Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/03/1998 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                  
                   March 3, 1998                                               
                     8:05 a.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                          
                                                                               
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                 
Representative Joe Ryan                                                        
Representative Kim Elton                                                       
Representative Mark Hodgins                                                    
Representative Al Vezey                                                        
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Ivan Ivan, Vice Chairman                                        
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
CONFIRMATION:                                                                  
                                                                               
The Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                     
                                                                               
     Ed Granger - Anchorage                                                    
                                                                               
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                   
                                                                               
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 1                                                     
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska              
relating to the duration of a regular session.                                 
                                                                               
     - MOVED HJR 1 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL 413                                                               
"An Act relating to disclosure of compensation paid to sponsors of             
initiative petitions; placing limitations on the compensation that             
may be paid to sponsors of initiative petitions; and prohibiting               
payments to persons who sign or refrain from signing initiative                
petitions."                                                                    
                                                                               
     - HEARD AN HELD; ASSIGNED TO SUBCOMMITTEE                                 
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL 359                                                               
"An Act relating to regulation of health insurance plans; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL 362                                                                 
"An Act relating to the use of space for military lounges in state-            
owned or state- controlled airports."                                          
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 59                                                    
Relating to an amendment to the Constitution of the United States              
prohibiting desecration of the Flag of the United States.                      
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL 338                                                               
"An Act relating to the repeal of provisions of the Administrative             
Procedure Act, prohibiting the adoption of regulations by an agency            
of the executive branch of state government, annulling all                     
regulations adopted by an agency of the executive branch, and                  
relating to additional legislation to carry out the purposes of                
this Act; and providing for an effective date."                                
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
SENATE BILL 265                                                                
"An Act designating the moose as the state land mammal."                       
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL 329                                                               
"An Act amending the definition of correctional facility to include            
a therapeutic treatment center; providing for the conveyance of the            
Harborview Developmental Center and appurtenant land to the City of            
Valdez for the purpose of conversion and lease of a part of the                
center for a therapeutic treatment center for the Department of                
Corrections; providing that such a land conveyance counts toward               
the general grant land entitlement of the City of Valdez; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: HJR 1                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: LIMIT LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO 90 DAYS                              
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) ROKEBERG, SANDERS, Kohring                      
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 1/13/97        21     (H)  PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97                            
 1/13/97        21     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 1/13/97        21     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                  
 4/01/97       900     (H)  COSPONSOR(S): KOHRING                              
 3/03/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
                                                                               
BILL: HB 413                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: INITIATIVE PETITION COMPENSATION                                  
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) ELTON                                           
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 2/16/98      2331     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 2/16/98      2331     (H)  STA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                            
 3/03/98      Text     (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
                                                                               
ED GRANGER, Appointee to the                                                   
  Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                       
931 Lighthouse Court                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska  99515                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 345-6462                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Select Committee            
                    on Legislative Ethics.                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 24                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-4968                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HJR 1.                                          
                                                                               
KEN JACOBUS, Representative                                                    
  Alaskans for a Common Language                                               
425 G Street, Suite 920                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 277-3333                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 413.                             
                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
                                                                               
TAPE 98-28, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing                  
Committee meeting to order at 8:05 a.m.  Members present at the                
call to order were Representatives James, Dyson, Elton, and Vezey.             
Representatives Berkowitz and Hodgins arrived at 8:11 a.m.                     
                                                                               
CONFIRMATION HEARING                                                           
                                                                               
Number 0002                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced the committee will consider Mr. Granger to               
the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.  (His resume was                   
provided).                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0007                                                                    
                                                                               
ED GRANGER, Appointee to the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics            
testified via teleconference from Las Vegas.  He explained he is in            
Las Vegas attending a convention which is about a five-day string              
of seminars and you can't possibly attend them all.                            
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER said he has been retired for approximately two years as            
an engineer and is currently a licensed realtor.  He stated the                
reasons he agreed to have his name put forward again is that it's              
an honor to serve.  He said he doesn't find it cumbersome as far as            
the time it requires, and he also really firmly believes the ethics            
committee performs a much needed function in government.  Mr.                  
Granger mentioned what he also likes about it is that he believes              
they work cheap, he doesn't think they spend much money, especially            
considering the good that they do in the public interest.                      
                                                                               
Number 0020                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON said he is delighted Mr. Granger has had             
this experience.  He asked if is it difficult, with our relatively             
convoluted ethical standards, to work through what are inadvertent             
violations, what are deliberate ones, and ones that are significant            
as in they affect something, than those that are insignificant in              
that they're technical violations but they really don't appear to              
make any difference in the real world.                                         
                                                                               
