Legislature(2015 - 2016)GRUENBERG 120

04/01/2016 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
02:07:56 PM Start
02:08:46 PM HB236
03:10:13 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
03:19:58 PM HJR29
04:01:08 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:00 p.m. Today --
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
- Alaska Judicial Council
- Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
- Commission on Judicial Conduct
- Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
- Violent Crimes Compensation Board
+= HJR 29 CALL FED. CONSTITUTIONAL CONV:TERM LIMITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
*+ HB 339 MOTOR VEHICLE ARSON TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 236 RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 236 Out of Committee
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 1, 2016                                                                                          
                           2:07 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kurt Olson (alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 236                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to marriage solemnization."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 236 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE ALASKA BAR                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Adam Trombley - Anchorage                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     -CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Amy Gurton Mead - Juneau                                                                                                   
     Robert Sheldon - Anchorage                                                                                                 
     Karla Taylor-Welch - Fairbanks                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     -CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ALASKA JUDICIAL COUNCIL                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Loretta M. Bullard - Nome                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     -CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
VIOLENT CRIMES COMPENSATION BOARD                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Gerad Godfrey - Anchorage                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     -CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     H. Conner Thomas - Nome                                                                                                    
     Gary J. Turner - Kenai                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     -CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 29                                                                                                   
Requesting the  United States  Congress to  call a  convention of                                                               
the states  to propose  an amendment to  the Constitution  of the                                                               
United  States to  set a  limit  on the  number of  terms that  a                                                               
person may be  elected as a member of the  United States House of                                                               
Representatives and as a member  of the United States Senate; and                                                               
urging the  legislatures of  the other 49  states to  request the                                                               
United States Congress to call a convention of the states.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 339                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to arson in the third degree."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 236                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TALERICO                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/19/16       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/8/16                                                                                
01/19/16       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/16       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/30/16       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/30/16       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
03/31/16       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/31/16       (H)       -- Will be Continued from 3/30/16 --                                                                   
04/01/16       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 29                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CALL FED. CONSTITUTIONAL CONV: TERM LIMITS                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KELLER                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/27/16       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/16       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/25/16       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/25/16       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/01/16       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOSHUA DECKER, Executive Director                                                                                               
American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska (ACLU)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 236, testified                                                                  
regarding balance.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA SAMASH                                                                                                                   
Nenana, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 236, offered                                                                    
support.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JOSHUA BANKS, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 236, answered                                                                   
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADAM TROMBLEY                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Board of                                                                   
Governors of the Alaska State Bar.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LORETTA BULLARD                                                                                                                 
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Alaska                                                                     
Judicial Council.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
NICK TOMBULETES, Executive Director                                                                                             
U.S. Term Limits                                                                                                                
Melburn, Florida                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HJR 29 discussed term                                                              
limits for the U.S. Congress.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:07:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GABRIELLE  LEDOUX  called  the  House  Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 2:07  p.m. Representatives Keller,                                                               
Lynn,  Claman, Kreiss-Tomkins,  and  LeDoux were  present at  the                                                               
call to  order.   Representatives Foster  and Millett  arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          HB 236-RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:08:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 236, "An Act relating to marriage solemnization."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:09:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOSHUA  DECKER,  Executive  Director,  American  Civil  Liberties                                                               
Union of Alaska (ACLU), said  that the bill offers something good                                                               
as  well  as  inadvertently   dramatically  changes  the  balance                                                               
between religious  freedom and  sex non-discrimination  laws that                                                               
have existed  in the country for  62 years.  On  the frontend, he                                                               
advised, the ACLU strongly supports  the First Amendment right of                                                               
clergy  to  choose  to  solemnize   or  not  solemnize  marriages                                                               
comporting  with   their  faith,  and  that   the  ACLU's  letter                                                               
(directed to the  committee) cited examples of the  ACLU going to                                                               
court to vindicate  one's practice of religion  which it averages                                                               
approximately one  lawsuit per month.   He related  that concerns                                                               
of the  ACLU are that  the bill disturbs a  long-standing balance                                                               
point  between the  right  of individuals  to  pray and  practice                                                               
their faith  with the right  of the  public to be  treated fairly                                                               
and  free from  discrimination in  public spaces.   He  explained                                                               
that  since  the original  Civil  Rights  Act, society  struck  a                                                               
balance  between  private  spaces  and  public  spaces  and  when                                                               
organizations open themselves  up to the public, it  has to treat                                                               
all comers fairly,  and HB 236 undoes  this carefully constructed                                                               
balance.   He commented that  there is no  less of a  defender of                                                               
freedom  of religion  than United  States  Supreme Court  Justice                                                               
Antonin Scalia, who  26 years ago wrote about this  balance.  Mr.                                                               
Decker paraphrased  the following, "we  want to ensure  that laws                                                               
of general  applicability that apply  to everyone  equally should                                                               
in fact apply to everyone equally  -- and that we should not lose                                                               
this equilibrium  point away from religious  organizations."  Mr.                                                               
Decker  then  referred   to  his  letter  pages   4-5,  that  its                                                               
suggestions would allow the bill  to "pass muster," in clarifying                                                               
the  right  of clergy  and  religious  organizations to  practice                                                               
their faith when it is not open  to the public, and when they are                                                               
open to the public they should treat all comers equally.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:13:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  requested his  definition of a  church being                                                               
"open to the  public."  Obviously, he offered  people are members                                                               
of a church and it is open  to membership, and he could not think                                                               
of any churches that wouldn't welcome a visitor.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:13:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER, in  response to  Representative Lynn,  said that  by                                                               
open to the public, the  American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska                                                               
(ACLU) means open  to the public in the secular  space.  Churches                                                               
open to  anyone who  would like to  participate in  the religious                                                               
service  are   exempt  from   non-discrimination  laws   in  that                                                               
capacity.   He  referred to  yesterday's testimony  regarding the                                                               
Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau  wherein it rents out event space                                                               
open  to  the  public  for  secular purposes.    For  example,  a                                                               
Lutheran couple renting out part of  the banquet hall space for a                                                               
secular wedding reception.  He  explained that that is the ACLU's                                                               
definition of "open  to the public," such that being  open to all                                                               
comers in the secular non-religious sphere.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:14:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  referred to  open  to  the  public and  offered  a                                                               
scenario of a  synagogue with an area it rents  out to the public                                                               
for  various functions,  and the  Klu Klux  Klan or  the American                                                               
Nazi Party want  to have a celebration of Nazi-ism  in that event                                                               
space of  the Jewish  community.  She  asked whether  current law                                                               
forces the Jewish  community to rent to the Klu  Klux Klan or the                                                               
Nazi party.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER  answered no.    In  the  event  a synagogue  or  any                                                               
institution is  opening up space  to the public they  are allowed                                                               
to  turn away  members of  the Klu  Klux Klan  or members  of the                                                               
American Nazi  Party because  the nation, as  a society,  has not                                                               
said that membership in the Klu  Klux Klan or American Nazi Party                                                               
falls  under  what  the  law  calls  a  "protected  class."    He                                                               
explained, there  are certain categories  the law has  carved out                                                               
because society said "when one is  open to the public, one should                                                               
not treat people  on the basis of race, sex,  national origin, or                                                               
physical disability, differently."   Therefore, he said, it would                                                               
be within their  rights to refuse to rent that  space to a member                                                               
of the American Nazi Party or the Klu Klux Klan.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked whether religion is a protected category.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  answered that  religion is  a protected  category and                                                               
one is not allowed ...                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:18:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  surmised that in  other words, the  Catholic Church                                                               
would have  to rent out space  under current law to  a group that                                                               
identified themselves as witches.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:18:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  answered that  it would depend  upon how  that church                                                               
treated  the  space,  and  it  would be  perfectly  fine  if  the                                                               
Catholic Church  made the decision  on the frontend that  it will                                                               
only rent  that space out to  Catholics.  The Catholic  Church is                                                               
allowed to  treat its spaces  as private; however, if  the church                                                               
says  on certain  days it  will rent  the to  the Girl  Scouts of                                                               
America and the  Senior Citizens group, then the  church made the                                                               
decision to  treat that particular  space as part of  the public.                                                               
Therefore,  he said,  the church  would have  to be  open to  the                                                               
public.   He  added  that  churches have  the  ability to  decide                                                               
whether it wants  to be open to the public  because the law gives                                                               
a church complete  freedom to restrict the uses of  that space in                                                               
accordance  with its  faith.   Although, he  reiterated, for  the                                                               
past 62 years when religious  entities have decided to open space                                                               
to the  public on the  frontend and be  open to all  comers, they                                                               
must in fact be open to all comers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked "including witches?"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER responded  that if, in the hypothetical,  a church has                                                               
decided to open the space to the  public then it would have to be                                                               
open to the public and it  could not discriminate on the basis of                                                               
religions in the same it way  it cannot discriminate on the basis                                                               
of race,  national origin.  He  explained that it is  in the same                                                               
way employers cannot  tell an employee they are  fired based upon                                                               
their religion, and those same  protected classes apply to spaces                                                               
of  public accommodation.    Although, in  the  event the  church                                                               
desires to control who is able  to use their spaces, "they should                                                               
make the eminently reasonable choice  to keep those spaces public                                                               
and not, in fact, open to all comers," he said.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:20:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  asked whether he  was saying  that the bill  in its                                                               
current  form is  unconstitutional, or  rather that  he disagrees                                                               
with the policy.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:20:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER extended  there are no constitutional  cases on point,                                                               
but  if  this  bill  is  passed in  its  current  form  it  would                                                               
dramatically  rewrite  the  balance  the country  and  the  state                                                               
struck for 62 years ...                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX interjected "in your opinion."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  explained that it  is in  the opinions of  the United                                                               
States Supreme  Court and the  Alaska Supreme Court.   He offered                                                               
that  their letter  cites  both the  U.S.  Supreme Court  Justice                                                               
Scalia's case  of Employment  Div., Dept.  of Human  Resources of                                                             
Oregon  v. Smith,  494 U.S.  872 (1990);  and the  Alaska Supreme                                                             
Court under Swanner  v. Anchorage Equal Rights  Cornmn., 874 P.2d                                                             
274 (Alaska  1994).  He  offered that both clearly  enunciate the                                                               
principle of  the equilibrium point between  the public's freedom                                                               
to be free  from discrimination in public  spaces, and religion's                                                               
freedom  to  exercise  its  religion and  define  it  in  private                                                               
spaces.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:22:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   noted  that   under  AS   18.80,  [State                                                               
Commission  For  Human Rights],  if  a  church makes  a  property                                                               
available for leasing for whatever  purpose, potentially there is                                                               
a  problem  because  someone  could allege  that  the  church  is                                                               
discriminating  simply for  denying access  to the  facility, and                                                               
this bill moves toward clarifying that issue.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER related that he did not understand his question.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  surmised that  what Mr. Decker  is saying,                                                               
under the recently enacted Alaska law,  if a piece of property is                                                               
not  leased,  the owner  becomes  vulnerable  due to  denial  for                                                               
access under  the new "Human  Rights Act."   He asked  whether he                                                               
was correct, that is what the law tries to clarify.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER advised  that  as  the ACLU  reads  the  bill in  its                                                               
current  form, it  is trying  to  carve out,  from existing  non-                                                               
discrimination   law,  places   of   public  accommodation   that                                                               
religious organizations  own and  are renting  out to  the public                                                               
for  wedding  receptions  and  celebrations  of  marriages.    He                                                               
apologized  if  he  was  not  entirely  following  Representative                                                               
Keller's question.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER offered  that the concern animating this  bill in many                                                               
ways is  a solution in  search of a problem.   Non-discrimination                                                               
protections  are not  new in  Alaska or  the United  States.   In                                                               
Anchorage, for  example, in terms  of protections  of individuals                                                               
who are gay and transgender,  Anchorage has had these protections                                                               
for the  past six months, and  neither for the past  62 years, or                                                               
in the  past six months,  the sky has not  fallen, he said.   The                                                               
ACLU  is  unaware  of  any  churches that  have  been  unable  to                                                               
practice their  religion as their  faith teaches it on  the basis                                                               
of  civil rights,  non-discrimination laws.  He pointed  out that                                                               
because this is a solution in search  of a problem in a bill that                                                               
dramatically rewrites a balance the  nation has had for over one-                                                               
half  century.      It  is   for  these  reasons  the  ACLU  made                                                               
suggestions in  its letter to reiterate  the constitutional right                                                               
of churches to  practice their faith as they see  fit, as well as                                                               
to clarify  that this bill  should not undertake such  a dramatic                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:25:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked Mr. Decker to  abandon that question                                                               
for now and  referred to the balance Mr. Decker  said has existed                                                               
for 50 years, and asked whether he  is using case law to form his                                                               
opinion, and asked for a list.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  reiterated that  the ACLU's  letter cites  two cases,                                                               
one  was authored  by U.S.  Supreme  Court Justice  Scalia in  an                                                               
eight to one decision, Employment  Div., Dept. of Human Resources                                                             
of  Oregon  v.  Smith,  494  U.S.  872  (1990),  and  Swanner  v.                                                           
Anchorage Equal Rights Cornmn., 874 P.2d 274 (Alaska 1994)].                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER referred  to Mr.  Decker's statement  that                                                               
the balance  was to  protect the  rights of  people that  were in                                                               
that public space.  He requested  an illustration because it is a                                                               
balance he had  never considered, and asked what  the balance was                                                               
between what and what.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER explained that, as a  first principle, the nation as a                                                               
society decided,  beginning 1964,  that when a  place is  open to                                                               
all comers  they cannot turn  people away because of  their race,                                                               
sex, physical disability, national origin  or religion.  Both the                                                               
United States Supreme Court and  Alaska Supreme Court, he pointed                                                               
out, decided  that when there  are laws of  general applicability                                                               
that apply to  everyone equally, the balance  that society struck                                                               
is  that  when religious  organizations  want  to fully  practice                                                               
their  faith and  shield out  a  space that  is not  open to  all                                                               
comers, it  should keep that  space private.  Although,  he said,                                                               
when the  decision is made on  the frontend to open  up a banquet                                                               
hall, it should  be available to all comers.   He reiterated that                                                               
the  balance has  worked  well  for the  public  as  well as  the                                                               
churches for 62 years.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:29:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN referred to a  question he had asked Bishop                                                               
Edward Burns,  and asked whether  the Catholic Church  would rent                                                               
the Shrine of  St. Therese to a Lutheran couple  who wanted their                                                               
wedding reception there, and a  Catholic priest had not performed                                                               
the ceremony.   He said he  was advised that unless  the Lutheran                                                               
couple converted just before their  wedding they couldn't get the                                                               
priest to marry them.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked,  in  the  context  of  the  public                                                               
accommodations  questions   raised  in  the  ACLU's   letter  and                                                               
proposed amendments, Mr. Decker's  perspective about the Catholic                                                               
Church if  it is renting to  the Lutheran couple for  a reception                                                               
after being  married in  the Lutheran Church.   He  further asked                                                               
whether that means  they are now becoming public  for purposes of                                                               
renting  to  a  gay  couple  that wants  to  have  their  wedding                                                               
reception at the Shrine of St. Terese.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  responded that if  the Catholic Church has  taken the                                                               
position it will not marry  this couple because they are Lutheran                                                               
that is  certainly within its  rights under the  First Amendment.                                                               
He  reiterated that  separate from  the  religious ceremony,  the                                                               
church made  the decision  that it  is willing  to rent  to these                                                               
individuals, irrespective of  the fact they are  Lutheran and not                                                               
Catholic, then its  decision to rent the  secular reception space                                                               
to that couple makes it a place of public accommodation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:31:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN surmised  that on  the  one hand  it is  a                                                               
solution in  search of a problem,  and on the other  hand even if                                                               
the legislature passes  the current bill, a  potential lawsuit is                                                               
lurking for  the Catholic Church if  it is renting the  Shrine of                                                               
St. Therese to a non-member of the church for a reception.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:32:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER reiterated  that if  the Catholic  Church decided  to                                                               
rent  part of  the Shrine  of St.  Therese for  secular purposes,                                                               
such  as secular  wedding  receptions,  then it  is  open to  all                                                               
comers.   A  problem  would  arise if  the  Catholic Church  then                                                               
decided  to not  rent  that  space to  someone  of the  protected                                                               
class.   In  the event  the  Catholic Church  is concerned  about                                                               
that, and it does want to  maintain its ability to choose to rent                                                               
or  not rent  that space  on the  basis of  protected class,  the                                                               
wiser  course of  action  would  be for  the  Catholic Church  to                                                               
decide to  not make  that space  open to the  public and  keep it                                                               
private and available to Catholic individuals.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:33:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   CLAMAN   surmised   that   from   Mr.   Decker's                                                               
perspective,  even  if the  bill  is  passed as  written  without                                                               
either of  his proposed amendments, the  statute wouldn't protect                                                               
the church and he would  still have the same public accommodation                                                               
arguments regardless of what the statute says.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  agreed, and  he said,  "Certainly under  federal non-                                                               
discrimination law."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN referred  to  Mr.  Decker's two  suggested                                                               
amendments and asked how they solve the problems he raised.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER  pointed to  the  robust  constitutional freedoms  of                                                               
clergy and  religious organizations in  that they do not  have to                                                               
solemnize marriages  if their faith  teaches that a  certain type                                                               
of marriage  is outside the  boundary of  that faith.   He added,                                                               
that freedom has  existed under the First Amendment  for over 200                                                               
years.  Mr.  Decker continued that the  second proposed amendment                                                               
clarifies this public/private distinction  and, he reiterated, if                                                               
churches  want  to  continue  unfettered  discretion,  the  wiser                                                               
course  of action  is to  designate spaces  as private,  thereby,                                                               
making it  unavailable to all  comers and  the non-discrimination                                                               
laws  do  not  apply,  such as  private  places,  private  clubs,                                                               
private   organizations   and   religious  organizations.      He                                                               
reiterated  that once  the decision  is made  to be  open to  the                                                               
public, it  must be open  to the public.   He explained  that the                                                               
two amendments focus on the  constitutional right to choose which                                                               
marriages  to solemnize,  and  clarifies that  it  is in  private                                                               
spaces that they  have unfettered discretion about  whom to admit                                                               
and serve.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:36:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT offered a  scenario of the Catholic Church                                                               
deciding to make the Shrine of  St. Therese a private club, and a                                                               
person submitted an application, met  all of the criteria of that                                                               
club, and  was granted access for  a fee, she asked  whether that                                                               
would be acceptable.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  responded that the  Catholic Church wouldn't  need to                                                               
go that far  because it is a religious organization  and it could                                                               
simply choose to rent the  space only to Catholic individuals and                                                               
there would be no administrative hoops to go through.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  asked whether the  Catholic Church could  decide to                                                               
rent  the space  only to  Christians, such  as groups  similar to                                                               
Catholicism.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.   DECKER   answered   that  in   both   federal   and   state                                                               
constitutional  law there  is a  well-established principle  that                                                               
courts  cannot  interrogate  the  nuances  of  religious  belief;                                                               
therefore,  if  the  Catholic  Church  takes  the  position  that                                                               
consistent with  their religious  faith, they  only want  to make                                                               
the space available  to other individuals who  believe that Jesus                                                               
is the Messiah  they would have a strong argument  that the space                                                               
is  in  fact  private  because   the  test  in  terms  of  public                                                               
accommodation is whether it is open  to all comers.  In the event                                                               
it  is not  open  to all  comers  and if  the  reason the  church                                                               
decided not  to make  it open  to all comers  is grounded  in its                                                               
religious belief, it would have  a strong argument that the space                                                               
is private and not public.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  asked why the church  couldn't set out that  one of                                                               
the tenets in  the church is that  it will rent the  space to all                                                               
people  who believe  that marriage  is  between one  man and  one                                                               
woman.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:39:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  replied that he does  not want to get  to the nuances                                                               
of ....                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  expressed, that  is exactly  what the  committee is                                                               
getting into, the nuances.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:39:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER related that he does  not want to get into the nuances                                                               
of Catholic  doctrine because he is  not an expert.   The test in                                                               
terms  of public  accommodation  is  whether it  is  open to  all                                                               
comers; therefore,  if the Shrine of  St. Therese is open  to all                                                               
comers to  rent for  a secular  reception space,  it needs  to be                                                               
open to all comers.   The church can decide to open  it up to the                                                               
private members of its community in which case ...                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX interjected that she  did not believe Mr. Decker was                                                               
answering her question.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX restated  her  question and  asked  why the  church                                                               
couldn't  simply say  that it  would rent  the space  out to  all                                                               
people  who believe  that marriage  is  between one  man and  one                                                               
woman.   She pointed  out that  Mr. Decker  said that  the church                                                               
could only rent  to people who accepted Jesus as  the Messiah, so                                                               
why couldn't  the church  say it  would only  rent to  people who                                                               
believe that  marriage is  between one  man and  one woman.   She                                                               
expressed that that  is a fundamental doctrine of  the faith, and                                                               
then asked  whether the Supreme  Court actually said  that sexual                                                               
orientation is a protected class.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER responded no, the United States Supreme Court has ...                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX said, thank you.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:42:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether Mr. Decker  is aware                                                               
of an instance  in Alaska where this legislation  would enable an                                                               
organization that wants  to change its policies but  thus far has                                                               
declined due to fear of exposing itself to liability.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER replied  that he  was not  aware of  any organization                                                               
that,  but for  the fear  of liability,  has been  inhibited from                                                               
changing  its policies.    As  the ACLU  sees  it,  there are  no                                                               
problems out there that this bill would solve, he said                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:43:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to Mr. Decker's statement                                                               
that  the United  States  Supreme Court  has  not defined  sexual                                                               
orientation as  a protected class,  and commented that  the basic                                                               
discussion here is  gay marriages.  With regard  to the protected                                                               
class, where  does a  gay couple, that  is getting  married, fall                                                               
into this area  of non-discrimination given that  gay couples and                                                               
sexual orientation has not been defined as a protected class.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER  reiterated  that  no couple,  whether  same  sex  or                                                               
opposite sex,  has a  constitutional right  to have  a particular                                                               
religious individual marry  them, and there is  nothing in Alaska                                                               
law or nationwide  that obligates any religious  person or clergy                                                               
to officiate  any wedding.   He  explained that  the intersection                                                               
between a same sex couple  wishing to celebrate their marriage in                                                               
a  secular wedding  reception  would interact  with  this law  in                                                               
communities such  as Anchorage,  which decided to  include sexual                                                               
orientation  as  part  of its  existing  non-discrimination  law.                                                               
That  couple, if  a space  is open  to the  public, has  the same                                                               
rights as everyone else to use the space, he said.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:45:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS surmised  there isn't  a protected                                                               
class on  the federal or  state level,  but this law  would trump                                                               
the  definition of  protected  classes on  a  municipal level  in                                                               
communities,  such   as  Anchorage,  that  have   defined  sexual                                                               
orientation as  a protected class.   Therefore,  protections that                                                               
exist for  this protected class,  on a municipal level,  would be                                                               
trumped by this law, he asked.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  said that Representative Kreiss-Tomkins  was entirely                                                               
accurate as it would trump  municipal protections, and it is also                                                               
accurate  to  say  that  both  federally  and  statewide,  sexual                                                               
orientation is not a protected class.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether sexual  orientation                                                               
is a protected class in the City and Borough of Juneau.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  advised sexual orientation  is not a  protected class                                                               
in the City and Borough of Juneau.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether it  is accurate  to                                                               
say that the Catholic Church in  Juneau could decline to rent out                                                               
the  Shrine of  St. Therese  to  a gay  couple that  is having  a                                                               
secular non-religious celebration because  gay couples and sexual                                                               
orientation is not a protected class.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DECKER  responded  that  Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins  was                                                               
correct in  that sexual orientation  is not a protected  class in                                                               
the  City and  Borough of  Juneau,  the Catholic  Church has  the                                                               
legal ability to choose to rent  or not rent space to individuals                                                               
based upon their sexual orientation.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:47:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA SAMASH, asked whether she could ask questions of the                                                                     
committee                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX explained that testimony does not include                                                                          
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SAMASH offered testimony, as follows:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Alrighty,  thank  you for  your  time  and hearing  our                                                                    
     testimonies  today.   Please vote  yes  on HB  236.   I                                                                    
     believe this bill should pass  because we as Christians                                                                    
     are  being  targeted  and  singled   out  and  we  need                                                                    
     protection.     As   a  Christian   myself,  I   cannot                                                                    
     participate    in   certain    clubs   or    activities                                                                    
     contradicting to the Bible.   And that's my right as an                                                                    
     American citizen  to believe and  serve any god  I feel                                                                    
     is best for me.   The Christian church, like me, cannot                                                                    
     support  or  participate   in  those  organizations  or                                                                    
     activities against  the Bible  either.   It's important                                                                    
     that we have  a law that keeps us  from persecution and                                                                    
     from those who  feel offended if we deny  access to our                                                                    
     buildings or  services for anti-Christian events.   The                                                                    
     church's  financial  status  is generally  fragile  and                                                                    
     that's  because we  are trying  to help  people in  our                                                                    
     communities  that   have  needs.     Like   those  with                                                                    
     addictions,  or single  moms, homeless  people, orphans                                                                    
     in other  countries, et  cetra.   One lawsuit  can shut                                                                    
     down not only  the church but all of  the services they                                                                    
     provide to those in dire need.   This is America and it                                                                    
     makes me really sad that  we need to testify to protect                                                                    
     our own Christian rights.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     I'm asking,  please, that  you vote yes  on HB  236 and                                                                    
     protect our religious freedoms.   And since I can't ask                                                                    
     you a question, all I  can respond to my interpretation                                                                    
     of  the bill  is when  you were  asking about  ... does                                                                    
     people that believe  in Jesus or believe in  sex of one                                                                    
     man and one  woman only allowed to use  the church, you                                                                    
     know, like facility.   And I thought that  was a really                                                                    
     good question  and I  can't -- I'm  not his  lawyer and                                                                    
     I'm not  Talerico, so if  I'm messing this  up, forgive                                                                    
     me.   I  feel like  the answer  to that  question isn't                                                                    
     like everybody that walks through  the door has to take                                                                    
     a quiz  on if  they believe the  doctrine of  church as                                                                    
     much as  does the  activity that  they're participating                                                                    
     in support  or contradict  the doctrine of  the church.                                                                    
     In other  words, if  you have 10  people in  there that                                                                    
     want to  participate in some  homosexual event  and the                                                                    
     doctrine says  that homosexuality  is wrong,  you could                                                                    
     ask  those 10  people and  maybe 8  out of  10 of  them                                                                    
     would say,  we believe Jesus is  the Son of God.   But,                                                                    
     you  know,   the  Bible  says,  and   I'm  not  calling                                                                    
     homosexuals'  demons okay,  not  sayin that.   But  the                                                                    
     Bible says even demons believe  Jesus Christ is the Son                                                                    
     of  God.   Believing Jesus  Christ  is the  Son of  God                                                                    
     isn't --  is -- is not  -- is wonderful, but  the thing                                                                    
     is,  does  the  activity  support  or  go  against  the                                                                    
     Christian church's  doctrine.  That's, to  me, the real                                                                    
     point, you know.  So,  I just wanna clarify that that's                                                                    
     my interpretation of what it  means and it would be sad                                                                    
     to see  a church, you  know, that has  strong religious                                                                    
     beliefs in  certain areas,  not just  homosexuality but                                                                    
     any  area,  you know.    Like  you  said Klu  Klux  Kan                                                                    
     somebody  mentioned,  you  know.   Nobody  believes  in                                                                    
     hurting  somebody  just cause  of  the  color of  their                                                                    
     skin, that's  ridiculous, you  know.   And fer  sure we                                                                    
     wouldn't  -- I  know my  church wouldn't  want the  Klu                                                                    
     Klux  Klan to  do  a ceremony  because they're  hurting                                                                    
     people no matter of their  protected class or whatever,                                                                    
     by law or not, because  they go against our doctrine of                                                                    
     love for  each other  and killing  people is  not love.                                                                    
     So,  that's what  I wanted  to share  with you.   Thank                                                                    
     you.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:53:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKIN offered  a  scenario  of the  NWACP                                                               
having a hall  and it decided to open that  hall in a non-private                                                               
manner beyond the  functions of the NWACP chapter and  rent it to                                                               
all comers.   He asked whether the Klu Klux  Klan could rent that                                                               
space  in  the category  of  "all  comers"  and would  they  have                                                               
grounds to  do so and  appeal for a non-discrimination  in asking                                                               
to rent that facility.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  reiterated his previous  testimony that the  Klu Klux                                                               
Klan is not a protected class and  if the NWACP does have a space                                                               
open to all comers  it is still able to turn  people away as long                                                               
as that decision is not based  upon a protected class.  The NWACP                                                               
is well within its rights to refuse to rent the space, he said.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:55:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  offered a  scenario of  a religion  and one  of its                                                               
tenets  was anti-miscegenation  law,  and she  asked whether  the                                                               
NWACP must  rent its space to  an organization with a  tenet that                                                               
white people can't marry black people.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  related that  religion is a  protected class  and for                                                               
over  one-half  century the  nation  decided  that public  spaces                                                               
cannot decline  to serve  people simply  based on  the customer's                                                               
religion.   He noted  that the  hypothetical is  interesting, and                                                               
there may  be a  problem if  the NWACP's decision  not to  rent a                                                               
public space, otherwise was made  available to all comers, simply                                                               
based on  the religion of  a specific applicant.   Although, this                                                               
hypothetical  is unlikely  to occur,  but  if it  does the  safer                                                               
course of  action for the  NWACP would be  to decide it  will not                                                               
rent the space to all comers and keep it private, he said.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX,  after  ascertaining  no one  wished  to  testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:58:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOSHUA BANKS,  Staff, Representative Dave Talerico,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, advised he is available.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   asked   the  names   of   local                                                               
governments in Alaska  that have defined sexual  orientation as a                                                               
protected class.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. DECKER  responded he  was unaware of  all of  the communities                                                               
that have  labeled sexual orientation  as a protected  class, but                                                               
this  legislation  is not  targeted  toward  same sex  marriages.                                                               
Although, the  U.S. Supreme Court's  ruling on same  sex marriage                                                               
was the  start of laws  similar to HB  236, it is  not identical.                                                               
The intention  of the bill  is not  to target same  sex marriage,                                                               
but  to allow  any religious  organization to  officiate weddings                                                               
based upon their religious views, he said.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:00:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS offered that  he was unsure whether                                                               
the  solemnization of  marriage is  the crux  here, but  everyone                                                               
including the  ACLU agreed that that  is a "cumbiyah" point.   He                                                               
opined  that  the  crux  of the  differing  perspectives  is  the                                                               
accommodation  of  a  facility  that  could  be  related  to  the                                                               
solemnization formation  or celebration  of a  wedding reception.                                                               
He  asked, if  this is  not related  to same  sex marriage,  what                                                               
class, besides sexual orientation and  same sex marriages, is out                                                               
there that is creating a quandary for religious institutions.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  further asked whether there  is an                                                               
institution  in  Anchorage  that  has  definitively  changed  its                                                               
practices, such  that instead  of opening  its facilities  to the                                                               
public  and all  comers, has  made itself  private to  avoid this                                                               
quandary in  response to the  Anchorage Assembly  defining sexual                                                               
orientation as a protected class.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:01:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS,  in response  to the first  question, advised  that to                                                               
his knowledge in the State of  Alaska there are not any instances                                                               
of  a  pastor  or  any religious  organization  being  forced  to                                                               
officiate  a  wedding  or  have   a  reception  at  their  church                                                               
facility.   Although,  he  pointed  out, Representative  Talerico                                                               
received concerns from  pastors and clergy that  the U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court ruling would potentially put  them in a position where they                                                               
would have to refuse to officiate  the wedding or refuse to allow                                                               
a reception at their facility  which would possibly lead to civil                                                               
litigation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:03:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS asked  for clarification that these                                                               
are Anchorage clergy that currently  make space available to rent                                                               
to the public and all comers.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS  clarified that the  pastors are constituents  and live                                                               
within  District  6.    He  added that  they  spoke  directly  to                                                               
Representative  Talerico and  he was  unaware of  their locations                                                               
and whether they  do open their facilities to the  public, but he                                                               
would follow up on the question.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:03:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   asked  whether   any  community,                                                               
within District 6, has defined  sexual orientation as a protected                                                               
class;   therefore,   creating   this   problem   for   religious                                                               
institutions.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS opined that he did not believe so.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN referred  to the  two proposed  amendments                                                               
within  the letter  from the  American Civil  Liberties Union  of                                                               
Alaska and  asked whether he  had reviewed those  amendments with                                                               
Representative Talerico prior to this hearing.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS responded  that this bill was pre-filed  in January and                                                               
the sponsor  did not reach  out to  the ACLU of  Alaska regarding                                                               
this.  He added that outside of  the quote from Mr. Decker in the                                                               
Alaska  Dispatch News,  the sponsor's  office has  not heard  any                                                             
comments or  had any contacts  from the ACLU regarding  this bill                                                               
and this is completely new to the sponsor.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN restated  his question  and asked  whether                                                               
Mr.  Banks had  an opportunity  to show  the sponsor  this letter                                                               
prior to this hearing.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS responded, no.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:05:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  commented  that  Fundamentalist  Mormons                                                               
believe  in polygamy  and performing  a marriage  is something  a                                                               
religious organization  wouldn't have  to perform, as  an example                                                               
of something outside of same  sex marriage, that doesn't fit into                                                               
the doctrine of the Catholic Church.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN noted that before  passing this bill out he                                                               
would be  curious to see  what Representative Talerico  thinks of                                                               
either of the two proposed amendments.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:06:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  advised she  had reviewed  the amendments  and that                                                               
that issue will not hold up the bill.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN related  that this  is  a good  bill and  he                                                               
supports it because it is common sense.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:06:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to  report  HB  236,  labeled  29-                                                               
LS1290\A  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being no objection, HB 236                                                               
passed from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:06 p.m., to 3:10 p.m.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                  
              BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE ALASKA BAR                                                                          
                 COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT                                                                             
                    ALASKA JUDICIAL COUNCIL                                                                                 
               VIOLENT CRIMES COMPENSATION BOARD                                                                            
                COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:10:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
the  confirmation hearings  on various  boards, commissions,  and                                                               
committees for Governor Bill Walker's eight appointees.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX remarked  that the  committee members  have had  an                                                               
opportunity  to review  resumes  from all  of  the appointees  as                                                               
follows:   Board of Governors  of the Alaska Bar,  Adam Trombley;                                                               
Commission on  Judicial Conduct,  Karla Taylor-Welch,  Amy Gurton                                                               
Mead,  and Robert  Sheldon; Alaska  Judicial Council,  Loretta M.                                                               
Bullard; Violent  Crimes Compensation  Board, Gerad  Godfrey; and                                                               
Committee on  Legislative Ethics,  H. Connor  Thomas and  Gary J.                                                               
Turner.  She advised that  the following appointees are online to                                                               
testify  and/or answer  questions: Adam  Trombley, Karla  Taylor-                                                               
Welch,  Amy  Gurton Mead,  Loretta  M.  Bullard, Robert  Sheldon,                                                               
Gerad Godfrey, and H. Connor Thomas.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN noted he would  like to ask Adam Trombley a                                                               
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:12:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADAM TROMBLEY, said he was available.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN asked  how  he has  found  being a  public                                                               
member on the  Board of Governor of the Alaska  State Bar because                                                               
it appears  he is  interested enough to  continue serving  on the                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TROMBLEY  responded that  he  has  enjoyed the  disciplinary                                                               
component  and he  is impressed  with how  hard attorneys  are on                                                               
each other for those who break  bar rules, and how stringent they                                                               
hold  them to  it.   He  described  that as  the  best part  and,                                                               
speaking  as one  of the  public members,  there are  discussions                                                               
about changes  to the bar rules,  or how to address  an issue, or                                                               
what to pass on to the  Alaska Supreme Court because the Board of                                                               
Governor of the Alaska  State Bar does a lot of  the leg work for                                                               
the Alaska Supreme Court.   He said he tries to  bring it back to                                                               
how a  non-attorney would view what  the board is doing  which is                                                               
how he views his role.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:13:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN related there  are three public members and                                                               
they  are outnumbered  by the  lawyers, and  he asked  whether he                                                               
ever  feels his  concerns  as  a public  member  are not  weighed                                                               
carefully by the entire board.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. TROMBLEY replied  no, he has never felt that  way because the                                                               
attorneys  are always  judicious  about listening  to the  public                                                               
members' concerns.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:14:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER thanked  Conner Thomas  for his  continued                                                               
service on  the Committee on  Legislative Ethics and  stated that                                                               
he believes  the House Judiciary  Standing Committee  is familiar                                                               
with Mr. Thomas.  He then  turned to Loretta Bullard who would be                                                               
a new  member on  the Alaska  Judicial Council,  and said  he has                                                               
known her for  many years.  He related he  is excited for someone                                                               
to bring a rural perspective and  asked her to speak to her rural                                                               
experience.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:15:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORETTA BULLARD  advised that  she lives in  Nome, was  raised in                                                               
Alaska, and  retired four  years ago as  president of  a regional                                                               
non-profit for  21 years.  She  advised she was appointed  to the                                                               
Alaska  Judicial  Council  in October,  2015,  and  has  attended                                                               
meetings since that time.   During that time they have considered                                                               
applicants  for   the  Superior  Court  in   Anchorage  and  also                                                               
applicants  for the  Alaska Supreme  Court which  is a  very good                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER  pointed out  that  Ms.  Bullard has  been                                                               
active with  many different organizations,  such as  the regional                                                               
Native  non-profit in  Nome, AFN,  and  other organizations  both                                                               
Native and  non-Native throughout  the state, and  that she  is a                                                               
fair and smart person.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:17:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  asked whether any  of the appointees would  like to                                                               
offer testimony  themselves, there  being no response  she opened                                                               
public testimony.   After ascertaining  no one wished  to testify                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:18:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to advance the  confirmations of the                                                               
[eight]  appointees  referred  to the  House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee to a joint session  of the House of Representatives and                                                               
Senate with  the understanding that  the committee's vote  is not                                                               
approval or disapproval.  It is  a vote to move the names forward                                                               
to  the full  body  as follows:  Adam Trombley  to  the Board  of                                                               
Governors  of  the Alaska  State  Bar;  Amy Gurton  Mead,  Robert                                                               
Sheldon,  and Karla  Taylor-Welch to  the Commission  on Judicial                                                               
Conduct;  Loretta  M. Bullard  to  the  Alaska Judicial  Council;                                                               
Gerad  Godfrey  to  the Violent  Crimes  Compensation  Board;  H.                                                               
Conner  Thomas,   and  Gary  J.   Turner  to  the   Committee  on                                                               
Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX announced  that  there being  no  objection and  in                                                               
accordance  with  AS  24.60.130   the  House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee  has  reviewed  the qualifications  of  the  governor's                                                               
appointees  and recommends  that the  names be  forwarded to  the                                                               
joint session for  consideration.  She advised  that moving these                                                               
names forward does  not reflect the intent of any  member to vote                                                               
either  for  or  against  these individuals  during  any  further                                                               
sessions for the purposes of ratification of their appointment.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:19:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:19 p.m., to 3:19 p.m.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
       HJR 29-CALL FED. CONSTITUTIONAL CONV: TERM LIMITS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:19:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  29,  Requesting  the United  States                                                               
Congress  to  call a  convention  of  the  states to  propose  an                                                               
amendment  to the  Constitution of  the  United States  to set  a                                                               
limit on the  number of terms that  a person may be  elected as a                                                               
member of  the United  States House of  Representatives and  as a                                                               
member of the  United States Senate; and  urging the legislatures                                                               
of the other  49 states to request the United  States Congress to                                                               
call a convention of the states.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:24:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  presented HJR  29  and  advised it  is  a                                                               
resolution  that  makes an  appeal  to  Congress  to call  for  a                                                               
convention for  an amendment  to have term  limits on  the United                                                               
States  Senate   and  United  State  House   of  Representatives.                                                               
Representative Keller referred to  the Constitution of the United                                                               
States, Article V, which read as follows:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The Congress, whenever two thirds  of both houses shall                                                                    
     deem  it necessary,  shall propose  amendments to  this                                                                    
     Constitution,   or,   on   the   application   of   the                                                                    
     legislatures  of  two  thirds of  the  several  states,                                                                    
     shall  call  a  convention  for  proposing  amendments,                                                                    
     which, in  either case, shall  be valid to  all intents                                                                    
     and  purposes,  as  part  of  this  Constitution,  when                                                                    
     ratified by  the legislatures of  three fourths  of the                                                                    
     several  states, or  by  conventions  in three  fourths                                                                    
     thereof, as the  one or the other  mode of ratification                                                                    
     may  be  proposed by  the  Congress;  provided that  no                                                                    
     amendment  which may  be  made prior  to  the year  one                                                                    
     thousand eight  hundred and eight  shall in  any manner                                                                    
     affect  the  first  and fourth  clauses  in  the  ninth                                                                    
     section  of  the  first article;  and  that  no  state,                                                                    
     without  its consent,  shall be  deprived of  its equal                                                                    
     suffrage in the Senate.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  commented that  Article V  is part  of the                                                               
original  Constitution of  the United  States, and  the founders,                                                               
foreseeing a time  there may be a need  for adjustments, included                                                               
Article V, and  provided two ways to make an  amendment to change                                                               
the constitution.   One of the methods is that  the U.S. Congress                                                               
must have  a two-thirds  vote and,  he opined,  that 33  of those                                                               
have been put  forward.  He then referred HJR  29, and advised it                                                               
is the second Article V process  in which to have a convention of                                                               
the states.  Two-thirds of the  states make an application to the                                                               
U.S.  Congress   to  have  a   convention,  Congress   calls  the                                                               
convention,  and three-fourths  of the  states must  ratify.   He                                                               
noted that it  is sometimes forgotten that is a  high bar because                                                               
only 27  of the 33  offered by  Congress were ratified  by three-                                                               
fourths of  the states.   He pointed  to the growing  interest to                                                               
get  two-thirds  of  the  states   to  put  forward  language  to                                                               
Congress, and advised the U.S.  Term Limits group is coordinating                                                               
this effort.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:27:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICK TOMBULETES, Executive Director,  U.S. Term Limits, said that                                                               
U.S. Term Limits is the  only full-time organization dedicated to                                                               
placing term limits  on the U.S. Congress.   He offered testimony                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In  the 1990s  our organization  helped citizens  in 23                                                                    
     states  put term  limits on  their members  of Congress                                                                    
     using  a  ballot  measures,  including  right  here  in                                                                    
     Alaska, and  it passed  in 23 states  at that  point it                                                                    
     was just shy of 50  percent of the entire Congress that                                                                    
     would have  had a term  limit.   And it looked  like it                                                                    
     was going  to be inevitable  that that would  impel the                                                                    
     Congress  itself to  propose  an  amendment that  would                                                                    
     apply to everyone.   But, it was not to  be because the                                                                    
     Supreme  Court stepped  in in  the  decision U.S.  Term                                                                  
     Limits  v. Thornton  of which  our  organization was  a                                                                  
     part,  and ruled  that the  list of  qualifications for                                                                    
     office  to   the  Congress   in  the   Constitution  is                                                                    
     exhaustive.  That the states  cannot utilize the ballot                                                                    
     measure,  state   statutes,  or   state  constitutional                                                                    
     amendments to add  onto it.  So,  while they foreclosed                                                                    
     on that possibility,  I guess you could  say the silver                                                                    
     lining was that  they opened up the  possibility to get                                                                    
     this done  using a constitutional  amendment.   And so,                                                                    
     the  U.S. Constitution  says, as  Representative Keller                                                                    
     mentioned,  that upon  application  from two-thirds  of                                                                    
     the  states,  so  that  would  be  34  at  this  point,                                                                    
     Congress  shall call  a convention  for the  purpose of                                                                    
     proposing  amendments.   And  so,  the convention  that                                                                    
     Alaska would  call for in this  resolution is exclusive                                                                    
     to  the subject  of Congressional  term limits,  and it                                                                    
     would not go  active until 33 other  states have passed                                                                    
     similar or the  same resolution.  So far  my home state                                                                    
     of Florida  was the first  to pass the  resolution back                                                                    
     in February.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Now, we  think that  HJR 29  should be  adopted because                                                                    
     there is a  very real concern that  members of Congress                                                                    
     are removed  from their constituents and  they rely too                                                                    
     heavily  on incumbency  to  deflect  challenges at  the                                                                    
     ballot   box.      And    the   latest   average   from                                                                    
     "RealClearPolitics",   Congress   had  a   13   percent                                                                    
     approval  rating but  a 95  percent re-election  rating                                                                    
     for  the  incumbents.    And   I  think  that  evidence                                                                    
     suggests  that you  have a  broken system.   There  was                                                                    
     also  a  study  done   by  Princeton  and  Northwestern                                                                    
     Universities  in 2014  where they  analyzed over  2,000                                                                    
     public opinion  surveys on almost all  national issues.                                                                    
     And  they   compared  those  public  opinions   to  the                                                                    
     policies  that   became  law  from  Congress   and  the                                                                    
     researchers  concluded  that  the  preferences  of  the                                                                    
     average   American   have   a   meniscal   near   zero,                                                                    
     statistically      non-significant     impact      upon                                                                    
     Congressional  policy.   But when  they looked  at, you                                                                    
     know,  the  perceptions  and  views  of  the  upper  10                                                                    
     percent of  voters in the  country, the ones  that were                                                                    
     funding  the   packs  and   the  re-elections   of  the                                                                    
     Congressmen,  there was  a correlation.    So, I  think                                                                    
     most  people feel  disconnected from  Congress in  this                                                                    
     way, they  feel that their  voices are not  being heard                                                                    
     at the  federal level.   And that's  part of  what term                                                                    
     limits are intended to address.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Congress  was not  intended  to be  a  -- Congress  was                                                                    
     intended to  be citizen legislature whose  members were                                                                    
     very close  to their  constituents and would  come home                                                                    
     to spend time  around them, much in the way  you all do                                                                    
     it here in Alaska.  But,  the mentality was lost as the                                                                    
     population  grew,  the  size   and  the  complexity  of                                                                    
     government grew  and so  did the needs  that it  had to                                                                    
     address.  You know, Alaska  is noted for having a small                                                                    
     state  legislature,   but  in   terms  of   the  actual                                                                    
     representation  ratio and  the size  of the  districts,                                                                    
     you  know  how  powerful  each  individual  voters  and                                                                    
     constituent of yours is, you're  one of the best in the                                                                    
     country.   And when you  compare that to  Congress with                                                                    
     an average  House district size of  700,000 people, you                                                                    
     are looking  at great difficulty in  holding members of                                                                    
     Congress  accountable.     And,  that's   when  special                                                                    
     interests  tend  to step  into  the  vacuum and  really                                                                    
     decide  who  can  get  elected   because  the  cost  of                                                                    
     unseating  a U.S.  House incumbent  is  pegged at  $2.5                                                                    
     million    by    the    Foundation    for    Government                                                                    
     Accountability.   And  so, we  view that  as sort  of a                                                                    
     barrier to entry for the  average person, you know, the                                                                    
     farmer, the school teacher, the  union member who wants                                                                    
     to  get   elected  and  have   their  voice   heard  in                                                                    
     Washington.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     So, term  limits would reduce  those barriers  to entry                                                                    
     and it's important  to note the amendment  is not aimed                                                                    
     at any one member of  Congress, nor is it guaranteed to                                                                    
     affect  the   current  membership.    In   fact,  at  a                                                                    
     convention the delegates that you  all select, and that                                                                    
     the  other  states  select,  would   be  in  charge  of                                                                    
     deciding how  long and what the  appropriate term limit                                                                    
     is, whether  the current members are  grandfathered in,                                                                    
     whether it is prospective  or retro-active.  That's not                                                                    
     something that comes mandated from this resolution.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     And the  most important  thing, I  think, is  that this                                                                    
     would  really honor  the views  of a  vast majority  of                                                                    
     Alaskans.  In  1994 the vote from the  people of Alaska                                                                    
     for Congressional  term limits was 63  percent in favor                                                                    
     of a  statute limiting  Congressional terms  and that's                                                                    
     actually still on the books  today in Title 15, Chapter                                                                    
     30 of Alaska  Statutes.  Of course,  this was nullified                                                                    
     by the Supreme  Court in the Thornton  case, but that's                                                                  
     what left  the door open  to do it  with constitutional                                                                    
     amendments.     And  then,   recent  polling   done  by                                                                    
     McLaughlin &  Associates, which is a  respected polling                                                                    
     firm,  found  that 78  percent  of  Alaskans today  now                                                                    
     support an  Article V Amendment Convention  to put term                                                                    
     limits on Congress.  And  you can slice that every age,                                                                    
     race, gender, party demographic  group, and they're all                                                                    
     equally supportive of it.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     So, you  know, in closing  as the Vice-Chair  said, the                                                                    
     history of Article  V really makes it  the perfect tool                                                                    
     for the  states to  use at  a time like  this.   It was                                                                    
     written into the Constitution  specifically so that the                                                                    
     states  could  bypass  Congress and  obtain  amendments                                                                    
     that might  not be in  Congress's best interests.   And                                                                    
     there's never  been a better  moment for the  states to                                                                    
     take action and kind  of re-establish this balance with                                                                    
     Congress.   Give Congress back  to the  American people                                                                    
     who  are obviously  disillusioned  by the  performance.                                                                    
     So thank you for your time  and I'll be happy to answer                                                                    
     any questions you have.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:34:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked why term  limits were not included in                                                               
the original  Constitution, the provision for  amendment is there                                                               
but no term limits.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  explained that the founding  fathers were divided                                                               
on  the issue  of  term  limits and  obviously  they had  greater                                                               
concerns of  preserving the union  at that point and  making sure                                                               
there was  a new constitution that  could endure.  The  issue did                                                               
come  up and  several of  the founders  were in  favor of  a term                                                               
limit.  He said, it was  Benjamin Franklin who wrote a term limit                                                               
into the  Constitution of Pennsylvania, Thomas  Jefferson was not                                                               
at the Philadelphia  convention but upon seeing it  for the first                                                               
time after coming back from France,  he noted that the absence of                                                               
rotation in office which was a  term limit would end in abuse for                                                               
the U.S. Senate  and for the President of the  United States.  He                                                               
opined that a reason why it  wasn't included was that they didn't                                                               
think  it  would  be  necessary because  the  average  tenure  in                                                               
Congress did not rise above two  terms until the beginning of the                                                               
Twentieth  Century.   There  was  rapid  turnover and  Washington                                                               
D.C., was not so much a place of  profit and power as it is today                                                               
and, he noted, people actually  wanted to leave Washington rather                                                               
than go there.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:36:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether it is  accurate that                                                               
each  state   would  determine  its  own   election  process  for                                                               
delegates attending the convention.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES answered that he was correct.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS asked how  active is an application                                                               
for  a constitutional  convention, how  much time  is the  window                                                               
open to get to the two-thirds of states threshold.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  explained that  if there  is no  termination date                                                               
within the  applying resolution, then it  is indefinitely active.                                                               
It is  recommended that if  an application goes too  long without                                                               
being renewed, it  should be renewed due to the  way the language                                                               
has to  conform to  resolutions coming  from other  states across                                                               
the country.   He added that it could present  a problem for this                                                               
effort  because  at the  end,  while  Congress has  very  limited                                                               
authority   in  this   process,  it   does  decide   whether  the                                                               
applications are on the same subject  and can choose to decline a                                                               
convention on that basis.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  inquired as to whether  there is a                                                               
possible  scenario  that if  every  resolution  from every  state                                                               
calling  for  an  Article  V  Constitutional  Convention  is  not                                                               
verbatim identical that Congress  theoretically could strike down                                                               
or  decline  to  call  the  convention  on  the  basis  of  those                                                               
technical and trivial differentiations.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:38:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  answered that it is  theoretically possible, some                                                               
of the  case law suggests that  the courts would be  empowered to                                                               
step in  and resolve Article  V disputes.   It could step  in and                                                               
compel Congress  to call  the convention if  the court  deems the                                                               
applications are  on the  same subject.   He  offered that  it is                                                               
critically important for the states  not to give Congress excuses                                                               
to deny the  convention, so the greater variation a  state has in                                                               
the  resolution,  the more  likely  Congress  will simply  ignore                                                               
them.    In fact,  he  pointed  out,  there  have been  400  plus                                                               
applications  sent by  the states  to Congress  for an  Article V                                                               
convention, but  it has  still never been  done because  they are                                                               
not  on the  same topic.   He  reiterated that  it is  critically                                                               
important  that they  are similar  in language  which is  part of                                                               
what U.S.  Term Limits does in  going around the country  to work                                                               
with legislatures for that level of conformity.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:39:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to  the  last point  and                                                               
asked how  many states thus far  have called for a  convention on                                                               
this subject, and what is the  closest the United States has come                                                               
to an  Article V convention  on another subject with  the largest                                                               
amount of states.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES responded that Florida  is the only state that has                                                               
passed  the applying  resolution for  this particular  convention                                                               
thus  far.   Although,  he  offered, U.S.  Term  Limits has  only                                                               
recently begun  canvassing the country  to generate  support from                                                               
the grassroots.   Consequently,  in the  current year  session is                                                               
upwards of  ten states that are  considering similar resolutions.                                                               
He turned  to Representative Kreiss-Tomkins' second  question and                                                               
advised  it  was  the  1913  amendment  for  direct  election  of                                                               
senators  in that  they were  one state  short of  the two-thirds                                                               
states  when  Congress  pre-empted  the  states  and  the  Senate                                                               
finally  caved  in  after  years  of  trying  and  proposed  that                                                               
amendment  on its  own.   Historically, Article  V has  worked to                                                               
endeavor  to get  to a  convention but  also to  put pressure  on                                                               
Congress  to propose  amendments it  wouldn't otherwise  propose.                                                               
He commented  that that is  how the  Bill of Rights  was actually                                                               
proposed, with the  threat of a second  convention, James Madison                                                               
promised a Bill of Rights and that threat went away.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:41:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  commented   that  he  finds  this                                                               
process  fascinating  and there  is  merit  to this  because  the                                                               
federal system is  broken.  He remarked  that state legislatures,                                                               
in  a  roundabout way,  have  their  hands  on the  levers  which                                                               
frightens him somewhat but in this  instance he is pleased to see                                                               
it coming through.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:42:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  offered to  Representative Kreiss-Tompkins                                                               
that  Rob  Natelson of  "Conventional  Studies,"  is a  respected                                                               
constitutional   law   attorney   who  prepared   a   fascinating                                                               
"Legislative Compendium" and he would  provide a copy if desired.                                                               
He pointed  out that the  in compendium discusses the  level that                                                               
conventions  have held  as  part  of the  history  of the  United                                                               
States of  America.   It has  only been in  the last  40-60 years                                                               
that conventions have  been diminished and, he  advised, there is                                                               
good case law, good history, and viable policy.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:43:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  pointed to  the  death  of United  States                                                               
Supreme Court Justice  Antonin Scalia and noted  that the framers                                                               
originally  rejected the  idea of  term limits  as part  of their                                                               
original  intent  allows   one  to  change  the   intent  of  the                                                               
constitution by amending it.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES surmised  that Representative  was asking  him to                                                               
affirm his statement.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES  explained  that   the  framers  knew  they  were                                                               
crafting a document they intended to  endure for a long time.  It                                                               
was not  for one particular  period in history, but  hopefully to                                                               
last as long as this Republic  could last.  The framers knew that                                                               
a  constitution   like  ours  needed   an  assessable   means  of                                                               
amendment, and  in reading the  writing of the framers  they were                                                               
open  about  the  fact  that   some  of  their  work  might  need                                                               
correcting and expressed no shame over that fact.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:44:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  turned to Representative  Claman and  asked whether                                                               
he  was  suggesting  that  because the  founders  allowed  for  a                                                               
mechanism for change of the  constitution that that somehow is at                                                               
odds   with    Justice   Scalia's    reading   of    the   strict                                                               
constructionist.   She  opined  that  the strict  constructionist                                                               
would  say that  the constitution  isn't supposed  to be  changed                                                               
through  judicial  interpretation,  but  there  is  a  difference                                                               
between  judicial  interpretation  and  an  actual  amendment  to                                                               
change something.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:45:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  agreed,  and  noted  that  after  reading                                                               
Justice  Scalia's opinion  and places  where he  thought original                                                               
intent had a place, and when  it wasn't convenient it didn't seem                                                               
to  be  part of  his  analysis,  he said.    It  was more  of  an                                                               
observation  to the  extent  one looks  at  the constitution,  he                                                               
noted that one  could easily say that the original  intent was to                                                               
not have term limits, but because ...                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:46:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  expressed that  of course  the original  intent was                                                               
not  to have  term limits,  but  the Constitution  of the  United                                                               
States also allowed for changes through the amendment process.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:46:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  opined that  the  part  about the  states                                                               
making the  call for  Congress was added  after they  changed the                                                               
Article V to include  that.  He could not recall  the name of the                                                               
person insisting.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES offered  that it was George Mason  who insisted on                                                               
this approach, and  Mr. Tombuletes paraphrased Mr.  Mason to say,                                                               
"No amendments  of the  proper kind would  ever be  obtained, you                                                               
know, if only Congress had the sole authority of proposing."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:47:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  commented that  it strikes  him as                                                               
analogous to  the Alaska State Constitution's  safety valve where                                                               
you  have   entrenched  self-interest.     He  referred   to  the                                                               
referendum process  allowed in the Alaska  State Constitution, of                                                               
which there have  been four instances of referenda,  and two were                                                               
successful.    He  pointed  to  the 1980  a  referenda  that  was                                                               
"wildly" successful  was when the  legislature decided  to create                                                               
its own Cadillac  retirement system for legislators.   The people                                                               
of Alaska  were not excited about  that idea and it  was repealed                                                               
by a four  to one margin.   In this case, where  there are people                                                               
in Congress who  have entrenched self-interest, which  is to keep                                                               
their seats  and be  protected by  the overwhelming  and prolific                                                               
power of incumbency.   Just with the direct  election of senators                                                               
and that history  must be fascinating for 100 years  ago and this                                                               
seems like another example, he said.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:48:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX surmised  that  this  makes a  lot  of  sense on  a                                                               
national level  but wondered how  it would affect a  small state,                                                               
such as  Alaska, wherein  the power it  has comes  from seniority                                                               
and if  a person  can only have  a couple of  terms there  is not                                                               
much  seniority.   She  queried  whether Alaska  ends  up on  the                                                               
losing end of this bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES opined  that Alaska does not end up  on the losing                                                               
end of  the deal because  the seniority question cuts  both ways.                                                               
In  that, it  is  advantageous in  the  seniority driven  current                                                               
system  when  a  person  is  a  long  term  member  of  Congress.                                                               
Although,  he pointed  out,  the moment  that  member decides  to                                                               
retire   that   state   is  immediately   at   a   counter-acting                                                               
disadvantage in that  the state has to jump back  to the front of                                                               
the line.  It  depends upon which point you are  on, but it's not                                                               
always a positive  thing for a small state, and  it would be good                                                               
for Alaska  if Congress were  made less about seniority  and more                                                               
about the merits  of the issues because the  arguments Alaska has                                                               
with the federal government are  sound.  He argued that seniority                                                               
should  not be  necessary to  be able  to push  back against  the                                                               
federal  government,  it should  just  be  common sense  for  the                                                               
majority of Congress.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX argued  that if  the bill  abolishes the  seniority                                                               
system  wouldn't there  be  a  tendency for  a  small state  like                                                               
Alaska to  get lost if everyone  from New York, or  everyone from                                                               
California voted  their regional ways  and there would be  no way                                                               
to counter balance that.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  opined that there is  not much of a  dispute over                                                               
the fact that  most members of Congress under the  status quo are                                                               
voting primarily for their region  and primarily voting for power                                                               
to  be more  concentrated in  Washington  D.C.   He related  that                                                               
under  a  term  limit  system,  with  a  larger  portion  of  the                                                               
citizenry sent to  Washington, there would be  more skepticism to                                                               
Washington being the  solution to every problem.   He was unsure,                                                               
he said,  whether it would  create a  regional bend but  it would                                                               
certainly  create a  bend  in  favor of  the  citizens, which  is                                                               
rather than those of the Washington political climate.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX agreed  that people are voting on  a regional basis,                                                               
but the  seniority system in  which a  member from a  small state                                                               
can rise  up in  seniority and chair  a powerful  committee based                                                               
upon  seniority, that  can be  sometimes used  to counter-balance                                                               
the regionalism.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:51:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES asked her to restate the question.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX suggested that even though  people tend to vote on a                                                               
regional basis,  that that can  be countered  by a member  from a                                                               
small  state rising  through  the  seniority system  to  be in  a                                                               
powerful position to counter the regional votes.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES opined  that  is  accurate to  an  extent in  the                                                               
current  system but,  he asked  whether Chair  LeDoux wants  them                                                               
being on  an island  of that  view even if  they have  a powerful                                                               
spot on a  committee.  He questioned whether it  is necessarily a                                                               
good thing  that the rest  of Congress  is not so  sympathetic to                                                               
the  interests  of  an  individual  state  because  the  rest  of                                                               
Congress has become  so rooted in Washington  that every solution                                                               
needs to be  solved in Washington.  He opined  that if there were                                                               
term  limits, the  members  from other  states  even though  they                                                               
would  subscribe  to  a  regionalist  view  which  can  never  be                                                               
disposed of, they would be  more sympathetic to Alaska's position                                                               
as a sovereign with regard to  the federal government.  The other                                                               
states would be more respecting  and deferring to Alaska's rights                                                               
to  control its  own  land and  kind of  push  back against  what                                                               
Washington is doing, he commented.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked what evidence he  has of that.  She questioned                                                               
why, without the power  of a member from a small  state to hold a                                                               
bill or  to otherwise  make members who  are antithetical  to the                                                               
interests  of the  state, other  states would  just decide  to be                                                               
nice.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES  related  his  belief that  if  term  limits  are                                                               
implemented  on Congress  it would  automatically make  elections                                                               
more  competitive   and  level   the  playing  field   for  these                                                               
districts.  There would be a  Congress that is more responsive to                                                               
the needs of the people of Alaska  and to the entire country.  He                                                               
opined  that the  people  of  the country  are  smarter than  the                                                               
permanent political  class in Washington.   Therefore, he pointed                                                               
to the  Princeton and Northwestern  Universities' study  and said                                                               
that the bottom  90 percent of people in the  country do not have                                                               
their public  policy opinions reflected  in Congress at all.   He                                                               
described  that as  greatly  damaging to  the  Republic, and  the                                                               
ideas, the  public would generate if  it was able to  have better                                                               
access to Congress, would be good ideas.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:55:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  referred  to  the  discussion  of                                                               
small states being disenfranchised  through term limits, and said                                                               
there are  two responses:  the U.S. Senate  and small  states are                                                               
already  enfranchised with  proportionate power;  and this  state                                                               
would only be disenfranchised,  when discussing a proportionality                                                               
of power in  Congress, if there is a  correlation between greater                                                               
seniority and  a small state.   He related that while  it is true                                                               
that Don Young has been a  Congressmen for Alaska for many years.                                                               
States  such as  Montana,  Hawaii, or  Maine have  had  a lot  of                                                               
turnover in  Congress and have  had disproportionally  less power                                                               
due   to  their   high   turnover   within  their   congressional                                                               
delegation.    He  said,  on   the  bigger  perspective,  he  was                                                               
uncertain whether  this would  have a  prejudicial effect  on the                                                               
amount of power that small states have in Congress.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:57:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX responded that it might  not have a lot of impact on                                                               
other small states, but it might have on our small state.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN noted  that in theory, if  term limits were                                                               
in effect  it would  benefit states that  were electing  the more                                                               
qualified and skilled people to  start serving in Congress and if                                                               
the states  made a wise choice  of those they picked,  then those                                                               
states with  terms limits  would do better  than those  that gain                                                               
from  seniority.   He pointed  out that  Senator Ted  Stevens was                                                               
effective  early in  his  career  and stayed  that  way for  many                                                               
years, and  with term limits his  power would not have  been able                                                               
to grow.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:00:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony and, after ascertaining no                                                                 
one wised to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX advised her intention is  not to move the bill today                                                               
and asked for committee comments.   She remarked that she has not                                                               
had a session on constitutional  law like this since she finished                                                               
constitutional  law  in  law school  when  dinosaurs  roamed  the                                                               
earth.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[HJR 29 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:01:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 4:01 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Adam Trombley - Alaska Bar Association, Board of Governors - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Amy Gurton Mead - Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Gary J. Turner - Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Gerad Godfrey - Violent Crimes Compensation Board - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
H. Conner Thomas - Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Karla Taylor Welch - Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct - Appointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Loretta Bullard - Alaska Judicial Council - Appointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Robert Sheldon - Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
HJR 29 - Version A.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Supporting Documents - Term Limits Convention.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Supporting Documents - Art V Convention FAQ.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Supporting Documents - Dispelling the Runaway Myth.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Written Testimony - Received by 3.24.16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HB 236 - Legislation Ver. A.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Backup Documents - Texas Legislation.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Letters of Opposition - Received by 3-17-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Letters of Support - Received by 3-17-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Equality Texas SB 2065.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
SB2065
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Letter Pamela Lynn 3.25.16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Supporting Document - SB 2065 - Legislation - Texas.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
SB2065
HB 236 - Supporting Document - SB 2065 - Summary - Texas.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
SB2065
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Texas House Passes Pastor Protection Act.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 -Supporting Document- Letter of Support AK Catholic Conference 3-31-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236-FN1-DHSS -4-1-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Response to ACLU.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236