. Henri  concluded by                                                               
saying,  "We have  a representative  form of  government and  the                                                               
representatives have to  gather some place, Juneau is  as good as                                                               
any other place."                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN noted  that currently  there are  about six                                                               
commissioners  that   live  in  Anchorage  rather   than  Juneau.                                                               
Furthermore,  there  are  more Department  of  Natural  Resources                                                               
(DNR) employees  in Anchorage than  are in Juneau as  is probably                                                               
the case with the Department  of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                               
as well.   Therefore, he  said that  the bureaucrats who  want to                                                               
testify would be able  to do so [in Anchorage] just  as well.  He                                                               
agreed that  Alaska and  the U.S.  are a  republic.   However, he                                                               
explained  that  the  concept  is  to  [allow  for  more]  public                                                               
testimony  at the  committee hearings,  which  could be  achieved                                                               
because there is more public [in Anchorage] than in Juneau.                                                                     
MR.  HENRI  said  that  he  didn't believe  that  there  are  six                                                               
department heads headquartered in Anchorage.   As far as he knew,                                                               
the capital  is still in  Juneau.  In response  to Representative                                                               
Green's  comment  that  [the  legislation]   is  not  moving  the                                                               
capital, Mr.  Henri said, "My  point is  that you are  moving the                                                               
capital  when  you   move  the  legislature  and   I  think  it's                                                               
inevitable, if not  legally required, that the  executive and the                                                               
...[legislative branches] be together."                                                                                         
MR.  HENRI  noted that  he  was  present  and opposed  the  first                                                               
capital move issue in 1960.  At  that time, he felt that it was a                                                               
"silly issue" and  he thinks it remains such.   He said, "I think                                                               
it's a  poor excuse,  a sort  of ...  a diversionary  tactic away                                                               
from  the real  problems  that we  face  here as  a  state.   The                                                               
biggest one being:  What are we  going to do about our cash flow,                                                               
our budgetary..."                                                                                                               
CHAIR  COGHILL interjected  that  the  fact that  it  has been  a                                                               
public  debate illustrates  that  many people  are interested  in                                                               
this issue.   Furthermore, "it  is tough to change  policy and/or                                                               
change location," and thus he expressed  the need to focus on [HB
1].  Therefore, he asked Mr. Henri to wrap up his testimony.                                                                    
MR. HENRI reiterated his belief  that [moving the legislature] is                                                               
a  poor idea.   He  said,  "In spite  of  the fact  that you  say                                                               
nothing else  is pertinent but  this issue,  I think you  do have                                                               
more  important issues  like the  economic  well-being of  Alaska                                                               
that you ought to be attending to."                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  thanked  Mr.  Henri for  his  long  and                                                               
distinguished  public service  to the  state.   However, he  took                                                               
exception  to some  of Mr.  Henri's analysis  of this.   Although                                                               
Representative  Rokeberg agreed  with Mr.  Henri's assessment  of                                                               
the  state's priorities,  "it's not  to denigrate  other issues."                                                               
Currently, the capitol building's  [dysfunction] is critical.  In                                                               
regard to the state of  the capitol building in Washington, D.C.,                                                               
Representative  Rokeberg pointed  out that  it was  built in  the                                                               
grand  Neo-Roman  style  that has  massive  chambers.    However,                                                               
Alaska's capitol  building wasn't designed as  a capitol building                                                               
and  "that's the  problem."   Representative  Rokeberg also  took                                                               
exception to Mr. Henri's legal  argument regarding the separation                                                               
of government.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD,  in regard  to the issue  of priorities,                                                               
said that when he went  door-to-door he heard more people request                                                               
a certain road being paved rather than have the capital moved.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES informed the  committee that Clark Gruening,                                                               
The  Alaska Committee,  and Sally  Smith, Mayor  of Juneau,  were                                                               
both present.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TERRY  MARTIN,  Former Representative,  House  of                                                               
Representatives, Alaska  State Legislature, began by  saying that                                                               