Number 0026                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER replied he found working with the ethics committee to              
be a very enlightening and very educational.  He said he thinks                
that they read the ethics law, they read the complaints, and he                
knows, that in every case that's been before the committee since               
he's been on it, there's been a lot of discussion and a lot of                 
excellent good judgement and advice given by each one of the                   
members on each one of the cases.  And it's resulted in rather                 
speedy resolutions without having the equivalent of a hung jury, if            
you will.                                                                      
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER added that he didn't think the question of complicated             
regulations, compared to the complaints that they've received has              
been that big a problem.  That's not to mean that there's perhaps              
some cleanup work that has to be done on the law, but it certainly             
hasn't been an obstruction to doing their work in his view.                    
                                                                               
Number 0038                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked, "Did you find it difficult to discern              
between and work with what was deliberate violations and those that            
were inadvertent, and the ones that were significant in that they              
affected things, and the ones that were insignificant and more                 
technical violations."                                                         
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER replied no, it has not been difficult.  Where there has            
been an incidence of inadvertent violation, and where it's been                
acknowledged, and taken care of in simply a letter form, or                    
sometimes, he assumes, even in discussions - because he hasn't been            
sitting in the chair position.  It's been handled very speedily and            
without complications in his view.  He reiterated that he doesn't              
think it's been a problem.                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted for the record that Representative Berkowitz and             
Hodgins are present.  She noted we have a full committee, with the             
exception of Representative Ivan who is out of the city doing                  
legislative work today.                                                        
                                                                               
Number 0050                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY had a question on Mr. Granger's biography.             
He noted it says that his appointed initial two-year term ended in             
1993.  Representative Vezey said he thought that was the year we               
created the select committee.                                                  
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER responded no, he said he believes his initial                      
appointment was in 1993.                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said, "I know the two-year term ended in 1995,            
and then you were reappointed."                                                
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER replied yes, that's what he believes.  He noted he                 
didn't have the record in front of him, but he did serve an initial            
appointment term and then was reappointed, and this would be his               
third term if it's approved.  Mr. Granger noted he typed his                   
resume.                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 0058                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said it's been his opinion that the committee             
was intended to be a rotating group, that's why we had three-year              
terms and we have reappointed most of the initial appointees to                
another third-year term.  He asked Mr. Granger what is his feeling             
about having citizen members of this committee continue for                    
additional terms of appointment.                                               
                                                                               
Number 0064                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER responded, "Let me say from the outset, I'm a firm                 
believer in term limits and not just only for the ethics committee             
but clear across the board. ... When you say term limits, you're               
talking about how many terms can they serve and of course we really            
don't have one for ethics and not many other groups.  We do have               
one term limit in the Chugiak Board of Directors, where I also                 
serve, and this next election that I go through next year with them            
will put me at the end of my term limits."                                     
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER continued, "One thing that I think should be considered            
in term limits, that the number of terms that a person serves in               
any post should be weighed against the start-up momentum that a                
person has to go through before they really become effective on                
whatever board or commission, or wherever they are, from the time              
of their appointment till they start to be effective.  I believe               
that in ethics it takes probably a year before a person really                 
begins to become a team-member.  And with that, I would say I would            
enjoy serving a third term with the ethics and if you were looking             
for a recommendation on this, I would say that the ethics law                  
should in fact be changed so the person couldn't serve any more                
than three terms, but however you want to handle it in my case is              
fine with me."                                                                 
                                                                               
Number 0079                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he takes it from that, Mr. Granger's                 
saying it wouldn't hurt his feelings if he didn't get reappointed.             
                                                                               
MR. GRANGER responded he didn't want to throw that out on the table            
in front of this committee.  He stated he is sincere when he says,             
"I feel like I'm doing a lot of good.  And I also feel like I'm                
doing a lot of good with not too much effort on my part, I give                
that time very freely.  But of course, if you want to go another               
route, why I'll still say hello to you on the street, that's not a             
problem."                                                                      
                                                                               
Number 0084                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES commented on the term limits issue.  She indicated she             
has mixed feeling on term limits because it's very difficult to                
find people to serve.  And when you do find someone whose willing              
to serve and they're doing a good job, she thinks there is a                   
benefit to having them there.  If they're not doing a good job,                
that's obvious, and that they need to be replaced.  Chair James                
said, "I think it is a credit to you, having first of all survived             
that first round of selections.  I was here then, when that                    
happened, and to think that you're still willing to do it and                  
people are willing to have you, I think is a lot to your credit                
sir."                                                                          
                                                                               
Number 0093                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON stated for the record that he is also a               
member of the Legislative Ethics Committee.  He said one of the                
things that he finds very important, as a new member of the                    
committee, is the expertise of the people who have served a lot                
longer than he has.  It really does, in this committee, get rid of             
a lot of work, "the been there, done that" syndrome is helpful to              
everybody because a lot of the situations that the ethics committee            
reviews have been reviewed before and people like Mr. Granger bring            
that kind of history to the committee and help everybody out.                  
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES agreed with Representative Elton's statement.                      
                                                                               
Number 0108                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to forward Mr. Granger to the             
floor for confirmation.  Hearing no objections, Mr. Granger's                  
confirmation moved forward.                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked for a brief at-ease [approximately two minutes].             
                                                                               
HJR 1 - LIMIT LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO 90 DAYS                                   
                                                                               
Number 0117                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced the next order of business is HJR 1,                     
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska              
relating to the duration of a regular session.  Chair James                    
mentioned Representative Rokeberg is here to present his amendment.            
                                                                               
Number 0120                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG, Alaska State Legislature, presented            
HJR 1 saying it provides for a 90-day session due to fiscal                    
constraints and we need to look at our own house.  He indicated                
this is the most important bill he has introduced and mentioned he             
believes it's consistent with HCR 9, which is an amendment to the              
Uniform Rules which allows interim committee activities and                    
electronic votes to be cast by committee members if they are on                
teleconference.  He reiterated that these bills are companion bills            
because, if we shorten the session, we should be able to do some               
interim work to make sure the state's business is done.                        
                                                                               
Number 0132                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG explained the fiscal note would save $1.5              
million based on the estimate of $50,000 a day to run the                      
legislature, this is a significant savings to the state.                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated, "I think the area of candidate                 
recruitment for running for public office is something we need to              
keep in mind.  It's very difficult to have a truly political                   
legislature when we have to spend of a third of the year down                  
here."  He said he had to give up his type of business because real            
estate requires the servicing of clients on a year-round basis.                
                                                                               
Number 0142                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out there is approximately 24                  
states that have sessions shorter than our existing 120 days, which            
was amended in 1984.  Historically, some sessions have run far into            
July.  About nine states have either biannual sessions or                      
abbreviated second sessions in their two-year sitting period.  For             
example, Arkansas has a 60-day session one year and has no session             
the next, Oregon meets for about 165 days and then no days the                 
following year.  In 1996 and 1997 the Washington State Legislature             
met for 105 days and then 60 days.  So, both states have an average            
of 82.5 days in which to conduct their business.  Other states that            
have shorter sessions include Virginia-45 days, Vermont-45 days,               
Wyoming-55, New Mexico-60, West Virginia-60, Florida-60, Georgia-              
75, and Hawaii-120 days or less.                                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said members and their staffs are forced to            
pack up and come to Juneau after the holiday seasons.  He said, "So            
there's a lot of very tired people suffering from the holiday                  
doldrums -- when we have to come down here as many times.  I know              
my birthday's on the fourth of January and I've been forced at                 
least two years to be down here on my birthday for organizational              
meetings and such, and therefore, and it comes right directly after            
the holidays."  He mentioned he has an amendment that speaks to                
that particular issue.                                                         
                                                                               
Number 0172                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG also referenced the Book of the States,                
1996-97 edition, Volume 31, which references the history of our                
session and the fact that, in our constitution presently, the                  
convening day is the fourth Monday of January, except the                      
Legislature has the ability to change that.  He noted the amendment            
would start the session on the "first Monday of February" to avoid             
starting up after the holidays and suggested not starting later                
than that.  He said he believes the Legislature can perform its                
function most sufficiently, save money for the state.                          
                                                                               
Number 0185                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated he is interested in the 90-day limit.            
However, he pointed out that he has visited with folks in Oregon               
and some of the other states that meet every other year.  He said              
that is misleading because they have an executive committee, and               
the people are very much removed from the decisions.  So it's                  
healthy for us to meet once a year, but believes limiting the                  
sessions is appropriate.                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS said, "I do note in the fiscal note back                
here that they show quite a decrease and I would venture to                    
suggest, that if we do go to a 90-day session, that probably the               
committees would be more active during the interim and there may               
not be the savings that we portend here.  But I think there would              
be a savings and it's certainly worth our attention and our support            
in pushing this."                                                              
                                                                               
Number 0195                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated when we say we've got the tradeoff, one            
of the biggest arguments for this is the money that we save, so we             
have to see at what cost we're saving that money.  He said it seems            
a 90-day session would preclude the opportunity that many                      
legislators have, for example attending the Energy Conference which            
is appropriate and important for the state of Alaska.  If you limit            
the session, you're also limiting the ability of what legislators              
can do during those 90-day, it might be one of the things that you             
lose.                                                                          
                                                                               
Number 0203                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON mentioned another that he has is, and this                
year is maybe the best example of that, that in the era of                     
plummeting oil prices, and at a time in which we're not going to               
get the spring revenue forecast until probably 60 or 65 days into              
the session, you're effectively saying that once we know how much              
money we've got to spend, we've got 25 days in which to decide how             
to spend it.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 0207                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said other thing that we have to remember is              
that the more we prescribe the time that we have to focus on state             
business the more we empower the Governor.  If we compact the                  
session into 90 days that means we are going to be very busy.  It              
also means that we're going to have less time to scrutinize agency             
activities and that seems to come with a cost also that's not                  
reflected in perhaps the savings shown in the fiscal note.                     
                                                                               
Number 0215                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he agrees with Representative Elton's             
comments on the spring price forecast and the timing.  He noted he             
wouldn't object to moving back the starting date.                              
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said, "As a member of the Energy Council,              
I'm aware that there's 13 states that are members.  And I would say            
of 24 states that have less than 120-day sessions that eight of                
them are members of the Energy Council.  So I don't think that                 
really creates a major problem."                                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated, in terms of granting the Governor              
more power is something we need to consider.  However, in reference            
to not having adequate time to look into the agencies, he said he              
thinks, if we're not in session, we may have more time to do                   
oversight type activities.                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0235                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he believes, some times when you use an              
example, we forget there are other examples out there.  Another                
example would be the committee trip that Representative Ivan took              
with the Community and Regional Affairs Committee to review the                
impact of the financial disaster in Bristol Bay.  That kind of trip            
also can be constrained.                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted Representative Rokeberg's comment on the            
additional time out of session to review agency operations gets                
back to the point that Representative Hodgins made that we may be              
just cost-shifting from session cost to off-session cost.                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied he couldn't agree more.  It would              
also require that we pass further legislation which he would author            
to allow an interim committee to be able to operate with more                  
authority.  He concluded that he agrees, but it's hard to quantify             
that in terms of how much of a trade off it would be.  He indicated            
he still thinks there would be substantial savings.                            
                                                                               
Number 0246                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said she tends to agree that we could get done in 90               
days and doesn't like us to be compared to other states because we             
have different concerns.  She said other states have different ways            
of meeting their goals.  It's more than just laying out the numbers            
to do that.                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted she also had to give up her accounting and tax               
business in 1994 and currently runs a motel in the summertime.  She            
said she has participated in committee meetings via teleconference,            
more for listening than actually doing the studying that she would             
need to be able to make good decisions.  Chair James said she                  
didn't know which one is going to be more interruptive for us as a             
citizen legislature.  She said she is not saying that for a                    
conclusion, but those are some of the things you have to measure.              
                                                                               
Number 0261                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES stated the other concern she has is a special session.             
She said she didn't think a 90-day session is going to eliminate               
them.  It may even cause more special sessions.                                
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES concluded to be able to make government more                       
responsive, more effective and less costly is a good part of a                 
plan, but it takes a lot of other fixes.  For example we have                  
proposed legislation regarding a biannual budgeting process.  She              
said she believes we need to have a long-term plan that doesn't                
make us depend on oil revenues to make our decisions in the budget             
process.  If we do shorten the length of time it may create more               
cooperation between the Administration and the legislature,                    
however, it could have the opposite effect.  On the face of it, HJR
1 sounds like a simple idea, but it needs a lot of consideration.              
                                                                               
Number 0284                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied you're right, it does require a lot            
of consideration.  He indicated people in his district have always             
supported a shorter session.  He said, "I think that we also need              
to look at the pitfalls, as Representative Elton points out, there             
are some trade offs here, and I would submit to that.  But,                    
nevertheless, I think it is a valuable public debate we have, and              
therefore, that's why I've requested the committee to move the                 
bill.  It has just two more referrals, even in the House so, the               
chances of making it all the way may not be that good, but I think             
it is appropriate that we do have this public debate."                         
                                                                               
Number 0291                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ asked why do we pick 120 days and               
what's so special about 90 days.                                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG responded there was first an advisory vote             
of the people, and then there was a constitutional amendment set               
forth which was approved by a very substantial margin of people.               
He said he thinks there was a feeling there was abuse by the                   
Legislature in their deliberation.  He said he also believes that              
by shortening the session - we need to make an incremental approach            
backwards (indisc.) I'm not wedded to 90 days per say.  Can we do              
it in 75 percent of the time allocated that we have now?                       
                                                                               
Number 0300                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted 100 days is an option, either way it needs to be             
discussed.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0304                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY offered an amendment to change it to 60 days.             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected, he said he thinks one of the                    
problems that you have when you shorten a session and when you                 
compare us to other states, is that our state is unique in that we             
don't have designated funds that are essentially formula kinds of              
things.  We don't fund our highways for example based on the gas               
tax and we don't fund our education system based on the amount of              
revenues from our timber lands, or as in Oregon, based on the                  
amount they raise in the lottery.  Representative Elton said,                  
"Because we don't do that, and I don't think we should do that, I              
think that we should allow the Legislature as much latitude as                 
possible.  But because we don't do that, we are in effect                      
lengthening our session."  He said he doesn't believe legislatures             
in other states have an awful lot of latitude when they're funding             
their programs because most of their income is designated and ours             
isn't.  He stated, "While 90 days makes the hair on the back of my             
neck tickle, 60 days makes it stand straight up [laughter]."                   
                                                                               
Number 0317                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted she is familiar with Oregon because that's where             
she grew up and also spent political time in Washington.  She said,            
but there are some states that have as little as 15 percent of the             
money in their budget that has any discretion at all about it.  She            
said Alaska really resists dedicated funds, it's specific in our               
constitution that we can't have them unless they're in the                     
constitution.  We had several of them at the time that we became a             
state of which we currently have a couple.  Chair James said she               
believes the gas tax was done away with by an attorney general's               
error, but she has been trying for several years to get a                      
connection to the money that we pay and that we are able to have it            
spent on our highways and byways.  But it's been difficult to get              
dedicated funds.                                                               
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES reiterated the comparison of the issues in other states            
is not at all compared to what we have to deal with here.  Even                
though she supports making the session shorter, she said her point             
is, "There are a lot of other things we have to do too, and each               
one of those is going to be even more controversial than this one."            
Chair James said she is hoping to get input because we do need to              
have a fair representation.                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0337                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked what's magical about 60 days.                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied it is a period of time much more in               
keeping with the philosophy of a citizen legislature, it is also               
the maximum that the Alaska State Legislature ever met prior to                
being cursed with a surplus of $900 million in 1969.  It wasn't                
until there was a struggle over how to spend the surplus that the              
Legislature ever met more than 60 days.                                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON commented there is nothing that keeps us from             
having a 60-day or 90-day session other than ourselves.  There are             
two ways to attack this problem, whether its 60 or 90 days, one of             
them is to force ourselves to do something and the other thing is              
to just do it because we think it's right.                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said he thinks 60 days is a lot shorter               
than the pre-pipeline money days.                                              
                                                                               
Number 0350                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked for a roll call vote on the amendment to 60 days.            
Representative Vezey voted for the amendment.  Representatives                 
Hodgins, Dyson, Elton, Berkowitz and James voted against it.                   
Therefore, Amendment 1 failed by a vote of 1-6.                                
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated he provided the committee with an               
amendment that moves the starting date back to the first of                    
February.  Given the discussion this morning, he suggested moving              
the starting date to the "fourth Monday in January" which is the               
constitutionally specified date.                                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he would not object to moving the 90-             
days to 100 days because 100 days would allow us to get out of here            
in a reasonable period of time.                                                
                                                                               
Number 0368                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said, "What you're saying is to change the amendment               
and instead of deleting 'fourth Monday in January'..."                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG interjected, leave that alone.                         
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES, asked in other words, don't do the amendment, or would            
you...                                                                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG interjected, you have to do the amendment              
because it removes the ability of the Legislature to change that on            
line seven.                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked, so you take out "BUT THE MONTH AND DAY MAY BE               
CHANGED BY LAW."                                                               
                                                                               
Number 0371                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG responded, "I'd leave that in the                      
amendment, but you take out the January.  Delete the first of                  
February and (indisc.) January in brackets."  It would read:                   
                                                                               
