Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/11/1995 10:02 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                            
                       February 11, 1995                                       
                           10:02 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                         
 Representative Scott Ogan, Vice-Chair                                         
 Representative Joe Green                                                      
 Representative Ivan Ivan                                                      
 Representative Brian Porter                                                   
 Representative Caren Robinson                                                 
 Representative Ed Willis                                                      
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 None                                                                          
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HJR 20:A Resolution relating to unfunded federal mandates and                
 the Conference of the States.                                                 
                                                                               
 PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                     
                                                                               
 HB 132:"An Act repealing the ability of persons seeking an                   
 elective state executive office or a state or a state                         
 or national legislative office to petition for                                
 inclusion of their names on the state general election                        
 ballot; requiring candidates of all political groups                          
 for a state or national legislative office to compete                         
 at the state primary election for the placement on the                        
 general election ballot of the name of the one                                
 candidate from each political group that receives the                         
 greatest number of votes cast; and requiring candidates                       
 of all political groups for state executive office to                         
 compete at the state primary election for the placement                       
 on the general election ballot of the name of the one                         
 candidate for governor from each political group that                         
 receives the greatest number of votes cast and the name                       
 of the one candidate for lieutenant governor from the                         
 same political group that receives the greatest number                        
 of votes cast."                                                               
                                                                               
 PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                     
 HSTA - 02/11/95                                                               
 HB 44:"An Act providing that a political use is not an                       
 authorized use of charitable gaming proceeds;                                 
 prohibiting the contribution of charitable gaming                             
 proceeds to candidates for certain public offices,                          
 their campaign organizations, or to political groups;                         
 providing that a political group is not a qualified                           
 organization for purposes of charitable gaming;                               
 relating to what is a qualified organization for the                          
 purpose of charitable gaming permitting; and providing                        
 for an effective date."                                                       
                                                                               
 SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                     
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 WAYNE MALONEY, Legislative Aide                                               
 Representative Ramona Barnes                                                  
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 403                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  465-3438                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 20                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 404                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  465-4925                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsored HB 132                                         
                                                                               
 DAVE KOIVUNIEMI, Acting Director                                              
 Division of Elections                                                         
 4th Floor Court Plaza Building                                                
 Juneau,Alaska  99801                                                          
 Telephone:  465-4611                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 132                           
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HJR 20                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: CONFERENCE OF THE STATES                                         
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BARNES,Grussendorf,Foster,Mulder                
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 01/23/95       115    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/23/95       115    (H)   WTR, STA                                          
 01/31/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
 01/31/95              (H)   MINUTE(WTR)                                       
 02/01/95       195    (H)   WTR RPT  6DP                                      
 02/01/95       195    (H)   DP: PHILLIPS, WILLIAMS, KUBINA                    
 02/01/95       195    (H)   DP: G.DAVIS, MULDER, BARNES                       
 02/01/95       195    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (LAA) 2/1/95                          
 02/01/95       195    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 2/1/95                     
 02/07/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/09/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/11/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                              
 BILL:  HB 132                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: CANDIDATES FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT                                  
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MACKIE,Phillips                                 
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 01/27/95       157    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/27/95       158    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                            
 02/09/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/11/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                              
 BILL:  HB  44                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: GAMING PROCEEDS/DEFINE CHARITABLE ORG'NS                         
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,Rokeberg,Porter,Bunde,Green              
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG              ACTION                                      
 01/06/95        32    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/16/95        32    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        32    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                          
 01/19/95        90    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE                               
 01/26/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 01/26/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/07/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/09/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/10/95       321    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): GREEN                               
 02/11/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-14, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Committee                
 meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.  Members present at the call to                
 order were Representatives James, Ogan, Green, Ivan, Porter                   
 Robinson and Willis.  Chair James announced a quorum was present.             
 HSTA - 02/11/95                                                               
 HJR 20 - CONFERENCE OF THE STATES                                           
                                                                               
 Number 015                                                                    
                                                                               
 WAYNE MALONEY, staff assistant to Representative Barnes, read the             
 following statement regarding HJR 20:                                         
                                                                               
