Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

01/31/2017 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 1(STA) Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Moved SB 2 Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
         SB 5-POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION LIMITS/PROHIBITION                                                                     
3:31:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the consideration  of SB 5 and asked for                                                               
a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute (CS).                                                                       
3:31:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  moved to adopt the  work draft CS for  SB 5, 30-                                                               
LS0112\O, as the working document.                                                                                              
3:31:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                
3:31:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KEVIN MEYER,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor  of SB 5,                                                               
explained that the  bill's intent is to  eliminate the appearance                                                               
of  corruption  in  the  campaign-finance   system  in  order  to                                                               
maintain  and  keep  the  public's  trust.  In  1996  the  Alaska                                                               
Legislature passed sweeping campaign  finance reforms in response                                                               
to  actual and  apparent  corruption. One  purpose  was to  limit                                                               
soft-money  contributions  from  lobbyists and  special  interest                                                               
groups. The  1996 Act  included the  following statement:  "It is                                                               
the  purpose  of  this  Act   to  substantially  revise  Alaska's                                                               
campaign finance laws  in order to restore the  public's trust in                                                               
the electoral process and to foster good government."                                                                           
SENATOR   MEYER  explained   that  lobbyists'   contributions  to                                                               
candidates  were  limited  to  only  those  candidates  from  the                                                               
district from which the lobbyist is  allowed to vote; this was to                                                               
allow  individuals to  exercise  their first  amendment right  to                                                               
support a  political candidate within their  voting district, but                                                               
not to influence  other elections throughout the  state. What was                                                               
not  considered  in  1996  were  contributions  by  lobbyists  to                                                               
political  action groups  (PACs)  controlled by  a legislator  or                                                               
candidate; SB 5 aims to address that loophole.                                                                                  
He  provided  examples  of  how   a  lobbyist  could  potentially                                                               
influence decisions  by sitting  legislators on which  bills will                                                               
be heard in a committee, scheduled  for a floor vote, or even how                                                               
a legislator votes  on a particular bill. He concluded  that SB 5                                                               
will close  the loophole that  allows lobbyists to  contribute to                                                               
PACs  controlled  by  a  legislator or  candidate  and  places  a                                                               
restriction  on  when  these  groups   can  engage  in  political                                                               
He summarized that  the bill aims to make raising  money for PACs                                                               
similar  to  what  it  is  for  candidates  running  for  office.                                                               
Legislators cannot  accept money  during the session,  nor accept                                                               
money  from   lobbyists  that   live  outside   the  legislator's                                                               
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  requested that Ms.  Morledge explain  the changes                                                               
in the bill.                                                                                                                    
3:36:37 PM                                                                                                                    
EDRA MORLEDGE,  Staff, Senator  Meyer, Alaska  State Legislature,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska,  explained that  SB  5  prohibits soliciting  or                                                               
accepting  contributions  and  prohibits making  expenditures  or                                                               
contributions during  the legislative session by  groups that are                                                               
controlled  by  a  legislator  or   a  candidate  for  the  state                                                               
legislature. The  bill also  limits the  ability of  lobbyists to                                                               
contribute to those groups.                                                                                                     
She detailed that Section 1 places a restriction on the                                                                         
solicitation or acceptance of contributions. The original draft                                                                 
also had the restriction on making contributions and was placed                                                                 
in the wrong section of statute.                                                                                                
Section 2 discusses the prohibited contributions.                                                                               
Section 3 adds a new section to the prohibited contributions and                                                                
places back into the statute the exceptions for lobbyists to                                                                    
make contributions to candidates from their own voting district.                                                                
Section 4 places the limitation on expenditures during the                                                                      
legislative session.                                                                                                            
Section 5 is the definition section. The CS changes a sentence                                                                  
to "unless the context clearly requires otherwise, these                                                                        
definitions apply."                                                                                                             
3:39:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY removed his objection.                                                                                           
3:39:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY found no further  objection and announced that the                                                               
CS for SB 5, version O, was adopted.                                                                                            
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  asked  if  the  bill  prohibits  lobbyists  from                                                               
donating to a PAC.                                                                                                              
SENATOR MEYER answered yes.                                                                                                     
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  pointed out  that lobbyists  cannot donate  to an                                                               
individual now.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR MEYER replied yes.                                                                                                      
CHAIR DUNLEAVY detailed that lobbyists  currently can donate to a                                                               
PAC  controlled by  an  individual and  the  bill would  prohibit                                                               
that. He  added that the  bill would  also prohibit the  PAC from                                                               
raising  funds during  the session,  but  a PAC  controlled by  a                                                               
legislator can raise funds after the session.                                                                                   
SENATOR  MEYER answered  yes, but  noted that  a lobbyist  cannot                                                               
contribute to a PAC even after session is over.                                                                                 
SENATOR GIESSEL  noted in Section  3 that an  individual lobbyist                                                               
cannot contribution  unless they  live in  the district  in which                                                               
the individual is eligible to vote. She requested clarification.                                                                
MS.  MORLEDGE answered  that  Section 3  in the  CS  is the  same                                                               
language as in  current law that allows a  lobbyist to contribute                                                               
to  a   legislator.  She  added   that  Section  2   prohibits  a                                                               
contribution to a group controlled by a legislator or candidate.                                                                
SENATOR WILSON asked for clarification  on the registered address                                                               
of a PAC.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR MEYER deferred to Ms. Morledge  to answer. He said he has                                                               
concerns about that because it would  prohibit a spouse to have a                                                               
PAC and  receive donations from  lobbyists. He suggested  that an                                                               
open-ended  full disclosure  might  work better  due  to all  the                                                               
possible loopholes.                                                                                                             
3:43:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL joined the committee meeting.                                                                                   
MS. MORLEDGE referred  to page 5 of the CS  beginning on line 24,                                                               
the definition of  "group" is provided and it also  states when a                                                               
group is considered controlled by a candidate.                                                                                  
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  asked if the  bill impacts the situation  where a                                                               
legislator has a PAC whose purpose is informational only.                                                                       
SENATOR MEYER  replied that it  is treated  the same as  any PAC;                                                               
the  legislator would  not be  able  to accept  funds during  the                                                               
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  said the  purpose of  the PAC  has nothing  to do                                                               
with whether they can raise money or not.                                                                                       
MS. MORLEDGE answered correct.                                                                                                  
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked if the prohibitions  would be in place for a                                                               
legislator who is a member of a PAC.                                                                                            
MS. MORLEDGE referred back to  the definition of the "group." She                                                               
said unless  the legislator is in  control of the group  it would                                                               
not prohibit their activity within a PAC.                                                                                       
3:46:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY announced  he would  hold SB  5 in  committee for                                                               
further consideration.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 5- Written Testimony Willis.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 Version D.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 Sectional Summary.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 Contribution Limit Chart.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 AS 15.13.400 Group Definition.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 Changes from V.D to V.O.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 - Fiscal Note.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 5 Comparison V.D & V.O.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
CS for SB 5 Version O.PDF SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 5
SB 1 & SB 2 - Letters of Opposition 02.01.17.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 2
SB 1 & SB 2 - Letters of Support 02.01.17.pdf SSTA 1/31/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 1
SB 2