Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
02/18/2017 11:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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HCR 5-UNIFORM RULES: COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES 11:09:52 AM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 5, Proposing an amendment to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature relating to the membership of the Committee on Committees. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HCR 5. After ascertaining that there was no one who wished to testify, he closed public testimony. 11:11:22 AM REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 1, labeled 30-LS0359\A.1, which read as follows [with hand written changes]: Page 1, line 12, following "committee": Insert "and the Committee on Committees" CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion. REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP relayed that Conceptual Amendment 1 inserts "the Committee on Committees" to make that committee subject to the proportional rule, like the standing committees. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked for testimony from Legislative Legal and Research Services regarding the merit of Conceptual Amendment 1. 11:13:11 AM DOUG GARDNER, Director, Legislative Legal Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, conveyed his understanding that of the intent of HCR 5 is to make Uniform Rule 1(e) conform to recent practices by the House. He said that although Uniform Rule 1 provides for the Speaker of the House to select five members to serve on the Committee on Committees, membership on the committee has generally been five majority members and two minority members. He said that if the intent is to change the committee selection practice so that seven members are put on the committee, then the amendment he prepared does that with certainty. 11:15:20 AM REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP explained that he modified the amendment drafted by Mr. Gardner by deleting lines 2 and 3, thus leaving the phrase "at least five members" in Section 1 of HCR 5, subsection (e), beginning on line 6. He added that the only change proposed by Conceptual Amendment 1 is the insertion of "and the Committee on Committees" after the word "committee" on line 12 of Section 1, subsection (e), of HCR 5. MR. GARDNER stated that if the proposal before the committee leaves the membership of the Committee on Committees at five and makes it subject to proportional representation, then the number of minority members on the Committee on Committees simply depends on the size of the minority. MR. GARDNER offered that under HCR 5, the proportional representation of the minority could be determined with certainty; however, there would be no certainty provided as to the number of members on the Committee on Committees. He offered that the Speaker of the House could choose to populate the committee with five, seven, or even nine members. He added that if flexibility is what the House State Affairs Standing Committee wants, then HCR 5 and Conceptual Amendment 1 together would provide that. 11:17:27 AM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked for confirmation that if there was less than 25 percent minority status [in the House], then the majority would not have to recognize anyone from the minority to be on the Committee on Committees. MR. GARDNER replied that is correct. He added that once the size of the minority in the House drops below ten in any given year, it would not be a legally cognizable minority; therefore, it would not have membership on the Committee on Committees. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asserted that the Committee on Committees is such an important committee, because it establishes all other committees and the membership to those other committees. He said that traditionally there has been a minimum [minority representation] of two. He added that he likes Conceptual Amendment 1, because it follows a structure for five or more and stays consistent with [standing] committee composition. He offered that if at some point there is a very small minority in the House, such as eight or less, he would like a "minimum" provision so that the Committee on Committees does not just consist of majority members with the minority having no voice. He suggested that in this situation, a minimum provision would be the only opportunity for the minority to have a voice. He stated support of Conceptual Amendment 1, but said he would like to see a minimum of two [minority members] on the Committee on Committees. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS removed his objection to the motion to adopt Conceptual Amendment 1. There being no further objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked for an at ease to draft an additional amendment, if the sponsor of HCR 5 is agreeable to having minimum minority representation [on the Committee on Committees] regardless of its membership in the House. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN opined that Representative Tuck raised a valid point. He said that in his research on minority representation in the House and the Senate going back to 1975, he found that there were times in which the minority caucus constituted less than 25 percent of the Senate membership; therefore, the minority caucus was not an officially recognized caucus. He said that in a number of those situations, the presiding officer determined that minority representation would be included on the Committee on Committees, even though the Uniform Rules did not require it. He stated his concern that requiring the Committee on Committees to follow the same prescription as the standing committees would remove that flexibility for the presiding officer. He added that if there was no minority caucus, the presiding officer would not have the opportunity to recognize minority members but be required to only recognize members of the majority caucus. He expressed his concern that the minority inadvertently might be excluded from the Committee on Committees. He stated that he does not have an objection to the intent of the amendment suggested by Representative Tuck. 11:21:51 AM The committee took a brief at ease at 11:21 p.m. 11:22:34 AM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said that to insert a minority member requirement for the Committee on Committees into Rule 1, subsection (e), of the Uniform Rules, the minority would have to be recognized, and a minority would not be recognized if it constitutes less than 25 percent of the House membership. He expressed that he didn't know how to craft language to allow the appointment of a minority member. He suggested that perhaps language stating the appointment of "a member other than the majority" would achieve his desired results. He added that he would coordinate with the bill sponsor on this issue in the next committee to which HCR 5 is assigned. 11:23:28 AM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK moved to report HCR 5, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHCR 5(STA) was reported from the House State Affairs Standing Committee.