Legislature(2015 - 2016)ANCH LIO AUDITORIUM


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Audio Topic
11:04:27 AM Start
12:33:23 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                     
                   LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                        
                     AUGUST 18, 2015                                                                                          
                         11:04 AM                                                                                             
                Approved December 4, 2015                                                                                     
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Herron, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
MEMBERS ON TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                     
Senator Anna MacKinnon                                                                                                          
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Representative Steve Thompson, Alternate                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Lesil McGuire, Alternate                                                                                                
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT OR VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                   
Representatives Drummond, Gattis, Gruenberg, Hughes,                                                                            
Josephson, Keller, Pruitt, Reinbold, Saddler, Tarr, and                                                                         
LEGAL ISSUES ON MEDICAID EXPANSION                                                                                              
SPEAKER REGISTER                                                                                                              
      11:04:27 AM                                                                                                             
 I. VICE CHAIR BOB HERRON called the Legislative Council                                                                      
      meeting  to  order  at  11:04  a.m.  in  the  Anchorage  LIO                                                              
      Auditorium.  Present  at  the  call  were  Senators   Meyer,                                                              
      Coghill, and  Huggins;  Representatives  Chenault,  Johnson,                                                              
      Kito,  Millett.   Participating  via   teleconference   were                                                              
      Senator MacKinnon, and Representatives Neuman and  Thompson,                                                              
      alternate member. Representative Johnson joined the  meeting                                                              
      after the roll call. Absent were Senators  Stevens, Hoffman,                                                              
      Micciche, and McGuire, alternate member; and  Representative                                                              
II. LEGAL ISSUES ON MEDICAID EXPANSION - EXECUTIVE SESSION                                                                    
      VICE CHAIR HERRON called for  a motion to go into  Executive                                                              
      11:05:45 AM                                                                                                             
      SENATOR  MEYER  moved  that  Legislative  Council  go   into                                                              
      executive session under Uniform  Rule 22 (b) (3) to  discuss                                                              
      a matter that may, by  law, be required to be  confidential,                                                              
      to allow  Council to  receive legal  advice in  the form  of                                                              
      Attorney-Client communications from  legal counsel. I  would                                                              
      ask that the following  individuals remain in the room;  Pam                                                              
      Varni, Katrina  Matheny,  Doug Gardner,  Suzanne  Armstrong,                                                              
      Chad Hutchinson,  Mark  Higgins, Chuck  Kopp,  Jeff  Turner,                                                              
      Juli Lucky, and Stacey Stone with Holmes, Weddle  & Barcott.                                                              
      In addition, the  following individuals  can remain on  line                                                              
      via  teleconference,  Linda  Hay,  Bianca  Carpeneti,  Laura                                                              
      Pierre and Erin Murphy with Bancroft, PLLC. We  also welcome                                                              
      any  legislators who  are  not  on  Legislative  Council  to                                                              
      remain with us.                                                                                                           
      REPRESENTATIVE KITO objected  for clarification/comment.  He                                                              
      said he  just  wanted to  make  sure  that what  happens  in                                                              
      executive  session  is  required  to  be  confidential   and                                                              
      privileged and that  we don't get  into a policy  discussion                                                              
      that goes beyond receiving  the legal advice and  discussing                                                              
      the legal  aspects  or  strategy that  might  be  considered                                                              
      during some action.                                                                                                       
      VICE  CHAIR  HERRON  thanked  Representative  Kito  for  his                                                              
      REPRESENTATIVE KITO removed his objection.                                                                                
      VICE CHAIR HERRON, in response to Senator  MacKinnon stating                                                              
      she   was    present   on    teleconference,   noted    that                                                              
Representative   Johnson   had   joined  the   meeting   and                                                                    
Representative Wilson was also online.                                                                                          
11:07:57 AM                                                                                                                   
Council went into executive session.                                                                                            
12:27:20 PM                                                                                                                   
Council came out of executive session.                                                                                          
SENATOR  MEYER  moved that,  in  accordance  with the  power                                                                    
vested in Legislative Council,  under AS 24.20.060(4)(F), to                                                                    
sue  during  the  interim   between  sessions  that  Council                                                                    
authorize the following contracts in the following amounts:                                                                     
   1. A contract in an amount not to exceed $400,000 to pay                                                                     
     Bancroft, PLLC, and;                                                                                                       
   2. A contract in an amount not to exceed $50,000 to pay                                                                      
