Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/15/1999 12:27 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         HB 225-CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                         
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced a new Senate Judiciary Committee                                                                      
substitute was prepared based on the changes made at the previous                                                               
committee hearing.  He also informed committee members that he                                                                  
asked the Division of Legal Services whether Amendment 9 was                                                                    
contrary to the bill title and was told a resolution will be                                                                    
necessary to amend the title.  Amendment 9 prevents legislators                                                                 
from having spouses or significant others employed as lobbyists.                                                                
He asked for a motion to adopt SCSHB 225(JUD), Version V, Kurtz,                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt SCSHB 225(JUD) as the working vehicle                                                             
of the committee.  There being no objection, SCSHB 225(JUD) was                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR moved to delete all material on page 12, lines 11-                                                              
13, and  to insert "AS 15.13.011(16)(b) and AS 24.45.021(b)(7)" on                                                              
page 16, line 25, following "Sec. 21," and to renumber all sections                                                             
accordingly (Amendment 10).  He explained the amendment would                                                                   
delete Amendment 9, related to lobbying by spouses of legislators,                                                              
and it cleans up the change made to the close economic association                                                              
disclosure requirement.                                                                                                         
SENATOR ELLIS asked if the existing provision related to disclosure                                                             
of a close economic association is unharmed by Amendment 10.                                                                    
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said that is his understanding.                                                                                 
SENATOR ELLIS objected to the motion to adopt Amendment 10.  The                                                                
motion carried with Senators Donley, Halford and Taylor voting                                                                  
"yea," and Senator Ellis voting "nay."                                                                                          
SENATOR ELLIS asked for a copy of the memo from the Division of                                                                 
Legal Services.  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he would provide one to                                                                   
committee members.  He noted he, like Senator Ellis, would like to                                                              
keep the provision on lobbyists in the bill however he did not want                                                             
to do too much damage to the process in the last few days.                                                                      
SENATOR HALFORD said spousal lobbying makes a mockery of all of the                                                             
"little piddly stuff in the bill."                                                                                              
SENATOR DONLEY moved SCSHB 225(JUD) as amended from committee with                                                              
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELLIS objected and stated that although several people have                                                             
put effort into this bill to clean up some of the ambiguities                                                                   
involved, this bill will be perceived, somewhat accurately, as                                                                  
self-serving to legislators.  He said it is contrary to the spirit                                                              
of the citizen initiative on campaign finance reform and the                                                                    
citizen drive for improved legislative ethics.  He agreed with                                                                  
Senator Halford's comment that the little points in this                                                                        
legislation are completely overshadowed by the bigger issues that                                                               
go unaddressed.  He noted his opposition to the bill.                                                                           
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he feels much as Senator Ellis does because he                                                             
believes the perception that this bill is self serving and is a                                                                 
major change to the initiative will be conveyed to the public.  He                                                              
stated from his perspective, he does not believe this bill does                                                                 
anything more than clean up a few "nits and lice" within the                                                                    
process.  It is a bit more user friendly for someone who may want                                                               
to run for office, but he agreed that it fails to address the major                                                             
problems.  He maintained that the bill does not address the fact                                                                
that no one is willing to enforce the laws on the books, nor does                                                               
it address how an average Alaskan could ever possibly run against                                                               
a multimillionaire in this State with a level playing field, nor                                                                
does it address the violations that occurred during the last                                                                    
campaign.   He said, in his opinion, justice delayed is a total                                                                 
denial of justice, and as a consequence most of this bill is                                                                    
superficial.  He wagered there will be a campaign against this bill                                                             
by the public based on the premise that HB 225 makes draconian                                                                  
changes.  He stated he will support the bill because it cleans up                                                               
a few things but it does not go as far as he would prefer.                                                                      
The motion to pass SCSHB 225(JUD) from committee with individual                                                                
recommendations carried with Senators Halford, Donley, and Taylor                                                               
voting "yea," and Senator Ellis voting "nay."                                                                                   

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