Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/09/1995 03:35 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SSTA - 3/9/95                                                                 
         SJR 16 LIMIT LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO 90 DAYS                         
 SENATOR SHARP brings up SJR 16 as the next order of business before           
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 Number 540                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR, prime sponsor of SJR 16, states he personally                 
 supports SB 90, the bill heard in the Senate State Affairs                    
 Committee immediately prior to SJR 16.                                        
 SENATOR DUNCAN asks Senator Taylor if he really supports SB 90.               
 SENATOR TAYLOR responds he does, and comments the legislature                 
 hasn't had the guts to vote itself a salary since he got here.                
 SENATOR TAYLOR states SJR 16 is very simple; it would reduce the              
 length of legislative session to 90 days.  Senator Taylor                     
 introduces an amendment to SJR 16 which would require the                     
 legislature to recess in order to hold committee meetings at                  
 different locations throughout the state.                                     
 SENATOR DUNCAN asks what per diem rate legislators would get during           
 the recess.                                                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR responds the legislature would get to set the per              
 diem rate; SB 90 (the Public Officers Compensation Commission) has            
 not been adopted yet.                                                         
 Number 524                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN comments he likes SJR 16 as introduced, and though he           
 does not dislike the idea of recessing to hold interim meetings, he           
 thinks the amendment to SJR 16 would have the effect of not                   
 shortening session at all.  Senator Leman would support the                   
 amendment if session was still constrained to 90 days total.                  
 Number 509                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP adds he has a problem with the amendment, in that he           
 wouldn't care to continue renting an apartment in Juneau and not              
 receive per diem for it during a break in session.                            
 Number 500                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR states the subject of SJR 16 has been around before,           
 but has never gotten enough of a consensus in the legislature to              
 pass.  He states that after having talked with several legislators            
 about their concerns, he thought the amendment might soften the               
 approach in order to get us closer.  He is not fixed on any                   
 particular dates or times.  The amendment was just an idea that has           
 been floated, and he thought the committee should have the benefit            
 of it.                                                                        
 Number 495                                                                    
 SENATOR DUNCAN comments he likes the approach of the amendment.  It           
 is important to get the legislature out to other communities and to           
 allow the committees to take action while holding meetings in other           
 communities.  So he likes the amendment, but he doesn't like the              
 original bill.  Senator Duncan is concerned that shortening session           
 would hand more power to the bureaucracy; it would weaken the                 
 representative branch of government.                                          
 Number 474                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN disagrees with Senator Duncan's conclusion that                 
 shortening the length of legislative sessions would erode the power           
 of the legislature, because legislators remain legislators, even              
 when not in session.  He thinks it will cause the legislature to              
 get its' work done in a shorter time frame.  It will be a little              
 more rigorous; there will probably be fewer weekends and fewer                
 three-day weekends.  Senator Leman thinks if short sessions can               
 work in Wyoming, they can also work in Alaska, because the two                
 states have a lot in common.                                                  
 SENATOR DUNCAN thinks there will be an erosion of power with                  
 shorter sessions.  If he was a lobbyist, he would love a shorter              
 session, because it puts it in the hands of people whose main job             
 is to make sure something doesn't happen.  Senator Duncan does not          
 think Alaska is comparable to Wyoming.  However, he appreciates the           
 approach of the amendment and wants to work with Senator Taylor on            
 improving access to the legislature.                                          
 Number 430                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP states SJR 16 will be rescheduled.                             

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