discussion  of [capital  move] initiatives  will kill  this bill.                                                               
He emphasized  that the  legislature could  move into  the Atwood                                                               
Building now for the legislative  sessions, if the legislature so                                                               
desired.   Having  legislative sessions  in  the Atwood  Building                                                               
would probably cost  less than moving the session  back and forth                                                               
each year.  There  is plenty of room in the  Atwood Building.  In                                                               
regard to the location of  the bureaucrats, Representative Martin                                                               
pointed  out   that  two-thirds   of  the  bureaucrats   live  in                                                               
Anchorage.    Representative Martin  recalled  that  at one  time                                                               
there was [discussion] about having  deputy commissioners move to                                                               
Anchorage  and  Fairbanks  so  that   they  could  represent  the                                                               
bureaucracy and  the governor while  affording the  public access                                                               
to them.   However,  all the deputy  commissioners were  moved to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  MARTIN  stressed that  representative  government                                                               
cannot  occur  with a  distant  and  isolated community  such  as                                                               
Juneau,  Barrow,  or  Bethel.    He said,  "It's  the  access  to                                                               
government that the people want."   Representative Martin related                                                               
his belief  that all the modern  tools used to provide  access to                                                               
the  capital have  totally failed.   Juneau  is too  secluded and                                                               
dominated   by    special   interest   groups    and   lobbyists.                                                               
Representative Martin  charged that  the current location  of the                                                               
capital  is  the worst  community  in  this  state, in  terms  of                                                               
accessibility by  the average citizen, specifically  in regard to                                                               
the ability to walk or drive to legislative hearings.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  MARTIN informed  the committee  that in  the last                                                               
two weeks he  has attempted to contact his  legislators in regard                                                               
to  various issues.  In one  case,  the staff  of his  legislator                                                               
informed him  that the legislator was  on the way to  the airport                                                               
to  come to  Anchorage,  where he  was not  able  to contact  the                                                               
legislator  either.   He  said,  "This  session has  proven  that                                                               
you've been absent  probably at least 30 or 40  days already from                                                               
the legislature."  Therefore, if  the location of the legislature                                                               
was moved, the  length of the session could easily  be reduced by                                                               
30  or 40  days.   He  estimated  that it  amounts  to over  $1.4                                                               
million just  for the  legislature to travel  back and  forth and                                                               
for the per  diem.  If one believes in  democracy and hearing the                                                               
voice  of   the  people,  then   the  current  location   is  not                                                               
appropriate.   Representative  Martin expressed  his exasperation                                                               
with  the scheduling  of  meetings and  the  agendas changing  or                                                               
meetings being  canceled entirely, which  [is a burden]  to those                                                               
who  do travel  to  take part  in the  legislative  process.   He                                                               
charged  that  nothing  has  improved   in  the  last  25  years.                                                               
Therefore, "You must move the legislature," he said.                                                                            
AUSTIN  MAHALKEY  testified  via teleconference.    Mr.  Mahalkey                                                               
related  his belief  that  this is  a backdoor  way  to move  the                                                               
capital  to  Anchorage and  thus  he  preferred the  [legislative                                                               
sessions] staying  in Juneau.   He recalled that the  citizens of                                                               
Alaska  voted to  move the  capital a  couple of  times, but  the                                                               
legislature  [projected] the  financing  of the  move  to be  ten                                                               
times higher  than what it would  actually cost so that  it would                                                               
be voted  down.   Therefore, the  [public's] vote  was nullified.                                                               
Mr. Mahalkey  said, "I think  this is just  a power grab  to move                                                               
the capital to  Anchorage behind our backs and I'd  rather see it                                                               
stay in Juneau."  Furthermore,  everyone that is involved in this                                                               
is from Anchorage or Eagle River.   He indicated that [moving the                                                               
legislative sessions] would result in [litigation].                                                                             
JERMEY BESHAW  testified via teleconference.   Mr.  Beshaw played                                                               
