Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

02/11/2014 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HJR 18 CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ HB 275 ELECTRONIC DISTRIB. OF REPORTS/NOTICES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 275(CRA) Out of Committee
+ HB 199 VPSO FIREARMS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 274 HEARINGS ON REFERENDA TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HJR 18-CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:10:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  next 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.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:10:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE, Alaska  State  Legislature, as  sponsor,                                                               
introduced  HJR 18.   He  said one  reason to  elect the  state's                                                               
attorney  general would  be to  "sanctify" that  he/she would  be                                                               
"the people's lawyer."   He indicated that a current  AG may call                                                               
him/herself that, but in fact is  the governor's lawyer.  He said                                                               
the resolution is  for the future of Alaska.   In response to the                                                               
chair,  he  indicated  that subsequent  to  1972,  constitutional                                                               
amendments must appear  on the General Election ballot.   He said                                                               
if the  legislature ratifies  this by a  two-thirds vote  in each                                                               
body, it  would be placed on  the [General Election] ballot.   He                                                               
added that then it  would be in the hands of  the voters, in whom                                                               
he trusts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  said some  people have suggested  that an                                                               
elected  attorney  general may  be  politically  influenced.   He                                                               
stated that  anyone who has  watched attorney generals  in Alaska                                                               
knows they  already are political by  nature.  He said  he trusts                                                               
that  Alaskans  would  vet  their  candidates  just  as  they  do                                                               
legislators.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:14:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  asked if it would  be possible to have  a governor in                                                               
one political party and an AG in another.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  answered  yes,  and  said  it  currently                                                               
happens  in about  a dozen  other states.   He  surmised that  it                                                               
would be the  will of the voters.   He said he is  not sure there                                                               
should be  a mandate  that the  AG and governor  are of  the same                                                               
party,  but suggested  a stronger  mandate would  be that  the AG                                                               
must  be a  person  that  will support  the  Constitution of  the                                                               
United States, the  Constitution of the State of  Alaska, and the                                                               
people of Alaska.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:14:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON   said  the   sponsor  almost   had  him                                                               
convinced, "especially because of the  events here recently."  He                                                               
stated,  "Sometimes   if  you  don't   have  a  direct   line  of                                                               
accountability in place, you might  have a different outcome; you                                                               
might have more scrutiny on issues  and so forth."  He said early                                                               
in the history of the U.S.  Constitution it was possible to elect                                                               
a Vice President of a political  party different from that of the                                                               
President.   He asked, "Is  there a  way, perhaps, that  we could                                                               
close that gap, so that if  people are electing a governor of one                                                               
party,  they could  also  then have,  similar  to the  lieutenant                                                               
governor and  so forth, a ticket,  or is that going  to bring too                                                               
close of a ... tieback?"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  answered that it could  be a possibility.                                                               
He said the  lieutenant governor is tethered to  [the governor by                                                               
political party].   He indicated that the  difference between the                                                               
lieutenant  governor  and  all other  appointments  is  that  the                                                               
lieutenant governor  is elected by  the people, does  not require                                                               
confirmation, and cannot be removed by  the governor.  He said it                                                               
is part  of the process  for the  committee to decide  whether to                                                               
"propose that change here."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  clarified, "How would that  be affecting                                                               
the intent of your ... legislation?"                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE responded  that he was "not  sure it would                                                               
solve everything you would want it  to solve," but said he thinks                                                               
"it would have the same net  result, because that person would be                                                               
elected  by  the  voters  [and]  could  not  be  removed  by  the                                                               
governor."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:19:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  suggested  some  may see  an  elected  AG                                                               
position as a  training ground for governor, which  may result in                                                               
a lot  more attorneys  serving as governor.   She  then proffered                                                               
that a  positive effect  of HJR  18 may be  that it  could reduce                                                               
turnover  of attorneys  general.   She offered  her understanding                                                               
that  in other  states, the  AG  often serves  a full,  four-year                                                               
term, and  go on to  a second or third  term, and that  under HJR                                                               
18, there  would be a two-term  limit.  She asked  the sponsor if                                                               
he thinks  [the proposed legislation]  would impact  the turnover                                                               
rate, and asked, "How do you see that as a plus for Alaska?"                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:20:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  replied that the average  turnover of the                                                               
