Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/14/2019 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 73 SUCCESSOR OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 23 APPROP:SUPP. PAYMENTS OF PRIOR YEARS' PFD TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+= SB 24 PFD SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENTS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+= SB 33 ARREST;RELEASE;SENTENCING;PROBATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Boards TBA
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             SB  73-SUCCESSOR OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:33:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER  announced the  consideration  of  SB 73,  "An  Act                                                               
relating to succession to the  offices of governor and lieutenant                                                               
governor  in case  of  vacancy; and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:33:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL, sponsor of SB 73, told the committee that the                                                                  
bill represents an original idea from his intern Radames                                                                        
Mercado.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
RADAMES MERCADO, Intern, Senator Coghill, Alaska State                                                                          
Legislature, Juneau, introduced SB 73 speaking to the following                                                                 
sponsor statement: [Original punctuation provided.]                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     SB  73 changes  the  current succession  model for  the                                                                    
     governor to  simplify and expand the  current "chain of                                                                    
     command".                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The  bill  streamlines  the  confirmation  process  and                                                                    
     creates a  longer line of succession  to better prepare                                                                    
     the executive branch for a cataclysmic emergency.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Today, the line  of succession is unprepared  for a; in                                                                    
     the current  environment, an earthquake or  plane crash                                                                    
     could  alter   the  Alaskan  political  climate   in  a                                                                    
     moment's notice.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill's longer  line  of  succession goes  through                                                                    
     eight  of  the  fourteen commissioners  so  Alaska  can                                                                    
     always have a backup  of talented individuals who would                                                                    
     be able to run the state in a crisis.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     SB  73's new  line  of succession  would save  precious                                                                    
     time  for  the  Legislature  and  commissioners;  there                                                                    
     would  be  no  committee   meetings  to  approve  of  a                                                                    
     commissioner  to be  the  successor  to the  lieutenant                                                                    
     governor,  as  would  happen in  the  normal  committee                                                                    
     hearing for the commissioner role.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  bill maintains  the  statute  requiring a  special                                                                    
     election  within a  set time  frame whenever  a vacancy                                                                    
     occurs  in  the  position  of  both  the  governor  and                                                                    
     lieutenant governor  so the  chief executive  is always                                                                    
     elected by the Alaskan people.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     With this bill, Alaska will  finally have a set line of                                                                    
     succession  the  people  of  Alaska  will  be  able  to                                                                    
     understand   and    clearly   follow,    removing   all                                                                    
     disorganization from the  current system and increasing                                                                    
     productivity in the confirmation process.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MERCADO recounted the following  list of succession: attorney                                                               
general,   commissioner   of    health   and   social   services,                                                               
commissioner of education and  early development, commissioner of                                                               
administration,  adjunct   general  of  military   and  veterans'                                                               
affairs,   commissioner  of   commerce  community   and  economic                                                               
development,  commissioner of  labor  and workforce  development,                                                               
and  the commissioner  of public  safety. He  noted the  existing                                                               
statute  designates the  attorney general  as acting  governor in                                                               
the event  that the offices  of governor and  lieutenant governor                                                               
are both vacated.  A special election would be  held within 60-90                                                               
days to  elect a  new governor and  lieutenant governor  unless a                                                               
general election was upcoming.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He  explained that  his reasoning  for not  including either  the                                                               
president of  the Senate or speaker  of the House in  the line of                                                               
succession is because he doesn't  believe either of those elected                                                               
offices should be vacated to fill a position temporarily.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:38:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  asked him to  talk about the reason  he selected                                                               
the effective date.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MERCADO explained to avoid  any appearance of partisanship he                                                               
selected   an    effective   date    that   falls    after   this                                                               
administration's  current  term.  Thus   the  bill  would  become                                                               
effective  on  a Monday  in  December  following the  2022  state                                                               
governor's election                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:39:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD agreed  with the  reasoning  for the  effective                                                               
date.  She reviewed  the succession  list and  questioned why  he                                                               
settled on that order.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. MERCADO said  he put the attorney general  first because that                                                               
person understands and can execute  the law. The commissioners of                                                               
DHSS  and DEED  are next  because  they deal  with a  significant                                                               
portion of  the budget. The  commissioner of DOA is  next because                                                               
he or she  would have good organizational skills and  know how to                                                               
deal with a governing body.  Adjunct general of DMVA was selected                                                               
because of the significant military population in Alaska.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER cautioned  that the  committee will  have to  think                                                               
carefully  about the  idea  of an  active  duty military  officer                                                               
serving in a  political position such as governor of  a state. He                                                               
added that he  believes that most people in the  country would be                                                               
nervous about that  because throughout history the  U.S. has been                                                               
careful to ensure that military  officers become civilians before                                                               
moving into  political seats  of power.  He opined  that military                                                               
officers,  too, would  probably be  uncomfortable being  asked to                                                               
wear the two hats.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:42:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MERCADO said  he understands that perspective  but he doesn't                                                               
see it as  a problem because the position is  temporary, not more                                                               