the following recording:                                                                                                        
     As my grandfather would say,  you do your best business                                                                    
     out on  Main Street, not way  out in "BFG."   It's been                                                                    
     said that  we Alaskans  feel left out  of the  ring and                                                                    
     cut  off  from  our   own  government,  Well  folks,  I                                                                    
     challenge you.   I throw  down the gauntlet  before you                                                                    
     and dare  you to  move the  legislative offices  and to                                                                    
     prove that, once  and for all, we the  people of Alaska                                                                    
     are  not  [incompetent]  when  it   comes  to  our  own                                                                    
     government.  After all, it  is a legislative office not                                                                    
     a MASH  unit.  And I  hope that this action  will prove                                                                    
     one small step towards the move of our capital.                                                                            
SENATOR JOHN COWDERY first addressed  an earlier comment that [HB
1] is a power grab for  Anchorage.  To that Senator Cowdery said,                                                               
"The power  is in Anchorage,  the people  are in Anchorage."   He                                                               
noted  his agreement  with Former  Representative Martin  in that                                                               
the communications aren't  as good as they should be.   In regard                                                               
to past efforts  to move the capital, the price  presented to the                                                               
public [was  higher than  it actually would  be] and  thus scared                                                               
the public such that [it didn't pass].                                                                                          
SENATOR  COWDERY   remarked  that  there  are   several  ways  to                                                               
[accomplish this].   He  recalled a  situation in  Eastern Canada                                                               
where a new  city hall was needed.  Although  the [community] was                                                               
taxed out  and couldn't  build a city  hall, the  [community] did                                                               
have land available.  Therefore, the  mayor put out a Request For                                                               
Proposals (RFP) that  specified the size and details  of the city                                                               
hall that the  community wanted.  This RFP was  put out worldwide                                                               
and a Belgium  organization responded.  The mayor  wanted a turn-                                                               
key operation  that had no  cost for the  city.  In  exchange for                                                               
the  [Belgium organization  building the  city hall],  they would                                                               
receive a specified amount of land  around the city hall in order                                                               
to obtain revenue  from future development.   There was worldwide                                                               
interest  and  the  Belgium organization  built  the  city  hall.                                                               
There are  lots of areas  in Alaska  that have land.   Therefore,                                                               
the aforementioned scenario could be one way to pay for this.                                                                   
SENATOR COWDERY  turned to the issue  of travel.  The  expense of                                                               
travel  alone  almost  supports [moving  the  legislature].    He                                                               
pointed out  the possibility of using  GARVEE (Grant Anticipation                                                               
Revenue  Vehicles) bonds,  which utilize  anticipated revenue  so                                                               
that the money can be received  up-front.  If a facility is built                                                               
in Anchorage,  then he  felt it  fair to  pay rent  or "something                                                               
else."  He  expressed his belief that the time  has come [to move                                                               
the legislature].   He stressed that handicap  people cannot even                                                               
get to the [House or  Senate chambers].  Furthermore, the capitol                                                               
building wouldn't pass any safety  inspection.  Many improvements                                                               
to the capitol  building are necessary.  The  capitol building is                                                               
a historic  location that  could remain  of interest  to tourists                                                               
[even  if  the capital  is  not  in  Juneau].   Furthermore,  the                                                               
governor could remain in Juneau.                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY mentioned that when  he first took office that he                                                               
brought his  grandchildren to Juneau for  a week in order  to see                                                               
how government works.   His grandchildren have  never forgot that                                                               
visit.   He  indicated the  importance of  involving children  in                                                               
BILL DUDLEY informed the committee  that he has been an Anchorage                                                               
resident for  many years, since 1954,  and has voted a  few times                                                               
to move  the state capital.   Mr. Dudley  felt that [HB  1] makes                                                               
practical sense because  it would allow the public  to access the                                                               
legislature  for  a  more reasonable  cost.    Most  importantly,                                                               
