Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

03/16/2006 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
State Commission for Human Rights
<Hearing Postponed to 3/21/06>
+= HB 290 REQUIREMENTS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE/I.D. TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HJR 34 CONST. AM: APPROP. LIMIT/MINERAL REVENUE TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 438 INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, RECALL PETITIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
= HB 45 CONTRIBUTIONS, LOBBYISTS, DISCLOSURE
Heard & Held
HB 438-INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, RECALL PETITIONS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:56:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the next order of business was HOUSE                                                                
BILL NO. 438, "An Act relating to initiative, referendum, and                                                                   
recall petitions; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:57:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELIZABETH BARBARA  BACHMEIER, testifying on behalf  of herself in                                                               
opposition to HB 438, told the  committee that she has a Master's                                                               
degree  in Government.   She  paraphrased her  written testimony,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  consideration of  the current  situation in  Alaska                                                                    
     and my  analysis of this  bill, I believe that  this is                                                                    
     unnecessary  legislation.  Current procedures  are  not                                                                    
     broken;  they do  not need  to be  fixed. Please  apply                                                                    
     your  attention  to  matters  that  need  your  focused                                                                    
     attention, consideration, and action.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I have  worked as a  paid signature gatherer  in Alaska                                                                    
     on a  number of  petitions. I am  delighted to  do this                                                                    
     work as  it causes me  to feel that I  am participating                                                                    
     in  democracy and  the qualitative  improvement of  our                                                                    
     state. As  a retired  military officer and  former high                                                                    
     school  teacher,   this  activity  now  allows   me  to                                                                    
     participate  at  the  grass-roots level  in  democratic                                                                    
     principles that  I hold  dear and  that keep  our state                                                                    
     strong.  I  like  that.  Please   don't  make  it  more                                                                    
     difficult  for me  and others  to  participate in  this                                                                    
     way.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:59:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  following  are four  specific  areas  that I  find                                                                    
     objectionable   in  this   proposed  legislation   (24-                                                                    
     LS1344\L, dated 2/8/06):                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     1)  As discussed  on pages  6 line  22 and  10 line  9,                                                                    
     there  is  no  need   to  increase  the  percentage  of                                                                    
     qualified voter  signatures in order to  determine that                                                                    
     an initiative,  a referendum, or a  recall petition has                                                                    
     been  successful  and  may  appear  on  an  appropriate                                                                    
     ballot. Qualified signatures from  ten percent of those                                                                    
     who voted in the  preceding general election comprise a                                                                    
     fair  sampling of  the population.  It is  important to                                                                    
     note that the  matter is not finally decided  by 10% of                                                                    
     the  voters;  this  simply allows  the  issue  to  come                                                                    
     before all voters on the  next voting occasion. This is                                                                    
     perfectly fine.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     2) I  also disagree  with setting  the maximum  rate of                                                                    
     meals reimbursement,  shown on pages  2 line 2,  4 line                                                                    
     13, and  8 line 6,  at only $15.00 for  circulators who                                                                    
     travel 100  miles or more from  their home communities.                                                                    
     This figure  is unreasonably low  and there is  no need                                                                    
     to address it in this way.                                                                                                 
     But,  for  the record,  I  taught  school near  Bethel;                                                                    
     $15.00   there  might   buy  somebody   breakfast,  but                                                                    
     certainly  not   lunch  and  dinner,   too.  I   was  a                                                                    
     circulator  in Fairbanks  and had  meals  at the  hotel                                                                    
     where  I  stayed; dinner  each  night  was always  over                                                                    
     $15.00. If this reimbursement  must be addressed, and I                                                                    
     don't  believe it  should be,  I recommend  the federal                                                                    
     per  diem rate.  In May,  legislators will  get $200.00                                                                    
     per  day for  food  and lodging  in  Juneau during  the                                                                    
     session. If  this must be  addressed, why not  make the                                                                    
     circulator's meals  reimbursement equal to  the federal                                                                    
     per diem rate  that you receive when you  are away from                                                                    
     your homes and staying here?                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     3) While  I was  in Fairbanks, I  was asked  to perform                                                                    
     some  organizing duties  in  addition  to my  signature                                                                    
     gathering;    I   specifically    provided   circulator                                                                    
     training,   distributed   signature  books,   collected                                                                    
     completed ones, and  other duties. I can  see no reason                                                                    
     to  disallow  this  occasional additional  duty  as  is                                                                    
     discussed on  pages 2 line  12, 4  line 23, and  8 line                                                                    
     16.  Disallowing   the  activities  I   have  described                                                                    
     increases the  cost of the initiative,  referendum, and                                                                    
     recall  process.  This is  not  good  for democracy  or                                                                    
