Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/29/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:33:26 PM Start
01:34:27 PM SB5
01:48:55 PM Confirmation Hearings
02:14:07 PM SB29
02:46:58 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Melanie Bahnke - Commission on Judicial Conduct
Jeannine Jabaay - Commission on Judicial Conduct
Donald McClintock III - Commission on Judicial
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 5(JUD) Out of Committee
        SB   5-POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION LIMITS/PROHIBITION                                                                    
1:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL announced  the consideration  of  CSSB 5(STA).  He                                                               
noted that  this is the  second hearing  and there is  a proposed                                                               
amendment from Senator Meyer.                                                                                                   
1:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  moved Amendment 1,  labeled 30-LS0112\U.2,  for SB
CHAIR COGHILL objected for an explanation.                                                                                      
1:35:15 PM                                                                                                                    
EDRA  MORLEDGE,   Staff,  Senator   Kevin  Meyer,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, explained  that Amendment 1  for SB 5  addresses the                                                               
concern that  the Alaska Public  Offices Commission did  not have                                                               
sufficient direction  to determine when a  political action group                                                               
is controlled by  a legislator. She read  the following amendment                                                               
to highlight where the changes appear:                                                                                          
                          AMENDMENT 1                                                                                       
    OFFERED IN THE SENATE                  BY SENATOR MEYER                                                                     
          TO:  CSSB 5(STA)                                                                                                      
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "groups controlled by a legislator"                                                                          
          Insert "certain groups"                                                                                             
     Page 1, line 7:                                                                                                            
          Delete "controlled by"                                                                                                
          Insert  "that   makes  expenditures   or  receives                                                                    
          contributions with  the authorization  or consent,                                                                    
          express or  implied, or under the  control, direct                                                                    
          or indirect, of a person who is"                                                                                      
     Page 2, line 1, following "that":                                                                                          
          Insert    "makes    expenditures    or    receives                                                                    
     Page 2, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "is controlled by"                                                                                             
          Insert "with the authorization or consent,                                                                            
          express or implied, or under the control, direct                                                                      
          or indirect, of"                                                                                                      
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete    "makes    expenditures    or    receives                                                                    
     Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "controlled by"                                                                                                
          Insert  "that   makes  expenditures   or  receives                                                                    
          contributions  with the  authorization or consent,                                                                    
          express or  implied, or under the  control, direct                                                                    
          or indirect, of a person who is"                                                                                      
1:37:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL   listed  the  individuals  available   to  answer                                                               
SENATOR MEYER requested Ms. Hebdon comment on the amendment.                                                                    
1:38:35 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  HEBDON,   Executive  Director,  Alaska   Public  Offices                                                               
Commission,  Department   of  Administration   (DOA),  Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska,  said she  had not  seen the  amendment but  the language                                                               
appears  to come  directly  from the  definition  of a  candidate                                                               
under  AS  15.13.400. She  said  the  only  concern is  that  the                                                               
commission has previously interpreted  that specific provision in                                                               
a way that  would conflict with what appears to  be the intent of                                                               
SB 5.  "I think this  bill would most  likely make that  clear to                                                               
exactly  what   'controlled  by'  means,  but   that's  our  only                                                               
SENATOR MEYER asked if the definition helps or is in conflict.                                                                  
MS. HEBDON  replied the  commission has  considered matters  of a                                                               
"controlled  group"   regarding  when  contribution   limits  and                                                               
restrictions apply to a group  that is controlled by a candidate.                                                               
The  most  recent  interpretation  is that  a  group  that  makes                                                               
expenditures  or   receives  contributions  in  support   of  the                                                               
candidate's  election should  be considered  synonymous with  the                                                               
candidate  when restrictions  or prohibitions  apply. She  added,                                                               
"It  seems the  intent  of  the bill  is  in  conflict with  that                                                               
interpretation, but  I don't know  that this language  makes that                                                               
explicitly clear."                                                                                                              
MS. MORLEDGE  suggested the drafter  comment on why he  used that                                                               
1:41:12 PM                                                                                                                    
ALPHEUS   BULLARD,   Attorney,    Legislative   Legal   Services,                                                               
Legislative  Affairs  Agency,  Alaska State  Legislature,  agreed                                                               
with Ms.  Hebdon that the  new language in amendment  U.2 mirrors                                                               
the language in  the definition of candidate in  AS 15.13.400. It                                                               
also  appears in  the  definition  in relation  to  groups in  AS                                                               
15.13.400(8).  He explained  that the  legal interpretation  that                                                               
Ms. Hebdon is talking about has  to do with the interpretation of                                                               
that  provision  as   it  relates  to  groups   controlled  by  a                                                               
candidate.  SB  5 does  not  relate  to  groups controlled  by  a                                                               
candidate  unless they  are a  candidate for  the legislature  or                                                               
they are  a legislator.  He said that  interpretation will  in no                                                               
way control or relate to how  that language is interpreted in the                                                               
context of this bill.                                                                                                           