Anchorage is the largest city  in Alaska.  Moving the legislators                                                               
with their staff makes sense  in trying to improve the democratic                                                               
process.   Furthermore, the public  would become  more interested                                                               
in  being  involved  if  they   could  see  first  hand  how  the                                                               
legislature  functions or  dysfunctions.   Mr.  Dudley said  that                                                               
having  the legislature  located in  the largest  city in  Alaska                                                               
could  only improve  the way  that public  laws are  made because                                                               
more public  input could be  received.  Mr. Dudley  concluded his                                                               
testimony  by saying,  "Let's try  it."   He agreed  with earlier                                                               
comments that the cost of a  capital move scares the public.  Mr.                                                               
Dudley announced his support of HB 1.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  inquired as to  the number of  times Mr.                                                               
Dudley had been before the legislature in Juneau to testify.                                                                    
MR. DUDLEY  replied, "None."  However,  he noted that he  is very                                                               
active  in the  American Legion,  which has  a representative  in                                                               
Juneau every year.   Mr. Dudley recalled his  employment with the                                                               
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),  which required him to fly                                                               
to Juneau occasionally.   He said that invariably  the weather in                                                               
Juneau was bad and thus he despised flying to Juneau.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  mentioned that  he and  his wife  had to                                                               
stay in  Sitka on his way  to Juneau because his  flight couldn't                                                               
get into Juneau.   He asked if Mr. Dudley had  not been to Juneau                                                               
because of the cost involved in such a visit.                                                                                   
MR. DUDLEY  answered that the  cost wasn't really a  large factor                                                               
in his  decision to  not come  to Juneau.   However, he  did feel                                                               
that  it would  be easier  if the  public could  drive or  take a                                                               
[cheap] plane  ride to the  capital.   Still, Mr. Dudley  said he                                                               
believes that the cost does deter some people.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  asked  if  Mr.  Dudley  had  testified  at                                                               
committee hearings via teleconference.                                                                                          
MR. DUDLEY replied yes.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES remarked  that visitors  from other  states                                                               
are amazed at  how well the legislature can  contact [the public]                                                               
through  the Legislative  Information Offices  (LIO), the  public                                                               
opinion messages (POMs), and telephone and e-mail.                                                                              
MR. DUDLEY  noted that he has  used the POMs numerous  times.  He                                                               
commended  the  legislature   on  what  it  has   down  with  the                                                               
communication system.                                                                                                           
GEORGE GAGUZIS  informed the committee that  the military brought                                                               
him  to  Alaska in  1971  and  he has  stayed  since.   He  said,                                                               
"Accessibility  to government  is a  prime issue."   Mr.  Gaguzis                                                               
also informed the committee that  he has been in state employment                                                               
since  the 1980s.    In one  of his  positions,  he made  several                                                               
attempts to  go to Juneau "on  the state's nickel."   However, he                                                               
never  made it  to Juneau  to testify.   He  commented on  what a                                                               
"nail-biter" it is  to fly into Juneau.  In  regard to a building                                                               
[for the legislature],  Mr. Gaguzis said that  any building takes                                                               
away from the  tax base.  Therefore, his preference  would be for                                                               
a community  to take private  funds to  build a facility  and the                                                               
state  would be  involved with  leasing.   Contrary  to what  Mr.                                                               
Henri  said,  Mr. Gaguzis  felt  that  there  would be  a  fiscal                                                               
savings, especially  with regard  to travel  and per  diem costs.                                                               
Therefore, Mr. Gaguzis  urged the committee to  make the fiscally                                                               
responsible decision and vote for HB 1.                                                                                         
[The tape  was changed  about a  minute early  and thus  there is                                                               
about one minute of blank space.]                                                                                               
TAPE 01-24, SIDE A                                                                                                              
SCOTT  ROBART informed  the committee  that he  has lived  in the                                                               
[Aleutian] Chain  where airfare to  Juneau was $1,040  and Bethel                                                               
