Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/28/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HJR 15 OPPOSE FEDERAL ID REQUIREMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 15(STA) Out of Committee
+= HB 74 DRIVER'S LICENSE & ID CARDS & REAL ID ACT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 44 LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: VOTING & CONFLICTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CS SSHB 44(STA) Out of Committee
+= HCR 1 AMEND UNIFORM RULES: ABSTAIN FROM VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHCR 1(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 175 US PRESIDENT ELECT. POPULAR VOTE COMPACT TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 175 Out of Committee
+= HB 1 ELECTION REGISTRATION AND VOTING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 1(STA) Out of Committee
         HB  44-LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: VOTING & CONFLICTS                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
[Contains discussion of HCR 1.]                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would be CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 44(JUD)                                                                   
"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."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:38:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RYAN JOHNSTON,  Staff, Representative  Jason Grenn,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of  Representative Grenn,  prime sponsor,                                                               
stated that  initially CSSSHB  44(JUD) contained  language making                                                               
the proposed legislation contingent on the  passage of HCR 1.  He                                                               
asserted  that the  proposed amendment  eliminates that  language                                                               
because  of  the  opinion  of   Legislative  Legal  and  Research                                                               
Services that CSSSHB  44(JUD) can now "stand on its  own" and the                                                               
contingency language is not needed.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:39:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 3:39 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:39:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX moved  to adopt  Amendment 1  [labeled 30-                                                               
LS0208\U.9, Wayne, 3/24/17], which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 3, following "employers;":                                                                                  
          Insert "and"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 4 - 5:                                                                                                       
         Delete "; and providing for an effective date"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 16 - 26:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   LEDOUX   complimented   Mr.  Johnston   on   his                                                               
explanation of Amendment 1.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:40:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS withdrew  his  objection.   He stated  that                                                               
there being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:41:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   moved  to  report  CSSSHB   44(JUD),  as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the accompanying  zero fiscal  note.   There being  no objection,                                                               
CSSSHB  44(STA)  was reported  out  of  the House  State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
         HCR 1-AMEND UNIFORM RULES: ABSTAIN FROM VOTING                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[Contains discussion of CSSSHB 44(JUD).]                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:42:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would  be  HOUSE  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION   NO.  1,  Proposing  an                                                               
amendment to  the Uniform Rules  of the Alaska  State Legislature                                                               
relating to voting and abstention from voting.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:42:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JASON  GRENN, Alaska State  Legislature, expressed                                                               
his  appreciation  for  the  input   from  committee  members  in                                                               
achieving the  intended objectives  of the  proposed legislation.                                                               
He stated that he is available for questions.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked if legislators  will be  instructed on                                                               
what constitutes  a conflict of  interest.  He suggested  that an                                                               
objection on the House floor  would not allow the opportunity for                                                               
discussion,  and  an  immediate  decision would  be  required  of                                                               
legislators.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRENN  responded  that any  legislation  requires                                                               
awareness of  the changes  it effects.   He  said that  since the                                                               
proposed legislation  would change  a practice  that has  been in                                                               
the Uniform Rules for decades,  information would be disseminated                                                               
to the legislators  clearly explaining the changes.   He asserted                                                               
that any  new process would  require this, and  Legislative Legal                                                               
and Research Services has a  capable and willing staff to provide                                                               
that guidance.   He stated that  it is his responsibility  as the                                                               
sponsor  of   HCR  1  to   provide  information   to  legislators                                                               
explaining the proposed procedural changes and answer questions.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:47:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  offered  that   no  legislator  would  be                                                               
surprised  by  an  objection,  which  would  occur  after  he/she                                                               
recused  himself/herself from  the vote.   She  asserted that  if                                                               
legislators reviewed  the floor  calendar in advance,  they would                                                               
know  to discuss  any  possible conflicts  of  interest with  the                                                               
