Legislature(2015 - 2016)SENATE FINANCE 532


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Audio Topic
05:00:04 PM Start
05:20:58 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ - Ratification of Charity Events TELECONFERENCED
- Other Committee Business
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                      LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                     
                       FEBRUARY 10, 2015                                                                                      
                            5:00 PM                                                                                           
                   Approved December 4, 2015                                                                                  
    MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                           
    Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                 
    Representative Bob Herron, Vice Chair                                                                                       
    Senator John Coghill                                                                                                        
    Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                       
    Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                     
    Senator Anna MacKinnon                                                                                                      
    Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                         
    Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                      
    Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                
    Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                  
    Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                
    Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                     
    Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                  
    Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                
    Representative Steve Thompson, Alternate                                                                                    
    MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                            
    Senator Lesil McGuire, Alternate                                                                                            
    APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                                         
    RATIFICATION OF CHARITY EVENTS                                                                                              
    CONTRACT APPROVALS                                                                                                          
    OTHER COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                    
    SPEAKER REGISTER                                                                                                          
    Pam Varni, Executive Director, Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                   
    Tom Wright, Staff to Speaker Mike Chenault                                                                                  
      5:00:04 PM                                                                                                              
  I. CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Legislative Council meeting                                                                
      to order at 5:00 p.m. in Room 532 (Senate Finance) of the                                                                 
      State Capitol.  Present at the  call were Senators Meyer,                                                                 
      Coghill,   Hoffman,  Huggins,  MacKinnon,   and  Stevens;                                                                 
      Representatives Chenault, Hawker, Kito, Neuman, Reinbold,                                                                 
      and  Herron.  Representative Thompson,  alternate member,                                                                 
      joined the meeting immediately after the roll call. Senator                                                               
      Micciche joined the meeting after approval of the agenda.                                                                 
      Representative  Johnson joined  the  meeting  during  the                                                                 
      discussion of  the FY 16  Legislature Budget under Item V                                                                 
      Other Committee Business.                                                                                                 
      Absent was alternate member Senator McGuire.                                                                              
 II. APPROVAL OF AGENDA                                                                                                       
      5:01:03 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE CHAIR  HERRON moved that Legislative Council approve                                                                 
      the agenda as presented.                                                                                                  
      The motion passed with no objections.                                                                                     
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                                      
      a. January 27, 2015                                                                                                     
      5:01:21 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE CHAIR  HERRON moved that Legislative Council approve                                                                 
      the minutes of the January 27, 2015 meeting as presented.                                                                 
      The motion passed with no objections.                                                                                     
 IV. RATIFICATION OF CHARITABLE EVENTS                                                                                        
      a. 15 Annual Thanksgiving in March                                                                                      
   b. 26 Annual Fahrenkamp-Kelly Classic Charity Putting                                                                      
      c. 2015 Sham Jam                                                                                                        
      d. Juneau Art and Culture Center Wine Tasting                                                                           
      CHAIR  STEVENS said  that the  list of  charitable events                                                                 
      before members for ratification had been confirmed by his                                                                 
      office as  501(c)(3) organizations and sanctioned  by the                                                                 
      Chair. There were no  questions or comments, and he asked                                                                 
      for a motion.                                                                                                             
    5:02:18 PM                                                                                                                
    VICE  CHAIR HERRON moved that  Legislative Council ratify                                                                   
    the  Chair's  sanctioning  of  the  following  charitable                                                                   
    events per AS 24.60.080(a)(2)(B):                                                                                           
       · 15th Annual Thanksgiving in March                                                                                      
       · 26th Annual Fahrenkamp-Kelly Classic Charity Putting                                                                   
       · 2015 Sham Jam                                                                                                          
       · Juneau Arts & Culture Center Wine Tasting                                                                              
    The motion passed with no objections.                                                                                       
V. OTHER COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                   
    a. FY 16 Legislature Budget                                                                                               
  b. Amendment to the 2015 Manual of Legislative Drafting                                                                     
    CHAIR STEVENS  said that before members was a maintenance                                                                   
