Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/09/1996 01:35 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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         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.                               
                                                                               

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