where airfare to  Juneau was about $650.  Mr.  Robart agreed with                                                               
Representative Martin's testimony that efforts  to pass HB 1 will                                                               
be for naught if the legislation  is labeled "move the capital or                                                               
build a new capitol."  Mr.  Robart said, "I strongly suggest that                                                               
we try to  get the legislative sessions where the  specter of its                                                               
Anchorage  association does  not  become a  difficulty for  those                                                               
people in  locations such as  Fairbanks or in Juneau."   Although                                                               
most of  the power may  be in Anchorage, the  legislative process                                                               
should  be located  where a  simple  majority of  the people  can                                                               
access their elected representatives.   He pointed out that folks                                                               
living within driving  or easy ferry range of  the capital amount                                                               
to  less than  10 percent  of the  state's population.   However,                                                               
that 10 percent  is accorded 100 percent access  to their elected                                                               
state officials.   Mr. Robart said, "Those few  and lobbyists are                                                               
the  only  folks who  have  virtually  unfettered access  to  the                                                               
democratic  process and  God knows  the lobbyists  don't need  to                                                               
have things made any easier for them."                                                                                          
MR. ROBART pointed  out that the majority  of Alaska's population                                                               
lives on  the road system  and the car  is still the  most common                                                               
means  of transportation  in  the state.    However, some  people                                                               
still have  to spend hundreds of  dollars to fly to  have a face-                                                               
to-face  meeting  with   their  representatives  during  session.                                                               
Furthermore, these people  have to fly through  a foreign country                                                               
and will be  lucky if they land  - "and never mind  safely" - and                                                               
depart  to their  destination.    When overnight  accommodations,                                                               
meals, missed  work, and  miscellaneous expenses  are calculated,                                                               
the total cost often exceeds  $1,000.  Mr. Robart emphasized that                                                               
such a cost to access  one's representative is unethical, unfair,                                                               
undemocratic, unAlaskan, and beyond  the financial reach of most.                                                               
Moreover,  there  is the  cost  to  the  taxpayers to  fund  this                                                               
absurdity.   [This doesn't begin  to include] the cost  of flying                                                               
legislators between  Juneau and  their districts, moving  them to                                                               
and from Juneau, and their  accommodations in Juneau.  Mr. Robart                                                               
asserted,  "Good  Lord,  this  is  so  stupid  as  to  be  almost                                                               
laughable."     He  commented  on   the  difficulties   that  the                                                               
teleconference had this morning.                                                                                                
MR. ROBART concluded:                                                                                                           
     All  the  state's  extra  expenses  aside  for  just  a                                                                    
     moment.    The  fact  is   that  most  of  the  state's                                                                    
     residents  are   disenfranchised  from   their  elected                                                                    
     representatives   due  to   the  tremendous   cost  and                                                                    
     difficulty of getting to the  capital to face those who                                                                    
     are supposed  to represent  you.  At  the same  time, a                                                                    
     very  small minority  and lobbyists  have accessing  to                                                                    
     same.   Democratic?  I don't  think so.  A  road out of                                                                    
     Juneau, discounted  airfares from Alaska  Airlines, ...                                                                    
     teleconferencing,  videoconferencing.   It's  nonsense.                                                                    
     The fact  is that  those in Juneau  will and  have done                                                                    
     everything  they   can  to  perpetuate   their  virtual                                                                    
     ownership of the  democratic process.  The  cost of all                                                                    
     this is borne exclusively by  the residents of the rest                                                                    
     of  the   state.    That   is  simply   the  dictionary                                                                    
     definition of  selfishness.   Move the  ... legislature                                                                    
     to the  road system.  I  don't think any of  us need it                                                                    
     to be  in Anchorage, move  it to the road  system where                                                                    
     it can  be reached.   I don't think  any of us  here in                                                                    
     Anchorage care whether it's in  town or not, just close                                                                    
     enough so  that we can access  our representatives ....                                                                    