CHAIR COGHILL said that helps.                                                                                                  
SENATOR MEYER agreed.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  COSTELLO   asked  how  this  language   would  affect  a                                                               
legislator  who  is a  member  of  an  organization such  as  the                                                               
National   Education   Association    or   the   National   Rifle                                                               
Association, both of which get  involved in campaigns and endorse                                                               
MR. BULLARD advised  that the legislator would  need to authorize                                                               
or consent or control the  group otherwise their membership would                                                               
not bring them within the reach of this legislation.                                                                            
SENATOR COSTELLO summarized that a person  who is the head of the                                                               
Alaska chapter  of the NEA  would not be  able to run  for office                                                               
without violating this statute.                                                                                                 
MR. BULLARD clarified that the bill  does not do that. Rather, if                                                               
a  legislator were  to  control  a group  such  as  the NEA,  for                                                               
example, that  group could not  solicit or accept  a contribution                                                               
while the legislature  is sitting in regular  or special session.                                                               
Nor would a lobbyist be allowed to give to that group.                                                                          
1:45:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL   removed  his   objection;  finding   no  further                                                               
objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.  He found no public testimony                                                               
and asked Senator Meyer if he had any closing comments.                                                                         
SENATOR MEYER  recapped that  he introduced the  bill to  close a                                                               
loophole  in  the  1996  campaign  finance  reforms.  It  was  an                                                               
oversight that no  one anticipated a legislator  having their own                                                               
political action committee (PAC) and  using it to influence other                                                               
elections. This updates the law to address that situation.                                                                      
CHAIR COGHILL solicited a motion.                                                                                               
1:46:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER moved  to report SB 5, version \U  as amended, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
1:46:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  announced  that without  objection,  CSSB  5(JUD)                                                               
moves from the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                             
1:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
^Confirmation Hearings                                                                                                          
                     CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                  
                 Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                             
1:48:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  reconvened the  meeting  and  announced the  next                                                               
order  of  business  would be  three  confirmation  hearings  for                                                               
positions on the Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                
He asked Mr. McClintock to  tell the committee about his interest                                                               
in  serving  in  the  bar  seat on  the  Commission  on  Judicial                                                               
1:49:38 PM                                                                                                                    
DONALD  WILLIAM  MCCLINTOCK,  Appointee, Commission  on  Judicial                                                               
Conduct, Anchorage, Alaska, said  he submitted his application as                                                               
an  opportunity  to serve  the  state  and  do  a small  part  in                                                               
ensuring the integrity  of the judicial branch  of government. He                                                               
opined that  he has benefited  over the years from  practicing in                                                               
front  of what  he  considers  to be  one  of  the best  judicial                                                               
systems in  the country. The  commission plays an  important role                                                               
in  ensuring  the   integrity  of  the  system   and  the  public                                                               
perception is  that it is not  shaped by any bias  or favoritism.                                                               
The commission  plays an important  part in ensuring  that judges                                                               
adhere to the code of  judicial conduct and comport themselves at                                                               
the  highest  level  both  within  the  courtroom  and  in  their                                                               
personal lives. The commission also  plays an important role as a                                                               
resource for  judges and tends  to disciplinary matters.  He said                                                               
he  looks  forward  to  lending  his  skills  in  this  important                                                               
1:53:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  stated support for  Mr. McClintock who  has always                                                               
been very fair and professional.                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL articulated his belief  that politics is not absent                                                               
in Alaska's judicial system. He  asked his perspective on whether                                                               
politics plays into the discussion  regarding judicial conduct or                                                               
if the judicial code more demonstrable.                                                                                         
MR. MCCLINTOCK said he believes  the code of judicial conduct has                                                               
clear rules and a high bar so  there isn't a large gray area that                                                               
would  be influenced  by  political  views. He  said  one of  the                                                               
canons  of  the  code  is that  the  administration  of  judicial                                                               
justice is not to be swayed  by personal bias. That could include                                                               
a strong  political belief  that is  outside the  requirements of                                                               
the statutes or constitution.                                                                                                   
CHAIR COGHILL  said it  appears that  the candidates  today would                                                               
maintain public confidence and personal integrity.                                                                              
SENATOR  COSTELLO  highlighted   the  importance  of  appointees'                                                               
community  affiliations.  She  noted  that Mr.  McClintock  is  a                                                               
project  volunteer for  Camp Fire  Alaska, is  involved with  the                                                               
Blood Bank,  and has  been involved with  the Mental  Health Land                                                               
Trust.  It's a  pattern of  giving  back to  your community.  She                                                               
asked him  to comment  on the Oberman  Writing Award  he received                                                               
while he was in law school.                                                                                                     
MR. MCCLINTOCK  explained that it  is a legacy grant  that allows                                                               
the faculty to select the  most distinguished legal paper written                                                               
during the  third year  of law school.  Ironically, he  wrote the                                                               
paper on financing health care.                                                                                                 
