Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

05/04/2021 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 39 BALLOT CUSTODY/TAMPERING; VOTER REG; MAIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 39(STA) Out of Committee
+= SB 118 CMTE ON NULLIFICATION OF FEDERAL LAWS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 118 Out of Committee
+= SB 120 ADMIN. REGULATION REVIEW COMMITTEE TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 120 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 31 PROHIBITING BINDING CAUCUSES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 31(STA) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ HB 3 DEFINITION OF "DISASTER": CYBERSECURITY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 126 REPEAL 90 DAY SESSION LIMIT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SJR 12 SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT REDUCTION REPEAL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 108 STATE RECOGNITION OF TRIBES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 109 COUNCIL FOR ALASKA NATIVE LANGUAGES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
               SB 126-REPEAL 90 DAY SESSION LIMIT                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:34:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 126                                                               
"An Act  relating to  the duration  of a  regular session  of the                                                               
legislature; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:34:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR Gary  STEVENS, Alaska State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor  of   SB  126,  stated   that  the   Alaska  Constitution                                                               
recognizes  a   120  day  legislative   session.  In   1986,  the                                                               
legislature met  longer than 120  days and passed 29  bills after                                                               
the  midnight  deadline.  After a  court  challenge,  the  Alaska                                                               
Supreme  Court ruled  that day  one is  ceremonial and  therefore                                                               
sessions are 121 days.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS provided an historical  perspective of the 90-day                                                               
session  limit.  He  explained  that  in  2006,  two  legislators                                                               
spearheaded a ballot initiative to  end sessions after 90 days to                                                               
accommodate their personal needs as  a fisherman and an hotelier.                                                               
The initiative  narrowly passed, but  the arguments used  to pass                                                               
it have proven  to be untrue. He offered his  belief that the 90-                                                               
day sessions  do not  allow time  for the  legislature to  do its                                                               
work  and the  short  duration allows  the  executive branch  and                                                               
lobbyists  to dominate.  The legislature  needs  relief from  the                                                               
statutory constraint  of a  90-day session to  return to  the 120                                                               
days set  forth in the  Alaska Constitution. He  deferred further                                                               
introduction to Mr. Lamkin.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM   LAMKIN,  Staff,   Senator   Gary   Stevens,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, stated  that SB 126  simply repeals                                                               
AS 24.05.150(b),  which passed  in 2006  and became  effective in                                                               
2008, establishing a 90-day session. The bill restores the 120-                                                                 
day session, which is in  line with the Alaska Constitution. [The                                                               
Alaska  Supreme  Court ruled  that  day  one of  the  legislative                                                               
session is ceremonial and sessions therefore are 121 days.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:38:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER recognized  that Senator  Costello  had joined  the                                                               
meeting  on  Teams.  He  asked  her to  state  her  presence  and                                                               
location.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  identified herself and  stated that she  was in                                                               
her office, Capitol room 119.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN began  the PowerPoint presentation on  SB 126 starting                                                               
with the background  and history. He explained that  from 1913 to                                                               
1958, the Territorial  Legislature met biennially for  60 days. A                                                               
60  day  session  was  debated  during  the  1958  Constitutional                                                               
Convention  but it  was voted  down by  a 20:32  vote. Without  a                                                               
limit, sessions were  of varied length. In 1983 HJR  2 passed and                                                               
the issue  was placed on the  ballot. The measure passed  in 1984                                                               
with roughly  60 percent in favor  of a 120 day  limit. It passed                                                               
with a  margin of  52,000 votes.  The 120-day  sessions continued                                                               
until  2007 when  the 2006  ballot initiative  pursuing a  90-day                                                               
session became effective.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked if a  pattern for session length emerged based                                                               
on whether it was an election year or not.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:40:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR LAMKIN  said he had  several graphs later in  the presentation                                                               
that  would  answer the  question.  He  turned  to slide  3  that                                                               
depicts  the official  results from  the November  2006 vote.  He                                                               
highlighted  that  this election  was  the  third lowest  turnout                                                               
since  1976. The  measure passed  with  a 3,800  vote margin  and                                                               
6,800  of the  voters took  a  ballot but  did not  vote on  this                                                               
issue. He offered his perspective that  those who did not vote on                                                               
the issue  perhaps thought that  the legislature should  make the                                                               
decision.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN displayed  an excerpt from the  2006 election pamphlet                                                               
showing the summary  of the measure and the  statement in support                                                               
a  90-day session.  A primary  theme was  that there  would be  a                                                               
savings  of  30  days  of  per  diem  and  legislative  operating                                                               
expenses. However,  there has been  no change in  the legislative                                                               
budget. Monies  were transferred from  the session budget  to the                                                               
interim  budget  in anticipation  of  more  interim meetings  and                                                               
special sessions, and the data  shows this has happened. In fact,                                                               
travel, per diem, and technical  expenses associated with holding                                                               
more interim  meetings and special  sessions have  all increased.                                                               
The promised cost savings have been a wash.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lamkin  said petition organizers  circulated a  graph showing                                                               
that 27  other states have a  shorter session than Alaska  but it                                                               
did  not   demonstrate  the   difference  between   Alaska's  120                                                               
"calendar"   legislative   days   and   states   with   "session"                                                               
legislative days that  only count the days the  legislature is on                                                               
the floor. For  example, Hawaii has a  60-day legislative session                                                               
but it met for 100 calendar  days in 2020-2021. Indiana meets for                                                               
60 legislative days in odd years  and 30 legislative days in even                                                               
years  but they  just adjourned  after meeting  for 116  calendar                                                               
days.  He described  the supporting  argument as  a twist  on the                                                               
facts.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN  displayed a bar  graph of  the same data  and pointed                                                               
out that Alaska is squarely in  the middle of the states and that                                                               
SB 126 maintains  that position. He said every state  has its own                                                               
reasons for  setting the length  of its legislative  sessions but                                                               
it does not matter.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He turned  to a graph  of Alaska's legislative session  days from                                                               
1970 to  2019. Responding  to an  earlier question,  he confirmed                                                               
that sessions tend  to be shorter in election  years. He directed                                                               
attention to the wide variation in  data points when there was no                                                               
limit. In  response to 160  day legislative sessions,  the voters                                                               
approved HJR  2 and the 120-day  session took effect in  1984. He                                                               
pointed to  the relatively stable  data points from 1984  to 2005                                                               
and highlighted  that session lengths  were again  sporadic after                                                               
the 90-day session took effect. He  said he would argue that this                                                               
graph illustrates  that the 120-day session  brought stability to                                                               
the legislative process.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:47:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LAMKIN said the third point  in support of the 90-day session                                                               
was that  since 1990,  24 pieces  of legislation  were introduced                                                               
but did not  reach the floor in either body.  He pointed out that                                                               
legislation that has  no chance of passing is  introduced all the                                                               
time; it  is the legislature's prerogative  to act or not  act on                                                               
any  issue. Performance  should not  be  based on  the number  of                                                               
bills  passed. He  cited examples  of perennial  issues including                                                               
abortion that  has been introduced  67 times since 1990  and move                                                               
the  Capitol  that  has  been introduced  31  times  since  1990.                                                               
Additional  issues include  oil  and  gas taxation,  subsistence,                                                               
pre-K,  mining taxes,  and  compulsory school  age.  He said  the                                                               
sponsors' logic was not well founded.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN pointed out that a  90-day session in no way restricts                                                               
the  legislature from  calling itself  into special  session. The                                                               
constitutional  framers  wanted to  balance  the  power of  state                                                               
government by extending this authority  to the legislature but it                                                               
takes a  two-thirds vote  of each  body. He  pointed to  the line                                                               
graph on  slide 18 of the  total days the Alaska  Legislature has                                                               
spent  in special  session from  1959 to  2019. The  governor has                                                               
called a  special session 37  times and the average  duration was                                                               
16 days.  The legislature  called itself  into special  session 8                                                               
times and  the average duration  was 8 days. He  highlighted that                                                               
the frequency  and length of  the special sessions  has increased                                                               
substantially since 2006 when the 90-day session took effect.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:50:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  LAMKIN  said  the  petition   organizers  also  argued  that                                                               
reducing the  length of  the session to  90 days  would encourage                                                               
more  people to  run for  office.  He directed  attention to  the                                                               
