Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/09/1996 01:35 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 359 APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR BDS & COMM'NS Number 310 CHAIRMAN KELLY brought up HB 359 as the next order of business before the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. He called the prime sponsor to testify. Number 315 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER, prime sponsor of HB 359, stated HB 359 would specify that appointments made during the interim expire the first day of the session and must be reappointed within 30 days of the beginning of session. Any appointment made after the first 30 days of a session must be submitted within 5 days. Then the legislature will confirm or reject that appointment. If the appointment is rejected, the person may not be reappointed to the same position. The requirement to reappoint during session eliminates the carry-over appointments of the lame-duck appointments. It moves almost all of the expiration dates of boards and commissions to March 1, so that there is some consistency. It also eliminates a loophole that could possibly allow a governor to appoint someone during the interim, not present them for appointment, recognizing that the appointment would expire, and then reappointing the same person so as to retain someone that the legislature never had the opportunity to confirm. He thinks that the administration generally supports the bill. CHAIRMAN KELLY commented he is still a little confused about the March 1 extension date. How does it operate now? Are there different expiration dates for various boards and commissions? REPRESENTATIVE PORTER responded that as they came on board, they had different dates. You will notice that HB 359 specifies "except as otherwise provided". The only one being excluded is the Board of Regents. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked what extending to March 1 means. Does that mean the legislature then has the opportunity to look at new appointees every year? REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied that is why it's during session. The debate is just about where in the session you would want to draw that line. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if there were questions for Representative Porter. Hearing none, he called Mr. Baldwin to testify. Number 360 JIM BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, informed the committee that the Department of Law has been working with Representative Porter on HB 359, and generally, he has accommodated the department's concerns. There is one remaining area of concern regarding how the bill would work: all of an incoming governor's interim appointments would expire on the first day of the session. The department thinks that would be an administrative burden on a new governor to have to respond that rapidly when there is so much else going on with the transition. He suggested specifying that the appointments would expire on the date that the name is submitted. That would give the governor time to handle the transition and would also keep vacancies from occurring. He stated that the change could occur, if the committee so desires, to the language on page 5, line 29. Words could be inserted to the effect that the term would end on the day during the next regular session upon which the appointment is presented. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if they would lock in how long the governor would have to present those appointments. MR. BALDWIN thinks the preceding section of statute specifies 30 days; that is existing law. It is on page 4 of HB 359. CHAIRMAN KELLY noted that would only be a factor every four years, and perhaps eight years. MR. BALDWIN brought to the committee's attention that there are amendments being made in other sections of the bill to boards or commissions or bodies that, by the executive branch's interpretation, do not require confirmation. But for some reason or other the legislature has seen fit to, by statute, make these boards or commissions subject to confirmation. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if Mr. Baldwin if there was a problem with specifying the first day of session. You could essentially have no board for 30 days. If everybody's term were to end, then you would have a board that could not take action for 30 days. The chairman asked if he was correct in assuming that might be a possibility. MR. BALDWIN replied that is a possibility under the way the bill is currently written. Number 410 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER thinks that would exist in those situations where a governor would make the lame-duck appointments. What he is trying to do with HB 359 is take away the motivation to do that. If it was worded so that it was clear that the next governor's appointments had to be made within the confines of the new language of the bill, he would not have great objection to it. Number 435 CHAIRMAN KELLY thinks staff can work out that problem. You could just specify every fourth year, just as we do for the start of legislative sessions. He asked staff to work out that problem between the administration and the sponsor, and the bill will be brought up again first thing on Thursday. He asked Mr. Baldwin if the governor will sign the bill with that correction, not withstanding the other objections. MR. BALDWIN responded he will have to reply to that question on Thursday. There has been a meeting with the governor about the bill. CHAIRMAN KELLY, hearing no other comments, adjourned the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee meeting at 2:05 p.m.