Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/29/2004 04:12 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         CSHB 476(STA)-AK STATEHOOD CELEBRATION COMMISSION                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   GARY  STEVENS   announced  CSHB   476(STA)  to   be  up   for                                                           
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JIM SHINE, staff to Representative  Tom Anderson, introduced the bill                                                           
for the sponsor and paraphrased the sponsor statement:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     January  2009 will mark  the 50th  anniversary of  Alaska's                                                                
     admission  as  the  49th  state of  the  United  States  of                                                                
     America.  It's important  that we  celebrate this  landmark                                                                
     with a celebration of the  state's magnificent heritage and                                                                
     reflect upon  the opportunities that 50 years  of Statehood                                                                
     have brought to this state.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     This bill establishes  a commission, which will  consist of                                                                
     nine members. Four public members  will be appointed by the                                                                
     governor, of whom one member shall  be a resident of and be                                                                
     appointed from each  of the four judicial  districts in the                                                                
     state.  The presiding  officer  from  the Alaska  House  of                                                                
     Representatives  and  the  Alaska  Senate  will  appoint  a                                                                
     majority  and  a  minority   member  from  each  body.  The                                                                
     governor  and or the  governor's designee  will occupy  the                                                                
     9th seat.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     This  commission shall  be planning  and administering  all                                                                
     the  official  state  activities  leading up  to  the  50th                                                                
     anniversary  of  Alaska  Statehood.  This  commission  will                                                                
     initiate  a public  process  to  solicit ideas  about  this                                                                
     celebration.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The  commemorative quarter  honoring the  State of  Alaska,                                                                
     which is HB  467, which is also in this  committee, will be                                                                
     issued in the  same calendar year as  Alaska celebrates its                                                                
     50th year.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  remarked  that the  two  bills  certainly  have                                                           
similarities yet two  separate commissions are to  be established. He                                                           
questioned why  the Commemorative  Quarter Commission shouldn't  be a                                                           
responsibility of the Alaska Statehood Celebration Commission.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHINE  told  him  that the  drafters  decided  on  two  separate                                                           
commissions. Although  one certainly could  be a subcommittee  of the                                                           
other,  it might  be  too much  to combine  the  two considering  the                                                           
magnitude  of the Statehood  Celebration and  that the  Commemorative                                                           
Quarter Commission entails working with the U.S. Mint.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS agreed that the  argument had merit. He  asked if                                                           
he knew that  the University of Alaska was planning  a celebration of                                                           
the  writing  of  the  Alaska  State  Constitution  as  well  as  the                                                           
statehood issue.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHINE  said he was aware of  that and learned from  Gail Phillips                                                           
that U.S. Senator  Ted Stevens requested $450,000  for the university                                                           
to develop  an Alaska online  curriculum for students  to participate                                                           
in during the year leading up to the statehood celebration.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  said he also thought the  university was involved                                                           
in celebratory plans.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHINE admitted he wasn't aware of that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BERT  STEDMAN asked why the  commission should be  started so                                                           
early.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHINE   said  that  a   celebration  of  this   magnitude  takes                                                           
considerable  time  to plan  because  of  the  number of  issues  and                                                           
activities that must be addressed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GRETCHEN GUESS  noted that  the  fiscal note  was zero  even                                                           
though the  commission would  receive per  diem and  travel expenses.                                                           
She asked  whether those  expenses would come  out of  the governor's                                                           
contingency fund or somewhere else.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHINE  said the  House Finance Committee  zeroed the  fiscal note                                                           
because  the bill  gives  the commission  the  power  to establish  a                                                           
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS asked whether an  indeterminate fiscal note wouldn't be                                                           
more appropriate.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHINE  referred to Gail Phillips'  proposal stating that  for the                                                           
first three  years the  commission should be  voluntary and  the last                                                           
two years should be paying positions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS stated  for the record that his  explanation causes her                                                           
concern because that's  starting down a path that you  might not want                                                           
to  take.  Volunteering  time  is   one  thing,  but  everyone  can't                                                           
necessarily afford to  pay for travel expenses and  some people would                                                           
therefore  be excluded  if those  expenses  weren't reimbursed.  When                                                           
you're  trying  to  develop   a  diverse  commission,  socio-economic                                                           
diversity should certainly be a consideration.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHINE  said that  the  House  Finance  Committee also  made  the                                                           
comment  that  something  of  this   magnitude  might  attract  other                                                           
organizations that might want to help financially.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEDMAN reiterated  Senator  Guess's  remark that  the  zero                                                           
fiscal note  is inaccurate.  Clearly the  50th statehood  celebration                                                           
isn't going to be free for the State of Alaska.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHINE agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  expressed  appreciation  that  the  commission  would                                                           
represent both the majority and the minority.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS commented  that the  majority party  could change                                                           
over the course of five years.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  motioned to report  CSHB 476(JUD) from  committee with                                                           
individual  recommendations   and  attached   zero,  but   should  be                                                           
indeterminate,  fiscal note.  There  being no  objection,  it was  so                                                           
ordered.                                                                                                                        

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