CHAIR COGHILL asked if he had attended any commission meetings.                                                                 
MR. MCCLINTOCK replied he had not had the opportunity.                                                                          
CHAIR COGHILL  requested that he  keep his eyes open  looking for                                                               
ways to do things better.                                                                                                       
2:00:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL asked  Jeannine Jabaay to tell  the committee about                                                               
herself and  her interest in  serving in  the public seat  of the                                                               
Judicial Conduct Commission.                                                                                                    
2:00:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JEANNINE  JABAAY,  Appointee,  Judicial  Conduct  Council,  Hope,                                                               
Alaska,  said  she  is  a  fourth  generation  Alaskan  with  six                                                               
children, owns  two businesses,  is involved  in foster  care and                                                               
foster adoption, and has served four  years as a public member on                                                               
the  Board of  Barbers and  Hairdressers. When  she was  asked to                                                               
apply  for  this  position,  she   reviewed  the  complaints  the                                                               
commission addressed the last few  years and became knowledgeable                                                               
about the  legal process  and the Code  of Judicial  Conduct. She                                                               
acknowledged that she  has no professional background  in law and                                                               
limited  experience   in  the  courts.  The   latter  included  a                                                               
contested adoption that went before  the Alaska Supreme Court and                                                               
two contractual  issues regarding  her construction  company. She                                                               
said she is  objective and is not afraid to  make tough decisions                                                               
and ask  hard questions.  She is honored  to have  been appointed                                                               
and looks forward to serving and being an active participant.                                                                   
CHAIR COGHILL  opined that being  a business  owner and a  mom is                                                               
eminent qualification to  be a good judge of  character. He asked                                                               
if she had attended any meetings.                                                                                               
MS. JABAAY  answered no;  there hasn't been  a meeting  since she                                                               
was appointed.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL asked  if she could accept the  explanations of the                                                               
judicial  conduct code  and remain  objective under  any pressure                                                               
from the Alaska Bar Association.                                                                                                
MS. JABAAY  said she believes  she could be objective;  she isn't                                                               
easily intimidated.                                                                                                             
CHAIR COGHILL asked  if she found any surprises  when she studied                                                               
the methodology of the Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                          
MS. JABAAY said  she didn't realize that judges are  held to such                                                               
a high standard of conduct. It  is impressive. She was pleased to                                                               
see  that the  commission  recommendations she  reviewed -  going                                                               
back eight years  - were all upheld by the  Alaska Supreme Court.                                                               
She was  interested in a  recent case in  Nome where a  judge was                                                               
repeatedly  before the  commission and  ultimately stepped  down.                                                               
"Overall, I think this is going  to be a great opportunity for me                                                               
to get involved in a totally different part of Alaska."                                                                         
SENATOR  COSTELLO  highlighted  that  Ms. Jabaay  held  the  Mrs.                                                               
Alaska title  in 2007.  She is  another appointee  with a  lot of                                                               
community volunteer experience.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  COGHILL  asked Ms.  Bahnke  to  tell the  committee  about                                                               
herself  and  her  interest  in  serving  on  the  Commission  on                                                               
Judicial Conduct.                                                                                                               
2:07:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MELANIE BAHNKE, Appointee, Commission  on Judicial Conduct, Nome,                                                               
said she  is a lifelong rural  Alaskan, the mother of  three, and                                                               
wife  to  Kevin  Bahnke.  She  has a  master's  degree  in  rural                                                               
development, is the  President and CEO of Kawerak,  Inc., a board                                                               
member  of  the  Alaska  Federation of  Natives  and  the  Alaska                                                               
Children's  Trust,  and  she  serves  on  the  governor's  Tribal                                                               
Advisory Council.                                                                                                               
She became  interested in  the judiciary  through the  process of                                                               
facilitating the strategic plan for  the Alaska Rural Justice and                                                               
Law  Enforcement  Commission.  She  became aware  of  the  Alaska                                                               
Commission  on Judicial  Conduct  after a  judge  from Nome  went                                                               
before the  commission on more  than one occasion  and ultimately                                                               
stepped down. Prior to that, the  late Judge Ben Esch served with                                                               
distinction for many  years. His service sparked  her interest in                                                               
providing public  service. Alaska Natives are  overrepresented in                                                               
the correction  system but underrepresented in  other areas which                                                               
helped her decide  to put her name forward. She  believes she can                                                               
serve without bias  and be a proactive participant.  She said she                                                               
attended  the  February meeting  and  feels  she made  the  right                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL expressed  appreciation for the work  she has done.                                                               
He asked  if she has  found the  Code of Judicial  Conduct fairly                                                               
easy to understand.                                                                                                             
MS. BAHNKE said she won't claim to  be an expert but she does her                                                               
homework and  is a good  study. She  voiced her commitment  to do                                                               
her best. She does not take the appointment lightly.                                                                            
CHAIR COGHILL thanked Ms. Bahnke for being willing to serve.                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  stated that the  names of all appointees  would be                                                               
forwarded in one batch.                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Bahnke - Judicial Conduct.pdf SJUD 3/29/2017 1:30:00 PM
Jabaay - Judicial Conduct.pdf SJUD 3/29/2017 1:30:00 PM
McClintock - Judicial Conduct.pdf SJUD 3/29/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 29 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 3/29/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/29/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 29