graph on  the next  slide that depicts  the number  of candidates                                                               
over the  past 60  years. On  average, 152  candidates ran  for a                                                               
legislative  seat  in   the  1960  to  2020   elections  and  160                                                               
candidates ran  in elections from  1960 to 2007. Since  2008 when                                                               
the  90-day session  took  effect, 125  candidates  have run  for                                                               
office, which he  said is clear evidence that  the 90-day session                                                               
has not increased the candidate pool.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LAMKIN said  he is  a staunch  proponent of  balancing power                                                               
between  the  people's branch  of  government  and the  executive                                                               
branch and he  believes the 90-day session  directly shifts power                                                               
from the legislative to the  executive branch. The 90-day session                                                               
is not working, he said.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:53:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI   commented  that  he  believed   in  the  2006                                                               
initiative  and he  helped collect  signatures, but  it does  not                                                               
work the  way it was  intended. He said  he tends to  support the                                                               
bill but he would like more discussion.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:54:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony SB 126                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:54:28 PM                                                                                                                    
ADAM  HYKES, representing  self, Homer,  Alaska, said  the 90-day                                                               
limit has rarely been met but  he believes it is unwise to remove                                                               
all  constraints. He  proposed  the committee  amend  to bill  to                                                               
create  a 120-day  limit instead  of simply  removing the  90-day                                                               
limit.  He said  he expects  legislators to  be professional  and                                                               
work together to  achieve that end. He said he  would not support                                                               
SB 126 without the amendment.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LAMKIN said  SB  126  would repeal  the  90  day session  in                                                               
statute, but per the Alaska  Constitution the session limit would                                                               
remain 120 days.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:56:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER closed  public testimony on SB 126.  He advised that                                                               
written testimony on  all the bills heard today could  be sent to                                                               
ssta@akleg.gov.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  stated support  for Mr. Hykes'  suggestion. She                                                               
offered her  belief that the  90-day session costs more  and adds                                                               
uncertainty. She  said she  views aligning  the statute  with the                                                               
constitution as  a streamlining  measure. She  said she  would be                                                               
willing  to  offering  the  amendment  herself  or  with  Senator                                                               
Kawasaki.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:58:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLAND stated support for the measure.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:59:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER held SB 126 in committee.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 3 Fiscal Note 1ADM.PDF SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Legal Memo 20-057kwg.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Sponsor Statement 4.21.21.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Summary of Changes 3.15.21.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Support Document - CISA Critical Infrastructure.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Support Document - DHSS cyber attack impacts more than 100,000 Alaska households.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Support Document - How One Alaskan Borough Survived A Cyber Attack – CitiesSpeak.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Support Document - MSBD Press Release - Mat-Su Declares Disaster for Cyber Attack.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Support Document - Pipeline Artice Alaska Public Media.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3 Support Document Alaska health department reports data breach _ The Seattle Times.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
HB 3v.W.PDF SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
HB 3
SJR 12 GPO Explanation SSA.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 v.B.PDF SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 WEP and GPO numbers 2018.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 WEP Explanation SSA.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SB 108 v.A.PDF SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 108 Sponsor Statement 4.2.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 108 Sectional 4.2.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 108 Presentation Tribal Litigaiton in AK 4.2.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 108 Background Information President-Nixon Address on Indian affairs 4.2.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 108 Background Information Legal Status of Tribal Governments in Alaska 4.2.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 108 Background Information Baker v. John 982 P.2d 738 (Alaska 1999) 4.2.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB118 Sectional on Letterhead FINAL.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 118
SB118 Sponsor's Statement on Letterhead FINAL.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 118
SB 109 Additional Documents Council's 2020 Report 04.30.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 109
SB 109 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 109
SB 109 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 109
SB 109 Version A.PDF SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 109
SB126_120-Day-Session_Presentation_SSTA_04May2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 126
SB126_120-Day-Session_Research_History_Length_of_Sessions_1970-2020_charted.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 126
SB 126_120-Day-Session_Research_Specials-Sessions.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 126
SB 31 Legal Memo for Amendment.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 31
SB 31-LEG-SESS Fiscal Note.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 31
SB 31 Amendment A.1.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 31
SB 108 Presentation 5.4.2021.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 39 CS v.N 5.5.21.pdf SSTA 5/4/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 39