Select Committee on Legislative Ethics before a vote.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:47:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RYAN JOHNSTON,  Staff, Representative  Jason Grenn,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of  Representative Grenn,  prime sponsor,                                                               
stated that  Jerry Anderson  [Administrator, Select  Committee on                                                               
Legislative Ethics]  is preemptively  preparing for  changes that                                                               
would  occur  because of  CSSSHB  44(JUD).    He added  that  Mr.                                                               
Anderson is making plans to  use Interim as an educational period                                                               
for legislators.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  commented that in his  orientation on ethics                                                               
training,  the  current  procedure  for  declaring  conflicts  of                                                               
interest  was  never addressed.    He  said he  sees  legislators                                                               
declaring conflicts,  but he does  not know the criterion  or the                                                               
rules  regarding   the  declarations,  the  objections,   or  the                                                               
subsequent voting.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:49:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH said  that  he  did not  support  HCR 1  or                                                               
CSSSHB 44(JUD).   He mentioned  that during a recent  House floor                                                               
discussion  of  union  dues,  one-third   of  the  body  declared                                                               
objections.  He  asserted that the legislature  would get "locked                                                               
down  in  intractable and  extensive  debate  on each  and  every                                                               
concern" about the amount of  money earned, its significance to a                                                               
family's income,  and the extent  to which it affects  a decision                                                               
to  vote  a certain  way.    He opined  that  this  would open  a                                                               
"Pandora's box."   He agreed  that a  conflict of interest  in an                                                               
employment situation could create  a problem, but legislators are                                                               
extensively  vetted by  the public  during their  campaigns.   He                                                               
cited the declarations of conflicts  on the House floor regarding                                                               
the  [state] income  tax discussion.   He  mentioned that  during                                                               
yesterday's  House  floor  discussion   regarding  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries, it  was decided that it  is acceptable for a  Board of                                                               
Fisheries member to deliberate on an  issue in which he/she has a                                                               
direct  financial benefit  from someone  with whom  the board  is                                                               
deliberating.   He reiterated that  the proposed  legislation and                                                               
resolution would create problems, and  the public is aware of the                                                               
conflicts that legislators have.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:52:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  stated that  the State of  Alaska requires                                                               
municipality assembly  members to  recuse themselves  from voting                                                               
[on  issues in  which they  have a  conflict of  interest].   She                                                               
maintained that assembly members  are subject to very substantial                                                               
campaigns, just  like legislators.   She mentioned  that assembly                                                               
candidates   file  Alaska   Public   Offices  Commission   (APOC)                                                               
financial  disclosures citing  every client  with whom  they have                                                               
done  business.     She  stated,   "I  just  have  a   hard  time                                                               
understanding   how  we   can   impose   these  requirements   on                                                               
municipalities and say that somehow  we're just different because                                                               
we're the  legislature."  She  mentioned that  yesterday's debate                                                               
[on  the  House floor]  was  about  allowing Board  of  Fisheries                                                               
members to  participate in the  discussion at hand, and  not even                                                               
about being  allowed to vote  on an issue.   She stated  that she                                                               
fully supports CSSSHB 44(JUD) and HCR 1.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:54:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP stated  that at the local level  if there is                                                               
a potential  conflict of interest,  the assembly  president, with                                                               
the  advice of  the staff  attorney, makes  the determination  of                                                               
allowing a vote;  if other members of the  assembly disagree with                                                               
that ruling,  they can make  a motion to  override it.   He asked                                                               
for clarification  of the process under  the proposed legislation                                                               
and resolution:  a legislator  declares a conflict, and the House                                                               
votes  on the  necessity of  an  abstention from  voting by  that                                                               
legislator.   He  asked if  that process  would occur  every time                                                               
someone declared a conflict.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRENN  responded that each legislator  is required                                                               
to  vote on  the budget  regardless  of a  conflict of  interest.                                                               
Therefore, the  declaration of  financial conflicts  suggested by                                                               
Representative  Birch would  be ruled  out  of order  and not  be                                                               