AG is 18  months, and HJR 18 would offer  some stability, because                                                               
the  AG  would  not  be  subject to  "the  whim  of  a  political                                                               
disagreement."  He said he  does not recall a lieutenant governor                                                               
who has ever resigned.  He  said, "The attorney general, I think,                                                               
...  probably would  have  ... more  powers  than the  lieutenant                                                               
governor, [but] would  not be in the line  of succession though."                                                               
He surmised that morale would  be raised within the Department of                                                               
Law (DOL),  "knowing that they  had one person" and  "without the                                                               
vagaries"  related to  the current  steady turnover  of attorneys                                                               
general.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:21:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN asked if there would  be any additional cost in adding                                                               
another [position] for election on the ballot.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE indicated that  the standard cost shown on                                                               
a fiscal note for printing an extra page is $1,500.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:22:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS asked why the  sponsor was proposing HJR 18                                                               
now, beside  the fact that  other states [have  elected attorneys                                                               
general].                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:22:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  answered  that others  have  pushed  the                                                               
measure in the past.  He  offered his understanding that the last                                                               
three to  four attempts were  made by [Democrats];  therefore, he                                                               
called the issue bi-partisan.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:23:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER said  he is looking forward  to hearing HJR                                                               
18  in the  House  Judiciary Standing  Committee  (HJUD), and  he                                                               
expressed  his  appreciation  to  the  sponsor  for  bringing  it                                                               
forward for  consideration.   He stated, "In  a ...  legal system                                                               
where crimes  are against the  state and the attorney  general is                                                               
also  the commissioner  of the  Department of  Law, I  think it's                                                               
very, very valuable  for the people of Alaska to  be able to know                                                               
who their  attorney general is."   He indicated intent  to remain                                                               
open minded  during the hearing of  HJR 18, but said  it would be                                                               
unfair to not state his bias.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:24:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN remarked  that the  AG is  basically a  commissioner;                                                               
therefore, he asked if it would  be appropriate to elect "all the                                                               
different commissioners."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:25:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE answered that he  will not delve into that                                                               
debate.   He  opined that  the position  of AG  "rises to  a much                                                               
higher  level."   He  stated that  the average  AG  can make  law                                                               
faster than [the  legislature]; the opinion of an  AG can nullify                                                               
a  statute  or  regulation.   He  said  recently  the  lieutenant                                                               
governor  turned  down  a  citizens'  initiative,  based  on  the                                                               
opinion of  an assistant  and signed  by the AG,  and he  said it                                                               
bothers him that  an assistant AG has more power  than the people                                                               
of Alaska, but with no accountability.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:26:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  noted that  city and  borough assemblies                                                               
and  councils usually  have  the  power to  hire  and fire  their                                                               
attorneys.  Looking back on his  experience as mayor [of the City                                                               
of North Pole],  he said he used whatever attorney  was there and                                                               
had no issues  with them; however, if he had  wanted to terminate                                                               
the attorney  for not representing  the interest of the  city, it                                                               
would have  been a  political battle.   He questioned  what would                                                               
happen if  the AG was  elected and turned  out not to  be serving                                                               
the state's best interest and it  was too cumbersome a process to                                                               
remove  that  AG  from  office.     He  suggested  following  the                                                               
municipal model by  having the legislature hire and  fire the AG,                                                               
which  might provide  a quicker  political  process, because  the                                                               
legislature would  know whether the  interests of the  state were                                                               
being served and  the governor would not  be directly controlling                                                               
"that one function."  He asked the sponsor for his feedback.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:28:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE,  returning   to  Chair  Lynn's  previous                                                               
question,  said in  most states  in the  union, the  agricultural                                                               
director  or commission  is  elected,  while in  Alaska  it is  a                                                               
political  appointment, and  the only  qualification is  that the                                                               
person  must  be a  citizen  of  the  United States.    Regarding                                                               
Representative Isaacson's question, he said  he is not sure about                                                               
bringing the legislature into the  process.  He surmised that the                                                               
legislature has the  ability to bring an  attorney general before                                                               
it for a hearing if there are  grounds to do so; however, he said                                                               
sometimes people  won't show up for  a hearing.  For  example, he                                                               
related  that a  previous administration  chose an  AG, the  next                                                               
administration retained  the AG, but  the AG would  often decline                                                               