    level  budget to be presented to  the Finance Committees.                                                                   
    This  does  not include  all the  legislative areas;  the                                                                   
    exceptions are Legislative Audit, Legislative Finance and                                                                   
    Legislative  Budget and  Audit Committee  expenses, which                                                                   
    are done and submitted separately.                                                                                          
    The  FY 16  budget shows a  decrease of $93,600  from the                                                                   
    Governor's  FY   16  budget.  Specifically,  there  is  a                                                                   
    decrease in  Council and Subcommittees of $179,400; these                                                                   
    are  funds  that  were  deleted  for  the  Arctic  Policy                                                                   
    Commission  which completed  its work  and turned  in its                                                                   
    The first  increase is $57,000 for the Office of Victims'                                                                   
    Rights; this is  mostly for the salary of the director as                                                                   
    well  as  $5,000  for  the  case management  system.  For                                                                   
    several years, the budget included money to cover a Range                                                                   
    26A  for the director; the Legislature passed legislation                                                                   
    that  changed the salary to  a Range 26 J.  The Office of                                                                   
    Victims' Rights  had been absorbing that underfunding for                                                                   
    several years but  had reached the point where they could                                                                   
    no longer do that.                                                                                                          
    The  second increase  is $28,800  for the  Office of  the                                                                   
    Ombudsman for personal services. All positions are filled                                                                   
    and  they've  absorbed increases  in costs  for the  last                                                                   
    several years. If flat funding continues, a position will                                                                   
    need  to be deleted. He further noted  that the case load                                                                   
      for the  Office of the Ombudsman has  increased 64% since                                                                 
      There are  also miscellaneous transfers within individual                                                                 
      components  and those are  at a  net zero.  Chair Stevens                                                                 
      reiterated that this is  a maintenance level budget going                                                                 
      to the Finance Committee showing a decrease of $93,600.                                                                   
      SENATE  PRESIDENT MEYER  asked what  the  overall percent                                                                 
      decrease was.                                                                                                             
      PAM   VARNI,  Executive  Director,   Legislative  Affairs                                                                 
      Agency, responded that it is  a 0.1% decrease but that is                                                                 
      just  for the  components  that are  in this  Legislative                                                                 
    Council budget, not the entire Legislature's budget.                                                                        
      CHAIR STEVENS  again clarified that this  budget does not                                                                 
      include   the  budgets  for   Finance,  LB&A   and  Audit                                                                 
      SENATOR  MEYER  said that  he  thought  the Governor  had                                                                 
      reduced his budget by 10-11% and he thinks that should be                                                                 
      a  target the  Legislature should try  to reach. He  said                                                                 
      that,  granted,   this  is  one  segment  of   the  total                                                                 
      legislative  budget, and that  it will  go on  to Finance                                                                 
      where it will be worked hard, he was sure. He didn't want                                                                 
      people to think that a 1% reduction would be satisfactory                                                                 
      because  we're all  going to  have to  make some  serious                                                                 
      reductions in all of the budgets.                                                                                         
      CHAIR STEVENS  said it was the understanding  that a very                                                                 
      serious look  would be taken by Finance  and that Council                                                                 
      was  prepared to  offer many  options, depending on  what                                                                 
      Finance  wants to consider.  The main option  is probably                                                                 
      going to be staff.                                                                                                        
      Chair  Stevens,  responding  to  a  question  by  Senator                                                                 
      Huggins  about the Office  of Victims'  Rights director's                                                                 
      salary,   said  that   the   Legislature  increased   the                                                                 
      director's salary  from a  26A to a  26J and that  it had                                                                 
      been, up until now, only funded up to a 26A.                                                                              
      MS. VARNI confirmed  the Chair's understanding of the OVR                                                                 
      director salary, and said  this is a proposed budget, but                                                                 
      that the House and Senate Finance Committees will present                                                                 
      what  the final budget  will be to  the Legislature  as a                                                                 
      whole. This budget is subject to what the members decide.                                                                 
    Passing  this  budget  on  is  not really  setting  one's                                                                   
    approval,  but it is  just letting Council know  what the                                                                   
    costs will  be, the rent increases, the CPI increases, as                                                                   
    an example.                                                                                                                 
    SENATOR  MICCICHE asked how  much of  an increase  it was                                                                   
    from the FY 15 Management Plan.                                                                                             
    MS. VARNI said  that the bulk of the increase from the FY                                                                   
    15  Management Plan to the FY 16  Request is $1.1 million                                                                   
    for  the  2.5%  Cost of  Living  increase  that would  be                                                                   
    effective July 1, 2015, that the Executive Branch and the                                                                   
