Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/09/1995 03:35 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.