 HJR 20 authorizes the State of Alaska to send an official                    
 delegation to a conference of the states to be held later                     
 this year or in 1996.  The conference would be the first                      
 formal meeting of the 50 states since 1786.  Delegates from                   
 all 50 states would debate and vote on an action plan                         
 designated to restore the checks and balances between the                     
 states and the federal government guaranteed by the Tenth                     
 Amendment to the Constitution.  While this action plan would                  
 not be binding on the federal government, it would be                         
 impossible for Congress or the President to ignore.  The                      
 conference would receive national and international media                     
 attention, and action taken would have to be considered by                    
 the federal government.  The conference would occur no later                  
 than nine months after a total of 26 states pass resolutions                  
 like the one before you today.  Seven states, including                       
 Kentucky, Utah, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Missouri, and                       
 Virginia have already approved this resolution, and it is                     
 under consideration by most of the other states in the union                  
 this year.  Under the terms of the resolution, the Governor                   
 and four lawmakers, two from each house, will be voting                       
 delegates on behalf of Alaska at this conference, and if                      
 each of the 50 states sends a delegation as expected there                    
 would be a total of 250 voting members.  Congress would be                    
 encouraged to send people to the conference, but members of                   
 Congress would not be permitted to vote.  This is a national                  
 initiative, being organized by the Council of State                           
 Governments in Cooperative with the National Conference of                    
 State Legislators and the National Governors' Association.                    
 It enjoys broad bipartisan support from both political                        
 parties and is also backed by the Knowles Administration                      
 here in this state.  This resolution is an important step                     
 toward restoring the balances to government envisioned by                     
 the Tenth Amendment, and on behalf of Representative Barnes                   
 I would ask you to pass it from committee today.                              
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked Mr. Maloney if he saw any conflict             
 due to the many Tenth Amendment bills and resolutions that have               
 been submitted, and whether he saw HJR 20 as a supplement to                  
 these.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY replied that the other bills assert the states'                   
 rights under the constitution, and that HJR 20 is a more                      
 "friendly" attempt to assert states' rights as well, under the                
 convention format, which is a gathering of the states to discuss              
 the pros and cons of an action plan designed to put the states on             
 a more equal footing with the federal government in terms of                  
 policy.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 105                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated that Representative Ogan's bill and               
 those submitted by some others were tailored toward Tenth                     
 Amendment attitudes prevailing in some of the western states, and             
 asked if HJR 20 would be a supplement to this, or an alternate                
 course.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY replied that the convention would be an opportunity               
 for all 50 states to get together "under extreme media attention"             
 to debate the issue of states' rights under the Tenth Amendment.              
 He added though resolutions are important, many states pass them              
 every year; and this convention would focus media attention and               
 public debate nationwide on the rights of the states.                         
                                                                               
 Number 146                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN voiced concern that joining with all 50                  
 states would dissipate the energies and the force of the message              
 given by just the western states.                                             
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY said he didn't see that happening, because the idea               
 was not to thwart any other attempts but to formulate and present             
 an action plan in a politically positive way.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 185                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES shared her concerns about HJR 20; the biggest one                 
 being that it looks like a "feel good" solution, a "media hype";              
 and though the convention is not designed to be a constitutional              
 convention, she does not necessarily trust what would be done as              
 a result of five designated representatives determining their own             
 agenda when they get there, which might differ from what Alaska               
 as a state might actually want.  She also feared that delegates               
 might return with a directive to petition for a constitutional                
 amendment or a constitutional convention.  The only difference                
 she sees between HJR 20 and SJR 7 which was passed on the House               
 floor the previous day, is that HJR 20 proposes a conference of               
 states; the other one does not.  The message has already been                 
 sent via SJR 7.  She added that HJR 20 had a fiscal note of                   
 $11,000, and she suspects that is not adequate to cover the cost              
 of sending five people to a convention of states.  She summarized             
 that HJR 20 seems like just a media exercise and she hesitates to             
 think that any real solutions will come out of it, but that if it             
 does pass she will give her support to the delegates.                         
                                                                               
 Number 317                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said he holds the Constitution in high              
 regard, and there is nothing wrong with it other than the fact                
 that it is not being interpreted as our forefathers wrote it.  He             
 said he shares the concern that a convention of states could turn             
 into a constitution convention or a preamble for one.                         
                                                                               