    Judicial  Branch will  be getting.  It also  reflects the                                                                   
    $179,400  decrease to Council  and Subcommittees. Revenue                                                                   
    projections have  been lowered in Administrative Services                                                                   
    and  in Session Expenses because those  receipts have not                                                                   
    been  realized. She reiterated  the increase for  OVR and                                                                   
    Ombudsman,  the detail  of which  is on  the spreadsheets                                                                   
    each member  received; these show the $1,287,600 and that                                                                   
    is  the FY 15 Management Plan  to our Legislative Council                                                                   
    request that's before Council.                                                                                              
    In  response  to questions  from  Senate President  Meyer                                                                   
    about the amount of  NCSL dues as well as the payment of,                                                                   
    Ms.  Varni responded that Alaska would not  be kicked out                                                                   
    of an  organization for lack of payment, noting that many                                                                   
    states  sometimes don't fully  pay their dues  because of                                                                   
    budget  constraints. Alaska has done  a very good  job of                                                                   
    paying their dues, but the Administrative Services budget                                                                   
    has  for  many years  absorbed these  dues  increases and                                                                   
    there is  an increase this year as well.  She said in the                                                                   
    last  couple  of  years, the  increases  have been  about                                                                   
    $16,000; for one of the organizations, the dues went from                                                                   
    $32,000  to $50,000. She  said listed on  page 17  of the                                                                   
    detailed budget, the total was about $310,000 for dues to                                                                   
    the following organizations: $89,200 for Council of State                                                                   
    Governments  (CSG); $119,700  for National  Conference of                                                                   
    State  Legislators  (NCSL); $38,400  for Energy  Council;                                                                   
    $7,500  for  Pacific  Fisheries  Legislative Task  Force;                                                                   
    $5,500  for Western Legislative Forestry  Task Force; and                                                                   
   $50,000 for Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER).                                                                       
    CHAIR  STEVENS  repeated  for  members  that  Council  is                                                                   
    sending this budget on to the Finance Committees with the                                                                   
    understanding  and knowledge  that they  will  be looking                                                                   
    very  carefully at  many of these  issues and  that there                                                                   
    will have to be some decreases.                                                                                             
      5:13:43 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE CHAIR HERRON moved that Legislative Council per AS                                                                   
      24.20.130 approve the FY 16 Legislative Council Proposed                                                                  
      Budget and transmit it to the House and Senate Finance                                                                    
      Committees for their review and action.                                                                                   
      The motion passed with no objections.                                                                                     
      B. Amendment to the 2015 Manual of Legislative Drafting                                                                 
      5:14:12 PM                                                                                                              
      SPEAKER  CHENAULT  moved  that  the  Legislative  Council                                                                 
      Committee amend the  2015 Manual of Legislative Drafting,                                                                 
      as proposed  in Amendment No. 1, to  remove the authority                                                                 
      for legislators to  prefile bills as joint prime sponsors                                                                 
      from the  date of this motion forward, and  to direct the                                                                 
      Legal Services Division  to make conforming amendments to                                                                 
      other references  to joint prime  sponsorship of prefiled                                                                 
      bills  contained  in   the  2015  Manual  of  Legislative                                                                 
      Drafting  prior  to publication  of  the  2017 Manual  of                                                                 
      Legislative Drafting.                                                                                                     
      SENATOR COGHILL objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
      TOM WRIGHT,  staff to Speaker Chenault, said  there are a                                                                 
      number  of issues  as were  noted in  the memo from  Doug                                                                 
      Gardner dated February 2,  2015, about the coprime policy                                                                 
      that was adopted by Legislative Council in 1993. A number                                                                 
      of  questions arise  that haven't  really been  discussed                                                                 
      thus far,  which he said he would go  over rather quickly                                                                 
      and  would  be happy  to discuss  in  greater detail  for                                                                 
      anyone who hadn't yet reviewed the memo.                                                                                  
      Mr.  Wright  said that  coprime  sponsors have  the  same                                                                 
      rights as  a prime sponsor. He  interrupted his testimony                                                                 
      to note that he uses the term "coprime" and "joint prime"                                                                 
      interchangeably,  with  "joint prime"  being  technically                                                                 
      correct.  Some of the  rights that one  has as  a coprime                                                                 
      sponsor, for instance, are that a coprime sponsor can ask                                                                 
      for a  bill withdrawal; they can request  a CS (Committee                                                                 
      Substitute);  they  have equal  ownership  of a  bill  or                                                                 
      resolution. Also not addressed in the Drafting Manual are                                                                 
      final approval by the sponsor, the 10 Bill Limitation, or                                                                 
      the  sponsor deadlines. Uniform  Rule 36  is out of  sync                                                                 
      with  the joint  prime  section of  the Drafting  Manual.                                                                 
