Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

02/04/2014 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 255(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
           HJR 18-CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                       
8:45:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the final order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
JOINT   RESOLUTION   NO.   18,  Proposing   amendments   to   the                                                               
Constitution of  the State  of Alaska relating  to the  office of                                                               
attorney general.                                                                                                               
8:45:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BILL   STOLTZE,  Alaska  State   Legislature,  as                                                               
sponsor,  presented  HJR   18.    He  said   the  proposed  joint                                                               
resolution is  for a constitutional  amendment that  would change                                                               
the selection of  the attorney general from  an appointed process                                                               
to  "another  political process  directly  to  the people."    He                                                               
acknowledged that constitutional amendments  are not entered into                                                               
lightly.     He   said  the   legislature  has   initiated  other                                                               
constitutional  changes, covering  subjects such  as privacy  and                                                               
exclusive rights of  a fishery in 1972, victims'  rights in 1994,                                                               
and change  in the  redistricting process in  1998, all  of which                                                               
were  approved by  the  voters.   He suggested  one  of the  most                                                               
important constitutional amendments was  the one that established                                                               
the  permanent   fund  dividend  through  an   exemption  in  the                                                               
prohibition against dedicated funds in  1976.  He opined that the                                                               
people who drafted the Constitution of  the State of Alaska did a                                                               
good job,  but did  not make it  perfect.  He  said he  knows the                                                               
committee will deliberate the proposed  joint resolution, and the                                                               
public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the subject.                                                                     
8:48:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  said appointing the attorney  general has                                                               
been done since  territorial times; currently it  is the governor                                                               
who makes  the appointment  through a  confirmation process.   He                                                               
stated  that   Representatives  and   Senators  in   Alaska  have                                                               
disagreed on  one occasion and  rejected the appointee.   He said                                                               
the process of  appointing an attorney general is  political.  He                                                               
stated,  "There's no  perfect, right  answer whether  election or                                                               
appointment is less political."   He said he welcomes suggestions                                                               
and  changes  through  the  process  in order  to  put  the  best                                                               
possible amendment before the voters.   He relayed that Alaska is                                                               
one of seven states that still appoints its attorney general.                                                                   
8:51:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  suggested one possible  negative outcome                                                               
of switching to  an elected attorney general may  be the conflict                                                               
that  could arise  if the  governor and  attorney general  do not                                                               
share  the same  political party  and are  not supportive  of the                                                               
same issues.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN stated that is precisely his concern.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  responded that  that is a  valid concern,                                                               
but  said he  goes to  a deeper  fundamental principal,  which is                                                               
that  the attorney  general should,  first and  foremost, be  the                                                               
representative of the people of Alaska  on all matters legal.  He                                                               
said he thinks  the governor would be better served  by getting a                                                               
personal advisor.                                                                                                               
CHAIR LYNN asked who would pay for the advisor.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE indicated  that the  governor has  enough                                                               
flexibility  in  staff  to  switch  a  position  for  a  personal                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  asked if  it would  be possible  to have                                                               
the attorney  general on the  same ballot ticket as  the governor                                                               
and lieutenant governor.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE   answered  yes.    He   noted  that  the                                                               
lieutenant governor is  listed as a department  head and exempted                                                               
from  confirmation  process.    He  said, "If  you  look  at  the                                                               
language  of our  proposed amendment,  it ...  adds the  attorney                                                               
general  to that  same language  that  references the  lieutenant                                                               
governor,  which  was  amended  from  secretary  of  state,  also                                                               
another change  in the constitution  made by the  legislature and                                                               
the people of Alaska, I believe in 1970, probably."                                                                             
8:54:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked if the  sponsor had intended to imply                                                               
that the  political process is  bad.  He remarked  that sometimes                                                               
hammering out an issue sheds light on it.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE explained  that  he was  responding to  a                                                               
question about  politics.   He said there  are politics  "in both                                                               
positions."   He  reiterated that  the proposed  joint resolution                                                               
could  be molded  by the  committee  to craft  the best  possible                                                               
document to present to the voters.                                                                                              
8:55:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked  if he anticipates anyone calling  to testify on                                                               
HJR 18.                                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE replied that  many Alaskans have contacted                                                               
him and expressed an interest in testifying.                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  opined that  the more  opinions the  committee hears,                                                               
the better the decision it can reach.                                                                                           
CHAIR LYNN announced that HJR 18 was held over.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
08 CS HB255 v.C.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 255
HB 255 NEW UAA SUPPORT LETTER.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 255
HB 255 NEW FBKS EDC SUPPORT LETTER.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 255
01 HJR018A.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 18
02 HJR 18 Sponsor statement.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 18
03 Fiscal Note OOG HJR18.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 18
04 Fiscal Note HJR18-LEG-SESS-01-31-14.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 18
01 AAPC-Joint-State-Affairs.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
02 AAPCPreliminaryReportExecSummaryFinal.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM
03 AAPCpreliminaryReportV13final.pdf HSTA 2/4/2014 8:00:00 AM