     Thanks for  getting this subject  back out in  the open                                                                    
     where it belongs.   I'd sure appreciate  you keeping at                                                                    
     it.  Thank you.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  COGHILL  informed the  committee  that  there had  been  a                                                               
request  to   have  this  meeting  videoconferenced,   but  those                                                               
contracting with the university don't work on the weekends.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG explained that  HB 1 specifies moving the                                                               
legislature  to  Anchorage  because there  would  be  substantial                                                               
savings due to the infrastructure  of the state's administration.                                                               
As Representative  Green pointed  out earlier, the  vast majority                                                               
of the  state's administration is  housed in the  Anchorage area.                                                               
Therefore,   the   executive  branch's   substantial   investment                                                               
wouldn't have to  be replicated [if the legislature  was moved to                                                               
Anchorage].   Representative Rokeberg pointed  out that HB  1 has                                                               
to do  with the  legislature, not  the state  capital; that  is a                                                               
huge distinction.   Alaskans voted for the capital  to be located                                                               
in  the Willow/Mat-Su   area.   However,  that requires  that the                                                               
legislature  and  the  bureaucratic   apparatus  of  the  state's                                                               
administration  be  moved  as well,  which  would  be  relatively                                                               
ANDRE McLEOD  began by  thanking the  committee for  holding this                                                               
meeting on a Saturday because it  is more convenient.  Mr. McLeod                                                               
noted  her agreement  with  Mr. Dudley's  comments.   This  makes                                                               
common  sense.   [If HB  1 passed,]  legislators may  feel better                                                               
because  they can  stay home.   Furthermore,  it would  lower the                                                               
cost  for citizens  to be  involved with  their government.   Ms.                                                               
McLeod identified HB  1 as a "people's bill."   She said, "Please                                                               
do whatever you can to bring  the legislature here.  Whatever you                                                               
do, have  it done here  so we can  be part  of it."   Many issues                                                               
regarding taxation  are coming  up and  the [citizens  of Alaska]                                                               
need to be involved.   Furthermore, the upcoming issues are going                                                               
to  require  some "out  of  the  box"  thinking that  she  didn't                                                               
believe would occur in Juneau.                                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL  acknowledged that  Ms. McLeod brought  up taxation                                                               
and  access  in her  testimony.    He said,  "It  is  kind of  an                                                               
inadvertent tax on  the people of Alaska to have  access to their                                                               
state and  that's one of the  reasons why I wanted  to bring this                                                               
committee up  to Anchorage  was so  we would tax  you less."   He                                                               
reiterated the importance of face-to-face communication.                                                                        
MS. McLEOD remarked that she  has involved herself in the process                                                               
quite a  bit.   Sometimes the technology  doesn't work  and other                                                               
times she has been told that she couldn't speak.                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  said that he  became involved in  politics because                                                               
he attended  a committee hearing  and he couldn't  testify, which                                                               
frustrated him.   Chair  Coghill asked if  there was  anyone else                                                               
who wished to testify.  There was no response.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN  remarked  that  Ms. McLeod  is  an  active                                                               
participant  in Alaskan  government  throughout the  year.   Then                                                               
Representative  Green  turned  to  the  following  three  points.                                                               
Representative Green  pointed out  that HB 1  refers only  to the                                                               
legislature moving not the capital  moving.  However, he reminded                                                               
everyone  that in  1994, 55  percent voted  to move  the capital.                                                               
The  capital  move  issue  is a  popular  issue  among  Alaskans.                                                               
Furthermore,  there  are  over  800  miles  from  the  center  of                                                               
population in  Alaska and the  capital.  If  one were to  take an                                                               
800  mile swath  around the  nation's capital,  there is  a large                                                               
concentration  of people.    However, there  is  such a  distance                                                               
[between  the  capital  and  the  population  center]  in  Alaska                                                               
compared to most places.   Therefore, the earlier comparison with                                                               