subject to  the procedures under  CSSSHB 44(JUD)  and HCR 1.   He                                                               
agreed   with   Representative   Wool  that   legislators   don't                                                               
understand   the  current   rules   concerning  declarations   of                                                               
conflicts   of  interest;   therefore,  conflicts   are  declared                                                               
unnecessarily.    He  said that  CSSSHB  44(JUD)  offers  clearer                                                               
guidelines as  to actual  conflicts of interest.   He  added that                                                               
when a  person does  declare a  conflict meeting  the guidelines,                                                               
under the  proposed legislation  and resolution,  the declaration                                                               
would not  be debatable, and  a vote would  be taken to  allow or                                                               
disallow the abstention.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP asked  if the Speaker of the  House would be                                                               
the person to rule a declaration out of order.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRENN stated  his belief  that the  chair of  the                                                               
House Rules Standing Committee would make that ruling.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP suggested  that in that case,  the ruling on                                                               
a declaration  of a conflict  of interest  would be made  by that                                                               
person.  He offered that other  members of the body may object to                                                               
that  ruling.   He  stated  that the  process  introduced by  the                                                               
proposed  legislation and  concurrent  resolution  is unclear  to                                                               
him.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRENN  responded that  a [declared]  conflict that                                                               
does not meet the conflict guidelines  can be ruled out of order.                                                               
He clarified  that it is  not a  majority, but a  two-thirds vote                                                               
[to allow or disallow the abstention].                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:59:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  asked if there  would be potential  for the                                                               
majority  to  "hold  the  minority   hostage"  by  eliminating  a                                                               
legislator from voting.   He offered that a  majority vote allows                                                               
for this possibility.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRENN maintained  that one  cannot take  politics                                                               
out  of   the  proposed  legislation  and   resolution,  and  the                                                               
possibility  offered  by Representative  Knopp  does  exist.   He                                                               
stated that  the intent behind  HCR 1  and CSSSHB 44(JUD)  is for                                                               
the 40  elected leaders to "do  what's right" and to  vote on the                                                               
merit  of  a conflict  of  interest.    He  suggested that  if  a                                                               
legislator  does allow  partisanship to  affect his/her  vote [on                                                               
abstention], that  vote would be  public record and  he/she could                                                               
be  exposed  as  "playing  politics."   He  maintained  that  the                                                               
proposed   legislation  and   concurrent  resolution   would  add                                                               
transparency for the public.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:01:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  suggested that  a two-thirds  threshold, as                                                               
required under  HCR 1,  would equally  empower both  the majority                                                               
and the minority.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:02:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK stated  that  he likes  that [CSSS  44(JUD)]                                                               
excludes  the  operating budget  from  the  conflict of  interest                                                               
rules.  He offered that requiring  all legislators to vote on the                                                               
operating budget  makes the process  "cleaner and smoother."   He                                                               
noted the  committee had amended  page 2, line  6, of HCR  1, [on                                                               
3/2/17],  to  state that  a  person  cannot abstain  from  voting                                                               
unless  there is  [consent of]  more  than two-thirds  vote.   He                                                               
emphasized  that  under  the   proposed  resolution,  the  higher                                                               
threshold of two-thirds  vote is not what is required  to force a                                                               
legislator to vote  but what is required to  prevent a legislator                                                               
from voting.  He referred to  CSSSHB 44(JUD), page 3, lines 7-10,                                                               
which  defines  "substantial  benefit   or  harm"  as  "financial                                                               
interest of  a substantial class  of persons to which  the person                                                               
belongs as  a member  of a  profession, occupation,  industry, or                                                               
region."  He  used himself as an example for  explanation:  as an                                                               
electrician, he  would not have  to be concerned about  the class                                                               
of electricians  benefiting from proposed legislation,  but about                                                               
himself benefiting  above all other electricians.   He maintained                                                               
that the  proposed legislation sets  the threshold  for conflicts                                                               
of interest  much higher than  it is currently;  therefore, there                                                               
would be fewer  declared conflicts.  He stated  that changing the                                                               
threshold of  what is required  to force a legislator  to abstain                                                               
from voting from  fifty percent to two-thirds  percent also "sets                                                               
the bar higher."   He added that, in addition,  there would be no                                                               
deliberation; a conflict would be  declared and there would be an                                                               
immediate vote.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:05:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  said that  he shares  Representative Birch's                                                               
concerns;  he  "doesn't  want  to   go  down  a  rabbit  hole  of                                                               
objections  and   votes."    He   confirmed  that   the  proposed                                                               
legislation  would  not apply  to  the  operating budget  or  its                                                               
amendments.   He offered that many  potential financial conflicts                                                               
would not  meet the $10,000  threshold and  determining conflicts                                                               
may be  complicated.   He asserted that  not all  legislators are                                                               
familiar with  every bill that comes  up for a vote  on the House                                                               
floor.   He asked about  a situation  in which a  legislator does                                                               
not  declare a  conflict,  but another  legislator believes  that                                                               
legislator should.  He asked, "Is  that to be dealt with later in                                                               
an ethics issue, and that could  take months ... and by that time                                                               
the  vote's  already counted?"    He  referred to  Representative                                                               
Tuck's example  of a legislator who  is a member of  a profession                                                               
declaring a conflict  [if the financial benefit or  harm for that                                                               
legislator  is  greater  than  that of  a  substantial  class  of                                                               
persons of that  profession].  He reminded the  committee that an                                                               
amendment  was adopted  to  change the  language  [in Section  3,                                                               
subsection   (j),  paragraph   (2),  of   CSSSHB  44(JUD)]   that                                                               
Representative Tuck  cited.   He stated  that education  would be                                                               
needed and offered  his hope is that legislators  would know when                                                               
it is appropriate to declare a  conflict.  He conceded that there                                                               
will be  some "growing  pains," and he  offered that  other state                                                               
legislatures have similar rules.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:09:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  suggested that  if a group  of legislators                                                               
had the  two-thirds vote  needed to disallow  a vote,  they would                                                               
have enough votes to pass or vote  down a bill and would not need                                                               
to use forcing an abstention as a political tactic.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRENN, in response  to Representative Wool, stated                                                               
that if one legislator felt  that another legislator neglected to                                                               
declare a conflict  of interest, then the  first legislator could                                                               
file  a  complaint  with  the  Select  Committee  on  Legislative                                                               
Ethics; the process for dealing  with this situation would be the                                                               
same as it is currently.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRENN,  in response  to Representatives  Birch and                                                               
LeDoux,  conceded  that APOC  filings  and  the campaign  process                                                               
afford the public a great  deal of information about a candidate.                                                               
He  asserted that  the proposed  legislation would  maintain that                                                               
transparency for future  legislation on topics that  had not been                                                               
considered  by the  public previously.   He  encouraged committee                                                               
members  to  contact  his  office  for  any  other  questions  or                                                               
concerns.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:12:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX moved  to report HCR 1, as  amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero  fiscal note.   There  being  no objection,  HCR 1(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of committee.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB181 Sectional Analysis 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Hearing Request 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Sponsor Statement 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Supporting Documents - Article NSCL Compensation Commission 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Supporting Documents - History of SOCC Per Diem 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Supporting Documents - Per Diem History 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 ver A 3.27.2017.PDF HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB 181 Additional Documents - Federal AK Per Diem Rates 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB 181 Supporting Documents - Per Diem & SOCC PPT 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Additional Documents - AK Per Diem History 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Additional Documents - Leg Compensation Comparison 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Fiscal Note DOA-DOP 3.27.2017.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB181 Fiscal Note 3.25.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 181
HB044 Draft Proposed Amendment U.9 3.27.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 44
HB074 Draft Proposed Amendment A.2 3.27.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 74
HB074 Draft Proposed Amendment A.1 3.20.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 74
HB074 Identity Project Letter 3.28.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 74
HJR 15 Draft Proposed Amendment A.1 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HJR 15
HJR 15 Draft Conceptual Amendment 1 3.21.17.pdf HSTA 3/28/2017 3:00:00 PM
HJR 15