Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

01/27/2015 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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08:03:50 AM Start
08:04:13 AM HB65
08:35:45 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
<Bill Hearing Postponed to 2/3/2015>
         HB 65-LEG./PUB. OFFICIAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE                                                                      
8:04:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  only order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 65,  "An Act  relating to  the disclosure  of financial                                                               
information by persons who are  subject to the Legislative Ethics                                                               
Act  and  by  certain  public  officers,  public  employees,  and                                                               
candidates for public office."                                                                                                  
8:04:34 AM                                                                                                                    
JULI  LUCKY,  Staff,  Representative Mike  Hawker,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented HB 65 on  behalf of Representative Hawker,                                                               
prime  sponsor.   She  explained  that  the proposed  legislation                                                               
would  extend   the  deadline   for  the   legislative  financial                                                               
disclosure (LFD) and public  official financial disclosure (POFD)                                                               
from the  current date  of March 15  to April 30.   She  said the                                                               
change  would  not affect  the  content  of the  reports,  change                                                               
deadlines for any  other reports other than  the annual financial                                                               
disclosure,  and   would  not   affect  any   campaign  reporting                                                               
deadlines or  content requirements.   In response to  Chair Lynn,                                                               
she  said the  reason  for  the proposed  change  is that  people                                                               
gather information  for the  April 15  federal tax  deadline, and                                                               
the sponsor believes  that that information is the  best and most                                                               
accurate  information  for  filling  out  the  disclosures.    In                                                               
response to a follow-up question,  she said some people have very                                                               
complex filings, and  the proposed bill would allow  them to have                                                               
that final federal tax filing information at their disposal.                                                                    
8:06:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER noted  that  "income" is  defined as  "any                                                               
money  that a  person  sees."   He said  he  is contemplating  an                                                               
amendment to change  that definition to "profit"  or "net instead                                                               
of  gross."    He  explained  that  there  are  a  lot  of  small                                                               
businesses that receive hundreds of  checks for services, and all                                                               
those checks  would have to  be reported  as income.   He offered                                                               
his understanding  that all those  checks are not  really income,                                                               
which he said he thinks is just profit.                                                                                         
8:07:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUCKY  responded that  she does not  think the  sponsor would                                                               
have a problem  with such an amendment;  however, she recommended                                                               
hearing feedback from  a representative of APOC to  make sure the                                                               
accuracy of the reports would not be affected.                                                                                  
8:08:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  said she would  like to see  the deadline                                                               
extended to  May 15 to  allow breathing room for  legislators who                                                               
have just  finished a session and  to take into account  time for                                                               
special sessions.   She said she agrees that  the deadline should                                                               
be after income taxes are filed.                                                                                                
8:09:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  pointed  out  that  the  section  of  law                                                               
related to  the disclosure applies  not only to  legislators, but                                                               
also to people who serve on  boards and commissions, many of whom                                                               
volunteer  hours of  their  time  but "have  to  go through  this                                                               
indignity of  reporting every dollar  and every penny  that comes                                                               
8:10:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  said one  issue, which  he knows  is not                                                               
addressed under HB 65, is  the requirement to disclose the income                                                               
of a child under age 18, who is  living in the home of the person                                                               
filling out the  disclosure, even if the child's income  is not a                                                               
substantial  amount.    He  said   he  has  never  felt  that  is                                                               
information that needs to be made public.                                                                                       
8:10:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES remarked that  she thinks the proposed bill                                                               
is "just the tip of the iceberg in relation to APOC issues."                                                                    
8:11:23 AM                                                                                                                    
JOAN MIZE,  Project Coordinator,  Regulation of  Lobbying, Juneau                                                               
Office,  Alaska Public  Offices  Commission  (APOC), offered  her                                                               
understanding  that the  disclosure  laws were  first changed  in                                                               
1998.    The  deadline  at  that  time  was  April  15,  and  one                                                               
suggestion was  to change it to  February 15, so that  the public                                                               
could have  disclosures before the  end of session;  however, the                                                               
date  settled  on was  March  15,  because mid-February  was  not                                                               
enough time  for people to  get their tax information  in January                                                               
and  have their  disclosures prepared  so  soon after  that.   In                                                               
response to Representative Keller,  she offered her understanding                                                               
that during  the discussion  back in 1998,  there was  one person                                                               
who wanted  to have the date  set in May; however,  she indicated                                                               
that the  general consensus  was that  May was  too far  off from                                                               
when the public would want the information made available.                                                                      
8:14:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MIZE,  regarding  Representative Keller's  previous  comment                                                               
about  the  definition  of  "income",  stated  that  there  is  a                                                               
definition in  the Act.   She deferred to the  executive director                                                               
of APOC for further questions.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  offered  his understanding  that  someone                                                               
serving on a  board or commission who, for example,  owns a small                                                               
flying  service,  would  be  required  by  APOC  to  report  each                                                               
customer's name and  check information, even though  the check is                                                               
income  for  the   purposes  of  determining  tax,   but  is  not                                                               
necessarily profit.   He remarked on the amount of  work it takes                                                               
to write  all that information  down.   Further, he said  some of                                                               
that information is proprietary.                                                                                                
8:16:58 AM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  DAUPHINAIS,  Executive   Director,  Alaska  Public  Offices                                                               
Commission  (APOC), clarified  that  many of  the  issues on  the                                                               
public official  and legislative  financial disclosure  forms are                                                               
in ranges, and  some of those are quite broad.   He said "income"                                                               
is defined in AS 24.60.990(a)(7), which read as follows:                                                                        
          (7) "income" means an asset that a person has                                                                         
     received or  expects to receive, regardless  of whether                                                                    
     it is earned or  unearned; inheritances and other gifts                                                                    
     are not income;                                                                                                            
MR. DAUPHINAIS  remarked that when  the recording date  follows a                                                               
legislative  session, people  who file  can get  busy and  forget                                                               
things, which  he said he thinks  is part of the  reason that the                                                               
date got  moved up.   In response  to Representative  Keller, Mr.                                                               
Dauphinais clarified that the statute  is AS 24.60.997(a)(7), and                                                               
offered  that 2  AAC  50.990 contains  the  definition of  income                                                               
referred to in  the aforementioned statute.  He said  he does not                                                               
know  how that  relates  to the  tax code  or  the Department  of                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  said he  was  interested  in seeing  this                                                               
change, but  did not  want to  hold the bill  up.   He recognized                                                               
that  HB  65 would  be  heard  by  the House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee  and said  he would  look into  the matter  before that                                                               
time.    He welcomed  input  from  Mr. Dauphinais  regarding  the                                                               
definition  because he  surmised that  working on  the definition                                                               
would result in making the executive director's job easier.                                                                     
8:20:56 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:21 a.m. to 8:26 a.m.                                                                       
8:26:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUCKY,  to Representative  Keller, offered  her understanding                                                               
that it  is the self-employment  section of the  disclosure where                                                               
each individual  client is  listed; therefore,  she said  she was                                                               
not  sure  that changing  gross  to  net  would  fix that.    She                                                               
recommended  clarifying what  the  problem is  to  create a  more                                                               
accurate solution  to it.   She said she understands  the concern                                                               
that  "reports won't  be out  before the  beginning of  session;"                                                               
however, she  reminded everyone that  "there is an  annual report                                                               
or a 30-day report that is already on file for each individual."                                                                
8:27:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER expressed  willingness to  not propose  an                                                               
amendment  if the  sponsor  would  be willing  to  work with  the                                                               
committee and  Legislative Legal and Research  Services to define                                                               
"income" to  reflect actual profit  and to eliminate the  need to                                                               
list every client.                                                                                                              
MS. LUCKY indicated  that the sponsor would be  amenable to doing                                                               
8:28:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention  to an  amendment in                                                               
the committee  packet, labeled, "29-LS0070\A.2,  Wayne, 1/26/15,"                                                               
[which  became  Amendment 1],  and  expressed  his wish  to  have                                                               
Representative Vazquez' name added on it with his own.                                                                          
8:29:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  presented  Amendment 1,  which  read  as                                                               
     Page 1, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Delete "April 30"                                                                                                 
          Insert "May 15"                                                                                                   
     Page 2, line 29:                                                                                                           
          Delete "April 30"                                                                                                 
          Insert "May 15"                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he would  object for the purpose of                                                               
discussion.   He said Section 3  of HB 65 deals  with non-elected                                                               
people.  He said he thinks it  would be easier for APOC and "most                                                               
folks"  to have  one date  rather than  two different  ones.   He                                                               
explained that is  why Amendment 1 would make the  change in both                                                               
places.   He offered  his understanding  that AS  24.60.120(b) is                                                               
the statute that outlines when  public members of the Legislative                                                               
Committee on  Ethics file their  disclosures, and  he recollected                                                               
that their  filing date is  the first week  of January.   He said                                                               
that  may  a  subject  to  consider  in  the  next  committee  of                                                               
8:31:31 AM                                                                                                                    
JERRY  ANDERSON, Administrator,  Select Committee  on Legislative                                                               
Ethics,  regarding the  comments  from Representative  Gruenberg,                                                               
said if APOC has a  public member being confirmed, the commission                                                               
has an  LFD on file  prior to any  appointment date which  is why                                                               
they have an earlier date.                                                                                                      
8:32:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  Mr.  Anderson if  he thinks  "that                                                               
line"  would  satisfy  the  need   of  the  Select  Committee  on                                                               
Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                             
MR.  ANDERSON answered  yes.   He  added, "I  think  a change  to                                                               
another  date could  work;  it  just works  now  because of  that                                                               
confirmation process for our public  members."  He clarified that                                                               
he would not take issue with either date.                                                                                       
8:33:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ moved to  adopt Amendment 1 [text provided                                                               
CHAIR LYNN announced  that there being no  objection, Amendment 1                                                               
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
8:34:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced that HB 65, [as amended], was held over.                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1 HB65 ver A.PDF HSTA 1/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 65
2 HB65 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 1/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 65
3 HB65 Sectional Analysis.pdf HSTA 1/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 65
4 HB65 POFD Reporting Template.pdf HSTA 1/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 65
5 HB65-LEG-SESS-01-26-2015.pdf HSTA 1/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 65