Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/09/1996 08:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE April 9, 1996 8:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James, Chair Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chair Representative Joe Green Representative Ivan Ivan Representative Caren Robinson Representative Ed Willis MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Brian Porter COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HOUSE BILL NO. 545 "An Act relating to the cost-of-living differential for certain public employees residing in the state and the criteria for determining eligibility for the differential; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD SENATE BILL NO. 308 "An Act clarifying a statute relating to persons who may legally marry; relating to same-sex marriages; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 416 "An Act relating to fees or assessment of costs for certain services provided by state government, including hearing costs related to the real estate surety fund; fees for authorization to operate a postsecondary educational institution or for an agent's permit to perform services for a postsecondary educational institution; administrative fees for self-insurers in workers' compensation; business license fees; fees for activities related to coastal zone management, training relating to emergency management response, regulation of pesticides and broadcast chemicals, and subdivision plans for sewage waste disposal or treatment; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 482 "An Act relating to state procurement practices and procedures; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD HOUSE BILL NO. 198 "An Act relating to absences from the state and eligibility for permanent fund dividends; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD HOUSE BILL NO. 546 "An Act providing for and relating to the issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount of $600,211,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, and equipping public schools and of repair and major maintenance of public school and University of Alaska facilities; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 34 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the duration of a regular session. - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 545 SHORT TITLE: PUB. EMPLOYEE COST OF LIVING DIFFERENTIAL SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/22/96 3269 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/22/96 3269 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE 03/22/96 3269 (H) 3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, REV, DOT) 03/22/96 3269 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 04/04/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 04/04/96 (H) MINUTE(STA) 04/09/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: SB 308 SHORT TITLE: PROHIBIT SAME SEX MARRIAGES SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/14/96 2738 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/14/96 2738 (S) HES, JUD 03/18/96 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/18/96 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/20/96 (S) HES AT 10:30 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/20/96 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/20/96 2806 (S) HES RPT 3DP 03/20/96 2806 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAW) 03/25/96 (S) JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 03/25/96 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 03/26/96 (S) RLS AT 12:00 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 03/26/96 2901 (S) JUD RPT 3DP 1NR 1DNP 03/26/96 2902 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN (LAW) 03/27/96 2924 (S) RULES RPT 3 CALENDAR & 2NR 3/27/96 03/27/96 2925 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 03/27/96 2925 (S) ADVANCE TO THIRD READING FLD Y12 N8 03/27/96 2925 (S) THIRD READING 3/28 CALENDAR 03/28/96 2946 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 308 03/28/96 2947 (S) PASSED Y16 N3 E1 03/28/96 2947 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE 03/28/96 2947 (S) ELLIS NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 03/29/96 2972 (S) RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP TODAY 03/29/96 2973 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/01/96 3508 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/01/96 3508 (H) STATE AFFAIRS 04/09/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 416 SHORT TITLE: OMNIBUS STATE FEES & COST ASSESSMENTS SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/12/96 2432 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/12/96 2432 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, L&C, RESOURCES, FINANCE 01/12/96 2432 (H) 7 FNS (DCED, 2-DEC, 2-GOV, LABOR, MLV) 01/12/96 2432 (H) FISCAL NOTE (REV) 01/12/96 2433 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 04/09/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 WITNESS REGISTER PATRICK GULLUFSEN, Assistant Attorney General Governmental Affairs Section Civil Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Telephone: (907) 465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 545. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 110 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4968 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on SB 308. CHARLES TRIPP 1820 Larch Street C8 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-4229 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. DAN MINYARD 1216 Ismailov Street Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-5284 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. CHARLES ABBOTT P.O. Box 1434 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-1098 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on SB 308. BARBARA RAWALT P.O. Box 823 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-1946 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. ROY BOWDRE P.O. Box 2 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-4448 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. DEBORAH VANDRUFF 1014 West 16th Avenue, Number 4 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 278-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. SYLVIA SHORT, Member Citizen of the State of Alaska 705 West 47th Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 562-4992 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on SB 308. ALLISON MENDEL 8830 