     Alaska.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     4) One  final important point  is the fiscal  note that                                                                    
     must be associated  with this bill. The  bill speaks of                                                                    
     fees or fines charged  to organizations, organizers, or                                                                    
     circulators   as   punishment    for   infractions   or                                                                    
     violations  to  prohibited  practices;  how  are  these                                                                    
     fines levied,  collected, and  accounted for?  How will                                                                    
     these enforcement  operations be funded? There  is also                                                                    
     a new  form that is  proposed here and that  would need                                                                    
     to  be created  and managed.  Do we  need to  spend the                                                                    
     State's money in this way? No.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The current initiative,  referendum, and recall process                                                                    
     works just fine.                                                                                                           
     There  is no  reason to  change  it. Do  not pass  this                                                                    
     proposed legislation.                                                                                                      
     There  are  other  topics  that   need  your  time  and                                                                    
     attention. This bill seems to  make much more difficult                                                                    
     the people's  right to participate  in state  and local                                                                    
     government. And, this change would be very wrong.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you  for allowing me  to testify against  HB 438.                                                                    
     Again, as a person experienced  in this work, I believe                                                                    
     that   changes  to   the  process   proposed  in   this                                                                    
     legislation are unnecessary and counter to democracy.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:03:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked for Ms. Bachmeier's  testimony in                                                               
writing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:03:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BACHMEIER,  in  response  to  a  series  of  questions  from                                                               
Representative Ramras,  offered her  understanding that  there is                                                               
presently no  per diem given for  meals, but "it is  a negotiable                                                               
item," which "probably  would vary, depending on  location."  She                                                               
said when  she worked on  an initiative by  Representative Ramras                                                               
she  was  not  reimbursed  for   meals;  however,  she  has  been                                                               
reimbursed for  meals while  working on  other initiatives  - too                                                               
many to list separately.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS  asked,  "Do   you  understand  that  it's                                                               
illegal  to  take additional  money  -  more  than a  dollar  per                                                               
signature - as a reimbursable item?"                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. BACHMEIER replied,  "I don't understand that to  be the case.                                                               
I  did point  this out  to you,  however, in  Fairbanks, when  we                                                               
spoke."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  said, "Which  is why  we didn't  offer any                                                               
incentives  like that,  because they're  illegal."   He described                                                               
Ms. Bachmeier as  a thoughtful, articulate person,  and said that                                                               
he has a great deal of respect  for her, even if her views differ                                                               
from his own.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BACHMEIER,  in  response to  questions  from  Representative                                                               
Ramras, said  she received  a flat  fee for  "those tasks  that I                                                               
mentioned:   training others in  the legal  requirements, passing                                                               
out booklets  that were needed,  and collecting  notarized ones."                                                               
She  said one  of  those  initiatives had  to  do with  "same-day                                                               
airborne shooting."   She said she has lived in  Alaska just over                                                               
a decade.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:07:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS asked  Ms.  Bachmeier if  she thinks  it's                                                               
appropriate  for non-Alaska  residents with  "multiple voter  IDs                                                               
from multiple  states" to  come to Alaska  to participate  in the                                                               
initiative process.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. BACHMEIER  said she has  not heard  of such a  situation, but                                                               
she  indicated that  she does  not think  such a  thing would  be                                                               
appropriate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:08:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  asked Ms. Bachmeier if  she can appreciate                                                               
that  the  intent  of  the  bill,  as  it  relates  to  signature                                                               
gatherers, is to protect Alaskans.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:08:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  said  he  would  like  the  sponsor  to  focus  on                                                               
questions unrelated  to the intent  of the bill, because  he said                                                               
he doesn't think anyone is challenging that intent.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. BACHMEIER stated, "Right, and  I don't find it protective, so                                                               
I was going to disagree with the initial premise."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:09:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  observed that  Representative  Ramras,                                                               
[during his questions to Ms.  Bachmeier], was focusing on Section                                                               
1 of  the bill, related to  the qualifications of the  people who                                                               
gather the signatures.   He said Ms. Bachmeier  has expertise [in                                                               
collecting signatures].                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BACHMEIER,  in  response to  questions  from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, offered  her understanding that although  she does not                                                               
[circulate  petitions] as  her sole  means of  income, there  are                                                               
others who do, and she  said although there may be administrators                                                               
from out of  state, she has never met  another circulator working                                                               