      Legislative  Legal Services  has adapted  by interpreting                                                                 
    Uniform  Rule 36 to include coprime  sponsorships: (1) by                                                                   
    deferring  to  the original  sponsor for  the order  that                                                                   
    coprimes are to  appear on a bill or resolution; (2) also                                                                   
    requiring  permission from each  joint prime  sponsor for                                                                   
    the  addition of a name; (3)  also requiring the approval                                                                   
    of  the   original  sponsor  for  any  changes  prior  to                                                                   
    prefiling,  but then  they have to  invite all  the joint                                                                   
    prime sponsors with the  draft versions of a bill and any                                                                   
    legal  memos. As the memo notes, it  does take staff time                                                                   
    to coordinate  and it's not technically sanctioned by any                                                                   
    rule. He said there is no rule in Uniform Rule 37 (a) for                                                                   
    coprimes; there's  no guidance on how a coprime  is to be                                                                   
    treated  with  regard  to  preparing  a  fiscal  note  or                                                                   
    distribution.  Again,  Uniform  Rule 36  doesn't  address                                                                   
    coprimes.  Quite frankly,  a  joint prime  sponsorship is                                                                   
    really  a glorified cosponsor. He said that  while he was                                                                   
    aware  of some  occasions where  the joint  sponsors have                                                                   
    worked  together on a bill and  worked very closely, most                                                                   
    of  the work on  most of the  legislation is done  by the                                                                   
    original sponsor.                                                                                                           
    There  are some concerns that have been  expressed by the                                                                   
    Chief Clerk's  Office that joint prime sponsorships are a                                                                   
    cumbersome  task for  their  office since  the additional                                                                   
    joint  prime  sponsorship  has  been  allowed  after  the                                                                   
    release  of prefiles, which  requires the Clerk  to track                                                                   
    the  number of bills a member is  joint sponsoring due to                                                                   
    the  10 Bill  Limitation. It  creates confusion  over the                                                                   
    differences  between  a  joint  prime  and  a  cosponsor,                                                                   
    especially   for  new   representatives  and   staff.  It                                                                   
    increases the time to prepare bills for printing. Members                                                                   
    have  pulled a prefile bill  if they met  their limit and                                                                   
    would  prefer to be a joint prime  on a different prefile                                                                   
    bill  and that  presents a  status problem  for  the bill                                                                   
    history due to  the fact that the bills have already been                                                                   
    numbered   and  are   public.  It's  also   inferred  for                                                                   
    cosponsorship  of a  bill or  resolution that  unless the                                                                   
    Clerk has  heard otherwise from the sponsor, it's okay to                                                                   
    be  added as  a cosponsor. Joint  prime sponsors  have to                                                                   
    approve each additional joint prime sponsorship which can                                                                   
    create  the difficult task  of locating the  sponsors for                                                                   
    their signatures in a timely manner.                                                                                        
    Mr. Wright said these were some of the concerns that have                                                                   
    been brought to  their office and was why the Speaker was                                                                   
    proposing  that  Council  adopt  the  amendment  for  the                                                                   
    Drafting Manual.                                                                                                            
      CHAIR  STEVENS  thanked  Mr.  Wright and  encouraged  any                                                                 
      member to speak to the proposed amendment.                                                                                
      SENATOR  COGHILL said  he objected  to hear  the list  of                                                                 
      issues as there was still some question in his mind about                                                                 
      the  value of a couple  of people working together  as he                                                                 
      has  done in  the  past. He  said he  was satisfied  with                                                                 
      amending the Drafting Manual this  way and he removed his                                                                 
      There was no further discussion.                                                                                          
      A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                               
      YEAS:   Meyer,  Coghill,   Hoffman,  Huggins,  MacKinnon,                                                                 
              Micciche, Chenault, Hawker, Johnson, Kito, Neuman,                                                                
              Reinbold, Herron, Stevens                                                                                         
      NAYS: None                                                                                                                
      The motion passed 14-0.                                                                                                   
      CHAIR STEVENS reminded members  that his office was still                                                                 
      looking for  members of this body to  serve as volunteers                                                                 
      on  the  Security,  the  Office  Allowance,  and  the  IT                                                                 
      Subcommittees. Should  there be no volunteers,  the Chair                                                                 
      will make appointments.                                                                                                   
      There being no further business before the committee, the                                                                 
   Legislative Council meeting was adjourned at 5:21 p.m.                                                                       
      5:20:58 PM                                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
2-10 Leg. Council Agenda.pdf JLEC 2/10/2015 5:00:00 PM
Legislative Council - Feb. 10, 2015
1.27.15 Minutes.pdf JLEC 2/10/2015 5:00:00 PM
Legislative Council - Feb. 10, 2015
Charitable Events Sanctioned by Chair Feb 10 2015.pdf JLEC 2/10/2015 5:00:00 PM
Legislative Council - Feb. 10, 2015
FY16 Proposed Legislature Budget.pdf JLEC 2/10/2015 5:00:00 PM
Legislative Council - Feb. 10, 2015
Amendment to Drafting Manual.pdf JLEC 2/10/2015 5:00:00 PM
Legislative Council - Feb. 10, 2015