     Holmes, Weddle & Barcott.                                                                                                  
As private  counsel to  bring suit  against the  Governor of                                                                    
the State  of Alaska  by the  Alaska Legislative  Council on                                                                    
behalf  of the  Alaska State  Legislature, regarding  issues                                                                    
related to Medicaid. Invoices will  be split as follows: 50%                                                                    
from Legislative Council  Chair Budget, 25%  from the Senate                                                                    
Operating Budget and 25% from the House Operating Budget.                                                                       
VICE CHAIR HERRON objected for discussion.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  KITO  stated that  he  had  a concern  about                                                                    
moving forward  with this action.  As has been  portrayed in                                                                    
the opinion  pages of  our papers, he  said that  there were                                                                    
legal opinions  from Legislative Legal Counsel and  from the                                                                    
Attorney General all basically  saying that the Governor has                                                                    
the ability  and the authority  to take the actions  that he                                                                    
has taken and  he was concerned about spending  money in our                                                                    
current  budget times  to  actually perform  an action  that                                                                    
could cost the  State money, as opposed to  taking an action                                                                    
that might  result in savings  of money.  He went on  to say                                                                    
that  he recognized  that  while some  states  may have  not                                                                    
expanded Medicaid,  there are over  30 states that  have, so                                                                    
there are  a lot  of states, a  majority, that  have started                                                                    
working  with the  Affordable Care  Act accepting  Medicaid.                                                                    
Legal Counsel indicates  that what the Governor  has done is                                                                    
a  defensible action  and he  had a  concern about  going to                                                                    
outside counsel with an argument contrary to that.                                                                              
SENATOR  COGHILL  said  that  a  lot of  that  goes  to  the                                                                    
questions  that have  been asked  of the  Legal Counsel  and                                                                    
Supreme Court  case that  has come to  light, so  he thought                                                                    
      that the  Legislative Council  has pretty  solid footing  to                                                              
      defend its right to  make that policy  call and add a  whole                                                              
      new group  to a  category of  Medicaid that  under the  U.S.                                                              
      Supreme  Court has  been  determined  as  optional  and  any                                                              
      optional group  has  to be  brought  in by  the  Legislature                                                              
      instead of  unilateral action  from  the Governor.  He  said                                                              
      there  were  dueling  legal  opinions  and  thought  it  was                                                              
      sufficient  to  challenge  the  Governor  in  adding  a  new                                                              
      Medicaid group without  the Legislative  authority. He  said                                                              
      it was unfortunate  that the  test has come  to this  level,                                                              
      but that it  was important  for the Legislature  to back  up                                                              
      the statutes and make the case.                                                                                           
      SENATOR HUGGINS said  that, unfortunately,  at the  national                                                              
      level we've  seen the  precedence  of what's  happening  and                                                              
      maybe the Congress being a  bit timid. This is not the  time                                                              
      for the Alaska State Legislature  to be timid. He said  it's                                                              
      not about the  issue, it's about  the separation of  powers.                                                              
      He firmly  urged members  of the  committee  to support  the                                                              
      REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  said  he  wanted to  echo  what  the                                                              
      Senator said. He said  it was about  the future. He took  an                                                              
      oath to defend  the Constitution and  he thinks that's  what                                                              
      he's doing; that  it is a separation  of powers issue.  Were                                                              
      it a different issue he'd still have the same  vote, whether                                                              
      he supports  or doesn't  support this  particular issue  was                                                              
      not  as  important   as  upholding   the  Constitution   and                                                              
      maintaining the separation of powers and understanding  what                                                              
      the Legislature's role  is, the  Governor's role, and  we're                                                              
      about to find out what the judiciary's role is.                                                                           
      VICE CHAIR  HERRON removed  his objection  and  a roll  call                                                              
      vote was taken.                                                                                                           
      YEAS:  Meyer,   Coghill,   Huggins,   MacKinnon,   Chenault,                                                              
             Johnson, Millett, Neuman, Thompson, Herron                                                                         
      NAYS: Kito                                                                                                                
      The motion passed 10-1.                                                                                                   
      There being no  further business  before the committee,  the                                                              
      Legislative Council Meeting was adjourned at 12:33pm.                                                                     
      12:33:23 PM                                                                                                             

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