in Alaska who is not an Alaskan.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:11:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MYRL THOMPSON, testifying  on behalf of himself  in opposition to                                                               
HB  438, reminded  the committee  that he  was the  chair of  the                                                               
successful Ogan Is So Gone recall  effort.  He shared an anecdote                                                               
related to initiatives, recalls, and referendums.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:14:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON stated that there is  absolutely no need for HB 438,                                                               
because the  current system works  well.  He reviewed  the recall                                                               
process that was used during the  Ogan is So Gone recall, stating                                                               
that he  hopes he never  has to  go through the  grueling process                                                               
again in  his lifetime.   He said  the process was  started 13-14                                                               
months before the  end of the term of  the particular legislator,                                                               
and a number  of months passed before the recall  group could get                                                               
answers to  its questions from  the Division of Elections  on how                                                               
to proceed.   At that  point, if  a recall petition  is approved,                                                               
then it  must be circulated  for another round of  signatures, he                                                               
said -  up to  25 percent of  the people who  voted.   He offered                                                               
other details related to the Ogan Is So Gone recall experience.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  said that no  matter how thorough a  recall process                                                               
is, there  are still  factors that  slow it  down.   For example,                                                               
some  of  the  signatures  are  rejected  because  people  change                                                               
addresses.     He  talked  about   a  court   challenge,  whereby                                                               
Representative Ogan challenged the criterion  for the recall.  He                                                               
stated, "I  think that you  should probably pull ...  the summary                                                               
of that  case, because  what they  said was  that ...  those four                                                               
criterion were actually  good enough - ... they don't  have to be                                                               
more  specific than  that."   Mr. Thompson  said the  definitions                                                               
that are proposed [in HB 438] seem  to "bring this up to almost a                                                               
criminal level," by requiring proof  that is almost impossible to                                                               
get.  He  concluded by reiterating that there is  no provision in                                                               
the bill that needs to be adopted; the system works well as is.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:20:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  directed attention to page  5, lines 1-10,                                                               
which  define the  terms "corruption",  "incompetence", "lack  of                                                               
fitness", and  "neglect of  duties".  He  asked Mr.  Thompson for                                                               
his feedback on the definitions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:21:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  answered,  "I  feel  that  they  weren't  given  a                                                               
definition on  purpose."   He explained  that the  courts already                                                               
said  the hurdles  don't need  to be  made any  higher than  they                                                               
already are,  and the definitions  in bill would make  the recall                                                               
process more difficult.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:22:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked if  Mr. Thompson and Ms. Bachmeier                                                               
have suggestions on how the legislature could improve the law.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:23:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON, regarding the recalls,  reiterated that the present                                                               
system works  well.  He  said there has  only been one  recall in                                                               
the history  of the  state, and  he said  he thinks  "that speaks                                                               
volumes."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:23:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BACHMEIER  concurred with  the remarks  of Mr.  Thompson that                                                               
the  current system  is a  good  one, and  she said  she sees  no                                                               
reason to invest energy or funds in making unnecessary changes.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:23:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  what percentage  of signatures  in                                                               
the Ogan Is So Gone recall process was discarded.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:24:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  estimated 30  percent, but  said that  number could                                                               
have  been higher.    In  response to  a  follow-up question,  he                                                               
indicated  that   the  rejected  signatures  happened   in  "both                                                               
instances"  when signatures  were  collected,  even when  extreme                                                               
attention to detail was given.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:24:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON,  in  response  to  questions  from  Representative                                                               
Gatto, said there  were three people, plus himself  as chair, who                                                               
made  up  the recall  committee.    In  response to  a  follow-up                                                               
question from  Representative Gatto, he  said he took his  job as                                                               
chair seriously.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:26:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  offered his  understanding that  there were                                                               
some activities  during the Ogan  Is So Gone recall  process that                                                               
were borderline illegal.  He asked  Mr. Thompson if, as chair, he                                                               
would feel it was his  responsibility to encourage people engaged                                                               
in those activities to cease.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:27:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON answered  absolutely.  He emphasized that  if he had                                                               
thought that anybody  connected even in the most remote  way to a                                                               
recall  was carrying  on with  such behavior  he would  have done                                                               
everything  he could  to [stop]  it.   He assured  Representative                                                               
Gatto that  no one involved with  the Ogan Is So  Gone recall had                                                               
anything  to  do  with borderline  illegal  activities,  if  they                                                               
indeed happened.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:29:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO referred  to the  proposal in  the bill  to                                                               