Washington, D.C. is not appropriate.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN returned  to his  earlier comment  that six                                                               
commissioners  are already  located in  Anchorage.   He clarified                                                               
that there are  actually seven commissioners that  are located in                                                               
Anchorage.  "That's  either seven existing, or very  likely to be                                                               
confirmed  ...  commissioners,"  he  said.   Therefore,  much  of                                                               
Alaska's  government is  already  located in  Anchorage and  thus                                                               
things  won't be  disrupted  but rather  will  be streamlined  by                                                               
moving the legislature to Anchorage.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  remarked that Ms. McLeod's  point is the                                                               
central  issue of  the  entire debate.    The legislature  always                                                               
concerns itself with the cost of legislation.  He said:                                                                         
     We are looking  at the cost and the fiscal  note to the                                                                    
     population of  the State of  Alaska, and they  want and                                                                    
     need  access  to their  legislature.    And that's  the                                                                    
     idea.   There may  be some modest  savings in  some per                                                                    
     diem issues  and so  forth, but I  think number  one we                                                                    
     need  a new  building  ... for  the legislature  that's                                                                    
     functional.   Number two, that  hall should  be located                                                                    
     in  an area  that's accessible  to people  so it  costs                                                                    
     them less.   That's  why Anchorage  actually is  a much                                                                    
     better  location than  the Mat-Su  area because  of the                                                                    
     transportation  opportunities  for  the people  in  the                                                                    
     rural areas of  the state and from  [outside] the state                                                                    
     to fly  and get here.   ... we are on  the road system.                                                                    
     For  those folks  on the  road system,  it's kind  of a                                                                    
     push and  maybe somewhat of  a slight advantage  ... to                                                                    
     get to  the Mat-Su  area.   All things  considered, the                                                                    
     vast  majority of  people that  wanted to  access their                                                                    
     government will  probably end up  on an airplane.   And                                                                    
     it's certainly  cheaper and faster to  come through the                                                                    
     Anchorage transportation hub, I think.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG mentioned an  Anchorage Daily News Letter                                                             
to the Editor by former  Senator Arliss Sturgulewski who said, as                                                               
did Mr.  Henri, that  the legislature  has more  important things                                                               
than  a  capital  move  to   address.    However,  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg believes  his priorities are right  because the existing                                                               
capitol building  will not last.   Although "band-aid"  fixes can                                                               
be done and the Alaska Committee  can add additional space to the                                                               
capitol building  to improve  the building,  he wasn't  sure that                                                               
the  building could  be repaired  enough to  meet existing  codes                                                               
unless it is  closed for several years.   Representative Rokeberg                                                               
concluded by saying,  "We've moved the capitol  before from Sitka                                                               
to Juneau and we can move it again."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON informed the  committee that the economy of                                                               
Southeast Alaska  is on  a downward spiral  since the  decline of                                                               
the timber  industry.  Therefore, a  move at this time  would hit                                                               
Southeast  Alaska [hard].   She  pointed  out that  she lives  in                                                               
Wrangell and  has to disrupt her  family along with her  staff in                                                               
order to go  to Juneau for session.  That  won't change by moving                                                               
the  legislature to  Anchorage.   Furthermore, she  said that  it                                                               
takes her longer  to get to Juneau than it  does for an Anchorage                                                               
legislator.   Representative  Wilson assured  the committee  that                                                               
when she  asked her constituents  if they wanted  the legislature                                                               
to move, 100 percent of them opposed such a move.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  turned to earlier testimony  regarding the                                                               
limited  access to  the legislature  by  constituents and  school                                                               
children.   She asked, "Would [it]  be alright if all  at once it                                                               
was reversed and  it was the children in Juneau  that didn't have                                                               
[access] to the  legislature.  I don't quite  get the correlation                                                               
