Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 120

02/19/2014 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
--Delayed to 1:30 p.m. Today--
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 47(JUD) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 19, 2014                                                                                        
                           1:40 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Wes Keller, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 47                                                                                                               
"An  Act   requiring  a  party   seeking  a   restraining  order,                                                               
preliminary  injunction,   or  order  vacating  or   staying  the                                                               
operation of a  permit affecting an industrial  operation to give                                                               
security  in the  amount  the court  considers  proper for  costs                                                               
incurred  and damages  suffered  if the  industrial operation  is                                                               
wrongfully enjoined or restrained."                                                                                             
     - MOVED CSHB 47(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 18                                                                                                   
Proposing amendments to  the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
relating to the office of attorney general.                                                                                     
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 1                                                                                                    
Proposing amendments to  the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
relating to state aid for education.                                                                                            
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  47                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INJUNCTION SECURITY: INDUSTRIAL OPERATION                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) FEIGE, CHENAULT                                                                                   
01/16/13       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/11/13                                                                               
01/16/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/13       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
01/30/13       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/30/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/30/13       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/10/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/10/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/10/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/14/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/14/14       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
02/19/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
BILL: HJR 18                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STOLTZE                                                                                           
01/21/14       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/10/14                                                                               
01/21/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/14       (H)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/04/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/04/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/04/14       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/11/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/11/14       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/11/14       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/12/14       (H)       STA RPT 2DP 2NR 2AM                                                                                    
02/12/14       (H)       DP: GATTIS, KELLER                                                                                     
02/12/14       (H)       NR: KREISS-TOMKINS, LYNN                                                                               
02/12/14       (H)       AM: ISAACSON, HUGHES                                                                                   
02/19/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
BILL: HJR  1                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONST. AM: EDUCATION FUNDING                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KELLER                                                                                            
01/16/13       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/13                                                                                
01/16/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/13       (H)       EDC, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/22/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/22/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/22/13       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/01/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/01/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/13       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
02/07/14       (H)       EDC RPT 3DP 3DNP 1NR                                                                                   
02/07/14       (H)       DP: REINBOLD, SADDLER, GATTIS                                                                          
02/07/14       (H)       DNP: P.WILSON, DRUMMOND, SEATON                                                                        
02/07/14       (H)       NR: LEDOUX                                                                                             
02/07/14       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/07/14       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/07/14       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
02/19/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC FEIGE                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as one of the joint prime                                                                      
sponsors of HB 47.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as the sponsor of HJR 18.                                                                      
GEORGE PIERCE                                                                                                                   
Kasilof, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 18.                                                                       
STUART THOMPSON                                                                                                                 
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 18.                                                                       
RICHARD KOMER, Attorney                                                                                                         
Institute for Justice                                                                                                           
Arlington, Virginia                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding review of the Alaska                                                                 
Constitution and HJR 1.                                                                                                         
STEVEN O'BRIEN                                                                                                                  
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns with HJR 1.                                                                           
STEWART THOMSON                                                                                                                 
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that HJR 1 should be put before                                                                
the voters.                                                                                                                     
YOLANDA GRIFFITH                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
MARK WIGGINS                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
MATHEW FAGNANI, Chairman                                                                                                        
Board of Lumen Christi High School                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 1.                                                                           
DEENA MITCHELL                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
SUSETTNA KING, Second Vice-President                                                                                            
Alaska Native Sisterhood                                                                                                        
Glacier Valley Camp 70                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
JENNIFER HOWELL                                                                                                                 
Seward, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
RON FUHRER, President                                                                                                           
National Education Association                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns with HJR 1.                                                                           
MARY HAKALA                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns with HJR 1.                                                                           
MARK CHOATE                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concern with HJR 1 being                                                                       
presented as a repeal of the Blaine Amendment.                                                                                  
ANN GIFFORD                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
CARRIE GOTSTEIN                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
SHEILA SELKREGG                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged the committee not to forward HJR 1.                                                                
MARKO HAGGERTY                                                                                                                  
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
MARTHA McNULTY                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  in opposition  to public  funds                                                             
being used for private schools or  any school the does not accept                                                               
all children.                                                                                                                   
GLENN PRAX                                                                                                                      
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing  of HJR 1, proffered that HJR                                                             
1 is  about letting  the current  generation reconsider  a policy                                                               
decision made 50 years ago.                                                                                                     
TAMMI GANGULI                                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns with HJR 1.                                                                           
GEORGE PIERCE                                                                                                                   
Kasilof, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HJR 1.                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:40:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WES  KELLER called the  House Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at 1:40  p.m.   Representatives Lynn,  Millet,                                                               
Gruenberg  and  Keller  were  present   at  the  call  to  order.                                                               
Representatives  Foster,  LeDoux,  and   Pruitt  arrived  as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
        HB  47-INJUNCTION SECURITY: INDUSTRIAL OPERATION                                                                    
1:41:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER announced  the  first order  of  business would  be                                                               
House Bill  47, "An Act  requiring a party seeking  a restraining                                                               
order, preliminary  injunction, or order vacating  or staying the                                                               
operation of a  permit affecting an industrial  operation to give                                                               
security  in the  amount  the court  considers  proper for  costs                                                               
incurred  and damages  suffered  if the  industrial operation  is                                                               
wrongfully enjoined or restrained."                                                                                             
CHAIR  KELLER  advised that  the  version  of  HB 47  before  the                                                               
committee is  labeled 28-LS0072\N, Bullock/Wallace,  1/10/14, and                                                               
there were [four] amendments.                                                                                                   
1:43:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                           
1:44:05 PM                                                                                                                  
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
1:46:56 PM                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT, noting that  Amendment 1 was a suggestion                                                               
of the court system, moved  that the committee adopt Amendment 1,                                                               
labeled 28-LS0072\N.1, Wallace, 2/18/14, which read:                                                                            
     Page 1, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "The"                                                                                                          
          Insert "Upon request of any party and when that                                                                       
     party presents evidence, the"                                                                                              
CHAIR KELLER objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
1:47:23 PM                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC FEIGE, Alaska  State Legislature, speaking as                                                               
one of the  joint prime sponsors, remarked that the  court has no                                                               
[avenue] to [acquire] the information  necessary to determine the                                                               
amount of  the security bond  unless it requests  the information                                                               
from   the   affected   individuals,  contractors   and/or   sub-                                                               
CHAIR  KELLER, noting  his understanding  that  the Alaska  Court                                                               
System is happy with Amendment  1, withdrew his objection.  There                                                               
being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                            
1:48:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  moved   that   the  committee   adopt                                                               
Amendment  2,  labeled  28-LS0072\N.2,  Wallace,  2/18/14,  which                                                               
     Page 1, line 7:                                                                                                            
          Delete "A"                                                                                                            
          Insert "Unless exempt under AS 09.68.040(a), a"                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT objected for discussion.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained  that  Amendment 2  clarifies                                                               
that the state and municipalities  are exempt under state law and                                                               
are not required to submit a  bond when seeking an injunction, as                                                               
is the case now.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE said he had no objection to Amendment 2.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT removed  her objection.   There  being no                                                               
further objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                     
1:49:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  moved   that   the  committee   adopt                                                               
Amendment  3,  labeled  28-LS0072\N.5,  Wallace,  2/18/14,  which                                                               
     Page 1, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Following "security":                                                                                                 
          Insert ","                                                                                                            
          Following "proper":                                                                                                   
          Insert ","                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT objected for discussion purposes.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained  that  Amendment  3 does  not                                                               