raise the  10 percent to  20 percent,  and he asked  Mr. Thompson                                                               
how significant  an increase that would  be and if it  would have                                                               
affected the ability  of Mr. Thompson's group to  have effected a                                                               
recall.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON said  the higher percentage would have  made it more                                                               
difficult for the Ogan Is So  Gone recall.  He said a requirement                                                               
for 20  percent would result  in a significant increase  in time,                                                               
effort, and  cost on the part  of gatherers having to  obtain the                                                               
increase  in required  signatures,  and it  would translate  into                                                               
more time  and money  for the Division  of Elections,  because it                                                               
would   have  to   hire  people   to   count  those   signatures.                                                               
Furthermore, he said, it would  also increase the amount of money                                                               
that has  to be  paid by  the initiative groups  that pay  $1 per                                                               
signature.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:29:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  Mr. Thompson  if he  agrees that  it                                                               
would be  the right  of citizens  to say that  they don't  need a                                                               
reason for a recall, only signatures.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:30:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  responded, "I  support  the  system that  we  have                                                               
currently in  place; I don't think  that it needs to  be lessened                                                               
or made harder."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:30:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   asked  Mr.  Thompson,  "You   had  to                                                               
ultimately get 25 percent of what?"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:31:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  answered [25 percent]  of registered voters  in the                                                               
district [before the recall could get on the ballot].                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked Mr.  Thompson  if  he thinks  25                                                               
percent is too high.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  said that is a  reasonable amount - not  too low or                                                               
too  high.   He added,  "All you're  doing ...  at that  point is                                                               
getting it to where it can go  before the vote of the people, and                                                               
that's  a  substantial  number."   In  response  to  a  follow-up                                                               
question from  Representative Gruenberg, he  said the Ogan  Is So                                                               
Gone recall signature gatherers were able to reach that number.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:31:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked Mr.  Thompson whether that  is 25  percent of                                                               
the number of people who voted in  the last election, or if it is                                                               
25 percent of the total registered voters.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:32:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  indicated that, "to be  safe," the Ogan Is  So Gone                                                               
group "went with ... the vote in the last election."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:32:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER   said  she  thinks  it's   important  to                                                               
distinguish that  "it doesn't have to  be 25 percent of  the same                                                               
individuals, but 25 percent of the number of people."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:32:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON responded, "I believe  that's the case, because they                                                               
went through the  Division of Elections' result on  the number of                                                               
people  that  --  actually  there  was  some  contention  between                                                               
ballots cast  and voters,  which ...  did make  it a  little more                                                               
difficult also.  That changed the numbers somewhat."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:33:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN VINDUSKA testified on behalf  of himself in opposition to HB
438.  He said  he was a signature gatherer during  the Ogan Is So                                                               
Gone  recall  and  because  of   that  experience  he  knows  how                                                               
difficult it is  currently to recall a person.   He stated, "It's                                                               
a very  hard process,  and I  don't believe  people are  going to                                                               
recall someone  just because  of policy  difference."   He stated                                                               
his belief that with the  current corruption in government, there                                                               
needs to be a mechanism for people  to be able to do recalls.  He                                                               
echoed Mr. Thompson's  statement that the Ogan Is  So Gone recall                                                               
is the only successful recall in  the history of Alaska, thus, he                                                               
said he  doesn't think people  will "be doing  this frivolously."                                                               
He remarked  that everything  he needed to  say Mr.  Thompson has                                                               
already covered,  other than the fact  that if HB 438  is enacted                                                               
it will  send the wrong  message to people  by making the  bar so                                                               
high there  is no  way to  get anyone out  of office  "unless ...                                                               
they murder  someone or something  like that."  He  expressed his                                                               
support for the  status quo and reiterated his  opposition to the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:36:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  if there are particular  parts of the                                                               
bill that are glaringly in need of being remedied.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:36:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VINDUSKA replied that the  most glaring issue is the proposal                                                               
to raise the number of signatures  required.  He said people have                                                               
to collect  signatures within  the district  of the  person being                                                               
recalled,   adding,   "Everything   is   geared   to   give   the                                                               
representative the benefit of the  doubt."  He indicated that the                                                               
bill would squelch future efforts.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:38:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   SEATON   asked  Mr.   Vinduska   to   confirm  that   the                                                               
interpretation he got  from the Division of Elections  was that a                                                               