 Number 340                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY said his understanding is that the National                       
 Conference of State Legislators wanted the resolution passed in               
 identical form by all 50 states; that the resolution could in no              
 may be construed as a constitutional convention or lead to one,               
 but rather it is a way to relieve pressure for a constitutional               
 convention.  He read from  a handout from former Mayor Tom Fink:              
 "The legislation that Congress is considering is a big step                   
 forward, but by itself it does not go far enough.  The bills                  
 passed by the House and the Senate are quite limited.  They only              
 affect future legislation and leave all existing unfunded                     
 mandates in force.  The bill will end up exempting some federal               
 laws from the unfunded mandates prohibition."  He added there is              
 a $50 million cap in one version of the federal law, and a $100               
 million cap in the other version of the federal law, meaning                  
 unfunded federal mandates could continue to be passed as long as              
 they were below that threshold, and unless states actively do                 
 something to take back the rights guaranteed by the Tenth                     
 Amendment they run a risk of losing the ability to exercise those             
 rights at all.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 378                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated that she is a big supporter of process,                    
 because skipping over process leads to dictatorship, but she is               
 concerned that doing away with every single phased-in unfunded                
 mandate would cause total collapse.  She wondered if the                      
 conference of states is asking for something that is impossible,              
 and observed that it is a variance of process.  She added that                
 pushing an issue too far can cause a loss of all ground gained.               
                                                                               
 Number 422                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER asked what the plan or strategy is                
 behind HJR 20 and where is it going.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY replied that page 8 of the document he distributed                
 from The Council of State Governments outlines what may or may                
 not be discussed at a conference of states; for example,                      
 strengthening the Tenth Amendment can be discussed, and he read,              
 "A better strategy would be to focus on process amendments, the               
 results of which would be much more predictable and would                     
 naturally bring about a better balance of the system over a                   
 number of years.  A number of individuals and task forces have                
 recommended, for example, adding a clause that would put the                  
 states on equal footing with Congress in proposing constitutional             
 amendments.  Another example....would give states the power to                
 sunset any federal law.....Such a discussion would surely get the             
 attention of Congress."  He added that dialogue regarding various             
 remedies is healthy, and nothing discussed at a conference of the             
 states could be acted on without first coming to all                          
 participating states; everything would be just advisory.  It                  
 would be the start of a national dialogue on the strength of the              
 states.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 462                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if the plan would be a forum to                   
 identify ways to return power to the states through a less                    
 difficult process than the current method available to amend the              
 constitution.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY replied that the agenda has not been set.                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER observed that it takes a constitutional                 
 amendment to come up with a new way to amend the constitution.                
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY said this could be included in the action plan.                   
                                                                               
 Number 487                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN observed that this situation could become an             
 "Alfonse-Gastone" problem where two baseball players each assumed             
 the other would catch the fly ball and it dropped between them.               
 He feared that if Alaska did not focus hard on one plan, the                  
 energies will be confused and the ball will be dropped.                       
                                                                               
 Number 508                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON noted that HJR 20 says 26 states                
 would have to adopt the resolution, and asked if all 50 states                
 would be invited.                                                             
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY responded yes.                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS asked if delegates would bring                       
 recommendations back to individual states to be reviewed by each              
 legislature.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY said this was correct.  He referred to the flow chart             
 in the committee packets which outlines the process and                       
 guarantees the process does not get out of hand.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS requested this flow chart become part of                
 the record.  A summary of the process outlined in the flow chart              
 follows:                                                                      
                                                                               
 Step 1:Each state legislature adopts a Resolution of                         
 Participation.                                                                
                                                                               
 Each legislature appoints a bipartisan delegation of                        
 four legislators and the Governor to attend the                               
 Conference of the States.                                                     
                                                                               
 Step 2:When a significant majority of states have passed the                 
 Resolution of Participation, the Council of State                             
 Governments will convene bipartisan incorporators                             
 appointed by legislative leadership in the                                    
 participating states.                                                         
                                                                               
 Step 3:The Conference of States is held.                                     
                                                                               
 Solutions to restore balance are discussed, refined and                     
 voted upon.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Step 4:The product of the Conference of States is a document,                
 a new instrument in American democracy called a                               
 "States' Petition."                                                           
                                                                               
 The States' Petition constitutes the highest form of                        
 communication between the states and Congress.                                
                                                                               
 Step 5:The States' Petition is carried back by delegates to                  
 their respective state legislatures for approval.                             
                                                                               
 States' Petition items which involve constitutional                         
 amendments require approval of a constitutional                               
 majority of state legislators.                                                
                                                                               
 Step 6:The States' Petition is presented to Congress.                        
                                                                               
 Ignoring a constitutional majority of states would                          
 signal an arrogance on the part of Congress - an                              
 arrogance the states and the American people would find                       
 intolerable.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 588                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES mentioned the power of the "group  think" philosophy              
 as a deterrent to true consensus, adding that she was concerned               
 that the momentum of the National Conference of State Legislators             
 could keep the single voice from being heard.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 574                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved an amendment as outlined in 2                       
 paragraphs on page 8 of an opinion from the Law Offices of Peter              
 D. Lepiscopo, 2635 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, California,               
 92108:                                                                        
                                                                               
