Legislature(2015 - 2016)

06/29/2016 08:00 AM LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL


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Audio Topic
08:03:49 AM Start
08:21:51 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Committee Business TELECONFERENCED
- Medicaid Expansion Lawsuit - Executive Session
This meeting will be conducted via teleconference
                ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                      
                  LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                         
                     JUNE 29, 2016                                                                                            
                        8:03 AM                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
MEMBERS PARTICIPATING VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                                                          
Senator Cathy Giessel, alternate                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Representative Harriet Drummond, alternate                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lesil McGuire, alternate                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson, alternate                                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
OTHER MEMBERS PARTICIPATING VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representatives Claman and Vazquez                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
AGENDA                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
OTHER COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SPEAKER REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Doug Gardner, Director of Legal Services, Legislative                                                                           
  Affairs Agency                                                                                                                
     8:03:49 AM                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 I. CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Legislative Council meeting                                                                 
     to  order at 8:03 a.m. via teleconference. Present at the                                                                  
     call  were  Senators  Stevens,  Meyer,  Coghill, Hoffman,                                                                  
     Huggins,  MacKinnon,  Micciche,  and  Giessel,  alternate                                                                  
     member; Representatives Herron, Chenault, Hawker, Johnson,                                                                 
     Kito,  Millett, Neuman,  and  Drummond, alternate member.                                                                  
     Senator  McGuire,  alternate  member,  and  Representative                                                                 
     Thompson, alternate member, were absent.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Other   Legislators  present   via   teleconference  were                                                                  
     Representatives Claman and Vazquez.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
II. COMMITTEE BUSINES - EXECUTIVE SESSION                                                                                     
     a. Medicaid Expansion Lawsuit                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     CHAIR STEVENS said that Judge Pfiffner's decision to deny                                                                  
     the motion to  substitute the House of Representatives for                                                                 
     Legislative Council in the matter of the Medicaid Expansion                                                                
     Lawsuit was delivered, and now  Legislative Council needed                                                                 
     to make a  decision on whether to proceed with Phase II of                                                                 
     the lawsuit. He said that there was no intention of going                                                                  
     into  an Executive Session unless necessary; if there are                                                                  
     some legal details, Council would go into Executive Session                                                                
     because  there  would  be confidential  information being                                                                  
     discussed.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     8:06:22 AM                                                                                                               
     SENATOR COGHILL moved that Legislative Council proceed with                                                                
     Phase II of the litigation entitled The Alaska Legislative                                                                 
     Council v. Governor Bill Walker, No. 3AN-15-09208CL.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     SENATOR  Coghill, noting  that the  Senate  chose not  to                                                                  
     proceed and  that the question was how to  help the House                                                                  
     proceed, read into the record an email his office sent out:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "The  evidence shows beyond  a reasonable doubt  that Mr.                                                                  
     Hutchison,  who  was   the  Project  Director  under  the                                                                  
     Legislative Council  contract, on May  5, 2016, expressly                                                                  
     stated unequivocally via email at  3:41pm to Mr. Higgins,                                                                  
     Mr. Bullock, Mr. McKeever, Ms. Murphy, Mr. LaCouer and Ms.                                                                 
     Stone, that the Senate and Legislative Council would not be                                                                
     joining the appeal. Any representation that the Senate is a                                                                
     party or Legislative Council is a party approved the appeal                                                                
     or wanted to proceed with the appeal are false."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     He  went on to say  that the May 5,  2016, email had been                                                                  
     provided  to Senator  Stevens and  to Ms.  Varni. It  was                                                                  
something we worked our way to finally get to in trying to                                                                      
figure out a way to deal with this contract.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Discussion followed clarifying the motion. If Legislative                                                                       
Council voted  in favor  of the  motion, then Legislative                                                                       
Council would be party to pursuing Phase II of the lawsuit;                                                                     
a  "no"  vote would  mean Legislative  Council would  not                                                                       
proceed with the lawsuit nor be a party to it, regardless                                                                       
of what the House chose to do. There was further discussion                                                                     
regarding whether the filing date had passed and  if that                                                                       
would present a legal issue should Legislative Council vote                                                                     
in favor of pursuing Phase II of  the lawsuit; as well as                                                                       
that this was a separation of powers issue, not a Medicaid                                                                      
expansion issue.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON,  in  response to  a  question  by                                                                       
Senator Mackinnon, said  that the  House had  not made  a                                                                       
decision about pursuing Phase II of the lawsuit. Right now,                                                                     
Legislative Council is the only party to the lawsuit and it                                                                     
has been ruled that the  House cannot be a substitute for                                                                       
Legislative Council. At this point, the House would have to                                                                     
start over if Legislative Council votes not to proceed.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MACKINNON  said  that  it  was  an  issue  about                                                                       
separation of power and that it was difficult for some to                                                                       
reflect accurately to the general public. She said she was                                                                      
concerned because we  have had different people  from the                                                                       
public come to  the Legislature multiple times requesting                                                                       
oversight of the courts; that the courts are taking a more                                                                      
active role  in vetting public policy.  She said she  was                                                                       
concerned that a judge would not let a legislative body go                                                                      
forward when they were two parties in a lawsuit knowing the                                                                     
legal maneuver, and she wanted that on the record. She said                                                                     
she wanted to make sure  that the general public knew she                                                                       
had heard those comments.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL  restated the  motion at  the request  of                                                                       
Speaker Chenault.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Discussion  followed  regarding  what  the  motion  would                                                                       
accomplish.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
YEAS: Chenault, Johnson, Millett, Neuman, MacKinnon                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
NAYS:  Stevens, Meyer, Coghill, Hoffman, Huggins, Micciche,                                                                     
       Hawker, Kito, Herron                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The motion to proceed with Phase II the litigation entitled                                                                
     The Alaska Legislative Council v. Governor Bill Walker                                                                     
     failed 9-5.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     There being no further business before the committee, the                                                                  
   Legislative Council meeting was adjourned at 8:22 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     8:21:51 AM                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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