Banjo Circle Anchorage, Alaska 99502 Telephone: (907) 243-7826 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on SB 308. LYNN STIMLER 10919 (Indisc.) Drive Eagle River, Alaska 99577 Telephone: Not provided. POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on SB 308. JED WHITTAKER 1540 Medra Street Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: Not available. POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. SUSAN MOEHER 1014 West 16th Avenue, Number 4 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 278-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. PHIL REEMTSMA 208 Lawton Kenai, Alaska 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-4781 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. JOANNE JENCKS 616 Maple Kenai, Alaska 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-5244 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. DAN DAVIS P.O. Box 1285 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-4190 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. MILDRED BOESSER 17585 Lena Loop Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-1445 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. DANIEL COLLISON P.O. Box 21466 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-5001 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. SARA BOESSER 9365 View Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-5230 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. MARSHA BUCK, Member Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - Juneau 8445 Kimberly Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-6167 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. BURNIE LINDSEY 3126 Spruce Cape Road Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-5625 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of SB 308. AMY YOUNG 218 East 10th Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 258-9925 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. KAREN CARLISLE P.O. Box 763 Dillingham, Alaska 99476 Telephone: (907) 842-4618 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in opposition to SB 308. NANCY SLAGLE, Director Budget Review Office of Management and Budget Office of the Governor P.O. Box 110020 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0020 Telephone: (907) 465-4699 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 416. JULES TILLESTON, Director Central Office Division of Mining and Water Management Department of Natural Resources 3601 C Street, Suite 800 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5935 Telephone: (907) 762-2163 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 416. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-47, SIDE A Number 0015 The House State Affairs Committee was called to order by Chair Jeannette James at 8:05 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Ivan, Ogan, Willis, Green and James. Members absent were Representatives Robinson and Porter. HB 545 - PUB. EMPLOYEE COST OF LIVING DIFFERENTIAL CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called on Patrick Gullufsen, Department of Law, to explain the bill further. CHAIR JAMES explained the concerns regarding HB 545 at the last meeting were how it would be implemented. The criteria for enacting the cost of living differential (COLA) would be the same criteria used for the permanent fund dividend (PFD) in statute but not in regulation. The record reflected the arrival of Representative Caren Robinson at 8:08 a.m. CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Gullufsen if the employee had to qualify for the permanent fund dividend, or just meet the criteria in statute? They were two different things. Number 0222 PATRICK GULLUFSEN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs Section, Civil Division, Department of Law, explained he was asked to draft the bill and propose the bill to the House State Affairs Committee. He explained a person would not have to qualify or obtain the permanent fund dividend. However, the bill allowed the state to use the criteria of the definition of resident in statute for the dividend and the regulations that had been adopted by the Department of Revenue. Those criteria would determine who received the COLA differential until the Department of Administration adopted different regulations or clarified the PFD regulations as they would apply to the differential. The exception was that the criteria used for the PFD might contain nuances as they were applied to the COLA differential for employees living in Alaska. Therefore, by giving the Commissioner of Administration the authority to modify the PFD regulations legislative action would not be necessary every time there was a new nuance. Number 0355 CHAIR JAMES replied that was her biggest concern. She wondered why legislation was necessary at all. Number 0380 MR. GULLUFSEN responded if the legislature did not set the criteria or allow the executive branch to set the criteria, arbitrators would then set the criteria under collective bargaining agreements. Therefore, when there was a dispute, it would go to arbitration, and would be subject to inconsistencies based on decisions made by the arbitrators. The basic need was for the executive or legislative branch to specify the criteria to prevent those inconsistent decisions. Number 0499 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Gullufsen if the incentive was established to encourage people to move to Alaska to work on the Marine Highway System? Number 0517 MR. GULLUFSEN replied the legal argument was that it was an incentive for Alaskan residents to work for the Marine Highway System. The argument that Chair James presented was avoided by the system because it presented problems. Number 0555 CHAIR JAMES wondered where was the incentive because the differential was established to equalize residents and nonresidents. Number 0584 MR. GULLUFSEN said that was a good question. He explained in 1977 when the legislation was passed, the House Finance Committee report discussed that it might not be an incentive because the dollar would be spent for the greater cost of living in Alaska. It was removing a disincentive, however. Number 0622 CHAIR JAMES explained there was legislation pending that addressed geographic pay differentials. In that legislation it was determined that the cost of living in Anchorage and Seattle was the same. She was not sure if she agreed with that conclusion, however. She asked Mr. Gullufsen if the COLA differential was necessary? Number 0650 MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "I don't know." He had asked that question himself before. CHAIR JAMES stated if it was not necessary the bill was not needed. Furthermore, if there was an active state income tax, it would be easier to determine who was a resident and who was a nonresident. She was not sure if the PFD requirements were the right ones to follow. She cited an individual who moved to Alaska from Idaho and got a job with the Marine Highway System. She wondered if he would qualify for the COLA differential. Number 0716 MR. GULLUFSEN replied under the PFD requirements, he would qualify for the differential. However, under the current scenario, an arbitrator could rule that a part-time Alaskan resident, a resident living in the South for part of the year, would qualify for the COLA differential. Whereas, under the PFD criteria a part-time resident would not qualify. CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Gullufsen, why not give a part-time resident the differential when he was in Alaska and not while he was outside of Alaska. MR. GULLUFSEN replied that was one option. He envisioned an administrative nightmare, however. Number 0812 CHAIR JAMES stated other states used that type of system to determine state taxes, for example. She said there was a better way to do this than alluding to the PFD requirements. She suggested including in the bill the exact statutes that the system wanted to follow instead of tying it into the PFD program. That would prevent future regulation changes on the part of the Administration in the event the PFD program changed their regulations. Otherwise, it was a proliferation of regulations. Number 0910 MR. GULLUFSEN replied the criteria could be put into statute. The system would hope it was detailed enough, however, to resolve the disputes. He reiterated the basic desire was to resolve the disputes that went to arbitration. Number 0968 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said the PFD regulations were the most "bullet proof" residency requirements in the state. They had withstood several court tests, and were generally accepted as undisputable. Number 0995 MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "you hit the nail on the head." That was one of the reasons why the PFD regulations were identified. They had been tested by application and in court. Number 1005 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Mr. Gullufsen, if HB 545 was to pass, would the regulations be adopted verbatim or with exceptions? Number 1018 MR. GULLUFSEN replied the regulations that applied to state residency would be adopted verbatim. Number 1043 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated, therefore, it would be fair to assume that the wheel would not be reinvented and a lot of bureaucratic time would not be wasted writing regulations. MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "that's correct." However, the bill did give the Commissioner of Administration the authority to change the PFD regulations through the Department of Law hearing process. The system hoped, however, that the PFD regulations would work well. Number 1084 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN said he agreed with Chair James that if the regulations were going to be tweaked they needed to be addressed in the bill. If they were not going to be tweaked they did not need to be included in the bill. He did not agree with the concept that they would be adopted until changes were needed. Number 1153 MR. GULLUFSEN said he understood the concerns of Representative Green. He explained the application process of the PFD would also determine who was eligible and who was not eligible for a COLA differential. Number 1197 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied, if that was the case, new regulations would not be needed. He said, "if your going to have your own regs, have your own regs. If you going to rely on the permanent fund dividend requirements, then you should say that." Number 1221 MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "maybe we are." The system believed the PFD requirements were a solid set of regulations. However, the system was a different program with special nuances that might need to be fixed by regulation over time. Therefore, a strict application of the PFD program would probably not solve all of the problems of the COLA differential. Number 1278 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what was the benefit of referencing "criteria similar" to the PFD program then (page 1, line 7)? Number 1306 MR. GULLUFSEN replied the bill said it was going to be the regulations of the PFD program. An arbitrator might use a strict view of the regulations, and cited he might rule that both parents had to be out of the state for a medical leave for six months rather than just one, for example. The system would then be stuck with that decision regarding that particular regulation. That was the nuance he was referring to earlier. The system did not know over time how the arbitrators would rule, however. Therefore, it wanted the ability to fix the regulations if they were diverting from a reasonable interpretation. Number 1376 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON said basically room was being made for tweaking the regulations if needed. MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "that would be correct. That's the intent." REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON further said, even though the regulations were written, it could be discovered that they were not completely designed exactly as the system needed. MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "that's correct." Number 1406 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, for clarification, the system did not have the statutory authority to deny an employee differential because he did not qualify for the PFD. MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "that's correct." REPRESENTATIVE OGAN further said the system was looking for statutory authority for contract negotiations with the unions and arbitrators. MR. GULLUFSEN replied, "that's correct." The system did not want to argue over the criteria. Furthermore, the system did not want an arbitrator to pick and chose criteria. It wanted a criteria system so that all parties knew what were the rules. Number 1462 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, if the regulatory authority was not given, something would need to be written in statute referring to PFD eligibility, for