to  appear   before  the  judiciary  committees   or  would  send                                                               
surrogates.  He  offered his understanding that  it would require                                                               
an amendment to  the Constitution of the State of  Alaska to give                                                               
the  power  to  the  legislature  to  "micromanage  the  attorney                                                               
general," which is something he said he  does not want to do.  He                                                               
emphasized  that he  wants the  AG to  work for  the people.   He                                                               
said, "I think an attorney  general that's working for the people                                                               
would have no  problem with the appropriation  process here, just                                                               
like they don't right now."   He indicated that there are critics                                                               
of  the way  things are  working right  now and  the way  that is                                                               
proposed in HJR 18.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:30:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   expressed  concern   over   the                                                               
possible  loss of  coordination between  a governor  and attorney                                                               
general  of differing  political parties.   He  asked about  that                                                               
situation  in other  states  and whether  the  sponsor thinks  it                                                               
would be as pronounced in Alaska.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:31:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  indicated that  it would be  no different                                                               
from  having a  governor  and lieutenant  governor who  disagree.                                                               
For example, he  recollected there was a  lieutenant governor who                                                               
did not support  the re-election of the governor's  daughter.  He                                                               
said  there  are conflicts  in  other  states,  such as  when  an                                                               
attorney  general   runs  against  the  governor.     He  stated,                                                               
"Sometimes ... [when]  trying to figure out how  to stop politics                                                               
you  inject more  politics."   He admitted  that some  people may                                                               
accuse him  of doing just  that, but  noted that he  has received                                                               
support  from his  constituents and  colleagues for  the proposed                                                               
joint  resolution.    He  said  there  have  been  governors  and                                                               
attorneys general  who have  worked well  together and  those who                                                               
have  not,  and  he  indicated  that  there  are  no  guarantees,                                                               
irrespective of whether an AG is appointed or elected.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:33:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  expressed appreciation to the  sponsor for                                                               
pointing out how  under HJR 18, the AG would  be more accountable                                                               
to the people  of Alaska.  She said she  values the public's vote                                                               
and hopes  [a race for  AG] would not  become a beauty  or public                                                               
speaking contest, because she ventured  that someone who is not a                                                               
good  public speaker  could  be  a good  attorney  general.   She                                                               
stated her support of [HJR 18]  as a "healthy process."  She said                                                               
she  thinks  it  is  good   that  the  House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee will be considering whether  there would be some way to                                                               
recall  an AG.   She  questioned whether  the race  for AG  would                                                               
appear on the primary ballot by party  in a long list of names on                                                               
the General Election ballot.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:35:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  answered that  under HJR 18,  the process                                                               
for electing the AG would be  the same as the current process for                                                               
electing  the  lieutenant governor.    He  said, "The  lieutenant                                                               
governor is almost  written as another exemption."   The AG would                                                               
run separately  or as  "a triad,"  depending on  the will  of the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:36:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  said  the  concept  is  interesting,  but  expressed                                                               
concern about  the possibility of  having a governor and  AG with                                                               
opposing  views.    He  opined  that  the  AG,  who  advises  the                                                               
governor, should have similar philosophical views.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:38:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  surmised that if the  chair believes that                                                               
the governor and  AG should be philosophically  aligned, then HJR                                                               
18  is   probably  not   legislation  he   would  support.     He                                                               
reemphasized that  the purpose of  changing the AG's  position to                                                               
an elected one is to make  him/her a direct representative of the                                                               
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN remarked  that all elected officials are  in office to                                                               
serve the people, and he  suggested that by advising the governor                                                               
on the constitutionality  of proposed law, he/she  is serving the                                                               
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:40:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE said  he  cannot  predict every  possible                                                               
scenario in  which there may  be conflict.   He stated,  "I'm not                                                               
trying  to  cast aspersions  on  anybody,  but it's  a  different                                                               
relationship when  the attorney  general, first and  foremost, is                                                               
the governor's attorney."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN suggested at least electing  an AG who shares the same                                                               
political party.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE reiterated  that he  is "amenable  to the                                                               
deliberations of the committee."   Notwithstanding that, he said,                                                               
"I think  philosophy isn't  something we  can define  by statute,                                                               
and party  doesn't necessarily define  philosophy as ...  we know                                                               
from some of our critics."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:42:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  stated, "I think  most of us get  the fact                                                               
that  if we  were  appointed  by somebody,  we  certainly have  a                                                               
certain allegiance by who may  have appointed us, versus if we're                                                               
elected by  somebody else  - the  voters -  we certainly  have an                                                               
allegiance there."   She proffered that the  question being asked                                                               
is for whom [the AG] works.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:42:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  offered a  reminder that legal  counsel to                                                               
the  governor  is  not  just  the AG,  because  as  head  of  the                                                               
Department of Law, the AG  has deputy commissioners, many of whom                                                               
give council  in specific areas.   He  said, "By electing  ... an                                                               
attorney  general, I  think we  would begin  to see  that process                                                               
better in the electorate."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  stated  his   assumption  the  [assistant  attorneys                                                               
general]  would not  want to  irritate their  boss by  "coming up                                                               
with opposite opinions on everything."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:44:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  noted that Wikipedia  says an AG  is the                                                             
advisor to  the governor, while the  Encyclopedia Britannica says                                                             
the AG is "the  chief law officer of the state  or nation and the                                                               
legal advisor to the chief executor."   He said everyone seems to                                                               
recognize that  the AG is going  to advise the governor,  but the                                                               
AG is  also the  chief legal  counsel for the  state.   He opined                                                               
that  there  is  a  distinction  between  the  governor  and  the                                                               
government, the  latter being of the  people.  At the  same time,                                                               
he said,  the legislature is  the government, as well,  and makes                                                               
laws,  and   in  some  aspects   the  AG  needs  to   advise  the                                                               
legislature.     Further,  he   said,  the   AG  looks   out  for                                                               
infringements of law outside the  state.  Representative Isaacson                                                               
said  he thinks  the  point  to consider  is  where  the line  of                                                               
accountability is  to be drawn.   He said he thinks  this relates                                                               
back to  the Seventeenth Amendment,  which he  recommended should                                                               
be considered as  a corollary.  He asked the  sponsor to weigh in                                                               
on the distinction  between governor and government.   He further                                                               
asked how  the sponsor  would "educate his  thinking" so  that he                                                               
might "align more to  this."  He said he sees  value in [HJR 18],                                                               
but expressed concern that it may have unintended consequences.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:47:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE said  he thought  Representative Isaacson                                                               
made  a good  distinction.   He  said there  are differences  and                                                               
similarities.   He said he  hopes that  if things are  working as                                                               
they should,  an AG representing  the government  is representing                                                               
the people's interest  as well.  He said that  could extend to an                                                               
elected  AG, who  certainly would  have his/her  own initiatives.                                                               
He  mentioned "what  Attorney General  Sullivan did  on [Governor                                                               
Sean Parnell's]  Choose Respect [campaign]."   He  indicated that                                                               
activism and questioning  the government is seen  more often from                                                               
[an  elected] AG  serving the  public than  from a  "co-employee"                                                               
that does not have "that same optic or prism."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:49:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  stated that  currently the  governor signs                                                               
the  paychecks  of  state  employees,  and  an  elected  attorney                                                               
general would be  the boss to those working in  the Department of                                                               
Law.  She  questioned whether the governor would have  any say if                                                               
there were  people in the  department he/she did not  feel should                                                               
be  there  anymore.   She  offered  her understanding  that  that                                                               
relationship would be different, but questioned how.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  mentioned  an appropriation  process  in                                                               
other states.   He then said the Office of  Management and Budget                                                               
(OMB)  does  not  review  the  court  budget;  the  court  system                                                               
presents  its budget  to the  legislative branch.   He  indicated                                                               
that the  proposed joint  resolution outlines  the implementation                                                               
process  for electing  the AG,  and that  process could  be fine-                                                               
tuned.   He stated that  he envisions  that the AG  would present                                                               
the budget through the legislative arm.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  indicated she was thinking  of a situation                                                               
in which  the governor may  have a  problem with a  particular AG                                                               
outside  of legislative  session and  the appropriation  process,                                                               
and  asked  how the  relationship  would  be different  in  other                                                               
states.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  replied that other states  have different                                                               
personnel rules.   He added, "I don't think  we'd be eviscerating                                                               
the employee rights."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:52:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE COONS noted he had  submitted written testimony [included in                                                               
the  committee packet].   He  expressed  his hope  that [the  AG]                                                               
would not be "a yes man or yes  woman."  He stated his support of                                                               
HJR 18.   He directed attention  to [a sentence] on  page 1, line                                                               
16, through page 2,  line 1, of HJR 18, which  read, "A person is                                                               
not  eligible to  serve  as attorney  general  unless the  person                                                               
meets the qualifications for a  superior court judge."  Mr. Coons                                                               
stated  that  no one  who  has  "run  for  a judge"  will  answer                                                               
questions  regarding  subjects  such as  criminal  penalties  and                                                               
minimum or maximum  sentences, the stated reason  being that they                                                               
may  have  to  make a  decision  on  one  of  those issues.    He                                                               
questioned  whether "we"  would  be reduced  to candidates  whose                                                               
campaigns focus on  the length of time they have  been a judge, a                                                               
lawyer, an  Alaska resident, or  a part of  a fine family,  or if                                                               
more substantive information would be given.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. COONS  stated, "We need  to know that  the AG will  stand for                                                               
the  law, will  fight back  against federal  overreach, and  give                                                               
sound advice to  the legislature without waffling as  I have seen                                                               
from this existing Department of  Law."  He paraphrased a portion                                                               
of  his  written  testimony,  which  read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Lastly,   I  struggled   about   this  position   being                                                                    
     appointed  and vetted  and approved  or disapproved  by                                                                    
     the  legislature.    I  felt   that  the  Governor  and                                                                    
     Legislature were in a better  position to determine the                                                                    
     best AG.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COONS  explained  that  his  view changed  as  a  result  of                                                               
comments made  by a Senator  who believed he and  the legislature                                                               
were, by virtue of a  college education and superior knowledge on                                                               
the matter  - especially concerning a  constitutional amendment -                                                               
more qualified to  make that decision for the voters.   Mr. Coons                                                               
emphasized  that he  would  trust  his fellow  voters  to make  a                                                               
valued decision, and he would not give up his vote.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:55:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE said he appreciates  the point made by Mr.                                                               
Coons,  but said  he  does  not want  to  confuse  this with  the                                                               
judicial appointment process.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:56:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN,  after ascertaining  that there was  no one  else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:57:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  suggested  that  the  committee  could  consider  an                                                               
amendment to limit the choice of  AG to someone in the same party                                                               
[as  the governor];  however, he  said such  an amendment  may be                                                               
better addressed by the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:57:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  said  he  wonders  if  conceptually  it                                                               
should  be  the  House  State  Affairs  Standing  Committee  that                                                               
addresses  that amendment.   He  indicated that  if the  proposed                                                               
legislation were  to pass  out of  committee, he  would recommend                                                               
that the  conceptual amendment was in  place.  He said  he sees a                                                               
lot of  disruption of good  governments, and he does  not believe                                                               
that's what the  people want.  He said back  when the Seventeenth                                                               
Amendment  was  passed, the  idea  was  for  Senators not  to  be                                                               
"selected out of  the states," but to be voted  on by the people.                                                               
He opined that  "the people ultimately are  the best government,"                                                               
and mistakes made by voters tend to be corrected later.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON stated  that one of the  values of having                                                               
a governor appoint the attorney  general is that the governor has                                                               
been  elected  to serve  according  to  a vision  that  resonated                                                               
within  the  voters.   In  order  to  [follow that  vision],  the                                                               
governor must have department heads who  will "toe the line."  He                                                               
said  that does  not  always happen,  and when  it  does not  the                                                               
result is  a dysfunctional  government.  He  opined that  when it                                                               
comes to matters of law, it is  important to have not just a good                                                               
lawyer but one who understands  the state and whose philosophy is                                                               
"right."   He said if  the people  elect someone who  is recently                                                               
from  another state,  and that  person is  charismatic and  has a                                                               
great record  but does  not understand  the issues  particular to                                                               
Alaska, then  the state  is stuck  with that  AG for  four years,                                                               
whereas,  an appointed  AG that  is not  working out  could leave                                                               
sooner.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON opined  that Alaska, at over  50 years of                                                               
age, cannot  afford to "play  lightly" with its future,  which is                                                               
insecure at present  because there are too many  people in charge                                                               
that  do   not  understand  the   requirements  of   the  state's                                                               
constitution.  He  said he could envision how an  elected AG, not                                                               
knowing the  "peculiarities" of Alaska's state  government, could                                                               
shut down  resource development.   He said the states  lost their                                                               
power to  control federal overreach  when they lost the  power to                                                               
"insert people  selected by  the various  legislatures in  to the                                                               
Senate" to protect the states' interests.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON stated:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I would  say I could go  along with this as  long as we                                                                    
     at least  had alignment  of parties.   I don't  want to                                                                    
     see a  dysfunctional government or one  that's divisive                                                                    
     to the best interests of the state.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:04:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  said the state is  hoping to build                                                               
a  large  diameter natural  gas  line,  and  he wonders  how  the                                                               
coordination  between DOL  and the  executive branch  would work,                                                               
under  HJR  18.    He  explained  that  the  project  is  one  of                                                               
unprecedented scale and,  presumably, would require unprecedented                                                               
coordination.   He  said he  also  worries that  the AG  position                                                               
would  be  filled more  by  political  ability than  professional                                                               
competence.  Finally, he said he  thinks the AG in Alaska is more                                                               
powerful  than the  lieutenant  governor, in  terms  of scope  of                                                               
power and responsibility.  He stated,  "I ... think that's a fair                                                               
point to make,  that the precedent exists.  This  would be moving                                                               
that further, and that's just something we should acknowledge."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:06:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  stated  for  the record  that  the  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee, [which he chairs],  would consider                                                               
an  amendment  on  the partisan  issue,  removal  standards,  and                                                               
qualifications.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:07:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  echoed  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins'  remark  that                                                               
there  is  a  difference  between   campaign  ability  and  legal                                                               
ability;  just  because  someone  campaigns well  does  not  mean                                                               
he/she will perform well in office.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:07:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  admitted  that  as  a  "political                                                               
junky," he  would relish the  idea of having another  campaign to                                                               
follow.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:08:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES offered  her understanding  that 43  other                                                               
states elect  their AG, and she  said she would like  to know how                                                               
many of  those states require  the elected AG  to be of  the same                                                               
party as the governor.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:08:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE said committee members  had asked a lot of                                                               
good  questions,  and  he  stated his  intent  to  address  their                                                               
concerns.   Regarding  the  concern that  someone  elected as  AG                                                               
might not be intimately involved with  Alaska, he said an AG that                                                               
is appointed  does not have  to be a resident  of the state.   He                                                               
recalled  an AG  that left  the state  right after  service.   He                                                               
indicated that  the qualification requirements for  residency and                                                               
citizenship  are  the same  [for  an  AG]  as for  other  elected                                                               
executive positions.   He  surmised that  Representative Isaacson                                                               
might take more comfort if there  was an assurance that the AG is                                                               
an  Alaska  resident -  "someone  familiar  with Alaska  and  its                                                               
economy  and our  legal system,  because they've  lived here  and                                                               
worked here."   He stated  that through the  existing appointment                                                               
process,  there have  been people  from other  states serving  as                                                               
attorneys general, some of whom were  not even members of the bar                                                               
and had to secure that credential.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:11:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to  report HJR  18 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HJR 18 was reported out of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
00 HB0275 CRA v.O.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
01 HB0275A.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
02 HB 275 sponsor statement.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
03 HB 275 Sectional.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
04 HB275 Fiscal note Lt Gov.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
05 HB275 Fiscal note OMB various.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
06 Back up HB275 OMB.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
07 Legal memo on commas.PDF HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
08 MOA letter of support HB275.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
09 Letter Support HB275 - Alaska Municipal League - Waserman 2-7-2014.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
10 Changes to HB 275 HCRA.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
01 HB 199 28-LS0739 U.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
02 HB 199 2014 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
03 HB 199 DPS Draft Revised VPSO Regs.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
04 HB 199 Information Hearing BBNA Testimony and Resolutions CEO Ralph Anderson.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
05 HB 199 Informational Meeting Summary 9.26.2013.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
06 HB 199 Letters--Informational Hearing--9.26.2013.PDF HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
07 HB 199 Edgmon Op-Ed Alaska Dispatch 9.13.13.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
08 HB 199 ADN Article--VPSO Slain.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
09 HB 199 ADN Letter to the Editor.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
10 HB 199 Mike McCarthy Support.PDF HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
11 HB 199 Informational Hearing Letter Robert Claus.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
12 HB 199 Kathie Wasserman Support.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
13 HB199 email Mike Coons Testimony.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
05 HB275 Fiscal note OMB various (updated 2-2-2014).pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275