signature gatherer  could not collect  the signature of  a person                                                               
from the district  of the public official  being recalled, unless                                                               
the  person was  physically in  the district  at the  time he/she                                                               
signed the petition.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. VINDUSKA  answered in  the affirmative.   He  offered further                                                               
details.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:39:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS  announced  his intention  as  sponsor  to                                                               
delete  much of  the language  regarding percentage  [increases].                                                               
He  explained that  the bill  was intended  primarily to  address                                                               
cheating in the  initiative process.  He  asked future testifiers                                                               
to give  him a chance  to create  a committee substance  to "take                                                               
all that into account."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:40:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  the  issue of  having to  collect                                                               
signatures while  within district  boundaries may be  a technical                                                               
point to review.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER said she  has been pouring through statute                                                               
and  doesn't  see  any  reference   to  a  requirement  that  the                                                               
signatures have to  be collected within the district  - only that                                                               
they must be collected from people  who are registered to vote in                                                               
the district.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:41:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON said  the committee would seek  clarification on the                                                               
issue from the Division of Elections.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:41:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN  McLEAN,  testifying  on behalf  of  herself,  relayed  her                                                               
involvement  with the  Ogan Is  So Gone  recall.   She confirmed,                                                               
"The Division of  Elections did require us  to collect signatures                                                               
in this very massive district only,  which I think was a judgment                                                               
call of the  Division of Elections."  She  explained that instead                                                               
of  being able  to collect  signatures from  a major  store where                                                               
everyone  shopped, the  signature  gatherers had  to collect  the                                                               
signatures in  rural areas.   Regarding the previous  comments of                                                               
[Representative Gatto]  regarding the activities  reported during                                                               
the  Ogan Is  So  Gone recall,  Ms. McLean  said  she thinks  the                                                               
people  involved in  that  recall  were careful  to  behave in  a                                                               
professional  way  and   were  not  involved  in   any  of  those                                                               
activities.   She said she  would like  a law in  place [allowing                                                               
petitioners to gather  the signatures of people  from a district,                                                               
no matter  if those people are  in the district at  the time they                                                               
sign the  petition.  She explained  the reason she would  like to                                                               
see such  a law  codified is because,  for example,  in Anchorage                                                               
many people don't even know where the district lines are.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. McLEAN  said she feels the  current process for recalls  is a                                                               
fair one.  She stated that it  is not only a citizen's right, but                                                               
also his/her duty, to conduct recalls.   She noted that those who                                                               
worked  on the  Ogan  Is So  Gone recall  effort  did so  without                                                               
reimbursement, because  they believed deeply  in the cause.   She                                                               
added, "Although I believe that's  probably the best way, I think                                                               
that  with  initiatives  and   referendums,  that's  pretty  much                                                               
impossible  with the  time  constraint."   She  concluded, "I  do                                                               
understand the  need to feel  that these signature  gatherers are                                                               
... valid signature  gatherers; however, I do  very strongly feel                                                               
that the emphasis should be more  on giving citizens the right to                                                               
sign  one  of these  petitions  [than]  on the  people  gathering                                                               
them."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:45:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL MILLER,  testifying on behalf  of himself,  addressed the                                                               
previously stated  concern regarding people outside  of the state                                                               
funding petition efforts  in Alaska.  He stated  that, outside of                                                               
never having  witnessed that himself,  he wanted to note  that an                                                               
initiative,  [referendum],   or  recall  cannot   happen  without                                                               
citizens  actively  wanting it  to  happen.   He  explained  that                                                               
people aren't paid  to sign - they do so  because they believe in                                                               
the cause.   Furthermore, the issues  still have to go  through a                                                               
voting process  following the  signing.  He  said he  doesn't see                                                               
the purpose  of HB 438, unless  it's to make the  process easier.                                                               
He stated  that the process definitely  does not need to  be made                                                               
more difficult,  "because there is  just not a situation  in this                                                               
state where our government and way  of life is being disrupted by                                                               
people  ...  swarming in  and  changing  our  laws -  that's  not                                                               
happening."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:47:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON,  after ascertaining that  there was no one  else to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:48:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG expressed  his interest  in helping  to                                                               
figure  out  the  previously   discussed  issue  regarding  where                                                               
signatures may be  collected.  He offered  his understanding that                                                               
AS 15.45.580 dealt with this issue.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:48:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that HB 438 was heard and held.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects