Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 120

03/03/2014 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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Heard & Held
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 269(JUD) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 3, 2014                                                                                          
                           1:07 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Wes Keller, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 269                                                                                                              
"An Act providing immunity for certain licensed temporary health                                                                
care providers who provide free health care services."                                                                          
     - MOVED CSHB 269(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 BILL NO. 284                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to an interstate compact on a balanced federal                                                                 
     - MOVED HB 284 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 269                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: IMMUNITY FOR TEMP. HEALTH CARE PROVIDER                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) THOMPSON                                                                                          
01/21/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/14       (H)       HSS, JUD                                                                                               
02/13/14       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/13/14       (H)       Moved CSHB 269(HSS) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/13/14       (H)       MINUTE (HSS)                                                                                           
02/17/14       (H)       HSS RPT CS(HSS) NT 5DP                                                                                 
02/17/14       (H)       DP: SEATON, PRUITT, KELLER, TARR,                                                                      
02/26/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/26/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/26/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/28/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/28/14       (H)       Moved CSHB 269(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/28/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/03/14       (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                                                                             
02/19/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/19/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/28/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/28/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/28/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/03/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
BILL: HB 284                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: COMPACT FOR A BALANCED BUDGET                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KELLER                                                                                            
01/29/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/29/14       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/13/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/13/14       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/13/14       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/14/14       (H)       STA RPT 6DP 1NR                                                                                        
02/14/14       (H)       DP: MILLETT, GATTIS, KELLER, ISAACSON,                                                                 
                         HUGHES, LYNN                                                                                           
02/14/14       (H)       NR: KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                     
02/21/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/21/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/21/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/28/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/28/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/28/14       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/03/14       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JANE PIERSON, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of the sponsor, Representative                                                                 
Thompson, presented an amendment to HB 269.                                                                                     
PATRICIA SENNER, Advanced Nurse Practitioner                                                                                    
Interim Director of Professional Practice                                                                                       
Alaska Nurses Association                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing of HB 269,                                                                  
highlighted the difference between those who held a license and                                                                 
the definition of health care provider.                                                                                         
DARRELL BREESE, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of sponsor, Representative                                                                       
Stoltze, presented HJR 18.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as prime sponsor of HJR 18.                                                                    
CHARLES COLE                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  in  his  capacity as  a  former                                                             
attorney general in opposition to HJR 18.                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:07:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WES  KELLER called the  House Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to   order  at  1:07   p.m.     Representatives  Pruitt,                                                               
Gruenberg, Foster, LeDoux, Lynn,  Millet, and Keller were present                                                               
at the call to order.                                                                                                           
         HB 269-IMMUNITY FOR TEMP. HEALTH CARE PROVIDER                                                                     
1:08:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER announced  the  first order  of  business would  be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 269,  "An  Act  providing immunity  for  certain                                                               
licensed temporary health care providers  who provide free health                                                               
care services."                                                                                                                 
g6 :38 PM                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN moved  to rescind  the committee's  previous                                                               
action  in  reporting  CSHB 269,  Version  28-LS1251\C,  Wallace,                                                               
2/28/14, from  committee on 2/28/14.   There being  no objection,                                                               
Version C was before the committee.                                                                                             
1:10:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  moved   that   the  committee   adopt                                                               
Amendment  C.1, labeled  28-LS1251\C.1,  Wallace, 2/28/14,  which                                                               
     Page 1, line 10:                                                                                                           
          Delete "courtesy license"                                                                                         
          Insert "license or permit"                                                                                        
     Page 1, lines 10 - 11:                                                                                                     
          Delete "under AS 08.01.062"                                                                                       
CHAIR KELLER objected.                                                                                                          
1:10:36 PM                                                                                                                    
JANE PIERSON, Staff, Representative  Steve Thompson, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking  on  behalf  of the  sponsor  of  HB  269,                                                               
Representative  Thompson,  explained  that Amendment  C.1  allows                                                               
temporary  licenses   or  permits  applicable  for   health  care                                                               
1:11:01 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
1:11:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PIERSON  further  explained   that  Amendment  C.1  includes                                                               
immunity  for  all  medical professions  providing  free  medical                                                               
services  under  AS  09.65.300(a).     The  changes  embodied  in                                                               
Amendment C.1 are such that Section 1 (a) will read:                                                                            
     (1)  provider  is  licensed in  the  state  to  provide                                                                    
     health care  services; in this paragraph,  "health care                                                                
     provider" includes  a health care provider  who holds a                                                                
     temporary courtesy  license as  a health  care provider                                                                
     under AS 08.01.62;                                                                                                     
MS. PIERSON  informed the committee  that Amendment  C.1 includes                                                               
chiropractors,  physicians,  nurses,  and dentists,  and  advised                                                               
that the nurses,  physicians, and Dr. James  Heston, President of                                                               
the  State   of  Alaska  Board  of   Chiropractic  Examiners  are                                                               
comfortable with Amendment C.1.                                                                                                 
1:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention  to the  language on                                                               
page  1,  [lines  13-14  through  page 2,  lines  1-4],  and  the                                                               
definition of "health care provider"  on page 2, lines 20-25, and                                                               
referred  to providers  who  customarily work  out  of a  medical                                                               
clinic as described on page 2, lines  1-2.  He noted there may be                                                               
other   providers  such   as  marital   and  family   therapists,                                                               
psychologists, or  psychological associates, who may  work out of                                                               
their own  office or  home and  suggested that  technically there                                                               
should be language  in Section 1(a)(3) to cover  providers not in                                                               
a  clinic or  medical facility  called in  for emergency  suicide                                                               
counseling. He  further suggested the sponsor  ascertain that all                                                               
of the locations are covered.                                                                                                   
MS. PIERSON  thanked Representative  Gruenberg and  indicated the                                                               
sponsor will continue to look at that issue.                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER removed  his  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objection  Amendment  C.1  was adopted.  He  then  opened  public                                                               
1:16:24 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICIA  SENNER, Advanced  Nurse Practitioner,  Interim Director                                                               
of Professional  Practice, Alaska Nurses Association,  stated she                                                               
has  no  problems  with  Amendment   C.1,  although  there  is  a                                                               
discrepancy  between the  definition of  those who  hold licenses                                                               
and  the definition  of "health  care provider"  in AS  09.65.300                                                               
which,  she surmised,  could be  cleared up  as [the  bill] moves                                                               
along.  She added that  the Alaska Nurses Association appreciates                                                               
the inclusion  of [AS  09.65.300(a)(5)] sub-paragraph  "(C)" that                                                               
requires  written  notice  of medical  providers  who  can  offer                                                               
follow-up care.                                                                                                                 
1:18:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SENNER, in response to  Representative Gruenberg, referred to                                                               
the definition of  health care providers on page  2, lines 19-25,                                                               
and   explained   that   midwives  are   under   advanced   nurse                                                               
practitioners  and are  not  a separate  category.   She  further                                                               
advised that HB  269 does not include  certified registered nurse                                                               
anesthetists  (CRNAs),  which  are  a  separate  category.    She                                                               
advised  she  could  not  speak  to  occupational  therapists  or                                                               
marital  and  family therapists,  but  said  the term  "licensee"                                                               
should be the same terminology as the health care provider.                                                                     
1:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred  to page  2, line  20, wherein                                                             
the sponsor  eliminated the term "state  license," and reiterated                                                               
Ms.   Senner's   testimony   that  Certified   Registered   Nurse                                                               
[Anesthetists] are not  included, which could be  dealt with down                                                               
the line.                                                                                                                       
CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                           
1:20:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to  report  CSHB  269,  Version  28-                                                               
LS1251\C,  Wallace, 2/18/14,  as amended,  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being no objection, CSHB 269 (JUD) moved out of committee.                                                                
           HJR 18-CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                       
1:21:21 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 opened public testimony.                                                                                           
1:21:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DARRELL BREESE, Staff, Representative  Bill Stoltze, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking on  behalf of  the sponsor  Representative                                                               
Stoltze,  specified   that  HJR  18  allows   Alaskan  voters  an                                                               
opportunity  to  determine  whether  they  prefer  to  elect  the                                                               
position  of  Alaska's  attorney   general,  and  advised  he  is                                                               
available for questions.                                                                                                        
1:23:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   LYNN  directed   attention   to  the   following                                                               
potential amendment, which read:                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 6-7:                                                                                                         
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(b) A person who has been elected attorney                                                                         
     general is subject to the same limit on tenure as the                                                                    
     governor under Section 5 of this article."                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN explained  in the  event term  limits change                                                               
from governor  to governor  or a  future legislature  changes the                                                               
terms of the  governor, this amendment allows the  term limits of                                                               
the attorney general to run  [parallel] to those of the governor.                                                               
He related that  while he had considered  requiring the candidate                                                               
for  attorney general  be  of  the same  political  party as  the                                                               
governor, Legislative  Legal and  Research Services  advised that                                                               
may  not be  an option  as  that would  necessitate the  attorney                                                               
general being on  the same ticket as the  governor and lieutenant                                                               
governor.    Representative Lynn  said  his  motion is  that  the                                                               
governor  and  attorney  general  be of  the  same  philosophical                                                               
background on  various issues, of  which being of the  same party                                                               
would help.                                                                                                                     
1:25:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX suggested changing  the language on page 2,                                                               
line 1, that says "meets  the qualifications for a superior court                                                               
judge" to  "a member of  the Alaska Bar  in good standing"  or "a                                                               
licensed attorney in  the State of Alaska."  She  said she didn't                                                               
see  the need  [for the  attorney general  to have  to] meet  the                                                               
qualifications  of   a  superior   court  judge.     Requiring  a                                                               
prospective  attorney  general to  meet  the  qualification of  a                                                               
superior court judge  would result in a discussion  as to whether                                                               
he/she would need approval by  the Alaska Judicial Council, which                                                               
she opined, wasn't the intent of the sponsor.                                                                                   
1:26:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG requested  that  the Legislative  Legal                                                               
and Research  Services drafter  that advised  Representative Lynn                                                               
be available to discuss his/her  reasoning [requiring a candidate                                                               
for attorney general be of the same party as the governor].                                                                     
1:28:02 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 1:28 p.m. to 1:31 p.m.                                                                       
1:32:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT  articulated   that  unless  [legislation]                                                               
violates the U.S. Constitution,  the Alaska State Legislature can                                                               
legislate whatever it desires for the Alaska State Constitution.                                                                
1:32:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BREESE called  attention to  the Alaska  State Constitution,                                                               
Article 3, Section 8, which read:                                                                                               
     § 8. Election                                                                                                              
     The  lieutenant  governor  shall be  nominated  in  the                                                                    
     manner provided  by law  for nominating  candidates for                                                                    
     other  elective offices.  In the  general election  the                                                                    
     votes  cast  for  a candidate  for  governor  shall  be                                                                    
     considered  as   cast  also   for  the   candidate  for                                                                    
     lieutenant  governor  running  jointly  with  him.  The                                                                    
     candidate  whose name  appears  on  the ballot  jointly                                                                    
     with  that of  the  successful  candidate for  governor                                                                    
     shall be elected lieutenant governor.                                                                                      
MR. BREESE  opined that  the language  amending the  Alaska State                                                               
Constitution  regarding the  attorney general  position could  be                                                               
1:33:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MILLETT  surmised   then   that  the   governor,                                                               
lieutenant governor, and  attorney general would run  on a three-                                                               
person ticket and all of the same political party.                                                                              
MR. BREESE stated his agreement with Representative Millett.                                                                    
1:33:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG related  that  Attorneys General  Avrum                                                               
Gross and Bruce Botelho were very  successful and were not of the                                                               
same political  party as  the governor  under which  they served.                                                               
He warned the committee to not "over legislate."                                                                                
1:34:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT,  regarding  whether all  three  positions                                                               
could potentially run  on the same ticket,  reminded members that                                                               
the  legislature [through  the  language of  the resolution]  can                                                               
specify whether all  three individuals run on the  same ticket or                                                               
on separate  tickets.  Furthermore,  the legislature  can specify                                                               
whether all  three positions have  to be  of the same  party, but                                                               
not necessarily on the same ticket.   He opined, however, that it                                                               
would  almost be  a  de facto  that  they would  be  on the  same                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BILL  STOLTZE, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
advised that  the tenor of  the debate of the  previous committee                                                               
was for  the attorney general  to be "a  third leg" on  a ticket.                                                               
He related  that he is  not "hyper-excited" that the  position be                                                               
an extension  of a partisan  ticket as  that seems to  defeat the                                                               
purpose of  HJR 18, which  he characterized as having  a people's                                                               
attorney  general.   He  offered  that  the legislature  has  the                                                               
opportunity and responsibility  to choose the best  route for the                                                               
attorney general position.                                                                                                      
1:37:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    MILLETT    highlighted    that    the    Alaska                                                               
Constitutional  Convention minutes  include the  exact debate  on                                                               
this  issue  as  the  committee  is having.    She  found  it  an                                                               
interesting concept  to have an  elected attorney general  of any                                                               
party, who  does not run  on a  ticket and is  truly independent,                                                               
offer  his/her independent  opinion.   The Alaska  Constitutional                                                               
Convention minutes  include remarks that if  the attorney general                                                               
is  elected  it  may  cause   havoc  for  the  governor  and  the                                                               
governor's agenda.   She  then expressed  concern that  if Alaska                                                               
had  a   democratic  governor  and  lieutenant   governor  and  a                                                               
republican attorney  general, the  legislature would  receive two                                                               
differing   opinions  plus   opinions   from  the   legislature's                                                               
attorneys.   Representative Millett noted that  she favors having                                                               
tension between  the legislature and the  governor as legislation                                                               
may turn  out for  the better.   She  then offered  her agreement                                                               
with  Representative  Stoltze  in that  an  independent  attorney                                                               
general should  run separately otherwise  it's no  different than                                                               
the existing situation.                                                                                                         
1:40:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  submitted that  this is  the people's  document and                                                               
the  difference  between  the  Alaska  Constitutional  Convention                                                               
minutes and  the House Judiciary  Standing Committee now  is that                                                               
this  committee consists  of legislators  who appreciate  vetting                                                               
issues  which  allows  a  member  the  opportunity  to  recognize                                                               
differing points  of view.   In the end,  he opined, [HJR  18] is                                                               
simply placing before the voters  of Alaska the proposal to elect                                                               
the attorney general.                                                                                                           
1:41:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX,  referring to  a  blue  and red  handout,                                                               
noted  the vast  majority of  states with  an elected  republican                                                               
governor  have  a republican  attorney  general  and vice  versa,                                                               
which she  attributed to  the state  being a  red or  blue state.                                                               
The  thought  that there  may  be  conflicting ideas  based  upon                                                               
opposing  political parties  or  even within  the same  political                                                               
party  indicates there  is  no real  rationale  in mandating  the                                                               
attorney  general be  of  the  same party  as  the governor,  she                                                               
1:43:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE informed  the committee  that during  the                                                               
time  of  the  Alaska  Constitutional  Convention  there  was  an                                                               
elected attorney general and an  appointed governor, although the                                                               
convention minutes  complained there  were not enough  lawyers or                                                               
people  in  Alaska willing  to  run  for  attorney general.    He                                                               
highlighted that  elected Attorneys  General Ralph Rivers  and J.                                                               
Gerald Williams both served ten  years and John Ruslgard served a                                                               
total   of   thirteen  years   under   three   governors.     The                                                               
aforementioned  illustrates incredible  stability  and tenure  of                                                               
the position of attorney general,  which notably exceeds the term                                                               
limits proposed within HJR 18.                                                                                                  
1:45:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT questioned  Mr. Breese  as to  whether he                                                               
had reviewed  any antagonistic difficulties for  the legislatures                                                               
or state governments  of the 11 states in which  the governor and                                                               
attorney general are of different political parties.                                                                            
MR.  BREESE  responded he  had  not  specifically performed  that                                                               
1:46:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  recalled  that certain  governors  and                                                               
lieutenant governors  [of other states] have  declined to support                                                               
the state legislation or  its constitutional provisions regarding                                                               
sexual  orientation.   In  the event  the  governor and  attorney                                                               
general  are elected  independently  and do  not  agree [upon  an                                                               
issue]  the attorney  general  may decide  to  take the  opposite                                                               
position in order to obtain political points, he opined.                                                                        
1:48:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  pointed out there are  certain limitations                                                               
on the governor,  such as tenure and dual office  holding, and he                                                               
pondered whether  those limitations should apply  to the attorney                                                               
general as well.                                                                                                                
1:49:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  queried  whether  the  attorney  general                                                               
would have  the same term  limits as the governor  and lieutenant                                                               
MR. BREESE explained  that as HJR 18 is written,  the term limits                                                               
are for  a four-year period, which  is the same as  the governor,                                                               
with  a  maximum  of  two  terms  served  consecutively  and  the                                                               
individual  must sit  out a  term before  running for  the office                                                               
again.   There is  no limit on  the total amount  of terms.   The                                                               
earlier amendment  mentioned language  which would result  in the                                                               
attorney  general position  having the  same term  length as  the                                                               
governor   should   the   legislature  and   the   Alaska   State                                                               
Constitution  change  the  number  of years  a  governor  serves.                                                               
Therefore, the attorney  general's term length would  be the same                                                               
as the  governor, but  the limit of  two consecutive  terms would                                                               
1:52:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  COLE, drawing  from his  experience  as Governor  Walter                                                               
Hickel's appointed  attorney general from  December 1990-February                                                               
1994,  recommended  leaving  the  position  of  attorney  general                                                               
appointment by the governor as it is  and noted he had not made a                                                               
study of this issue in other  states.  He opined that the ability                                                               
to obtain a  highly qualified attorney general  under the present                                                               
system  has  been  overlooked  in   the  discussions.    He  then                                                               
highlighted the importance  of the attorney general  in the State                                                               
of Alaska, particularly  in view of the problems  Alaska has with                                                               
the  federal government,  and that  Alaska is  a new  state still                                                               
finding its footings.  Therefore,  it is highly important for the                                                               
governor  to have  the authority  to appoint  the best  and well-                                                               
qualified  attorney   general  who  is  willing   to  accept  the                                                               
sacrifice and also is well  qualified to discharge the duties and                                                               
responsibilities  of the  office.   When an  attorney general  is                                                               
elected,  as in  other states,  the  individual may  have a  fine                                                               
ability  to be  elected but  not necessarily  to act  as attorney                                                               
1:55:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. COLE related  his impression that there is  not much actually                                                               
gained by  the attorney  general and governor  being of  the same                                                               
party, but  rather the  importance of  the governor  and attorney                                                               
general maintaining a close working  relationship.  He noted that                                                               
problems and subjects come up  almost daily in which the attorney                                                               
general  and  governor  must  act  jointly.    For  example,  the                                                               
lawsuits  that were  filed by  the  State of  Alaska against  the                                                               
North  Slope  producers  for  taxes  owed  to  the  state.    The                                                               
Department of Law (DOL) worked  steadfastly on those cases and it                                                               
came  down  to  the  governor  deciding  whether  to  accept  the                                                               
settlement  proposals  reached  by  the  Department  of  Law  and                                                               
producers.   If,  at the  time,  Alaska had  an attorney  general                                                               
running for  office who desired  to continue litigating so  as to                                                               
get a feather  in his cap by successfully  litigating against big                                                               
oil and  a governor  who wanted  to settle  the case  there would                                                               
have  been  conflicts  in  whether   that  settlement  should  be                                                               
accepted,  he opined.   Seemingly,  he noted,  in other  states a                                                               
large  percentage of  attorneys general  are anxious  to run  for                                                               
governor in the next election.   Decisions come up constantly and                                                               
it is just  very important that the  working relationship between                                                               
the governor and attorney general  be preserved.  He suggested as                                                               
attorney general if  he had coveted running  for governor against                                                               
Governor   Hickel   essentially   Alaska   would   have   had   a                                                               
dysfunctional  government.    Therefore,  he  questioned  how  an                                                               
attorney general  running for office against  an elected governor                                                               
could  work  effectively.   There  is  no question  the  attorney                                                               
general  is the  Alaskan citizens'  attorney which  he noted  was                                                               
constantly on his  mind and which he made very  clear to Governor                                                               
Hickel.   He recalled there were  times he had to  make decisions                                                               
that were  not necessarily  in accord  with the  governor's view,                                                               
but that is  the way the system  works and that's the  way it did                                                               
work.  Mr.  Cole, acknowledging the difficulties  of the existing                                                               
system, recommended  leaving the system  as it is  and reiterated                                                               
that the  attorney general  and governor must  have a  very close                                                               
working relationship for the appointed  system to work, which has                                                               
worked and does work.                                                                                                           
1:58:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT proffered  that  Alaska  is dealing  with                                                               
federal government  overreach on a  regular basis and  noted that                                                               
Attorney General Michael Geraghty has  been active because of the                                                             
direction of Governor Parnell to  file amicus briefs and continue                                                               
pushing back hard on the federal  government.  She inquired as to                                                               
who takes  precedence in  a scenario  in which  Alaska's governor                                                               
decides to  file a  lawsuit against  the federal  government over                                                               
loss  of lands,  oil development,  resource development,  or land                                                               
conveyances and  the elected attorney  general is opposed  to the                                                               
MR. COLE advised that other than  a situation that is a matter of                                                               
principle or  the attorney general's  interpretation of  the law,                                                               
the attorney  general takes his/her directive  from the governor.                                                               
On  the other  hand, he  explained that  if the  attorney general                                                               
refutes  the  governor,  the governor  could  appoint  a  special                                                               
counsel  to  represent the  interests  of  the  state.   He  then                                                               
offered  a reverse  situation in  which the  governor chooses  to                                                               
take action  against the  United States  Environmental Protection                                                               
Agency (EPA) and the elected attorney  general is a member of the                                                               
Sierra Club.   Such  situations in which  there are  political or                                                               
differing philosophies  between the elected attorney  general and                                                               
governor can  result in  greater problems than  in the  rare case                                                               
the  governor decides  on an  action and  the appointed  attorney                                                               
general politely declines, he opined.                                                                                           
2:01:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT surmised  the governor  cannot compel  an                                                               
elected attorney general to perform in a certain manner.                                                                        
MR. COLE recalled a case  in California wherein the governor gave                                                               
directions  to  the  attorney  general,  who  then  reminded  the                                                               
governor that he  is an elected attorney general  and couldn't be                                                               
told what  to do.   He also recalled  when he worked  for elected                                                               
Attorney  General  Jay  Gerald  Williams there  was  a  year  the                                                               
attorney general was outside of the  state for over 300 days.  An                                                               
elected  attorney  general  is not  necessarily  a  cure-all,  he                                                               
2:02:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX,  recalling Mr. Cole's comment  that having                                                               
an  elected attorney  general and  an elected  governor leads  to                                                               
dysfunctional government, and asked  regarding the 45 states with                                                               
elected attorneys  general - whether by  the voters, legislature,                                                               
or Supreme Court  are in utter chaos and  dysfunction as compared                                                               
to Alaska.                                                                                                                      
MR. COLE reiterating  he had not studied that  issue clarified he                                                               
could  easily  see  how,  in state  government,  there  could  be                                                               
dysfunctional   relationships  between   the   governor  and   an                                                               
[elected] attorney  general.   He recalled  his time  as attorney                                                               
general during which  he often dealt with  commissioners who were                                                               
appointed by the governor to  carry out the governor's philosophy                                                               
of government.   Mr. Cole  surmised that  had he been  an elected                                                               
attorney  general   running  for   re-election  or   running  for                                                               
governor,  he   would  not  have   had  the   same  "comfortable"                                                               
relationship with  Governor Hickel's  commissioners.   He, again,                                                               
reiterated that close working relationships  are important in the                                                               
day-to-day  issues.    Although  hard  problems  develop  in  any                                                               
relationship, mutual confidence and  respect between the attorney                                                               
general and  governor result  in a  far better  relationship than                                                               
one of conflict.                                                                                                                
2:05:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  conveyed  that she  struggles  with  the                                                               
federal  government  owning  65  percent of  Alaska's  lands  and                                                               
questioned if the issues existing  between Alaska and the federal                                                               
government would  have an effect  on the interaction  between the                                                               
governor and an elected  attorney general regarding environmental                                                               
issues  and development.   She  asked if  the high  percentage of                                                               
federal lands  and issues  with the  federal government  would be                                                               
another hindrance to an elected attorney general.                                                                               
MR. COLE responded that it  is important for the attorney general                                                               
and  governor   to  have  the  same   political  philosophy  when                                                               
litigation is involved.                                                                                                         
2:07:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, suggesting  that a  few of  Mr. Cole's                                                               
comments have been "cloaked" in  the term "conflict of interest,"                                                               
requested  Mr. Cole  describe the  nature of  the attorney-client                                                               
relationship, specifically between  an appointed attorney general                                                               
and governor  and an elected  attorney general and governor.   He                                                               
questioned  how  an elected  attorney  general  would impact  the                                                               
governor's  [authority]  to  fire   the  attorney  general  if  a                                                               
difference of opinion arose.   He specifically requested Mr. Cole                                                               
respond  to these  questions from  the  Canons of  [Professional]                                                               
Ethics point of view.                                                                                                           
MR. COLE  recalled a situation  wherein Governor  Hickel directed                                                               
him  to sue  the  principals  of ExxonMobil  for  damages to  the                                                               
environment with a  settlement in the amount of $1  billion.  Mr.                                                               
Cole  said  he  understood  it  was his  duty  as  the  appointed                                                               
attorney  general to  accept direction  from the  governor, which                                                               
was to seek  damages to remediate the damage  to the environment,                                                               
and to also  carry out the governor's philosophy of  his terms of                                                               
that  litigation.    When a  settlement  number  was  tentatively                                                               
reached,  he discussed  it with  the  governor and  due to  their                                                               
close  working relationship  Governor Hickel  decided the  number                                                               
was acceptable  and the litigation  was concluded on  that basis.                                                               
Had they  not had the  [mutual trust],  the state could  still be                                                               
litigating  that case,  he opined.   The  same is  true with  the                                                               
settlement negotiations  for the  several billions of  dollars in                                                               
unpaid taxes against  the North Slope producers.   The settlement                                                               
came as a result of hard work  by very capable lawyers in DOL and                                                               
his relationship with Governor Hickel.   He explained that had he                                                               
been seeking  re-election as attorney general  or running against                                                               
Governor Hickel he  did not believe they would  have achieved the                                                               
results  they satisfactorily  achieved.   He  opined  there is  a                                                               
reason  Alaska  does not  want  personal  or political  conflicts                                                               
between the attorney  general and governor.   In addition, Alaska                                                               
profits  by  allowing  the  governor  to  appoint  a  first  rate                                                               
attorney as it  is essential to have the  best qualified attorney                                                               
general, he opined.                                                                                                             
2:13:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG summarized Mr.  Cole's statement in that                                                               
lawyers and judges are a different  breed of people from those in                                                               
the  legislature and  there are  many lawyers  who would  be very                                                               
good judges  and attorneys general  but "lousy"  politicians, and                                                               
vice  versa.   He further  surmised  that Mr.  Cole believes  the                                                               
state would  be best served by  the best lawyers in  the position                                                               
of attorney general.                                                                                                            
MR.  COLE agreed  and pointed  out that  the attorney  general is                                                               
responsible for  vast duties  in Alaska.   In fact,  the attorney                                                               
general's  name is  on every  felony indictment  issued by  grand                                                               
juries in  the state.   The  attorney general  carefully appoints                                                               
and monitors the  hiring of all district  attorneys and assistant                                                               
attorneys  general   to  ensure   that  Alaska  hires   the  best                                                               
prosecution to which  law enforcement officers and  the people of                                                               
Alaska are  justly entitled, he  explained.   The aforementioned,                                                               
he  opined,  is  achieved  by   lawyers  who  have  criminal  law                                                               
experience  being  in  the position  of  district  attorneys  and                                                               
assistant attorneys  general.  It  is also important,  he opined,                                                               
for the attorney general to  have trial and litigation experience                                                               
as the state is involved  in extensive litigation and he/she must                                                               
also possess  the ability to  evaluate litigation.   For example,                                                               
when Alaska  and the federal  government were  jointly litigating                                                               
Exxon Valdez [class action Exxon  Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S.                                                             
471  (2008)] and  the plaintiffs'  attorneys [which  included the                                                               
federal government] intended  to prove damages by  "some sense of                                                               
contingent valuation,"  he exercised  his experience  as attorney                                                               
general and advised the plaintiffs, "We  just are not going to go                                                               
to  trial on  a  contingent  valuation while  Exxon  and its  co-                                                               
defendants ... hired  the most highly qualified  economist in the                                                               
world."   He recalled  that the  state endured  multiple problems                                                               
with the Agricultural Revolving  Loan Fund (ARLF), which resulted                                                               
in the state  litigating and carefully monitoring  cases in which                                                               
hundreds  of thousands  of dollars  were  owed to  the people  of                                                               
Alaska.   The aforementioned responsibilities are  in addition to                                                               
writing legal  memoranda and proofs and  advising the legislature                                                               
[and  governor].   He  then pointed  out  that the  legislature's                                                               
confirmation  process is  a protective  mechanism that  political                                                               
forces in  the legislature can  exercise in  ascertaining whether                                                               
the  governor's  appointed attorney  general  is  qualified.   He                                                               
emphasized that  at the end of  the day the people  of Alaska pay                                                               
the price when the system relies  upon an attorney general who is                                                               
not  the best  qualified lawyer,  but is  colorful enough  to get                                                               
elected.   Therefore, he reiterated  his support for  keeping the                                                               
existing system of electing the state's attorney general.                                                                       
2:19:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX inquired as  to the criminal law experience                                                               
of  current  Attorney General  Michael  C.  Geraghty, and  former                                                               
Attorneys General Dan Sullivan and Dave Markus.                                                                                 
MR. COLE pled the Fifth Amendment.                                                                                              
2:20:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT  questioned  the  ramifications  from  the                                                               
governor's perspective if the state  moved to an elected attorney                                                               
general.   He  surmised there  would  be more  costs than  simply                                                               
putting a  name on a  ballot in  that the governor  would require                                                               
hiring  his/her  own attorneys  for  advice  as there  would  not                                                               
necessarily  be  trust  between   the  governor  and  an  elected                                                               
attorney general.                                                                                                               
MR. COLE responded  that it is not so much  a matter of economics                                                               
as  it  is  conflicting  opinions  and  upon  whose  opinion  the                                                               
governor relies.   Mr. Cole expressed he does not  trust that the                                                               
people of  Alaska are well  served with conflicting  attitudes or                                                               
political philosophies  and maintained the state  should have one                                                               
attorney general who heads the Department of Law.                                                                               
2:22:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  drawing from presidential history  and the                                                               
history of  other states,  he opined  that difficulty  is created                                                               
for  the executive  at the  top level  when a  member of  his/her                                                               
cabinet  plans  to become  president  or  governor.   He  further                                                               
opined  that  [electing  the  attorney  general]  is  a  counter-                                                               
productive measure  because it  could cloud  the judgment  of the                                                               
attorney general  when that  attorney general's  goal is  to [run                                                               
against  the  governor].    Furthermore,  Alaska  is  a  resource                                                               
development state [that almost demands]  a corporate lawyer whose                                                               
goal  is solely  focused  on the  state.   He  commented that  he                                                               
struggles with changing [to an elected position].                                                                               
MR. COLE  agreed that it is  a huge problem and  suggested that a                                                               
governor  who  thought  his  attorney  general  was  planning  on                                                               
running against  him in  the next  election would  likely believe                                                               
that attorney general's  goal was really what  would best further                                                               
his chances of re-election.                                                                                                     
2:25:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  highlighted the  need for  the governor                                                               
to trust  the attorney general and  vice versa, as it  works both                                                               
ways in an attorney-client relationship.   He then requested that                                                               
Chair Keller  advise the committee  of his intentions for  HJR 18                                                               
as he  would like  to invite  the following  to testify:   Alaska                                                               
Constitutional   Convention   delegate  and   former   Lieutenant                                                               
Governor Jack Coghill [under Governor  Walter Hickel], and former                                                               
Attorneys General  Tallis Colberg  [under Governor  Sarah Palin],                                                               
Av Gross  [under Governor  Jay S.  Hammond], Norm  Gorsuch [under                                                               
Governor  William  A.  Egan],  and  Grace  Berg  Schaible  [under                                                               
Governor  Steve  Cowper].   He  further  requested  that  issues,                                                               
unless  minor changes,  are taken  up as  amendments rather  than                                                               
being  molded into  a committee  substitute in  order to  exactly                                                               
review each change.                                                                                                             
CHAIR KELLER announced HJR 18 would be held over.                                                                               
              HB 284-COMPACT FOR A BALANCED BUDGET                                                                          
2:32:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the last order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 284, "An Act  relating to an interstate compact on                                                               
a balanced federal budget."                                                                                                     
2:33:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  moved to report  HB 284 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
2:33:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  objected for purposes of  discussion in                                                               
that the proposed compact is new  and has not been adopted in any                                                               
other state.   While it  is a novel  and important concept  as it                                                               
offers  a   different  manner   in  which   to  amend   the  U.S.                                                               
Constitution, he  opined it  is basically a  template to  cause a                                                               
convention to be [called] of  which have potential constitutional                                                               
ramifications at the federal level.   Therefore, he expressed the                                                               
need for the committee to fully understand the legislation.                                                                     
2:36:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT called for the question.                                                                                 
2:36:15 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
2:37:01 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll call  vote was  taken.   Representatives Foster,  LeDoux,                                                               
Lynn, Millett, Pruitt, and Keller  voted in favor of reporting HB                                                               
284  out of  committee.   Representative Gruenberg  voted against                                                               
it.   Therefore, HB 284 was  reported out of the  House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee by a vote of 6-1.                                                                                            
2:37:52 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:37 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB269 Proposed Amendment C. 1.pdf HJUD 3/3/2014 1:00:00 PM
HB 269
HB 269 Support Document~Medical Boards and Temporary Licenses or Permits.pdf HJUD 3/3/2014 1:00:00 PM
SL&C 3/27/2014 1:30:00 PM
HB 269