Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/31/2015 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 56 ALASKA FIREFIGHTERS' DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS HB 56(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+= SB 24 LEGIS. ETHICS ACT: CONTRACTORS,INTERNS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 24 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 24-LEGIS. ETHICS ACT: CONTRACTORS, INTERNS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:15:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced the consideration of SB 24.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:15:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BERTA GARDNER, Alaska  State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
noted  that  responses will  be  provided  for issues  that  were                                                               
raised when the bill was previously heard in the committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:15:42 AM                                                                                                                    
THOMAS  PRESLEY,  Staff,  Senator  Berta  Gardner,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, explained  that two  questions came                                                               
up during  the last committee  meeting: which contracts  would be                                                               
effected by the bill and how  the legislation made it through the                                                               
Ethics Committee.  He noted that  documents were provided  to the                                                               
committee  that listed  contractors and  contracts that  would be                                                               
effected by the bill. He  specified that the bill was unanimously                                                               
passed by the Ethics Committee  based upon changes recommended by                                                               
Joyce Anderson, Daniel Wayne, and Chair Gary Turner.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:18:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE asked that the  record show that Jerry Anderson and                                                               
Joyce Anderson have no affiliation with one another.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:18:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  opined that  ethics  cannot  be legislated.  He                                                               
stated that people  are what they are. He  asked what consultants                                                               
will need to do in order to comply.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. PRESLEY replied that a  handout was provided to the committee                                                               
at  the previous  meeting that  listed parts  of the  Ethics Code                                                               
that  applies  to  legislators. He  specified  that  prohibitions                                                               
relate to  conflicts of interest,  restrictions on  fund raising,                                                               
restrictions on  employee candidacies, and protection  on whistle                                                               
blowers.  He  concurred  with Senator  Huggins  that  legislating                                                               
ethics is difficult.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:20:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  replied that he understood  the prohibitions. He                                                               
asked if consultants would have to  be counseled for two hours or                                                               
would a document have to be  signed that attests to their reading                                                               
of the information.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. PRESLEY replied  that Joyce Anderson and  Jerry Anderson will                                                               
address Senator Huggins'  question. He noted that  there was some                                                               
discussion about  creating a  30 minute online  video and  a form                                                               
that provides information for consultants.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:21:06 AM                                                                                                                    
JOYCE  ANDERSON,  Contractor,  Select  Committee  on  Legislative                                                               
Ethics, Alaska State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska, noted that she                                                               
was  the  former  administrator  to  the  Ethics  Committee.  She                                                               
replied  that  the  training  requirement  is  not  going  to  be                                                               
required  for   independent  contractors  and   consultants.  She                                                               
explained that  the suggestion  was the Ethics  Office put  out a                                                               
short  video for  a  contractor  or consultant  to  review as  an                                                               
option  and  to   sign  a  form  that  they  are   aware  of  the                                                               
requirements. She said  there would not be  any lengthy training,                                                               
approximate time would be 20 minutes.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:22:19 AM                                                                                                                    
JERRY  ANDERSON,  Committee  Administrator, Select  Committee  on                                                               
Legislative  Ethics, Alaska  State  Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
agreed that  Ms. Anderson's interpretation is  the interpretation                                                               
that the Ethics Committee adopted.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked  why the  Legislature  needs  to  address                                                               
ethics applicability changes  through a bill. He  inquired if the                                                               
Ethics Committee has  the authority to make the  changes on their                                                               
own.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON replied as follows:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The  Ethics  Committee  through the  Legislative  Legal                                                                    
     Office has determined that the  committee does not have                                                                    
     the authority  to make this type  of change considering                                                                    
     that  independent   contractors  and   consultants  are                                                                    
     listed  under the  definition  of legislative  employee                                                                    
     and so  when you are  listed as a  legislative employee                                                                    
     you   are  required   to  comply   with   all  of   the                                                                    
     requirements  of the  Legislative  Ethics  Act. So  the                                                                    
     committee felt that, and  through the legal department,                                                                    
     that  they  did not  have  the  authority to  make  the                                                                    
     change without having some sort of legislation passed.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:23:46 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS replied  that he understood. He  pointed out that                                                               
Ms. Anderson used the term "optional" regarding training.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON  answered that the  training would be  optional. She                                                               
specified that the requirements  that the independent contractors                                                               
and consultants  would have  to follow are  stipulated in  SB 24.                                                               
She  said  the Ethics  Committee  felt  that training  should  be                                                               
optional and not  mandatory, but that the changes  should be made                                                               
to only require particular parts of the Legislative Ethics Act.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked if legislators  will get billed $500 per hour                                                               
by their consultants to take their compliance course.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARDNER replied  that potentially  legislators could  be                                                               
billed, depending  on the  terms of  their contract.  She pointed                                                               
out that consultants are subject  to all parts of the Legislative                                                               
Ethics Act and it does not make sense in all cases.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE asked  if there was anyone else  from the public,                                                               
state agencies,  or contractors  that would  like to  testify. He                                                               
noted  that  the next  committee  of  referral is  the  Judiciary                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:25:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  moved  to  report SB  24  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:25:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE  announced  that  he   will  talk  to  the  Senate                                                               
President about  adding a Finance  Committee referral due  to the                                                               
potential for extra costs for  legislative contracts. He asked if                                                               
there were any objections to moving the bill out of committee.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS commented  that his hope is  that the Legislature                                                               
hires  people  that  have  a  track  record  and  the  hiring  is                                                               
reflective of  what the committee  addressed in  the legislation.                                                               
He  opined that  the bill  was the  equivalent to  "pole vaulting                                                               
over mouse dung."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:26:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced  that there being no objection,  SB 24 is                                                               
reported from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.