there."   Representative Wilson  said, "I want  to make  it clear                                                               
that no matter  where the legislature is held that  there will be                                                               
large numbers  of people who  will not  have access to  the whole                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON reminded everyone that  she was a member of                                                               
the North Carolina  legislature for three terms.   North Carolina                                                               
has more miles  of road per capita than any  state in the nation.                                                               
The longest anyone would have to  travel to get to the capital of                                                               
North  Carolina  is   six  hours.    However,   Alaska  has  more                                                               
participation in the legislative  proceedings than North Carolina                                                               
does.    She  attributed  Alaska's   high  participation  to  the                                                               
teleconference system in Alaska.   She also noted that there will                                                               
be people  who will, no  matter the location of  the legislature,                                                               
choose to testify via teleconference  rather than in person.  She                                                               
noted her  surprise that only  nine people from  Anchorage turned                                                               
out today.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR COGHILL interjected that when the  committee met on HB 1 in                                                               
Juneau there were not that many  from Juneau at that meeting, but                                                               
they  were represented  by the  Mayor  of Juneau  and the  Alaska                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   clarified  that   she  meant   that  the                                                               
percentages  of   people  that   came  out  to   testify  doesn't                                                               
[correlate] with the  amount of population in  Anchorage.  People                                                               
are using  the argument  that if the  legislature was  located in                                                               
Anchorage, more people  would participate.  However,  that is not                                                               
necessarily  the case.   Representative  Wilson pointed  out that                                                               
Gavel to Gavel,  provided by the City of  Juneau, provides people                                                               
across the  state the ability to  know what is going  on with the                                                               
political process.   She concluded by reiterating that  a move at                                                               
this time would  be a "death blow" to  Southeast Alaska's already                                                               
suffering economy.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  recalled  that  when she  first  became  a                                                               
legislator,  Jamie Parsons  was the  Mayor  of Juneau.   At  that                                                               
time,  she  was  surprised  the   time  and  expense  Juneau  was                                                               
expending in  order to  thwart any  capital or  legislative move.                                                               
She suggested  to Mayor  Parsons that some  day the  capital will                                                               
move because  the public will  insist on  such.  However,  in the                                                               
meantime Juneau  should develop an  economic activity  that would                                                               
be available when  that [move] occurs.   Therefore, she suggested                                                               
building up the University of Alaska - Southeast.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  announced,   however,  that  she  couldn't                                                               
support HB  1 at  this time because  of the  divisiveness between                                                               
the people of Anchorage and the rest  of the state.  Part of that                                                               
divisiveness   is  due   to  the   lack  of   economic  activity,                                                               
infrastructure,  et   cetera  for  many   of  the   rural  areas.                                                               
Therefore, she  believes that issue  should be dealt  with first.                                                               
Furthermore,  there  should  be  assistance  with  the  Southeast                                                               
economy should a  move occur.  Although she  recognized that some                                                               
of  the  aforementioned arguments  to  move  the legislature  are                                                               
valid, she didn't believe now is the time.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE FATE thanked everyone for their testimony.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG informed  the  committee that  he has  a                                                               
letter  from  Sherri  R.  Jackson   (ph),  President,  Sand  Lake                                                               
Community Council,  supporting HB  1.  He  also pointed  out that                                                               
the  executive  branch has  a  new  and functional  premise,  the                                                               
Atwood  Building  in Anchorage,  and  the  court system  has  new                                                               
facilities  under   construction  in  Anchorage   and  Fairbanks.                                                               
Therefore,  the legislature  should also  have premises  that are                                                               
functional and accessible to the people.                                                                                        
CHAIR  COGHILL thanked  everyone  for participating.   He  closed                                                               
[the public  testimony] portion of HB  1 and announced that  HB 1                                                               
would be held.                                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects