Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/17/1993 01:40 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SENATOR TAYLOR introduced SJR 6  (USE OF INITIATIVE TO AMEND                 
  CONSTITUTION).  The prime sponsor is SENATOR RICK HALFORD.                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR  opened the  bill to  testimony, and  invited                 
  CHIP TOMA to speak.                                                          
  Number 340                                                                   
  MR.  TOMA  testified  in  support  of  SJR  6,  which  would                 
  authorize the use of initiatives  to amend the constitution,                 
  and he distributed a list of 17 states which currently allow                 
  constitutional amendments  by initiative.   He reviewed  the                 
  statistics  which   indicated  most   states  passed   their                 
  initiatives by a majority vote.                                              
  MR. TOMA  explained how  the bill  would assist  him in  the                 
  recall of the governor and the lieutenant governor, since he                 
  found the process  as specified, presently in statute, to be                 
  onerous and in the case of  legal challenges to be dilatory.                 
  He described  how  the proceedings  had been  turned into  a                 
  court case, which he thought was unnecessary.                                
  MR.  TOMA gave  some history  from the  standpoint of  being                 
  employed by the  Department of  Elections during the  recall                 
  case,  Minors v. the Bering Straits  School District, and he                 
  reviewed his position  on how a recall should  work - not by                 
  making court cases on every single  issue.  He explained how                 
  he would proceed with his recall  by initiative in the event                 
  the bill was passed.                                                         
  MR. TOMA urged  the passage of  SJR 6 and suggested  the two                 
  thirds vote  be changed  to a  majority vote,  since it  was                 
  difficult to get anything passed with this number.                           
  Number 435                                                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR clarified  MR. TOMA'S concern was  the recall                 
  question,  but  he said  the  legislation was  primarily for                 
  amendments  to  the   constitution.    They  discussed   the                 
  resolution as opening up  government to the people, but  MR.                 
  TOMA explained why the two thirds vote would never work.                     
  JOHN SHEPHERD, aide  to SENATOR  HALFORD, reviewed the  good                 
  points presented by  MR. TOMA, and thought  the constitution                 
  should  be  a living  document  reflecting the  will  of the                 
  people.    He   explained  the  principal  reason   for  the                 
  resolution,  and he reviewed  the statistics  on all  of the                 
  constitutional amendments  since Statehood.   He thought 80%                 
  of the people would  vote on an initiative to limit terms of                 
  TAPE 93-13, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  SENATOR LITTLE asked if a person  could use an initiative to                 
  change  the  permanent fund,  and  MR. SHEPHERD  said people                 
  could try  to amend the constitution.   He explained several                 
  changes that could be made by initiative.                                    
  MR.  TOMA  responded by  explaining why  he thought  the two                 
  thirds vote  was destroying the  ability of people  to vote,                 
  and  he  reviewed  the  prevailing  fears  at  amending  the                 
  constitution. He said he trusted the  voters of the state to                 
  make the decisions and should be done on a 50% vote.                         
  There being no quorum, the bill stayed in committee.                         

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