 RESOLVED that Alaska's participation in any conference of                    
 the states shall in no way be interpreted or construed to be                  
 consent by the state of Alaska to be an application to                        
 Congress under the amendment procedure set forth in Article                   
 V of the Constitution of the United States.                                   
                                                                               
 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Alaska's participation in any                    
 Conference of the States shall in no way be interpreted or                    
 construed to be for the purpose of amending or proposing                      
 amendments to the Constitution of the United States.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if the second paragraph would be a                
 total annihilation of the purpose of the conference.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she thought the conference was supposed to deal              
 only with the Tenth Amendment and not constitutional amendments.              
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY said he thought it was appropriate to allow the                   
 delegates to discuss whatever they wished to discuss, and that                
 everything discussed would be brought back to the states.  He                 
 added there are a great number of checks and balances in the                  
 process.                                                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said the first paragraph is an appropriate              
 safeguard, but the second one is over-reaching by not allowing                
 discussion of constitutional amendments by legitimate process                 
 which would gage the feelings of all the states.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said if there is a consensus, he would                    
 withdraw the second paragraph from his amendment.                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON suggested splitting the question.                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS said he shared concerns about getting into              
 a constitutional convention, but his fears were allayed by Mr.                
 Maloney's flow chart.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 642                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN asked, once the convention starts, can the                
 process be stopped by an individual state's not ratifying the                 
 recommendations and not participating in the action plan.                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said yes, and that she would feel better if              
 the process were actually outlined in the resolution.  She wanted             
 to ensure that the majority rules and the minority is heard.                  
                                                                               
 Number 680                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MALONEY replied that even if all 50 states voted to ratify                
 the action plan, it would still be only advisory to Congress.  If             
 only two states ratified it, Congress would still hear the plan.              
 In either case, Congress would not be compelled to act.                       
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said "we the people" can always petition to amend the             
 constitution, and that is an action requiring a response from                 
 Congress.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 688                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he still had the concern that, for                  
 example, 26 states meet and agree to something different from                 
 what Alaska and other individual states have already sent to                  
 Congress.  He asked if this would then send a confusing message.              
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said there is no answer to this, and she would like               
 to vote on the amendment.                                                     
                                                                               
 Tape 95-14, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved to divide the question.  There were               
 no objections.                                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any objections to the first                   
 paragraph.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS objected to including either paragraph                  
 because there are enough safeguards without them.                             
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for the vote.  On the first paragraph of the               
 amendment, Representatives James, Ogan, Green, Ivan, Porter, and              
 Robinson voted yes.  Representative Willis voted no.  So the                  
 amendment passed.                                                             
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for a vote on the second paragraph.                        
 Representatives James, Ogan, Green, and Ivan voted yes.                       
 Representatives Porter, Robinson, and Willis voted no.  So the                
 amendment passed.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 063                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that HJR 20 does not have a Finance             
 Committee referral, but that it does have a fiscal note, and she              
 asked what is the procedure.                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied that if a bill picks up a fiscal                
 note during the process, it would receive a Finance Committee                 
 referral, so HJR 20 should get an additional referral to the                  
 Finance Committee.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she thought Chair James should talk              
 to the Speaker and be sure this happens.                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved that HJR 20 be passed from committee,               
 as amended, with attached fiscal note and individual                          
 recommendations.                                                              
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES questioned why the $11,000 fiscal note was so low,                
 and said she assumed additional funds would come out of the                   
 Governor's operating budget to send delegates to the convention.              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN agreed it was too low.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it would probably cost more like                 
 $5,000 for each delegate.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 136                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said the motion could include a "friendly               
 amendment" to include a committee memorandum outlining concerns               
 over the fact the fiscal note is probably not sufficient, and                 
 also recommending a Finance Committee referral.                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN agreed to include this as part of his motion.             
                                                                               
 Number 160                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES restated the motion:  The motion was "to move HJR 20              
 out of committee as amended, with individual recommendations,                 
 attached fiscal note, and with the recommendation of this                     
 committee that the fiscal note be scrutinized for its sufficiency             
 and that HJR 20 be given a Finance Committee referral."  Hearing              
 no objection, the bill passed out of committee.  She called for a             
 short break.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 177                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES complimented the committee for having everyone in                 
 attendance on such a sunny day.                                               
 HSTA - 02/11/95                                                               
 HB 132 - CANDIDATES FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT                                    
                                                                               
 Number 190                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE, sponsor of House Bill 132, read his              
 sponsor statement:                                                            
                                                                               
 I introduced HB 132 to bring parity to the state's election                  
 process.  The principle provision of the bill is the                          
 requirement that all candidates for state elective office                     
 must enter the primary election contest.                                      
                                                                               
 Currently, any Alaskan citizen eligible for elective office                  
 may bypass the state's primary election and be placed                         
 directly on the general election ballot by a nominating                       
 petition.  In my view, this causes two inequities.  First,                    
 the voters are denied full knowledge at the onset of all                      
 contestants seeking election to a particular office.  Voter                   
 access to financial disclosure information of petition                        
 candidates is delayed until just two months before the                        
 general election.  Furthermore, voter exposure to petition                    
 candidates' views and positions on issues of public interest                  
 is many times limited and compressed.                                         
                                                                               
 The second inequity is that the petition process provides a                  
 short cut avenue to the general election ballot.  It thus                     
 acts as an incentive for citizens to get directly on the                      
 general election ballot, because it saves money and the                       
 campaign scrutiny by the electorate is short.  While                          
 independent candidates have occasionally won elective                         
 office, they more often act as spoilers to the competition                    
 between primary election winners.  In effect then, the two                    
 ballot, primary-general election system, designed to winnow                   
 the many candidates down to contests between the few, is                      
 subverted.  The infusion of petition candidates onto the                      
 general election ballot can make it an election system of                     
 few primary contests transcending into contests among the                     
 many in the general election.                                                 
                                                                               
 HB 132 would place all candidates before the electorate on                   
 an equal footing.  This is accomplished by requiring all                      
 candidates to be in the primary election.  Just as the top                    
 vote getter of each political group will move on to the                       
 general election ballot, so too will the top vote getter                      
 among all independent candidates for a particular elective                    
 office.  In this manner, the electorate will have an equal                    
 opportunity to view and assess all candidates for an                          
 elective office.  And each candidate will be equally                          
 challenged by the election process.                                           
                                                                               
 He continued that he was inspired to file this bill, not by any               
 personalities or individuals, but because of complaints that                  
 allowing candidates to enter the election after the primary                   
 doesn't give voters a chance to get familiar with the candidates,             
 their Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) reports, or their               
 campaign fund sources, and that it is confusing to the voters                 
 because they don't see their candidate's name on the ballot in                
 the primary.  He filed the bill with public interest, not                     
 political fallout, in mind.  The Speaker of the House is the                  
 bill's co-sponsor, which gives it a nonpartisan approach.                     
                                                                               
 Number 272                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER offered a scenario with a primary ballot                
 containing two Republicans, two Democrats, one Independent                    
 Republican, two Independent Democrats, one Green, and one AIP.                
 He asked if, after the primary, the general election ballot would             
 contain one Republican, one Democrat, the one Independent                     
 Republican who was unopposed, one Independent Democrat, one                   
 Green, and one AIP.                                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE replied that would be correct, and that is              
 possible right now.  The only changes HB 132 would make is in not             
 allowing a candidate to bypass the primary and requiring all                  
 candidates to file by June 1.  He said he has no desire to                    
 restrict anyone's ability to run for office under any party name              
 as long as they get enough petition signatures, nor does he want              
 to rewrite election laws.  His aim is to create a level playing               
 field.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 333                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES pointed out that some candidates do not designate a               
 party and instead run as a "small" i (for independent).  If                   
 several candidates do this, she asked if then only one would                  
 advance to the general election.                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE replied this was correct.                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said this means that by not choosing a party,                     
 candidates have, by default, chosen a "small" i designation,                  
 which is a very popular choice, and she feared this would                     
 discourage independent candidates from choosing to run as a                   
 "small" i so they could run unopposed.  She stated she really                 
 supports this bill, but wants to be sure they aren't eliminating              
 potential candidates.                                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE clarified that the purpose of a primary                 
 election is to narrow the scope.  Under HB 132, all candidates                
 filing for office will be told by the Division of Elections that              
 if they don't declare a party it is possible they will be opposed             
 in the primary by other undeclared candidates.                                
                                                                               
 Number 400                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES noted that she has always been politically active and             
 recognizes the importance of affiliating with a party in order to             
 get the grassroots support, and the prime purpose of a primary is             
 for parties to select the candidates they want to support.                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE stated that his bill doesn't change this,               
 it only changes the filing deadline to June 1 instead of August 1             
 for all candidates.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 442                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN observed this bill puts all potential                    
 nonrecognized parties on the same playing field with the                      
 recognized parties and keeps candidates from getting "blind                   
 sided" after the primary because all candidates are known early               
 on.  He supports the bill.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 458                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated he supports the bill, and asked if a             
 closed primary would preclude the ability to pass a statute that              
 any candidate receiving 51 percent in the primary would be                    
 declared the winner.                                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON cautioned that the primary often draws a              
 small number of voters, and that would make it possible for a                 
 candidate to get 51 percent of the vote with only one-quarter of              
 the voters.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 482                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE agreed, adding that often in a primary                  
 election, only 18-20 percent of registered voters vote,                       
 especially in rural areas where people are fishing in the summer.             
 He would be afraid of having the election outcome decided by 51               
 percent of 18 percent, essentially 9 percent of the registered                
 voters.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER theorized that the lack of interest in the              
 primary is because it doesn't affect the selection process very               
 much, and if voters had to consider all primary candidates                    
 seriously, the turnout would be higher and more people would vote             
 absentee.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE observed that, more than in any other                   
 state, Alaskans vote for the individual, and statistics show that             
 if someone votes for a candidate in the primary, he or she will               
 support that same candidate in the general election.  The closed              
 Republican primary can put Republican candidates at a                         
 disadvantage if they have a low number of votes in the primary.               
                                                                               
 Number 530                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she would like to see everyone file              
 in August so the whole process would be shortened, in some future             
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES agreed that the process is too long and too                       
 expensive, and suggested one general election with a run-off as               
 opposed to a primary and a general election.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 543                                                                    
                                                                               
 DAVID KOIVUNIEMI, acting Director, Division of Elections,                     
 responded to Representative Porter's question by stating that the             
 constitution requires the Governor and Lt. Governor to be elected             
 at a general election, even if they got 51 percent of the votes               
 in the primary, and that maybe it would only require a change in              
 the names of the election.  For the record, he stated that the                
 Division of Elections has a neutral position on HB 132, and that              
 it would have no fiscal impact.  He pointed out that the bill                 
 could create some interesting combinations during the general                 
 election, for example a candidate for Governor who did not                    
 designate a political party could be teamed with a candidate for              
 Lt. Governor who also did not designate a party, but the two                  
 could be philosophically and politically opposite.  But he stated             
 that is their choice, and they could avoid it by designating a                
 political group.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 578                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS said he's gone through the process twice as             
 an Independent, and it is not easy.  He said he did not want to               
 sound self-serving, but he asked Dave to explain the process of               
 what this bill would require of someone wanting to run as an                  
 Independent.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. KOIVUNIEMI answered that he would have to do exactly the same             
 thing as he currently does, though the filing deadline would                  
 change from August 1 to June 1.   He would still have to get                  
 signatures on his petition from one percent of the registered                 
 voters who voted in the last election, but he would appear on the             
 ballot twice, in the primary and the general elections.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS stated that it would make it easier if he               
 were required to be on the primary ballot, because people get                 
 confused when they think he is running, but don't see his name on             
 the primary ballot.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 615                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE reiterated that the only difference for an              
 Independent candidate would be the filing deadline of June 1 and              
 the appearance on two ballots instead of one, and all candidates              
 would fall under the same APOC reporting requirements which                   
 serves the best interest of the public.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. KOIVUNIEMI said this is true for all legislative candidates,              
 but candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor each would have to               
 file a petition.  Currently the Governor just designates a Lt.                
 Governor on the same petition, and this is deleted by HB 132, so              
 instead of 2,167 signatures on one petition they would have to                
 get that number on two petitions.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he believes this is good because each              
 candidate should have to be dedicated enough to get these                     
 signatures.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 659                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS asked for an explanation of how the                     
 different parties are categorized, and asked if all unrecognized              
 parties would be put under the banner of Independents.                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE replied no, that only those parties with                
 the exact same names would be lumped together.  This is the same              
 as current law.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 675                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that although there is a zero                   
 fiscal note the bill has a Finance Committee referral.                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said the bill has an automatic Finance                  
 Committee referral and will have to go there since the bill                   
 creates a major policy change and needs to be scrutinized by the              
 Finance Committee.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved that HB 132 be moved out of                     
 committee with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note.             
 Hearing no objection, the motion passed.                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES announced the next meeting would be a joint                       
 confirmation hearing Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. with Senate State                   
 Affairs in the House Finance Committee room.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 700                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at 11:45 p.m.                               
                                                                               

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