than a  year, and  he believes the  deputy commissioner  for DMVA                                                               
could step into the adjutant general's position in the interim.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER said  he  appreciates the  thought  process but  he                                                               
continues  to have  concern  with this  selection.  It's open  to                                                               
debate, he said, but it's probably not the best choice.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MERCADO  responded  that he  welcomes  different  viewpoints                                                               
because it will  help him make a stronger line  of succession for                                                               
the State of Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:45:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  asked if he  would support an  elected attorney                                                               
general  because she  believes that  would take  politics out  of                                                               
that  position. She  also expressed  reservation about  selecting                                                               
the commissioners  of DHSS and  DEED based on their  oversight of                                                               
large budgets because she doesn't  want to create competition for                                                               
larger budgets.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MERCADO  said  he  hadn't  considered  an  elected  attorney                                                               
general but if  he or she were elected, that  would eliminate the                                                               
need for a special election. He  noted that he would not disclose                                                               
his position on the topic.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:47:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  acknowledged that  the state has  some exposure                                                               
in  its  current  succession  plan  and said  he  would  be  more                                                               
comfortable if the positions in  line for succession were elected                                                               
or at least confirmed by the legislature.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MERCADO  responded it's up  to the legislature to  confirm or                                                               
deny the attorney general and  the other individuals on the list.                                                               
If they wouldn't  be suitable to serve as  lieutenant governor or                                                               
governor  on  a temporary  basis,  that's  reason to  deny  their                                                               
confirmation during the legislative process.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:49:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  highlighted that  it would  require a  change in                                                               
the constitution to have an elected attorney general.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:50:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  said  his  concerns  are  similar  to  Senator                                                               
Micciche's.  He  asked  if  adopting   this  line  of  succession                                                               
essentially  says  that  the  person   the  governor  selects  as                                                               
commissioner  must also  be  qualified to  assume  the office  of                                                               
governor or lieutenant governor.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MERCADO  replied  it  would  be up  to  the  legislature  to                                                               
determine whether  or not  the person was  qualified to  hold the                                                               
office.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI said  he appreciates  the effort  to articulate                                                               
the  succession plan  [for governor  and lieutenant  governor] in                                                               
Art.  III,  Sec.  10-13  Constitution of  the  State  of  Alaska.                                                               
However, the proposed list could  be comprised of people that the                                                               
legislature has not confirmed, so  there is no oversight over who                                                               
that person might be. He asked if that's correct.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MERCADO  agreed that is  correct. He clarified that  this was                                                               
just an introduction  to address a [succession]  problem that has                                                               
gone unnoticed since statehood.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI offered his belief  that a lot of people noticed                                                               
last  year when  someone  who had  been  appointed, not  elected,                                                               
became the lieutenant governor designee  through a memo. He asked                                                               
Mr. Mercado if  he'd looked at a succession  plan that designated                                                               
the Speaker of the House of  Representatives as the next in line.                                                               
He or she is elected by  the voters in their district and elected                                                               
to be speaker by the members  of their legislative body. He asked                                                               
if that wouldn't be a better avenue to explore.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MERCADO replied the general  concept is that the governor and                                                               
lieutenant  governor  are elected  by  the  Alaskan people  as  a                                                               
whole,  whereas the  speaker and  president are  only elected  by                                                               
people  in  their  district.  Further,  requiring  these  elected                                                               
officials  to run  in a  special election  negates the  fact that                                                               
they  were elected  to serve  potentially longer  terms. If  they                                                               
aren't  required to  run  in  a special  election,  just a  small                                                               
portion  of Alaskans  will  have  voted for  them,  not the  full                                                               
state. Another  point against the  speaker or president  being in                                                               
the line of  succession is that it creates the  potential for the                                                               
governor and  lieutenant governor to be  from different political                                                               
parties. That can cause issues, he said.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  asked if he  looked at the succession  plans in                                                               
other states.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MERCADO directed  attention to  a chart  that lists  all the                                                               
states,  and  Puerto Rico,  and  their  lines of  succession.  He                                                               
highlighted that  Missouri has  put the  attorney general  at the                                                               
bottom  of the  list. The  other states  address the  issue in  a                                                               
variety of ways  and he believes "this is an  interesting way for                                                               
the Alaskan way to have their line of succession."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:56:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER found  no further questions and  thanked Mr. Mercado                                                               
for presenting an idea to start the conversation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER held SB 73 in committee.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SSTA OFFICIAL AGENDA MEMO.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
Agenda
SB 73 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 73
SB 73.PDF SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 73
SB 73 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 73
SB 73 1959 Law for Succession.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 73
SB 73 All State Succession Lists.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 73
SB 73 Fiscal Note - Gov. Office.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 73
SB 33 Transmittal Letter.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/19/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB0033A.PDF SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
M.pdf SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/19/2019 3:30:00 PM
CS for SB 33 Ver. M
SB 33
SB 33 - Pretrial Highilghts.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/19/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB 33 - Pretrial Sectional.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/19/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOL-FN#1.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DPS-FN#2.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOA-FN#3.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOA-FN#4.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOC-FN#5.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOC-FN#6.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-Court System-FN.pdf SSTA 2/21/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33