change  Civil Rule  65(c), and  simply  corrects a  typographical                                                               
error such that the commas in  Civil Rule 65(c) are maintained in                                                               
the legislation.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT removed  her objection.   There  being no                                                               
further objection, Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                                     
1:51:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved the committee  adopt [Conceptual]                                                               
Amendment 4, as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                        
     page 1 line 11 after "restrained"                                                                                          
          delete "The" and insert                                                                                               
          "As one relevant factor the"                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT objected for discussion purposes.                                                                        
1:52:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  related  his  understanding  that  the                                                               
purposed  of HB  47 is  to  require the  court to  consider as  a                                                               
relevant factor  the amount of  wages and benefits  for employees                                                               
and   payments  to   contractors  and   sub-contractors  of   the                                                               
industrial operation.  He related  his further understanding that                                                               
HB 47  is not  to impinge  on the  court's authority  to consider                                                               
whatever  is  relevant.    Amendment 4  clarifies  that  "as  one                                                               
relevant factor" the court shall consider that.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE said  he had  no objection  to [Conceptual]                                                               
Amendment 4.                                                                                                                    
1:54:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MILLETT  pointed   out   that  the   handwritten                                                               
amendment  specifies  that  it's  conceptual.    She  then  asked                                                               
whether  Representative  Gruenberg  wanted the  amendment  to  be                                                               
conceptual  to  allow Legislative  Legal  Services  to adapt  the                                                               
language or  did he want  to only  use the language  specified in                                                               
the handwritten amendment.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   replied  that  unless  there   is  an                                                               
overriding grammatical reason, the  language written in Amendment                                                               
4 should be used.                                                                                                               
1:54:37 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
1:55:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG [amended his  motion] such that he moved                                                               
that the committee adopt [New] Amendment 4, as follows:                                                                         
     Page 1, line 11, after the word "restrained."                                                                              
          Insert "As one relevant factor"                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT removed  her objection.   There  being no                                                               
further objection, [New] Amendment 4 was adopted.                                                                               
1:56:28 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
2:01:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT, noting  she is  a co-sponsor  of HB  47,                                                               
stated she fully supports the bill  and moving it today, if it is                                                               
the will of the committee.                                                                                                      
2:01:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to   report  CSHB  47,  Version  28-                                                               
LS0072\N, Bullock/Wallace, 1/10/14, as  amended, out of committee                                                               
with  individual recommendations  and  the  attached zero  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no  objection, CSHB 47(JUD) was reported from                                                               
the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                         
2:02:32 PM                                                                                                                  
The committee took an at-ease at 2:02 until 2:06 PM.                                                                            
           HJR 18-CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                       
2:06:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO. 18,  Proposing  amendments  to  the                                                               
Constitution of  the State  of Alaska relating  to the  office of                                                               
attorney general.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  KELLER announced  that HJR  18 will  be held  in committee                                                               
2:06:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BILL  STOLTZE, Alaska State  Legislature, speaking                                                               
as the  sponsor of HJR 18,  advised that HJR 18  places the issue                                                               
of an elected  attorney general before the voters.   This measure                                                               
has been  before the  legislature multiple times  and has  been a                                                               
bi-partisan endeavor,  but the resolution  has never  been before                                                               
the  voters.    The  framers of  the  Alaska  State  Constitution                                                               
appropriately  made   amending  it  difficult  by   requiring  an                                                               
affirmative vote  by two-thirds  of each  house.   He highlighted                                                               
that  this  proposed change  can  only  be initiated  within  the                                                               
legislature.   Alaska  is only  one  of seven  states without  an                                                               
elected  attorney  general.     However,  Representative  Stoltze                                                               
opined  the  public would  embrace  the  proposed change  to  the                                                               
Alaska State  Constitution.  He emphasized  that HJR 18 is  not a                                                               
statement  of  inadequacy,  inappropriateness, or  disrespect  to                                                               
current or past attorneys general.                                                                                              
2:11:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER advised that as a  member of the House State Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee he agreed to  consider amendments wherein both                                                               
the lieutenant governor and governor are of the same party.                                                                     
2:12:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  stated  that  as  HJR  18  is  currently                                                               
written [the  attorney general] is  a separate  elected position.                                                               
He acknowledged  there was  a suggestion  to make  the lieutenant                                                               
governor and  attorney general positions  more closely tied  to a                                                               
partisan position  so the [the governor  and lieutenant governor]                                                               
run on a  slate adding to the lieutenant  governor's position the                                                               
position  of attorney  general.   He advised  he did  not have  a                                                               
preference  and considered  such an  amendment a  compromise that                                                               
would not do damage to the resolution.                                                                                          
2:13:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  recalled that in  the House State  Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee there  were questions as  to whether there should  be a                                                               
standard for  the removal of  an attorney general and  whether an                                                               
individual must meet the same qualifications as the governor.                                                                   
2:14:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  pointed out that the  resolution specifies                                                               
that an individual seeking the  position of attorney general must                                                               
meet the  same qualifications  as a  superior court  judge rather                                                               
than governor.                                                                                                                  
2:14:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE advised  he was  following language  from                                                               
previous  iterations  and  had   no  strong  possession  of  that                                                               
section.      He  clarified   that   if   he  was   setting   the                                                               
qualifications, an  individual seeking  the position  of attorney                                                               
general would be a member of the bar in good standing.                                                                          
2:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  expressed her  agreement with  the sponsor                                                               
that if the attorney general  position is elected, the individual                                                               
should not  be vetted  by the Alaska  Judicial Council  as he/she                                                               
will  be vetted  during  the election  process.   Therefore,  she                                                               
suggested the language be changed to  say "a member of the bar in                                                               
good standing."                                                                                                                 
2:16:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    STOLTZE   interjected    his   preference    to                                                               
specifically  refer  "the  Alaska  Bar,"  although  the  attorney                                                               
general will  likely be  a member of  the Alaska  Bar Association                                                               
because  HJR  18  requires the  same  residency  and  citizenship                                                               
requirements for the attorney general  as the lieutenant governor                                                               
and  governor.   Representative Stoltze  indicated his  agreement                                                               
with  Representative LeDoux  as he  did  not want  to impose  the                                                               
Alaska Bar  Association process in determining  the qualification                                                               
for the attorney general.                                                                                                       
2:19:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX, noting  that she like the idea  of HJR 18,                                                               
inquired  as to  how  [the  process] works  in  states where  the                                                               
attorney general,  [lieutenant governor and governor]  do not run                                                               
as  a  slate,  and  therefore  could result  in  a  governor  and                                                               
lieutenant  governor from  one political  party  and an  attorney                                                               
general from another political party.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  conveyed that most commonly  the attorney                                                               
general  runs independently,  which can  result in  [the attorney                                                               
general]  being  from  a  different  political  party  than  [the                                                               
governor and lieutenant  governor].  He opined,  however, that to                                                               
say  our  Alaska's  attorneys  general are  not  political  is  a                                                               
misconception.    Representative  Stoltze  noted  for  historical                                                               
reference  that  the  average length  of  an  attorney  general's                                                               
tenure is  about 18 months.   However, in the early  1990s when a                                                               
sitting attorney  general was retained  by the  incoming governor                                                               
there  was some  contention  that the  attorney  general was  not                                                               
confirmed and  was a hold  over as has  been the case  with other                                                               
commissioners.     Alaska,  he  highlighted,  had   an  unelected                                                               
attorney general  serve for almost  a decade.   Therefore, Alaska                                                               
had an unelected  attorney general with the power to  make law on                                                               
the advice of an assistant attorney general for almost 10 years.                                                                
2:21:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  reiterated her understanding that  in some                                                               
states  governors  and  lieutenant   governors  run  on  separate                                                               
tickets,  and  theoretically  could  be  elected  from  different                                                               
political  parties.    In  those   instances,  she  surmised  the                                                               
governor would never leave the state.                                                                                           
2:22:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  inquired  as  to the  reasoning  of  the                                                               
framers of  the Alaska State  Constitution regarding  choosing to                                                               
have  an appointed  rather than  elected attorney  general.   She                                                               
also  inquired  as   to  how  many  states   have  changed  their                                                               
constitution  from an  appointed attorney  general to  an elected                                                               
attorney  general.   Such information  would be  helpful for  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE indicated  those  are  questions he  will                                                               
investigate.  The  power, he opined, should rest  with the people                                                               
whether electing U.S.  Senators or a state attorney  general.  He                                                               
further  opined  that other  than  the  power of  succession,  an                                                               
attorney general on a day-to-day  basis is far more powerful than                                                               
a lieutenant governor.                                                                                                          
2:25:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  noted that HJR  18 states the  heads of                                                               
various departments  must be confirmed by  the legislature, which                                                               
is also the case in another  section of Article III, the heads of                                                               
independent  boards such  as  the Board  of  Fisheries, Board  of                                                               
Game,  and  State  Board  of  Education  and  Early  Development.                                                               
Although there is  no allowance for the legislature  to confirm a                                                               
deputy commissioner exists  or is included in  the resolution, he                                                               
suggested that  perhaps some of  the sub-cabinet position  with a                                                               
lot of power should go through a confirmation process.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  recalled that  Representative  Gruenberg                                                               
might be speaking of the Bradner  decision.  The only change made                                                             
in this resolution is adding  the attorney general along with the                                                               
lieutenant governor and governor as an elected official.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  then expressed the notion  that perhaps                                                               
the  powerful positions  of  the  head of  the  House and  Senate                                                               
Finance Committees should be elected as well.                                                                                   
2:29:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                           
2:29:00 PM                                                                                                                    
GEORGE PIERCE  stated all commissioners and  "everyone" should be                                                               
elected rather  than appointed as sometimes  governors "stack the                                                               
deck"  with   their  appointments  to  boards   and  commissions.                                                               
Alaskans recently  voted against a constitutional  convention and                                                               
he  yet it  seems that  every  other piece  of legislation  being                                                               
introduced is about changing or  amending the constitution.  Some                                                               
of the  legislation being introduced  to change the  Alaska State                                                               
Constitution is absurd,  he said.  Alaskans,  he reiterated, have                                                               
said they  don't want the  constitution amended.  He  opined that                                                               
the  proposed  amendments are  for  special  interest groups  not                                                               
2:30:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  questioned  if  Mr.  Pierce is  in  favor  of  the                                                               
election  of  the attorney  general,  but  not for  amending  the                                                               
constitution to do so.                                                                                                          
MR. PIERCE answered  yes; it would be good  electing the attorney                                                               
general.    However,  he  reiterated  that  Alaskans  just  voted                                                               
against a constitutional convention.   Thus he encouraged members                                                               
to stop  picking and choosing  which aspects of the  Alaska State                                                               
Constitution to change.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  surmised that  Mr. Pierce's  meant that                                                               
once the legislature starts amending  the constitution it becomes                                                               
a  slippery  slope  and  becomes   easier  and  easier  to  amend                                                               
[provisions in] the constitution.                                                                                               
[Mr. Pierce was no longer online to respond.]                                                                                   
2:31:59 PM                                                                                                                    
STUART  THOMPSON  strongly  advised  that  legislators  carefully                                                               
review  the   materials  the  Alaska   Constitutional  Convention                                                               
members  studied  about  [this issue],  including  the  extensive                                                               
debate regarding unelected versus  elected attorneys general.  He                                                               
requested that  the wheel  not be  re-invented as  many questions                                                               
and queries that  are now being raised were covered  in 1955.  He                                                               
added  that confirmation  of appointments  by the  legislature is                                                               
worthy of consideration.                                                                                                        
2:33:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER,  upon determining  no one  else wished  to testify,                                                               
close public testimony.                                                                                                         
2:34:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE,  in  response to  Representative  LeDoux                                                               
advised  that similar  resolutions  were  introduced between  the                                                               
[24th]  and   27th  Alaska  State  Legislatures;   it  was  first                                                               
introduced  by  Senator  Fred  Dyson,  and  Representative  Harry                                                               
Crawford introduced the  legislation in the 25th  and 26th Alaska                                                               
State Legislatures, and most recently  by Senator Bettye Davis in                                                               
the  27th Alaska  State  Legislature.   He  added that  Tennessee                                                               
Senator  Mae Beavers  has introduced  a constitutional  amendment                                                               
such that the attorney general  would change from being appointed                                                               
to a  "hybrid" election.   In further response  to Representative                                                               
LeDoux,   Representative   Stoltze   recalled  that   a   similar                                                               
resolution  reached the  [House]  Rules  Standing Committee,  but                                                               
that no such  resolution has ever made it to  the floor of either                                                               
house in the 1990s.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE,  in responding to  Representative LeDoux,                                                               
advised he  did not believe  the Alaska legislation ever  made it                                                               
to the floor of either house in the 1990s.                                                                                      
2:38:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT   stated  she  has   materials  available                                                               
regarding   discussions   during    the   Alaska   Constitutional                                                               
Convention and  believes that historical context  is important to                                                               
the committee's conversation.                                                                                                   
2:40:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced that HJR 18 would be set aside.                                                                          
2:40:23 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
[Chair Keller passed the gavel to Vice Chair Lynn.]                                                                             
2:41:18 PM                                                                                                                    
              HJR  1-CONST. AM: EDUCATION FUNDING                                                                           
2:41:33 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  LYNN announced  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO.  1,  Proposing  amendments  to  the                                                               
Constitution of  the State  of Alaska relating  to state  aid for                                                               
2:41:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER, speaking  as the  sponsor of  HJR 1  described the                                                               
Alaska  Constitution  as  neither infallible  or  prescient,  and                                                               
therefore  there   is  an  amendment   process  built   into  the                                                               
constitution.  He  advised that there are only  the two following                                                               
ways to change the meaning  of the constitution: the language can                                                               
be  interpreted differently  as time  passes or  the text  of the                                                               
constitution can be changed by  amendment.  He explained that HJR                                                               
1 would allow  the people to vote on the  changes proposed in HJR                                                               
1.   He reminded the  committee that  an amendment to  the Alaska                                                               
State  Constitution can  only  be adopted  if  two-thirds of  the                                                               
House of  Representatives and Senate  agree, which  increases the                                                               
burden on  legislators.  Changing  the Alaska  State Constitution                                                               
is an important  matter.  Furthermore, it is  an important matter                                                               
to choose to  prevent the sovereigns of the state  from voting on                                                               
an  issue.   Chair Keller  then informed  the committee  that the                                                               
amendment embodied  in HJR  1 and  SJR 9 as  well as  House Joint                                                               
Resolution  16  [in  the  27th  Alaska  State  Legislature]  have                                                               
received  a  total  of  24   hours  of  testimony  and  over  150                                                               
testifiers.  However,  he submitted that the text  itself had not                                                               
been reviewed.                                                                                                                  
2:46:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  then directed  attention to Page  1, line  8, which                                                               
would  delete  the  following  language  from  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Constitution:  "No money shall be  paid from the public funds for                                                               
the direct benefit of any  religious or other private educational                                                               
institution.    The  aforementioned  language  is  known  as  the                                                               
"Blaine  Amendment," which  he believed  it  caused a  "shameful"                                                               
blemish on the history of the  United States as it was based upon                                                               
prejudice,  bigoted action,  and  discrimination.   Chair  Keller                                                               
reviewed the history that led  to the Blaine Amendment becoming a                                                               
standard feature of state constitutions during this time.                                                                       
2:52:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  then pointed  out that  HJR 1  proposes on  page 1,                                                               
lines 14-15 to add to Section  6 of the Alaska State Constitution                                                               
the following:  "; however  nothing in this section shall prevent                                                               
payment from public  funds for the direct  educational benefit of                                                               
the students as provided by law."                                                                                               
Representative  Keller related  his  belief  that everyone  would                                                               
like the best education possible  for the children of Alaska, and                                                               
it is not an offensive position  to allow the state government to                                                               
spend money  for the direct  educational benefit of  the students                                                               
as provided by law.  The debate  on HJR 1, however, has been over                                                               
the word  "voucher," which  may or  may not  be an  issue because                                                               
[the benefit] is  "as directed by law" and is  [to be determined]                                                               
at a future time,  he opined.  The point of  HJR 1, he explained,                                                               
is  to change  the  text  of the  Alaska  State Constitution  and                                                               
delete prejudice  against Catholic and private  schools, which he                                                               
believes is a  valid choice for voters to decide.   He encouraged                                                               
the committee to  focus on the testimony and the  question of why                                                               
the public should  be able to vote on the  proposed change in HJR                                                               
1.  Representative Keller stated  he is personally convinced that                                                               
Alaskans want the option to  vote on this proposed constitutional                                                               
2:55:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  related his understanding  that it is  not a                                                               
question about  vouchers, but rather  would afford the  voters an                                                               
opportunity  to remove  the [Blaine  Amendment]  from the  Alaska                                                               
State Constitution.                                                                                                             
2:57:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER  clarified that if  HJR 1 passed by  a two-                                                               
thirds vote in the House and  a two-thirds vote in the Senate, it                                                               
would  go  before  the  voters  of the  state  during  a  general                                                               
election, and would require a majority vote to pass.                                                                            
CHAIR KELLER noted his agreement                                                                                                
2:57:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  characterized the time of  the passage of                                                               
the  Blaine  Amendment  as  an  embarrassment  in  terms  of  how                                                               
[immigrant] legal  citizens of the  U.S. were treated.   She then                                                               
requested  that the  historical documents  with which  she is  in                                                               
possession be  included in  the committee  packet.   Although the                                                               
Blaine  Amendment  was  in place  prior  to  Alaska's  Statehood,                                                               
during  Alaska's Constitutional  Convention the  conversation was                                                               
not  about the  Blaine Amendment  but rather  about public  money                                                               
going to private schools that  were religious; she opined, and at                                                               
the  time  of the  [Constitutional  Convention]  there were  many                                                               
religious  groups  moving  into   Alaska  villages  and  creating                                                               
schools.    The  committee's conversation,  she  further  opined,                                                               
should be  whether or  not to  have the  Blaine Amendment  in the                                                               
Alaska State  Constitution rather  than whether to  have vouchers                                                               
and [state funds]  going to private schools  or religious schools                                                               
because  that  is an  entirely  different  conversation than  the                                                               
purpose of HJR 1, which is to remove the Blaine Amendment.                                                                      
3:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  predicted that  if HJR 1  were to  go before                                                               
the people, there would be a  lot of debate.  Furthermore, if HJR                                                               
1 was approved by the people,  it would return to the legislature                                                               
where legislation would  likely be introduced and  go through the                                                               
committee process of debate.  He  stated his agreement that HJR 1                                                               
merely addresses the Blaine Amendment.                                                                                          
3:02:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  requested that  a Department of  Law (DOL)                                                               
representative explain how the state  is constitutionally able to                                                               
provide  opportunity scholarships  to  high  school achievers  to                                                               
[attend]  either  a University  of  Alaska  school or  a  private                                                               
CHAIR KELLER assured  the committee that he would  have DOL staff                                                               
available to the committee to answer questions.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN returned the gavel to Chair Keller.                                                                         
3:03:51 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD  KOMER, Senior  Attorney,  Institute  for Justice,  noted                                                               
agreement with  earlier testimony that the  [Blaine Amendment] is                                                               
a relic  of an anti-Catholic  past that proliferated  directly in                                                               
response to the increasing immigration  of Irish Catholics to the                                                               
United States in the 1800s.   At the time the Irish and Catholics                                                               
were arriving,  public schools  were not  the secular  schools of                                                               
today  in that  were public  schools used  the King  James Bible,                                                               
Protestant  doctrine, and  history  that  was specifically  anti-                                                               
Catholic.   The  aforementioned  resulted  in Catholics  starting                                                               
their  own  schools.   Therefore,  there  were Protestant  public                                                               
schools  and   Catholic  parochial  schools  and   the  Catholics                                                               
requested equal funding  for their schools.  The  language of the                                                               
Blaine Amendment was specifically  designed to rebuff the efforts                                                               
of  Catholics   to  achieve  equal  treatment   from  the  public                                                               
authority.     With  dereligification  of  public   schools,  the                                                               
situation  is  such that  there  are  secular public  school  and                                                               
private  school   marketplaces  with  many   different  religious                                                               
schools, including quite  a few Catholic schools.   Therefore the                                                               
Blaine  Amendment  has   continued  its  original  discriminatory                                                               
purpose  of   depriving  Catholic  schools  of   any  state  aid.                                                               
However,  today  the  school  choice movement  is  an  effort  to                                                               
provide assistance  to families  to choose  the school  that best                                                               
suits their  needs, he opined.   The aforementioned, he  said, is                                                               
the paradigm outside  of Alaska in terms of  how higher education                                                               
scholarships   assistance  and   Federal  Pell   grants  provide.                                                               
Alaskan  students  can receive  Federal  Pell  grants to  use  at                                                               
religious colleges  in Alaska,  however, due  to the  decision in                                                               
Sheldon Jackson  [College] v.  State [599  P.2d 127,  1979] there                                                             
are  inhibitions   in  allowing  private  scholarships   used  at                                                               
religious colleges in Alaska.                                                                                                   
MR. KOMER then  turned the question as to why  it is necessary to                                                               
amend  the Alaska  State  Constitution.   He  emphasized that  it                                                               
shouldn't  be  necessary  to   amend  Alaska's  Blaine  Amendment                                                               
because on  its face  Alaska's Blaine  Amendment does  not forbid                                                               
school  choice scholarship  type programs.   However,  two Alaska                                                               
Supreme  Court decisions  interpreted  Alaska's Blaine  Amendment                                                               
extremely broad  as if  it read similar  to other  states' Blaine                                                               
Amendments  and prohibits  any programs  that  provide direct  or                                                               
indirect benefits to religious institutions.   The Alaska Supreme                                                               
Court, he  charged, expanded "direct"  to include the  concept of                                                               
"indirect,"    which   was    specifically   rejected    at   the                                                               
Constitutional  Convention  as it  chose  to  only forbid  direct                                                               
benefit  to  private  institutions.    Therefore,  amending  this                                                               
language, he opined,  returns the state to  where the [delegates]                                                               
of    the    Alaska   Constitutional    Convention    [intended].                                                               
Furthermore,    due    to     the    Alaska    Supreme    Court's                                                               
misinterpretations  of  the Mathews  v.  Quinton  [362 P.2d  932,                                                             
Alaska  1961]  and  Sheldon Jackson  [College]  cases,  the  only                                                             
recourse now  is to  amend the  underlying language  and overrule                                                               
the  Alaska Supreme  Court's decisions.   Thus,  a constitutional                                                               
amendment is necessary unless it  reverses itself.  Therefore, he                                                               
surmised, the  Alaska Blaine Amendment has  been interpreted with                                                               
a much broader limitation than  the Federal Establishment Clause,                                                               
which permits  religiously neutral  scholarship programs  at both                                                               
the K-12 and collegiate level.                                                                                                  
3:13:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KOMER   then  turned   to  the   question  of   whether  the                                                               
constitutional  amendment is  constitutional.   In Bess  v. Almer                                                             
[985 P.2d  979 Alaska  1999] the  Alaska Supreme  Court addressed                                                               
the issue  of when to use  the amendment process and  when to use                                                               
the  revision   process  when   amending  the   constitution.  He                                                               
submitted that  this amendment, HJR 1,  is constitutional because                                                               
it  is narrow,  addresses a  single  subject, and  is focused  on                                                               
overruling the Sheldon  Jackson [College] case.   He opined, this                                                             
does  not create  a voucher/scholarship  program  but allows  the                                                               
legislature to  provide for a  scholarship program at  the higher                                                               
education level or at the K-12  level.  Mr. Komer, in response to                                                               
Chair  Keller,  informed the  committee  that  the Institute  for                                                               
Justice  is  reviewing  state  constitutions  and  advocates  for                                                               
school choice programs.                                                                                                         
3:17:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked if  the  inclusion  of the  [Blaine                                                               
Amendment] in  the Alaska  State Constitution  was the  result of                                                               
Catholic bias.                                                                                                                  
MR. KOMER  stated he  could not answer  that [question],  but did                                                               
not  believe there  was  [Catholic bias]  as  this provision  was                                                               
never intended to prevent students  from using state scholarships                                                               
to attend religious colleges or  religious schools.  However, the                                                               
Alaska Supreme  Court in Sheldon  Jackson [College] said  that by                                                             
giving aid to students, the  state would be giving direct benefit                                                               
to the colleges the students attend.                                                                                            
3:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  related her  understanding that  the state                                                               
provides opportunity  scholarships for  high school  students who                                                               
meet  certain  criteria  and  can be  used  anywhere  in  Alaska,                                                               
including private or religious colleges.   In view of the Sheldon                                                             
Jackson [College]  case, she questioned whether  that program, if                                                             
challenged, might face problems.                                                                                                
MR. KOMER stated, "Yes, I would."                                                                                               
3:21:53 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVEN  O'BRIEN   advised  that   when  he  studied   the  Alaska                                                               
Constitutional Convention  he thought all the  [delegates] looked                                                               
to  the  First  Amendment  of   the  United  States  Constitution                                                               
regarding  separation  of church  and  state  and didn't  believe                                                               
there were  any racists  at the  convention.   He then  noted his                                                             
expectation  that  a  constitutional amendment  would  have  more                                                               
specificity.   As  a retired  educator, graduate  of a  parochial                                                               
school  system,   and  Catholic,  he  questioned   the  admission                                                               
policies of  these schools and  asked whether they would  be open                                                               
to  anyone.   With  regard to  discipline  policies, would  these                                                               
schools  have  to be  in  compliance  with  state law  and  would                                                               
suspensions  and expulsions  be  reviewed  by a  body  such as  a                                                               
school board  or would  they follow their  own church  or private                                                               
school policies,  he asked.   Even busing  of students  becomes a                                                               
consideration as does the entity  that monitors the expenditures.                                                               
In terms  of curriculum, he inquired  as to who would  monitor it                                                               
as it  should be thoroughly vetted  by the state.   He then asked                                                               
if certified teachers  who have passed the Praxis  as required by                                                               
state law be the recipients of  this money, he asked, or will the                                                               
teachers  just be  high  school graduates.    Moreover, will  the                                                               
administrators  be  certified under  state  law,  he asked.    He                                                               
further  questioned  who  would  monitor the  budgets  and  state                                                               
expenditures  of  these  schools.   Will  the  aforementioned  be                                                               
relegated to elected  school boards, another body,  or will there                                                               
be  no monitoring  at all,  he asked.   In  a situation  in which                                                               
teachers and staff of private  schools receive state funds, would                                                               
they become part of the  Alaska Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)                                                               
and/or the Alaska Public Employees'  Retirement System (PERS,) he                                                               
asked.   At the present  time, Mr. O'Brian characterized  [HJR 1]                                                               
as  a blank  check  in that  it  seems to  be  using tax  dollars                                                               
without any direct voice of the people to monitor the situation.                                                                
3:25:52 PM                                                                                                                    
STEWART THOMSON provided the following remarks:                                                                                 
     This  constitutional amendment  about education  should                                                                    
     be put to  a public vote.   What is at issue  is a very                                                                    
     basic human freedom.   Freedom of mind  that is founded                                                                    
     on freedom  of choice.   What is  at issue  socially is                                                                    
     the  ability  of  our  state's   people  to  reach  for                                                                    
     posterity.    The  only real  virtue  of  U.S.  private                                                                    
     education  is its  reduced  class  sizes and  dedicated                                                                    
     teachers  that survive  intimidation.    The only  real                                                                    
