Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

02/19/2015 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SJR 3 CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
*+ SJR 7 NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS' MONUMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved SJR 7 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
        SJR 3-CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:02:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced the consideration of SJR 3.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PETE KELLY,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor  of SJR 3,                                                               
related that  the resolution  has been in  process for  two years                                                               
and there has been a lot of discussion on it.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked for an explanation of the bill.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY proclaimed that there  is a problem with the Alaska                                                               
Constitution  regarding  the way  members  are  selected for  the                                                               
Judicial  Council.   Currently,  the  Judicial   Council  selects                                                               
nominees  that  are forwarded  to  the  Governor  and acts  as  a                                                               
gatekeeper  for the  third branch  of Alaska's  government. There                                                               
are  problems   in  that  the  Constitution   requires  that  the                                                               
selection is made with  consideration for regional representation                                                               
and there are  only six members on the  Council. The Constitution                                                               
also requires three of the members to be attorneys.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked how the attorneys are selected.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY explained that they  are selected by the Alaska Bar                                                               
Association,  not  by  the  people,   the  legislature,  nor  the                                                               
Governor. He said  the individuals on the Bar are  sincere and do                                                               
their  homework, but  there is  no  input from  the public.  Most                                                               
attorneys  come from  large cities,  not rural  Alaska, therefore                                                               
the representation is limited.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He  related that  there  are  also three  public  members on  the                                                               
Council. Over time, only two  public members have come from rural                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:08:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY  detailed that the  other problem with  the Council                                                               
is that  with a  six-person Council, ties  are possible,  and the                                                               
tie breaker is the Chief Justice  of the Alaska Supreme Court. He                                                               
said the names are forwarded  to the Governor for selection, with                                                               
most ties going in favor of  the attorneys. He called choosing to                                                               
not forward a  name on to the Governor  disturbing and aggressive                                                               
gatekeeping. He provided an example.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:13:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY  read  from  Vic   Fischer's  book  regarding  the                                                               
Missouri Plan,  saying that the  selection process  withdraws the                                                               
control of  the Judicial Branch  away from the people  and places                                                               
it under  an organized  Bar. He  continued to  say that  no state                                                               
constitution has  gone so far  in placing a branch  of government                                                               
beyond  the  reach of  Democratic  controls.  He noted  that  the                                                               
Constitutional  Convention  members  were  warned  by  their  own                                                               
consultants when they  were examining the Missouri  Plan in order                                                               
to create  a Judicial  Branch. He  concluded that  attorneys have                                                               
created their own judicial system and  are able to control it via                                                               
tie votes being decided by the Chief Justice.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:15:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY  stated  that  another  problem  is  there  is  no                                                               
confirmation  hearing  process.  He  termed  Alaska  an  "elitist                                                               
state" in this  matter. A third problem is that  the provision in                                                               
the   State   Constitution   regarding  representation   is   not                                                               
attainable. The  Chief Justice  is also put  in a  predicament of                                                               
voting for the next potential Supreme Court member.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:18:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY stressed that all  other Boards must go through the                                                               
confirmation process,  but the  Judicial Council  regulates their                                                               
own organization. He summarized that  SJR 3 adds three additional                                                               
public members,  requires confirmation,  and removes  the Supreme                                                               
Court Justice from having to vote when there are ties.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:20:39 AM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  SHADDUCK,  Staff,  Senator   Pete  Kelly,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  information related  to SJR 3.  She noted                                                               
on page 2, line 2, of  the resolution it states that the Judicial                                                               
Council shall  act by a majority  vote of the quorum  of at least                                                               
seven members  and according  to the rules  which it  adopts. She                                                               
explained that,  currently, four  out of the  six members  make a                                                               
quorum. The  resolution sets  the quorum at  seven to  allow both                                                               
attorneys and public members to have a say.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE  said he has  invited members of the  Supreme Court                                                               
to testify.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:23:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE held SJR 3 in committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE joined the committee meeting.                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR3 ver A.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Fiscal Note OOG-DOE 2-13-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Fiscal Note JUD-AJC 2-13-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - AJC BYLAWS.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - CC Proceedings pp 683-696 Day 35.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Exerpt from Victor Fischer's Book.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Historical Roster of AJC Members.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Judicial Selection Map.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Stephen Ware White Paper.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Citizen's Guide to Constitution - Judicial Article IV.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR7 ver A.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR7 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR7 Fiscal Note LEG-SESS 2-16-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR7 Supporting Documents - Resolutions.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR3 - FY14 Case Filings Pie Chart - Provided by Courts 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 - Alaska Judicial Council Vote Stats - provided by Courts 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 - AFN Resolution Opposing - Provided by Courts.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Opposition Document - Letter ANCSA Regional Association 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 SSTA Emails of Opposition 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Support Document - Letter John Harmon 2.18.15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Support Document - Letter Robert B Flint 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Alaska Judicial Council Stats (pie charts) - Provided by AJC 2-19-15 -.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3