Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/02/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 44 LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: VOTING & CONFLICTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HCR 1 AMEND UNIFORM RULES: ABSTAIN FROM VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 97 REPEAL AK FIRE STANDS. COUNCIL TAX CREDIT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 97(STA) Out of Committee
          HB 44-LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: VOTING & CONFLICTS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:16:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would  be  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR  HOUSE  BILL  NO. 44  "An  Act                                                               
requiring  a legislator  to abstain  from  taking or  withholding                                                               
official  action  or  exerting   official  influence  that  could                                                               
benefit or harm an immediate  family member or certain employers;                                                               
requiring a  legislator to request  to be excused from  voting in                                                               
an instance  where the legislator  may have a  financial conflict                                                               
of interest; and  providing for an effective date."   [Before the                                                               
committee was CSSSHB 44(JUD).]                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:18:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 3:18 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:18:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  moved to  adopt Amendment 1,  [labeled 30-                                                               
LS0208\U.3, Wayne, 3/2/17], which read:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 26 - 28:                                                                                                     
          Delete "a substantial class of persons to which                                                                       
        the legislator or the family member who has the                                                                     
          financial interest belongs as a member of a                                                                       
     profession, occupation, industry, or region."                                                                              
          Insert "the general public of the state."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "."                                                                                                        
          Insert "[A SUBSTANTIAL CLASS OF PERSONS TO WHICH                                                                      
      THE LEGISLATOR BELONGS AS A MEMBER OF A PROFESSION,                                                                       
     OCCUPATION, INDUSTRY, OR REGION]."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 8 - 10:                                                                                                      
          Delete "a substantial class of persons to which                                                                   
        the person belongs as a member of a profession,                                                                     
     occupation, industry, or region"                                                                                       
          Insert "the general public of the state"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX stated that  Amendment 1 would make changes                                                               
to page  2, lines 26-28, of  CSSSHB 44(JUD).  She  explained that                                                               
the proposed  amendment would delete the  language "a substantial                                                               
class of  persons to  which the legislator  or the  family member                                                               
who  has  the  financial  interest  belongs  as  a  member  of  a                                                               
profession, occupation, industry, or  region" and replace it with                                                               
"the general public".                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:21:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 3:21 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:21:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  the  drafter of  the  amendment  to                                                               
clarify  the proposed  changes  to  page 2,  line  31, of  CSSSHB                                                               
44(JUD).                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:22:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAN  WAYNE, Attorney,  Legislative Legal  and Research  Services,                                                               
stated  that the  change  to page  2, line  31,  is a  conforming                                                               
change due to  the deletion of the language on  page 2, lines 26-                                                               
28.   He mentioned that  under Amendment 1, the  deleted language                                                               
would be  moved to page  2, line  31, and displayed  in uppercase                                                               
letters and bracketed for clarity.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX referred  to page 3, lines  8-10, of CSSSHB                                                               
44(JUD) and stated that Amendment  1 would delete the language "a                                                               
substantial class  of persons  to which the  person belongs  as a                                                               
member  of a  profession,  occupation, industry,  or region"  and                                                               
insert  "the  general  public".     She  explained  the  proposed                                                               
amendment by giving the following  example:  A legislator who was                                                               
a member  of the alcohol industry  considers proposed legislation                                                               
that affects the  entire alcohol industry but  doesn't affect the                                                               
legislator's business  to a greater  extent than the  industry in                                                               
general.    Under  CSSSHB  44(JUD),  as  currently  written,  the                                                               
legislator would be allowed to  vote on the proposed legislation.                                                               
Under  Amendment  1,  if the  proposed  legislation  affects  the                                                               
industry  to  a  greater  extent than  the  general  public,  the                                                               
legislator  would  not  be  allowed   to  vote  on  the  proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:24:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   gave  an  example  for   clarification  of                                                               
Amendment 1:   Proposed legislation would reduce  the cruise ship                                                               
head  tax.   If the  legislator was  the owner  of a  cruise ship                                                               
line,  even though  his/her  cruise line  would  not be  impacted                                                               
differently  from  other  cruise   lines,  he/she  would  not  be                                                               
permitted  to vote  because the  cruise lines  would be  impacted                                                               
"over the general public."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX agreed.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:25:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  offered  that  [under  Amendment  1]  if  a                                                               