     virtue  of  U.S.  public   education  is  its  economic                                                                    
     efficiency   and   dedicated  teachers   that   survive                                                                    
     intimidation.   The major  defect of  private education                                                                    
     has  developed  by  contagion from  public  education's                                                                    
     major  defect and  that is  indoctrination masquerading                                                                    
     as  education.     Symptomatic  of   indoctrination  is                                                                    
     emphasis  on  memorization  encouraged  and  forced  by                                                                    
     testing  and  adult  duress.   This  in  turn  produces                                                                    
     people  who cannot  think with  or  long remember  what                                                                    
     they  memorized   and  worse,  have   mental  conflicts                                                                    
     creating attention loss that  naturally arise from what                                                                    
     they  do  not  conceptually  understand.    Educational                                                                    
     snake  oil salesmen  then push  psychotropic drugs  and                                                                    
     crack pot educational theories  as solutions to student                                                                    
     problems,  inattention and  unruliness.   On the  basis                                                                    
     that   student    passivity   equals    attention   and                                                                  
     information assimilation.   The lack of  retention that                                                                    
     naturally results has  put the U.S. near  the bottom of                                                                    
     national   economic  achievement   by  populations   of                                                                    
     industrialized countries  for numerous  recent studies.                                                                    
     What is the  result?  Our nation is dying.   We justify                                                                    
     a  consumer,  not industrialized,  economy,  government                                                                    
     encouraged psychotropic drug  and entertainment doping.                                                                    
     Spiraling  individual  and  national  debt,  population                                                                    
     protected  directed by  an elite,  government supported                                                                    
     special interests  for the public  good, and  force and                                                                    
     bribery   masquerading   as   international   relations                                                                    
     because  it  supports  our so-called  high  quality  of                                                                    
     life.   This is  proof that  our general  population is                                                                    
     insufficiently educated to  recognize the propaganda of                                                                    
     the    economic,     scientific,    and    intellectual                                                                    
     aristocracies covering  up degradation of  the American                                                                    
     people.   I  do not  think  the framers  of the  Alaska                                                                    
     Constitution  envisioned the  disaster in  the face  of                                                                    
     valiant   individual    teacher   efforts    that   our                                                                    
     educational  system  has fallen  into.    But they  did                                                                    
     establish  an amendment  process,  let's do  it, it  is                                                                    
     only just.   We  just might  get young  people actively                                                                    
     engaged  in helping  to  rationally educate  themselves                                                                    
     because  they  have been  taught  how  to research  and                                                                    
     learn and do, in any  subject, for all their lives, not                                                                    
     only  things  to  pass  tests  and  feed  the  egos  of                                                                    
     ignorant adults.   Thank you  for your  attention, good                                                                    
     luck on your deliberations.                                                                                                
3:29:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  announced he would  continue the  committee meeting                                                               
until  3:50  p.m., when  a  committee  member  has to  leave  and                                                               
requested witnesses to limit their  testimony to two minutes.  He                                                               
added  that he  will  open  public testimony  the  next time  the                                                               
resolution is before the committee.                                                                                             
3:29:51 PM                                                                                                                    
YOLANDA GRIFFITH maintained it was not right [to limit testimony                                                                
to two minutes] because other people testified longer than seven                                                                
minutes  and  everyone  should  be allowed  equal  time  with  no                                                               
preference.   She  advised she  did  not belong  to the  National                                                               
Education  Association  (NEA)  or  to  the  American  Legislative                                                               
Exchange Council (ALEC).   She then stated her  opposition to HJR                                                               
1 and  related that  her children had  attended a  private school                                                               
where  those  children  whose  parents  had  political  influence                                                               
received priority  and preference,  but now attend  public school                                                               
and are doing  well as they have different  choices and excellent                                                               
teachers  and  counselors.   Therefore,  she  related her  strong                                                               
support for  public education and argued  that politicians should                                                               
set  an example  to children  by  showing respect  to the  Alaska                                                               
State Constitution as  it was created.  She  questioned why there                                                               
is  an  obsession to  destroy  public  education and  change  the                                                               
Alaska State Constitution.                                                                                                      
CHAIR KELLER,  in response to  Ms. Griffith, advised there  is no                                                               
intent to harm public education  as the education of all children                                                               
is considered a high priority.   Speaking for himself, he said he                                                               
liked the idea of parents having a choice.                                                                                      
3:32:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  WIGGINS said  he found  Mr.  Komer's remarks  and all  such                                                               
remarks about  the Blaine Amendment  to be sheer  and transparent                                                               
obfuscation around the issue of church  and state.  He noted that                                                               
he is  Irish Catholic and  attended a Catholic school,  and finds                                                               
it  "hilarious" that  at this  stage  of his  life when  he is  a                                                               
fairly well-to-do,  professional oil and gas  Caucasian can claim                                                               
he was  discriminated against by  having to pay for  his Catholic                                                               
education.   Mr.  Wiggins advised  he  is a  strong proponent  of                                                               
public schools as  his children have an estimated  total of 15-17                                                               
years  in   public  education  and   there  has  never   been  an                                                               
unacceptable occurrence.   He  expressed the need  to take  SJR 9                                                               
and HJR  1 off the  table and move  to the task  of strengthening                                                               
the  [public] school  system to  the premiere  educational system                                                               
desired  by  all.    Wisely,  the framers  of  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Constitution included  Article 7 §  1. [Public] Education  to try                                                               
to  insulate it  from this  "religious fervor"  that seems  to be                                                               
driving  this  "gut  the  constitution" push,  he  opined.    Mr.                                                               
Wiggins asked  that the committee  not approve HJR 1  and instead                                                               
increase the [base  student allocation] to a level  that does not                                                               
cause  teachers  to work  under  stressful  conditions with  such                                                               
large classes.                                                                                                                  
3:36:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MATHEW  FAGNANI, Chairman,  Board of  Lumen Christi  High School,                                                               
noting  he  is the  past  chair  of Anchorage's  largest  charter                                                               
school, began by stating his support  for HJR 1.  He informed the                                                               
committee  that Lumen  Christi  High School  is  a Catholic  high                                                               
school with  40 percent of  its faculty and students  coming from                                                               
different denominations  of faith.   He advised his  children had                                                               
participated   in  all   three  types   of  education:   charter,                                                               
parochial, and  public, and  found that  choice was  important as                                                               
his children  did not fit the  one-size-fits-all-philosophy.  The                                                               
Alaska  State Constitution  may  not benefit  from the  one-size-                                                               
fits-all philosophy either.  Not  all children learn the same way                                                               
and the "cookie cutter" approach  is not sufficient to compete in                                                               
today's  market  place,  he  opined.     By  passing  HJR  1  the                                                               
legislature  is providing  exciting  opportunities of  innovation                                                               
and  education  for  students  while  allowing  parents  to  take                                                               
control  of  their  children's  education  and  choose  the  best                                                               
process for  education Alaska's  money can buy,  he stated.   The                                                               
founders of  the state recognized  that future  generations would                                                               
need flexibility  to respond  to possibilities  in a  manner that                                                               
would benefit all students, he maintained.                                                                                      
3:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  pointed out that  passage of  HJR 1 will  place the                                                               
constitutional amendment  before the people  for a vote,  and [if                                                               
passed] there would be a legislative process.                                                                                   
3:39:10 PM                                                                                                                    
DEENA MITCHELL advised that her husband  works in the oil and gas                                                               
industry, she  is a  stay-at-home mother  with three  children in                                                               
the public school  system, and has been pleased  with the choices                                                               
available in [public  school].  She opined that  while the Blaine                                                               
Amendment may have  been anti-Catholic, it has  been effective at                                                               
keeping   the  separation   of  church   and  state,   which  she                                                               
characterized as  a plus.   Although it  is an admirable  goal to                                                               
allow voters  to decide  in November  on HJR  1, she  related her                                                               
belief that  the general public  just does  not have the  time to                                                               
vet these  issues.  This resolution  should not go on  the ballot                                                               
until   the  financial   and   institutional  ramifications   are                                                               
understood,  she  opined.    As   a  state,  she  contended,  the                                                               
[legislature]   should  consider   whether  during   these  tight                                                               
budgetary  times this  is  really  the time  to  be opening  this                                                               
[issue].  She  questioned the true purpose of HJR  1 as there has                                                               
been testimony that [HJR 1] is  not about vouchers but instead is                                                               
to  remove the  Blaine Amendment  due to  its insidious  history.                                                               
Furthermore,  she contended  that  there are  a  great number  of                                                               
choices and  options through the public  school system, including                                                               
Specialized  Academic  Vocational   Education  (SAVE)  School  in                                                               
Anchorage,   Family   Partnership  [Charter]   School,   Interior                                                               
Distance Education of Alaska (IDEA),  and public schools.  Noting                                                               
her Master's degree  in Economics, she advised she  would have to                                                               
review the study  that some have said found 90  percent of people                                                               
in  Alaska  are in  favor  of  HJR  1  because "numbers  can  say                                                               
whatever we  want them to say."   She then mentioned  a study she                                                               
heard  about that  found 90  percent of  parents would  recommend                                                               
their school  to others.   She opined that Alaska  public schools                                                               
are  doing  a  fine  job   with  a  challenging  demographic  and                                                               
conditions in spite of the last  three years of budget cuts.  She                                                               
echoed Mr.  Wiggins' testimony to  take HJR  1 off the  table and                                                               
focus on the real issue  of strengthening and restoring financial                                                               
stability to public schools.                                                                                                    
3:43:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  highlighted  that  there are  a  number  of                                                               
initiatives on  an upcoming election  and questioned  whether the                                                               
general public  is trusted  to vote  on those.   He  reminded the                                                               
committee of the  democratic process in which  the general public                                                               
takes part.                                                                                                                     
3:45:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSETTNA KING,  Second Vice-President, Alaska  Native Sisterhood,                                                               
Glacier  Valley   Camp  70,  advised   that  the   Alaska  Native                                                               
Sisterhood  Glacier  Valley Camp  70's  main  goal is  education.                                                               
Although  she  appreciated  the committee  bringing  forward  the                                                               
intent  of HJR  1, she  questioned from  where the  funding would                                                               
come.   More specifically, she  questioned whether  funding would                                                               
be diverted from public school,  which are struggling financially                                                               
due  to  severe budget  cuts,  increased  class sizes,  declining                                                               
resources,  and [funding]  not keeping  up with  inflation.   She                                                               
then  asked whether  private school  teachers and  administrators                                                               
would be held to the same expectations as with public schools.                                                                  
MS. KING,  in response to Representative  LeDoux's clarified that                                                               
if  HJR  1  goes  before   the  [voters]  there  should  be  more                                                               
clarification as to what is desired with HJR 1.                                                                                 
CHAIR KELLER advised that HJR  1 merely allows discussion because                                                               
legislation is required to appropriate  funds for education.  The                                                               
legislature, he  opined, has demonstrated a  strong commitment to                                                               
funding education.   He estimated the  state spends approximately                                                               
$22,000 per year [per student].                                                                                                 
MS.  KING conveyed  that the  Alaska  Native Sisterhood,  Glacier                                                               
Valley Camp 70 opposes HJR 1.                                                                                                   
3:50:57 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER  HOWELL stated  she is  representing herself,  but noted                                                               
she  is  a kindergarten  teacher.    With  only  90 days  in  the                                                               
legislative  session and  the legislature  hasn't  put the  funds                                                               
forth  to  fund  education.   She  expressed  disappointment  the                                                               
legislature is putting energy into  taking [the Blaine Amendment]                                                               
out  of the  constitution and  possibly opening  doors that  will                                                               
erode public education, rather than  focusing on issues currently                                                               
affecting the  public education  system.   She then  related that                                                               
she truly believes in the existing [public] education system.                                                                   
3:52:24 PM                                                                                                                    
RON  FUHRER,  President,  National  Education  Association-Alaska                                                               
(NEA-AK) began  by informing the  committee he  represents 13,000                                                               
education support  professionals and teachers and  130,000 public                                                               
school students.   In response to  an earlier question as  to why                                                               
HJR 1  should not be on  the ballot and a  discussion of vouchers                                                               
and the  bleeding of money  from the public school  system should                                                               
be discounted,  he identified the  problem as the  [proponents of                                                               
HJR 1]  are trying to  boil it down  to a simplistic  question of                                                               
"yes" or  "no" on the  Blaine Amendment.  Alaskan  voters deserve                                                               
to know  the impact of  their decisions as the  people supporting                                                               
HJR  1 believe  they will  have school  choice, while  the people                                                               
opposing it believe  it will harm public education.   However, he                                                               
opined that  no one knows  [the answer] because  the [proponents]                                                               
are hiding behind  the "piece" that says to just  vote the Blaine                                                               
Amendment up  or down  and if  it passes,  then "we'll"  tell you                                                               
what it does.  The real  issue, he stated, is the ballot language                                                               
and whether the  voters wish to remove the  Blaine Amendment from                                                               
the Alaska State Constitution or  whether [the question is about]                                                               
family school choice.   He expressed concern that  people will be                                                               
voting based upon their perception of  what HJR 1 does, or do not                                                               
CHAIR  KELLER advised  that within  the  legislative process  are                                                               
constituents  and  each  legislator tries  to  represent  his/her                                                               
constituents and there  has been a lot of input  that this should                                                               
be there.                                                                                                                       
MR.  FUHRER remarked  that voters  like  to know  for what  their                                                               
representatives stand.                                                                                                          
3:55:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY HAKALA advised  she was a 1975 graduate  from Juneau Douglas                                                               
High School  (JDHS), with  three children  who went  through that                                                               
system,  and  a  parent  founder   of  a  charter  school.    She                                                               
emphasized  the importance  of choice  within  the public  school                                                               
framework  as there  are possible  innovations to  review.   This                                                               
proposed amendment  is not an  attempt to  remedy a past  ill and                                                               
does not remove a sentence or  two that is disliked or is racist,                                                               
rather it opens the door for  state funding in support of private                                                               
and religious schools,  she opined, in a state with  a very clear                                                               
and strong distinction  between church and state.   She urged the                                                               
legislators to focus  on the real issue, which is  how to improve                                                               
schools for all  children.  She then related her  belief that JHR                                                               
1  will  lead  to  discrimination  as  private  schools  are  not                                                               
required to [enroll]  every child and can kick them  out at will.                                                               
She  then expressed  concern for  children  with disabilities  in                                                               
terms of  additional choices  given to  those families  and those                                                               
children  under [HJR  1].   She noted  that she  would leave  the                                                               
committee  with  information about  vouchers.    In closing,  Ms.                                                               
Hakala  emphasized  HJR  1  proposes   a  significant  change  in                                                               
Alaska's State Constitution.                                                                                                    
3:58:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK CHOATE,  noting that he is  an attorney with the  Choate Law                                                               
Firm,  LLC. stated  he is  representing himself,  but as  a trial                                                               
lawyer he  works a lot on  framing issues.  He  expressed concern                                                               
with the committee's  decision to consider HJR 1 a  repeal of the                                                               
Blaine  Amendment is  simply framing  done by  very sophisticated                                                               
outside interests and it does  a great disservice to the founding                                                               
fathers and mothers  who wrote the Alaska Constitution.   He then                                                               
expressed  disagreement with  the idea  that the  framers of  the                                                               
Alaska State Constitution were anti-Irish  or carrying out a plan                                                               
from the 1860s-1880s that was anti-Irish and anti-Catholic.                                                                     
CHAIR KELLER interjected  that earlier the history  of the Blaine                                                               
Amendment, which is  a remnant and reminder of a  time in history                                                               
of  discrimination  and  bigotry  was presented.    Chair  Keller                                                               
maintained the  Alaska Constitution  was written after  that time                                                               
MR.  CHOATE highlighted  that many  of the  Alaska constitutional                                                               
founders were  Catholic and the  founders were not  anti-Irish or                                                               
anti-Catholic.     The  provision  was  not   included  with  the                                                               
intention to  harm or hurt  Catholics or the Irish  people, which                                                               
he  presumed Chair  Keller would  agree.   Therefore, that's  the                                                               
concern  with the  statements  that [HJR  1]  repeals the  Blaine                                                               
CHAIR KELLER agreed  with Mr. Choate's statement  and pointed out                                                               
that  the Alaska  State Constitution  only prohibited  the direct                                                               
investment in  private and  religious schools  and had  the court                                                               
system not  interpreted [the Blaine Amendment]  differently, [HJR                                                               
1 would not  exist].  The court applied the  same wording that is                                                               
in other states, and other states  with the same language [as the                                                               
Blaine Amendment  in the Alaska  State Constitution] do  not hide                                                               
behind the  language to  "protect a  weak government  monopoly on                                                               
the system."                                                                                                                    
4:00:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CHOATE, mentioning  the  Establishment  Clause, pointed  out                                                               
that  the  founding  fathers  who  wrote  the  U.S.  Constitution                                                               
Establishment  Clause  were  just  three  generations  away  from                                                               
English  civil   wars  and  had   direct  familiarity   with  the                                                               
involvement  of church  and state  in  terms of  the millions  of                                                               
lives lost here and in Europe.   The Alaska State Constitution is                                                               
considered  a  model,  particularly  in terms  of  its  right  to                                                               
privacy and  the way  it has  been utilized  in the  Alaska Court                                                               
System  is  a  national  model  for  impartiality.    Mr.  Choate                                                               
suggested  the  committee   avoid  characterizing  what  Alaska's                                                               
founding fathers did as being any form of discrimination.                                                                       
CHAIR  KELLER  noted  his  agreement with  Mr.  Choate  that  the                                                               
discussion is  not about Alaska's  founding fathers, but  was the                                                               
broader picture.                                                                                                                
MR. CHOATE,  in response to Representative  Gruenberg's question,                                                               
stated  that during  2006-2012  he  was a  member  of the  Juneau                                                               
School Board.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  emphasized  that  he  appreciated  Mr.                                                               
Choate's testimony  and was hopeful  he and other members  of the                                                               
bar  would  monitor  this  legislature and  also  work  with  the                                                               
committee,  even  though  it  may not  always  agree  with  their                                                               
4:03:47 PM                                                                                                                    
ANN  GIFFORD advised  that although  she is  an attorney  who has                                                               
worked with  school districts in  Alaska for more than  25 years,                                                               
she  is  representing herself  today.    Ms. Gifford  stated  her                                                               
opposition to Amendment 1 and  noted she had previously submitted                                                               
written testimony in opposition  to vouchers, and therefore today                                                               
her  testimony  is  regarding   provisions  of  the  constitution                                                               
itself.  Ms. Gifford noted that  from everything she has seen the                                                               
Blaine Amendment's discrimination issue  was not part of Alaska's                                                               
constitutional  delegate's discussions  as  the framer's  primary                                                               
concern was  about supporting and  protecting a strong  system of                                                               
public  schools.     The  aforementioned  is   why  the  language                                                               
specifics there won't  be any direct [state]  support for private                                                               
schools  including religious  schools.   She then  voiced concern                                                               
that there has been no discussion  today about the second part of                                                               
the  proposed resolution  [Sec.  2. Article  IX,  sec. 6.  Public                                                               
Purpose.].     Alaska's  constitution,  she  posited,   would  be                                                               
weakened  by [HJR  1] by  adding an  exception to  the [original]                                                               
provision  that all  public  funds  must be  spent  for a  public                                                               
purpose; the  constitutional delegates  wrote the provision  as a                                                               
fundamental   principle   in    Alaska's   constitution.      The                                                               
constitution reads  that if  the state or  a local  government is                                                               
going to  tax and spend  public money, the  money is to  be spent                                                               
for a  public purpose.   In that regard, any  educational program                                                               
should  at  least  be  able   to  pass  that  test,  she  opined.                                                               
Therefore,   she  urged   the  committee   to  not   weaken  that                                                               
constitutional principle.                                                                                                       
4:06:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER asked  if Ms. Gifford would  consider [public money]                                                               
spent  for a  direct  educational  benefit to  the  student as  a                                                               
public purpose.                                                                                                                 
4:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GIFFORD  responded that [legislators] should  not be changing                                                               
that part  of the  constitution because any  program that  is for                                                               
the  direct benefit  of students  and meets  a public  purpose is                                                               
appropriate to spend  [public funds], but if there  is [a reason]                                                               
for the  direct benefit  of a  student that is  not for  a public                                                               
purpose she  did not believe public  funds should be spent.   Ms.                                                               
Gifford expressed concern about "mucking  around" with any of the                                                               
language in that section of the constitution.                                                                                   
4:07:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN questioned  whether  education  is a  public                                                               
MS.  GIFFORD responded  that  public education  is  for a  public                                                               
purpose, but  she opined that  private education is not  a public                                                               
purpose.   She  further opined  that public  funds should  not be                                                               
used to support private education.                                                                                              
4:07:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GIFFORD  recalled Mr.  Komer's testimony  in which  he stated                                                               
the reason he gave for removing  the Blaine Amendment is to allow                                                               
vouchers/scholarships.   If the aforementioned is  the case, then                                                               
it is  important for  the committee to  also listen  to testimony                                                               
from people  with thoughts  about whether or  not vouchers  are a                                                               
good idea,  as vouchers [scholarships]  are the reason  Mr. Komer                                                               
gave for why the committee is considering HJR 1 today.                                                                          
4:09:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CARRIE GOTSTEIN advised she was  testifying on her own behalf and                                                               
as  the mother  of  two children  attended  the Anchorage  School                                                               
District.   She remarked  that there  are a  lot of  red herrings                                                               
being tossed abut and it is  interesting to hear the various ways                                                               
in which  people frame HJR 1.   With regard the  perspective that                                                               
people  should be  allowed to  vote, she  opined that  it is  the                                                               
legislature's   job  to   properly  vet   the  implications   and                                                               
consequences of HJR  1 before putting it to a  vote so people can                                                               
be informed.   She  characterized framing HJR  1 with  the Blaine                                                               
Amendment  as  a  red  herring.    The  main  issue  with  HJR  1                                                               
amendment,  she   said,  is  separation  of   church  and  state.                                                               
Religious  freedom is  one  of the  founding  principles of  this                                                               
country, but  she said she  relies on Alaska's public  schools to                                                               
not promote  one religion over  another and to teach  respect for                                                               
another's  beliefs,  which is  the  hallmark  and cornerstone  of                                                               
Alaska's  democracy, of  a civil  society.   Public funds  should                                                               
only be used for public education,  she stated, and is one of the                                                               
reasons  she strongly  supports  public education.   She  related                                                               
support for  the right of  families to  choose what is  right for                                                               
their  children and  that the  Anchorage school  system offers  a                                                               
wide variety  of choices.  In  fact, years ago she  was the chair                                                               
of  a  parent  committee  that worked  to  develop  Poloris  K-12                                                               
school, although her children did  not attend it.  Therefore, she                                                               
testified that one can get  their children's needs met within the                                                               
public  school system.   Ms.  Gotstein expressed  support of  the                                                               
existence  of  all religious  schools  and  respect for  parents'                                                               
rights for  a religious form of  education, but did not  think it                                                               
was  appropriate  to  be  paid  for  on  the  public's  "nickel."                                                               
Furthermore,  funding for  public education  is currently  sparse                                                               
and  using  public  money  for  private  education  will  end  up                                                               
decimating the public school system,  she opined.  In response to                                                               
Representative   LeDoux's  earlier   question  regarding   Alaska                                                               
Performance  Scholarships,  advised   that  students  who  attend                                                               
religious  schools  can  benefit   from  the  Alaska  Performance                                                               
Scholarships if they  meet the criteria.   The Alaska Performance                                                               
Scholarship  goes  to  public  schools,   which  is  how  it  was                                                               
4:15:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SHEILA SELKREGG,  speaking as a  graduate of East  Anchorage High                                                               
School  and a  mother  of  three children  who  went through  the                                                               
Anchorage  school  district,  said   she  recalled  when  Alaskan                                                               
schools were at the top in  the nation and Alaska's teachers were                                                               
the  highest paid.   She  highlighted  that previous  testimonies                                                               
stated the  Blaine Amendment was  framed in racism  when actually                                                               
it  was grounded  in [General]  Ulysses  Grant's presentation  to                                                               
veterans when  he ran  for president.   General  Grant propounded                                                               
that  public   money  should  not  support   "secular,  pagan  or                                                               
atheistic dogma"  in the American  education system,  but instead                                                               
should support good "common" schools  and good "common" education                                                               
for all citizens.   General Grant's beliefs were  grounded in the                                                               
country's fundamental  belief of separation of  church and state,                                                               
she opined.   Ms. Selkregg advised she teaches  public policy and                                                               
that having access to a public  education has been and remains an                                                               
avenue that  has served as stepping  stones for all people.   She                                                               
related  her  belief that  private  schools  and charter  schools                                                               
attract  middle class  and upper  class  families whereas  public                                                               
schools have  a large portion  of poor and working  class people.                                                               
In public  schools people from  disadvantaged and of  less income                                                               
have  the  opportunity  to  make great  strides  in  their  life.                                                               
Education funding  is allocated to  the school systems on  a "per                                                               
head" basis  and as upper  middle class and upper  class families                                                               
skirt away from exposing their  children to lower class families.                                                               
She predicted the  defunding of public schools, which  would be a                                                               
great loss to the middle class.                                                                                                 
MS. SELKREGG then  informed the committee that  currently over 50                                                               
percent  of  children  in  the  Anchorage  School  Districts  are                                                               
economically disadvantaged.   Furthermore,  the schools  with the                                                               
lowest outcomes for students have  a turnover in students as high                                                               
as 50 percent,  which means children attend two  to three schools                                                               
in one  year.  The issue  before the committee is  not a struggle                                                               
of whether more options are needed  as there are many, rather the                                                               
issue  is how  the state  can begin  to address  the poverty  and                                                               
disparity,  which is  a  reflection of  the  national level,  and                                                               
create  good   opportunities  in  the  public   schools,  housing                                                               
programs,  ex cetera  in order  to  ensure that  everyone has  an                                                               
equal opportunity in  life and access to the  American dream, she                                                               
opined.  She  urged the committee not to move  forward but rather                                                               
address the critical  issues that help as this  legislation was a                                                               
distraction  from   the  working  people   of  the  state.     In                                                               
conclusion, Ms. Selkregg  stated public schools are  doing a good                                                               
job and increasing graduation rates.                                                                                            
4:20:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SELKREGG,  in response  to  Chair  Keller advised  that  she                                                               
currently teaches  at the  university but has  spent most  of her                                                               
life not  teaching.  Prior  to teaching  she said she  worked for                                                               
the federal government, owned her  own business, and was a member                                                               
of the  municipal assembly.   Ms. Selkregg  characterized herself                                                               
as a  committed citizen who  care about  the state and  hoped the                                                               
focus could be on the critical issues before the state.                                                                         
4:22:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MARKO  HAGGERTY,  speaking  on   his  own  behalf,  informed  the                                                               
committee that he  two children through the  public school system                                                               
and  was pleased  with the  system.   He took  exception to  [Mr.                                                               
Komer's] comments  regarding equating scholarships  with vouchers                                                               
as scholarships  are based  upon merit and  vouchers are  not. He                                                               
further took exception to the  comments regarding the persecution                                                               
of the Irish  and pointed out various American leaders.   He then                                                               
disagreed with prior  testimony that without [HJR  1] people will                                                               
not have a  choice, and highlighted that everyone  has the choice                                                               
to  send their  children  to the  school of  their  choice.   Mr.                                                               
Haggerty opined that  [HJR 1] is about  vouchers funneling public                                                               
money into private coffers and has  nothing to do with the Blaine                                                               
4:25:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER inquired  as to  why Alaskan  should be  allowed to                                                               
vote  as there  is no  specific  indictment or  ruination of  the                                                               
public  schools.   In  fact,  he said,  other  states have  [used                                                               
scholarship  programs],  and that  studies  have  shown when  the                                                               
public funds  are used  for scholarship  programs or  vouchers it                                                               
has helped  the public school  system in  the area where  it took                                                               
place.   Competition is a  good thing, he remarked,  Chair Keller                                                               
then  noted that  in his  district the  public school  system has                                                               
done very well at providing choice  within its system.  He stated                                                               
that  anything said  was not  meant  to disparage  what the  good                                                               
schools have done.  He  agreed that Alaska's founding fathers did                                                               
not have an anti-Irish or  anti-Catholic bias and stated that his                                                               
previous description  of the Blaine  Amendment was meant  to give                                                               
background and was not meant to impugn the Alaska framers.                                                                      
4:28:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MARTHA McNAUTY,  speaking as  a 27-year  resident of  Alaska with                                                               
two  children who  went through  the  Anchorage School  District,                                                               
explained that while living in  Fairbanks her son's public school                                                               
teachers  recognized that  he had  severe learning  disabilities.                                                               
Throughout  the years  her son  received  an excellent  education                                                               
with  the  assistance  of  specialists   in  speech  and  reading                                                               
therapy, such  that he graduated without  advanced placement (AP)                                                               
classes with  a 3.98, despite  all of his  learning disabilities.                                                               
She  related  her understanding  that  religious  schools do  not                                                               
accept  children with  disabilities  and  that if  a  child in  a                                                               
private school  is not  performing correctly  or has  issues, the                                                               
child is removed  from the [private] school in order  to keep the                                                               
school's number up.   Therefore, she opposed use  of public funds                                                               
for schools  when all  children are not  accepted.   Looking back                                                               
had this  voucher program been  in place  when her son  had these                                                               
issues, she  said she was  not certain public funding  would have                                                               
been  there to  help him  and she  doubted private  schools would                                                               
have assisted  her son.  At  that time in their  lives her family                                                               
could not have afforded the assistance  her son needed as she and                                                               
her husband were going to college.                                                                                              
4:31:49 PM                                                                                                                    
GLENN PRAX,  representing himself, stated  that the issue  is not                                                               
about public  education but  rather the  governing process.   The                                                               
[Preamble] to the Alaska Constitution proclaims in part:                                                                        
     We the  people ... in  order to secure and  transmit to                                                                    
     succeeding  generations  our   heritage  of  political,                                                                    
     civil,  and   religious  liberty  ...  do   ordain  and                                                                    
     establish this constitution...                                                                                             
MR. PRAX  specified that  within [the  Constitution] there  is an                                                               
article  that prohibits  this  generation's representatives  from                                                               
funding  educational   alternatives  that  many   Alaskans  want.                                                               
Passage of HJR 1 and SJR  9 will give this generation of Alaskans                                                               
the ability to  review that restriction.  The opponents  of HJR 1                                                               
are expressing  an "elitist" fear  of the people which  should be                                                               
ignored.  If  a majority of Alaskan voters decide  to remove that                                                               
restriction funding decisions are  still controlled by a majority                                                               
of the legislature, as with  all departments of state government,                                                               
he  opined.    Speculation  is  no excuse  to  vote  against  the                                                               
resolution as no  rights are infringed upon if HJR  1 passes, but                                                               
if  it  does   not  pass,  the  public's  right   to  review  its                                                               
constitution  would  be infringed.    The  resolutions are  about                                                               
letting the current generation reconsider  a policy decision made                                                               
50 years ago  by a previous generation.  If  Alaska's heritage of                                                               
political, civil,  and religious liberty has  been transmitted to                                                               
this  generation  the  House Judiciary  Standing  Committee  will                                                               
unanimously recommend passage to the full house.                                                                                
4:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
TAMMI  GANGULI suggested  that if  the concern  is regarding  the                                                               
Blaine  Amendment  represented  historically,  a  public  message                                                               
[could be submitted] stating that  this generation of Alaskans do                                                               
not support  the Blaine  Amendment.   The [committee]  is opening                                                               
the door  as [HJR 1]  is not  simply deciding whether  the public                                                               
should   vote  on   removing  the   Blaine  Amendment   from  the                                                               
constitution.   Ms. Ganguli contended  that Alaskans will  not be                                                               
involved  in the  vote that  could allow  vouchers or  funding of                                                               
private schools as  only the legislature will be  allowed to vote                                                               
on those.  She said separation  of church and state is a founding                                                               
[principle], and  therefore, she didn't view  leaving [the Blaine                                                               
Amendment] in as a problem.   She expressed disappointment in the                                                               
House Judiciary  Standing Committee that  had an expert  who does                                                               
not live  in this state,  does not understand how  Alaska schools                                                               
work, and who  is paid by an organization that  supports the free                                                               
choice  change  was   allowed  to  spend  the   majority  of  the                                                               
[testimony] time talking  about this issue.   She then questioned                                                               
where the  other side is  in this  hearing other than  the people                                                               
who testified  earlier.  She  admitted that she was  getting very                                                               
confused and  believed [the issues]  should be very clear  to the                                                               
voters.  Some are afraid to  place this before the voters because                                                               
political  groups, she  opined,  that  manipulate the  population                                                               
under a  certain pretense, and  furthermore when  an [initiative]                                                               
is phrased  a certain  way the voters  do not  understand whether                                                               
saying "yes" or "no."  The  aforementioned is why such issues are                                                               
supposed to be  put before those with lots of  staff getting them                                                               
the  correct  information  and  research.    She  disagreed  with                                                               
earlier remarks that  it's elitist fear and  charged that removal                                                               
of [the Blaine Amendment] will open the door...                                                                                 
4:38:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  opined the  reason the  Blaine Amendment  should be                                                               
taken out of the Alaska  State Constitution is because the Alaska                                                               
Supreme   Court  interpreted   the   language  the   constitution                                                               
differently  than what  was intended  by the  Alaska founders  in                                                               
their  use of  "direct" instead  of "indirect."   He  pointed out                                                               
that the  "so-called" Blaine Amendment  never had the  purpose of                                                               
separation  of  church  and  state but  rather  was  directed  at                                                               
Catholics by the Protestants.                                                                                                   
4:39:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GANGULI  responded that  she appreciated  the history  of the                                                               
Blaine Amendment;  however, if [HJR  1] is necessary  because the                                                               
Alaska  Supreme Court  interpreted  [the Blaine  Amendment] in  a                                                               
certain way,  why then can't a  case be brought forward  to argue                                                               
the interpretation.  Once the  [Blaine Amendment] is removed, she                                                               
asked, where  is the safety net  for the voters of  Alaska to say                                                               
"yes" or "no"  to funding private education  with public dollars.                                                               
She opined  that removing the  [Blaine Amendment] does  more than                                                               
revoke a nasty  provision written years ago.   If the legislature                                                               
is  going to  fight to  allow the  public to  be involved  in the                                                               
process to removed [the Blain  Amendment], then she stressed that                                                               
[the  legislature] should  ensure  the public  has  input in  the                                                               
funding process of using public funds for private industry.                                                                     
4:41:05 PM                                                                                                                  
GEORGE  PIERCE advised  that  he found  it  offensive that  Chair                                                               
Keller took  out-of-state testimony  over that  of Alaskans.   He                                                               
then expressed concern that  out-of-state people are [contacting]                                                               
Alaskan legislators  and [imposing] their  input on the  State of                                                               
Alaska.   Mr. Pierce stated  he is opposed  to HJR 1  for exactly                                                               
the same  reason as  with HJR  18 and all  of the  resolutions to                                                               
change  the  state constitution.    He  questioned whether  there                                                               
would  be  accountability of  private  and  religious schools  in                                                               
return for accepting  public funds as state money  should be used                                                               
to comply with  state standards.  He further  questioned how more                                                               
expensive funneling money to more  expensive [private] schools is                                                               
going to fix  the problems.  He then informed  the committee of a                                                               
survey  of the  Anchorage  School District,  the  largest in  the                                                               
state that found  that 90 percent of parents were  happy with the                                                               
district  while  legislators  are working  with  studies  linking                                                               
poverty to  achievement.   Mr. Pierce opined  it is  important to                                                               
continue  the separation  of church  and state  and if  religious                                                               
schools cannot  afford to  remain open,  they should  "shut their                                                               
doors."   He  believed the  legislators  should stay  out of  the                                                               
constitution as  it is  a "slippery slope"  and should  listen to                                                               
their constituents of which 95 percent  today said to stay out of                                                               
the  Alaska  State Constitution.    In  fact, the  Department  of                                                               
Education  and   Early  Development  Commissioner,   Mike  Hanley                                                             
believes [SJR9/HJR1] is a bad idea.   Mr. Pierce then related his                                                               
belief  that  this  could  be  a  resolution  from  the  American                                                               
Legislative  Exchange Council  (ALEC)  and  that legislators  who                                                               
represent ALEC do  not represent Alaska.  He  predicted a million                                                               
dollar  lawsuit, and  questioned whether  the state  could afford                                                               
that.   He  emphasized  that legislators  should  hold town  hall                                                               
meetings on this  issue rather than listening  to outside lawyers                                                               
and  special  interest  groups.   In  conclusion,  he  urged  the                                                               
legislature to stay out of the constitution.                                                                                    
4:45:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                           
4:45:31 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR 18 Support Document~ AK Attorney General Past & Present.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 18
HJR 18 Support Document~ Current Governors & Attorney Generals.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 18
HJR 18 Support Document~2014 Statewide Elected Offices by State.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 18
HJR 18 Support Document~State by State Selection of Attorneys General.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 18
HJR 18 Testimony~Lynn Willis.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 18
HJR 1 Opposition Letter~Americans United for Separation of Church & State.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 1 Support Document~No AK Dollars to Oregon Colleges.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 1~Support-Opposition Letters.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 1 Support-Opposition Letters Part 2.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HJR 1 Support-Opposition Letters Part 3.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 47 Proposed Amendment N.1.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 47
HB 47 Proposed Amendment N.2.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 47
HB 47 Proposed Amendment N.5.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 47
HB 47 Support Document~Leg. Legal Memo ver. N.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 47
CSHB 47 ver. N Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 2/19/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 47