example. MR. GULLUFSEN said that would be one approach, or the system would continue to live with the current approach. Number 1504 CHAIR JAMES said she was concerned about using the PFD regulations because it might prevent an individual from spending time outside of Alaska, especially if he was gone for more than 180 days. She asked, "do we really want to hold the resident as-tight-as the permanent fund?" Number 1545 MR. GULLUFSEN replied that was a difference in philosophy. The system would like to hold that resident. It was open to legitimate argument, however. Number 1565 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any further questions or comments. She announced she was not willing to move the bill forward today. She wanted to look at it further. Number 1572 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN announced he would ask questions of the Administration at the next scheduled hearing. SB 308 - PROHIBIT SAME SEX MARRIAGES The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs Committee was SB 308. CHAIR JAMES announced in the effort of time the committee members had been provided with the minutes of the previous testimony heard in the Senate. Therefore, she would only take testimony from those that had not already testified. Number 1641 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON explained there was a change in SB 308. She believed anybody should be able to testify. Number 1653 CHAIR JAMES replied, "I understand." She reiterated those that had already testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate House, Education and Social Services Committee would be heard today if there was time. She wanted to hear only from those that had not already testified. Number 1673 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she disagreed. She had not heard the testimony in the Senate. Furthermore, this was the only committee in the House of Representatives that would hear this bill. CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Robinson if she had read the minutes in the packet of information? REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON replied, "that's beside the point." The bottom line was that the people had a right to come before this committee and give their testimony. CHAIR JAMES replied she would hear those that had not testified already first, and if time permitted, she would hear the others. Number 1717 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG explained he was hear to present the nature of SB 308 to the House State Affairs Committee members. He said SB 308 was similar to HB 227 but was different in two respects. It first added the explicit prohibition of same-sex marriages in the state. It secondly applied the document to marriages contracted in other states making them unenforceable in the state. The provisions were necessary to avoid potential litigation as it related to the full faith and credit clause of the U. S. Constitution with respect to reciprocity. He cited the activity of the legislature and the Supreme Court in the state of Hawaii regarding this same issue (Baehr v. Lewin). He explained the case was still in the court waiting for a recommendation by a committee established by the Hawaiian State Legislature. It was possible that the state of Hawaii would allow for the recognition of same-sex marriages. He referred the committee members to a handout titled, "Family News - Update on Same Sex Marriage Bans" indicating this was a national issue. Furthermore, a case had been filed in the Third Judicial District in Anchorage challenging the lack of a same-sex marriage license based on the privacy clause and the equal protection clause of the Alaska State Constitution. Therefore, it was important for the legislature to make a strong and compelling argument for a policy prohibiting same-sex marriages. He asked the committee members for their support of SB 308. CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in Kodiak, Charles Tripp. Number 1941 CHARLES TRIPP expressed his support of SB 308. He explained it was in response to reciprocity and the prohibition of same sex marriages in Alaska. The bill was not discriminatory against homosexuals, but a distinction between what was a family and what was not. He cited rape was so broadly defined in society that the term had become meaningless. Therefore, the broadening of the term "marriage" needed to be avoided to truly distinguish between ordinary behavior and reprehensible behavior. Furthermore, society reserved benefits for families and marriages, and by providing those benefits to all, it removed the special privileges. The bill further prohibited the adoption of a child by a homosexual couple. He urged the committee members to support SB 308. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Kodiak, Dan Minyard. Number 2089 DAN MINYARD expressed his support of SB 308. He felt it was the responsibility of the state to protect and honor the family institution. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Delta Junction, Charles Abbott. Number 2142 CHARLES ABBOTT said because of homosexuality there was AIDS and because of AIDS there was an airborne virus transmitted through turburculosis. He wondered why the leaders would consider killing the people for the sake of a few perverted homosexuals. He called homosexuality an abomination. "Judgement is coming upon this nation as it is (indisc.) law." Furthermore, homosexuals could not reproduce, so "let's stop this unnatural perverted lying now." CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Delta Junction, Barbara Rawalt. Number 2192 BARBARA RAWALT called SB 308 an excellent bill. She said a traditional marriage was a safeguard for a stable society. The bill also maintained the standard of basic rights and laws. She reiterated her support of SB 308 and urged the committee members to support it as well. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Delta Junction, Roy Bowdre. Number 2334 ROY BOWDRE asked the committee members to support SB 308. This bill would help prevent the force of the immorality of a few onto the majority. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Deborah Vandruff. Number 2263 DEBORAH VANDRUFF said as a health care provider she was concerned about the state of families today. She asked the committee members to consider the fact that families were changing with society, and by passing a law against a gay family would not make it go away. She wondered what happened to the Alaskan policy of "live and let live." The bill smelled of outside groups trying to impose their will onto Alaska. Furthermore, recognizing a loving couple would not only provide stability to the communities but produce secure and good citizens. She was not sure what everyone was so afraid of when two people wanted to make a commitment that loved each other. Moreover, homosexuals could reproduce contrary to the previous testifier. She asked the committee members to not pass this "ridiculous bill." CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Sylvia Short. Number 2338 SYLVIA SHORT, Member, Citizen of the State of Alaska, read the following statement into the record. "One of the tenets advocated by the Republican majority in Congress is the lessening of government regulations. This I applaud as a recognition of the independence of the American spirit which is the product of our freedom and equality. Every governmental encroachment on our privacy diminishes our American spirit. "The government itself has no rights other than those granted to it by the people. The government, therefore, cannot dictate our private relationships as it has no such powers. In Alaska the people have spoken clearly that the right of privacy shall be a right of Alaskan citizens. The state therefore cannot infringe on our privacy nor grant to some what it refused to others without breaking our constitution. "Some raise arguments about a `slippery slop' in opposition to our exercise of the right to control our own dying. The slippery slope could be extended to the right to marry or to recognize marriages, so that maybe one could not marry a left-handed person or a Eurasian or a native person. These are all part of the same pain, if our laws will purport to inhibit marriage between certain persons, where does the government stop?" CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Allison Mendel. Number 2409 ALLISON MENDEL said she had lived in Anchorage for 14 years of which two of her four children were born in Anchorage. She was also an attorney. She was interested in the comments of Representative Rokeberg. She had followed the bill closely and had yet to understand the need for the bill. She asked the committee to enlighten her regarding the crisis that this piece of legislation was responding to. Furthermore, she said there were more people that wanted to testify on this bill but could not due to the short notice of the hearings in the Senate. Please consider that as well. This was a serious road to follow, she explained. She reiterated she had yet to hear public articulation regarding the seriousness of the problem. TAPE 96-47, SIDE B Number 0000 MS. MENDEL further said the state of Alaska had never had a law on the books to disregard the law of another state. She asked the committee members to read the memorandum dated March 28, 1996, from Terri Lauterbach, Legislative Counsel, carefully because it was produced late in the hearings in the Senate. She reiterated this was not an issue, it was not responding to any social problem that needed to be addressed. She said it was a perception of something that might happen down the line. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Lynn Stimler. Number 0076 LYNN STIMLER asked the committee members to respond to the memorandum dated March 28, 1996, from Terri Lauterbach, Legislative Counsel. She asked Representative Willis to respond first as her representative. She asked Representative Willis directly what he thought of the constitutional arguments contained in the legal analysis of the ACLU and in the memorandum? CHAIR JAMES asked Ms. Stimler to stand by because the committee was still taking public testimony. They would respond to her question later. MS. STIMLER said she would pass her three minutes allotted so that all of the Representatives could respond to the arguments in the ACLU paper and in the memorandum so that the public understood their positions. CHAIR JAMES said she would like to continue with the testimony, and the committee members would consider her question when discussing the bill after the testimony. CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness in Juneau, Jed Whittaker. Number 0176 JED WHITTAKER said he was here today to say a prayer to heal the hatred that was in the hearts of the committee members. The hatred that did not recognize that everyone was different, yet the same, because we were human beings. He was here to pray that the love in their hearts would come forward to overcome the hatred that this bill was about. He said it was acceptable to disagree about appropriate social behavior, but 50 percent of heterosexual marriages ended in divorce. He wondered where the stability was that this bill was supporting. He said, "you cannot legislative love. You could try to legislate hate, but you could not legislate love." He reiterated he hoped they could find the love in their hearts and see that the bill was nothing but hatred. It was not appropriate for the state of Alaska to engage in acts of hatred. Number 0247 CHAIR JAMES replied that she did not hate anyone. She did not like the actions of some people, however. She reiterated she did not hate Mr. Whittaker or other people. She did not even think of the homosexuality relating to this bill. She was willing to create legislation to give same-sex relationships similar benefits that a man and woman marriage produced. However, the word "marriage" was sacred to her. She announced she would support SB 308. "What you have (Mr. Whittaker) is a loving relationship, if that happens to be your choice, I believe that is something different." Number 0300 MR. WHITTAKER stated Chair James assumed he was gay. CHAIR JAMES replied she did make that assumption. She apologized if she was incorrect. MR. WHITTAKER further said the assumption that Chair James just made was the heart of this kind of legislation. He called it bigotry because there was an assumption of hate based on sight alone. CHAIR JAMES responded she liked Mr. Whittaker just fine. She did not hate him. MR. WHITTAKER replied, "you referred to me as a gay man." CHAIR JAMES said she also liked him that way also. She had no problem with "those kind of people, whoever they are." She reiterated she had no dislike for gay people. She said she felt the same way as Mr. Whittaker did when she was accused of being hateful. It was the same frustration. It had to be dealt with, but it probably would not be solved today. She announced she would be happy to talk to Mr. Whittaker at another time on this very issue to see how to accomplish these goals. Number 0354 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he would prefer to finish the testimony before debating the issue. CHAIR JAMES explained the testimony was finished unless there was time left for the previous witnesses to testify again. She apologized if she insulted Representative Green on this issue, but she felt compelled to address the hatred statement. MR. WHITTAKER said hatred was what this issue was all about. CHAIR JAMES replied she understood his feelings. She also had the same feelings. CHAIR JAMES announced there was enough time left for two minutes each from the remaining testifiers. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, "so testimony isn't over then." CHAIR JAMES replied, "no." There was time left to hear further testimony. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Susan Moeher. Number 0414 SUSAN MOEHER said she was a registered nurse and was concerned that the laws of the community did not reflect the families that she met and worked. The families had changed over the years, and the laws were behind the times. They did not support the families of the 1990's. Furthermore, as a health care provider she found this bill to be very cruel and exclusive to people. She believed it was an important bill for the homosexual community because it needed the same sort of benefits and support as the heterosexual community, such as, health care benefits. She reiterated SB 308 was wrong. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Kenai, Phil Reemtsma. Number 0557 PHIL REEMTSMA said he supported SB 308. It was not an issue of hate. He was a Minister at Calvary Baptist and he did not hate anybody. There was a responsibility to do what was right, however. It was God that set the standard and it was God that instituted marriage, therefore, there was a moral responsibility to do what was right. He thanked the Chair for allowing him to testify. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Kenai, Joanne Jencks. Number 0620 JOANNE JENCKS thanked the committee members for considering SB 308 today. She said it was too bad that society had degenerated to the point that this type of legislation needed to be considered. The previous testimony in the Senate indicated that the opposition was concerned about the cost. She cited in the 1960's the bible and God were thrown out of the schools, and since then divorce had skyrocketed, children were having babies, and venereal diseases had gotten out of hand causing tax payers enormous amounts of money. Furthermore, she stated a homosexual lifestyle was the cause of AIDS also costing the tax payers an enormous amount of money with no end in sight. Therefore, if the traditional merits of marriage were adhered to, it would not cause the state anything compared to the alternatives. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Delta Junction, Dan Davis. Number 0700 DAN DAVIS said he wanted to go on record again as a strong supporter of SB 308. It was a behavior that was physiologically destructive. He further said it was an issue of sodomy and not procreation. He cited the average homosexual had over 500 partners in a lifetime which did nothing more than spread sexually transmitted diseases. The statistics further showed that homosexual behavior was destructive to the health of the individual and decreased his life expectancy. Therefore, to promote this behavior was dangerous. It did not make sense to legitimize the behavior legally. He said SB 308 was right. He reiterated homosexuality was a behavior choice, it was not about a relationship. CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness in Juneau, Mildred Boesser. Number 0829 MILDRED BOESSER said she had testified before so she would keep her comments brief. She said she was very much in favor of supporting families. She had been married to the same person for 48 years with four children and four grandchildren. She was not against marriage. However, there were other types of families in this society. She said the times were changing and it was necessary to recognize the other types of families and give them support. She knew two lesbian couples that had lived together for 40 years. They could never be married, however. Her own daughter was a lesbian and had lived with her partner for 14 years. They owned a house, worked, and paid taxes in this community, but could not enjoy the benefits of a married couple. This was an inequality that was not right. Moreover, she was a Christian and suggested it was time to realize that God might have created people with a different sexual orientation. She disagreed with the previous speaker that homosexuality was a choice. It was not a choice, it was something that one was born with, so it was a gift of God. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Daniel Collison. Number 0955 DANIEL COLLISON, Board Members, Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance, shared an Easter story with the committee members of a child seeking questions to a traditional part of the dinner preparation. He said gays and lesbians had never fit the mold of a traditional marriage of one man and one woman. The advocates rested too easily on this traditional interpretation of marriage. A narrow and prudish view belied the fluid manner in which humans had and would continue to redefine marriage as an institution. He cited marriages were more often than not in the past arranged by the parents. He further wondered about interracial marriages when the Southern states outlawed them in the 1960's. Similarly, SB 308 denied recognition of same-sex marriages sanctioned by other states. The courts had found such laws to be unconstitutional in the past and would continue to do so in the future. These cases never hinged on the gray area of legal interpretation, it was black and white in constitutional law. The state had no compelling interest to bar a recognition of a union with another person of the same-sex. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Sara Boesser. Number 1216 SARA BOESSER said she was glad to see that the committee members had the memorandum dated March 28, 1996, from Terri Lauterbach, Legislative Counsel, because it showed the constitutional problems of the bill. She said there was no cause for harm if the same gender partners married because there was no way to stop the affirmation of the relationship currently. Furthermore, she stated her marriage to her same-sex partner did not interfere with the strength of another family. She cited it was fidelity, love, respect, commitment, honesty, trust and responsibility that strengthened a family. Furthermore, history was against bills such as SB 308. She cited race, religion, disability and divorce were issues surrounding marriages in the past. Therefore, the tradition of marriage had evolved over time. Change was the nature of an evolving society. History was what created the civil rights protection in this world today. Therefore, the bill would be an extension of the next wave of legal rights to even more Americans. She asked the committee members to vote against SB 308. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Marsha Buck. Number 1384 MARSHA BUCK, Member, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) - Juneau, said PFLAG was against SB 308. The bill sounded and felt like discrimination. She cited her daughter was in a relationship with another woman and was being discriminated against for wanting to establish a strong and stable family. The bill did not contain any features that were helpful to Alaskans, but instead interfered with the personal rights of Alaskans. She reiterated PFLAG was against SB 308 and asked that it be removed from any further consideration. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Kodiak, Burnie Lindsey. Number 1522 BURNIE LINDSEY said he supported SB 308. The country was established on Biblical principles and the Ten Commandments. He was against homosexuality. Furthermore, one of the reasons for a family was to procreate and homosexuality could not provide that aspect of a marriage. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Amy Young. Number 1618 AMY YOUNG said she was against SB 308. The language was unconstitutional. It was fear that drove the opposition. She said the 1990's represented "gay bashing" reinforcing the fear and hatred. Furthermore, the laws affected the mood of the public. Therefore, if SB 308 was passed it sent the message that it was acceptable to discriminate against gays and lesbians. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Dillingham, Karen Carlisle. Number 1777 KAREN CARLISLE said she was against SB 308. She was embarrassed that legislators in her state were trying to pass a bill that was so blatantly prejudiced. It reminded her of school grade behavior amongst children. She cited she knew several lesbian couples that were very responsible citizens. Furthermore, the Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Unitarians, and the Unity Church performed commitment ceremonies, therefore, not all Christians were opposed to same-sex marriages. She asked the committee members to oppose this prejudice and vote no on SB 308. Number 1947 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON requested that SB 308 go to a subcommittee to further look at the issues addressed in the memorandum dated March 28, 1996, from Terri Lauterbach, Legislative Counsel. It was clear that Alaska denied same-sex marriages. Therefore, this was a non-issue. It generated fear because people believed it was an issue. She reiterated there were potential U. S. Constitutional and Alaska State Constitutional issues that affected Sec. 2 of SB 308 that needed to be looked at further. Number 2039 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN wondered how gay people could reproduce. He was referring to a statement made earlier by a witness regarding the ability of a gay couple to reproduce. He said, "inquiring minds want to know how." CHAIR JAMES replied she did not have the answer. Number 2078 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said there was a full faith and credit issue involved, but according to the memorandum dated March, 1995, from Terri Lauterbach, Legislative Counsel, she recommended making changes to HB 227 to overcome those objections thus creating SB 308. It was crystal clear that the decision of one state's supreme court should not be able to dictate the social policies of this country. Therefore, this was a necessary action. He reiterated there was a case filed in the Third Judicial District in Alaska regarding this issue, therefore, it was a current issue before the legislature. There was a compelling reason to make a public policy statement. This was not a non-issue. Furthermore, the policies relating to the Loving v. Virginia case set forth by Ms. Lauterbach and Ms. Stimler were not germane. A situation did exist that needed to be clarified in statute, therefore, he urged the committee members to support SB 308. Number 2274 CHAIR JAMES said HB 368 was recently passed out of the House State Affairs Committee that contained many provisions that bridged on the issue of constitutionality. She said, if it was unconstitutional, it would be determined by the courts. That was their responsibility. However, over the past few years, the courts had been making the laws. The legislative body could not sit here and try to second guess what the courts would do. The legislature was here to legislate the will of the people. Number 2358 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Representative Rokeberg if he knew of any case where the courts interpreted that a same-sex marriage was legal in the state of Alaska? Number 2381 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied, "no." He was only familiar with the Baehr v. Lewin case in Hawaii. The only case he knew of in Alaska was at the bar. Number 2408 CHAIR JAMES said the current law was changed to "person" by the revisor of statutes, whereas previously it stated "man" and "woman." Therefore, SB 308 would make this perfectly clear. Number 2439 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was talking about a court interpretation. The courts had not interpreted that anything other than a man and a woman could be married. She said Chair James was correct that in 1974 the language changed in the statutes. She further wondered if anyone in the state of Alaska had issued a license to recognize a same-sex marriage. Number 2472 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said this was a current area of dispute, judicially. TAPE 96-48, SIDE A Number 0000 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG further said in Minnesota there was a statute that clearly indicated that discrimination against sexual orientation was not allowed. However, it strictly prohibited same- sex marriages. Clearly, there were different courts and different rulings on similar language with varying conclusions. Number 0077 CHAIR JAMES said she supported SB 308 because society was on a "slippery slope." The bill was not a slippery