legislator was involved in any  industry and proposed legislation                                                               
affected  that industry,  with the  assumption  that the  general                                                               
public is  not a part of  that industry, the legislator  would be                                                               
required to abstain from voting on the proposed legislation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX agreed and  added that the legislator would                                                               
have  to  have  "a  financial  interest"  as  defined  by  CSSSHB                                                               
44(JUD).                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL offered  the possibility  that the  proposed                                                               
amendment  could  affect  non-financial  issues for  a  class  of                                                               
workers,  which  is  different  from  the  general  public.    He                                                               
suggested that a  lawmaker in that class would have  to declare a                                                               
conflict of interest.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:27:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK referred  to his trade as  an electrician and                                                               
asked if  Amendment 1  would apply  to legislation  proposing new                                                               
safety standards.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:28:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RYAN JOHNSTON,  Staff, Representative  Jason Grenn,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on behalf of Representative  Grenn, prime sponsor of                                                               
CSSSHB  44(JUD),  confirmed  that  Amendment  1  refers  only  to                                                               
situations involving financial gains or losses.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked if,  as  a  licensed electrician,  he                                                               
would have  to abstain from  voting on proposed  legislation that                                                               
reduced the  required number of continuing  education credits for                                                               
license renewal, thus reducing the cost.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. WAYNE stated  that Amendment 1 refers  to financial decreases                                                               
as  well  as  increases.     He  added  that  regarding  proposed                                                               
legislation changing  the requirements for accreditation,  if the                                                               
effect on  the financial  interest of  the legislator  is greater                                                               
than the effect on the  general public, then the legislator would                                                               
be required to declare a conflict.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  emphasized  that the  financial  interest                                                               
would  have to  be substantial,  and there  is no  change in  the                                                               
proposed legislation in that regard.   She stated that the change                                                               
under Amendment 1 addresses the  situation in which the effect of                                                               
that  interest  is greater  [for  the  legislator] than  for  the                                                               
general public.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. WAYNE agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  cited the  example  of  a legislator  who                                                               
owned $100  in stocks in  a cruise ship enterprise  and suggested                                                               
that this would not constitute a substantial interest.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WAYNE agreed  that it  probably  would not,  but the  Select                                                               
Committee on  Legislative Ethics  is the  final arbiter  of those                                                               
determinations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:32:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  expressed his  concern that  these questions                                                               
will  all funnel  into a  logjam before  the Select  Committee on                                                               
Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  responded  that these  issues  would  not                                                               
funnel  into the  Select Committee  on Legislative  Ethics, since                                                               
the  legislators  would  be  voting  on  declared  conflicts  and                                                               
subsequent  recusals.     She  added  that   the  declaration  of                                                               
ownership  in   stocks  in  an  industry   affected  by  proposed                                                               
legislation would become a [conflict  of interest] matter for the                                                               
legislature to decide.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:34:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  stated  that  he has  concerns  about  the                                                               
entanglements  that CSSSHB  44(JUD) would  engender on  the House                                                               
floor  as legislators  attempt to  assess conflicts  of interest.                                                               
He added  that every elected  legislator in Alaska  has something                                                               
else going on in his/her life.   He maintained that the public is                                                               
aware  of  the  other  interests   through  the  Public  Official                                                               
Financial Disclosure  (POFD) and through the  crucible of primary                                                               
and general  elections.  He  opined that the current  process, in                                                               
which  the  legislator  declares   a  possible  conflict  on  the                                                               
legislative floor  and a  single objection  from the  body allows                                                               
the vote,  is sufficient.   He mentioned the  different procedure                                                               
used   in  local   governments:     the   conflict  of   interest                                                               
determination is  delegated to the  presiding officer and  can be                                                               
overruled  by the  body.   He  opined that  CSSSHB 44(JUD)  would                                                               
create huge  delays, the current  procedure works, and  there are                                                               
sufficient checks and balances for conflicts of interest.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:37:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL removed his objection  to Amendment 1.  There                                                               
being no further objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[CSSSHB 44(JUD) was held over.]                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR 1 Draft Proposed Amendment 3.1.17.pdf HSTA 3/2/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 1
HB 44 Draft Proposed Amendment U.3 3.2.17.PDF HSTA 3/2/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 44
HB 97 Draft Proposed Amendment A.1 3.2.17.pdf HSTA 3/2/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 97