slope bill, however. Furthermore, she was not convinced that society was willing to go down that slippery slope any further. Society was paying a price for the acceptance of divorce, for example. There was a direct correlation between the money spent on the welfare programs and the loosening of society. She said she was not judging if that was right or wrong, however. She was also afraid of the effects of conditioning to the point that it did not bother a person anymore. This was how society had progressed through he 20th Century. Moreover, she remembered when common law was not recognized in some states. She believed that a ceremony was not needed to recognize a marriage, but according to laws of the land a permit was needed. She said she did not have a problem with same-sex relationships and recognizing their rights under the laws. However, she did not agree with using the term "marriage" to describe that relationship. She was not willing to give up the concept of marriage between a man and a woman just yet. Furthermore, she hated discrimination and would not discriminate against anybody. She looked at SB 308 as a discrimination against herself, however, and her concept of marriage. Marriage was very, very important to her, therefore, she would support SB 308. CHAIR JAMES announced she wanted to move the bill out of the committee today. Number 0388 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said in many ways she agreed with Chair James. She believed, however, that SB 308 contained constitutional problems. Furthermore, the pain that the bill brought forward was wrong when this was a non-issue. The law indicated that no one had ever been issued a marriage license in the state of Alaska unless it was a man and a woman couple. The reasoning behind this issue at a national level was because many did not like the lifestyle of homosexuals. She further cited AS 25.05.021 that stated a marriage was prohibited if either party already had a husband or wife. Furthermore, AS 25.05.010-11 was titled "husband and wife." It was clear this was not an issue costing the state money. There was a case in court so let it rule and if there was a problem then the legislature should address the issue. She reiterated this was an issue because of the fears of people that someone other than a man or a woman would get married. Moreover, she cited a legal opinion that stated the statute authorized the issuance of a marriage license between "persons." It also indicated that marriage was a civil contract that could be entered into by males at the age of 21. She did not realize that males had to be 21 and females had to be 18 to get married. She suggested looking at that further. She reiterated the statutes were clear regarding marriage. She reiterated by addressing this issue the legislature was warranting the fears of the people when in fact it was not a fear that the people should be concerned about in Alaska. Number 0598 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said the laws now do prohibit same-sex marriages. However, he believed it should be made clear to the people. This was a painful subject because society was changing. The courts were established to interpret laws and the legislature was established to make laws. Therefore, whether or not certain portions of the bill would be found unconstitutional should be left to the courts. Moreover, according to the animal kingdom, including mankind, homosexuality was an unnatural act. It was becoming more prevalent, however, in society. Society, however, was founded under the laws of God. He was concerned about the Christians testifying that they were in favor of homosexual behavior. He suggested they look at the book that was divinely inspired. It was clear that homosexual relationships were not the will of God according to the Bible. It was a travesty that a society would condone that type of behavior. Therefore, a bill was needed to not recognize the behavior in Alaska and in other states. He said he would support SB 308. Number 0841 CHAIR JAMES said she believed in the statement of "judge not that you be not judged." She felt her responsibility to her God was her own behavior. That was why she did not discriminate against other people. She called it a reciprocal agreement. She reiterated she felt passionate about the traditional concept of marriage. Her district also felt the same way. CHAIR JAMES called for a motion to pass the bill out of the committee. Number 0886 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that legal opinions were just opinions. He said there were as many opinions as there were lawyers. He was responding to Ms. Stimler's question of the committee members regarding the legal analysis of the ACLU. Number 0914 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved that SB 308 move from the committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, it was so moved from the House State Affairs Committee. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON announced she had to leave the House State Affairs Committee meeting to attend a caucus. HB 416 - OMNIBUS STATE FEES & COST ASSESSMENTS The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs Committee was HB 416. CHAIR JAMES called on Nancy Slagle, Office of the Governor , to present the bill. Number 0982 NANCY SLAGLE, Director, Budget Review, Office of Management and Budget, Office of the Governor , said HB 416 was an intricate part of the Governor's long-range fiscal plan. It was also part of the Majority's fiscal plan. She referred the committee members to a memorandum from the Department of Law regarding the single subject rule. She explained it was the opinion of the department that HB 416 did not violate any single subject rules. She further referred the committee members to the section analysis prepared by the Office of the Governor. She would go over the section analysis on Thursday, April 11, 1996, at the next scheduled hearing in the interest of time. Representatives from the departments would also be present to answer any questions of the committee members. CHAIR JAMES announced there was a witness via teleconference in Anchorage, Jules Tileston. Number 1090 JULES TILESTON, Director, Central Office, Division of Mining and Water Management, Department of Natural Resources, announced he would wait until Thursday, April 11, 1996, to testify. MS. SLAGLE explained Mr. Tileston was on-line due to a proposed amendment. Number 1113 ADJOURNMENT CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Committee meeting at 9:55 a.m.