     The fourth Monday in January.  Each regular session is limited            
     to 100 days.                                                              
                                                                               
Number 0379                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS suggested starting sessions on the fourth               
Monday in January, go for 45 days and then split for 30 days to go             
back to our districts with pending legislation and what's been                 
going on, and then return.  He said he believes the public would be            
better served because the constituents would be able to talk to us             
regarding bills that were presented, and you'd have the opportunity            
to submit bills after visiting with the public.  We could actually             
even go to a 60-day session, or a lesser time under that scenario.             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked if he should move it for purposes of                
discussion.                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES replied she doesn't know what it is, when we get one.              
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked, it's not going to be this one.                     
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said she believes Representative Rokeberg is going to              
work off of this one.                                                          
                                                                               
Number 0391                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "While we're discussing that, I have            
a question on logistics, not having sat through a special session.             
It's my understanding we can only have one special session per                 
session."                                                                      
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES responded, no, we can have as many special sessions as             
we need.  She further explained we can extend it once, and then we             
can have a special session.  It can be called by the Governor or               
the Legislature at any time, for any length of time.  She said,                
"When calling a special session, the agenda starts over, unless                
specifically - we had a special session ... when the proclamation              
that calls for the special session had specific legislation that               
was currently in the Legislature at the time which was forwarded to            
the special session.  Generally when you have a special session                
there is a subject that you need to address and you start with new             
legislation.  Nothing that you had in the legislative session                  
carries into a special session, it's for a special purpose.  But               
the extension of time that you would have, you could extend the                
session for ten days one time.  Then the agenda would go on.  There            
would be no disruption in the agenda."                                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, and committee work continues.                   
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES replied, "Committee work...                                        
                                                                               
TAPE 98-28, SIDE B                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES continued, "...special session the agenda stays but at             
the end it doesn't.  So those are some of the things that we have              
to deal with."  She asked Representative Rokeberg if he has                    
something worked out.                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referred to HJR 1, 1/13/97 line 6.  He                 
said, "You could basically leave it alone, but delete, after                   
January, 'but the month and day may be changed by law,' and then               
this is a (indisc.--paper rustling) choice whether we wanted to                
move that which would mandate the fourth Monday in January.  Then              
the other thing would just be to go on and change 90 to 100."                  
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES indicated she would like to do that and discuss it as              
a first step.                                                                  
                                                                               
Number 0012                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made the motion to amend proposed Amendment             
LS0090\A.1, line 7, from 90 to 100 days.                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected for purposes of discussion.  He              
said one of the things we haven't talked about is the ability to               
recruit staff for shorter periods of time.  He asked are we going              
to increase compensation for the expense of moving to Juneau and               
moving back home.  Are we going to do anything to compensate them?             
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said that's a good issue.                                          
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES referred to Representative Hodgins suggestion of                   
breaking in the middle to go home.  She said she believes the                  
extended cost of that wouldn't be any real savings if we do that.              
Chair James stated we need to concentrate on having better                     
government first and then reducing costs.                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated he suggests we can have our cake and            
eat it too.  He said, "To say there's a $50,000-day plug number                
here, I agree with Representative Elton and that's not exactly                 
accurate because there is going to be some trade offs.  I                      
definitely think that we know our priorities - there's going to be             
some cost to that."                                                            
                                                                               
Number 0029                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted she is frustrated with legislation that is put               
forward as a statement and serves no real purpose, they take a lot             
of time in discussion, but it seems we do a lot of political                   
playing as opposed to being serious about what we're supposed to be            
here for.  She said she doesn't think we can stop that, no matter              
how short of time we have that we might have less of it but we'll              
never eliminate it.  Chair James said she thinks if we worked                  
harder on the serious issues, and left the frivolous things alone,             
then we would certainly get through the process a lot faster.                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS added, if we didn't have all this frivolous             
stuff, we could meet for 60 days.                                              
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said she agrees with him on that.                                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he feels compelled to respond to the              
comment about show legislation and he knows it wasn't meant in                 
regard to this legislation.                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES responded that she never meant to insinuate that.                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON argued against the amendment, he said the way             
the constitution reads is that it gives the Legislature the                    
latitude to do whatever they want, and if want to start on the                 
fourth or first Monday in February...                                          
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said we didn't do that amendment, this is to change 90             
to 100 days.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 0065                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ withdrew his objection.                               
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked if there were objections to the amendment.                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected.                                                 
                                                                               
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER also objected.                                            
                                                                               
Number 0065                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked for a roll call vote on the conceptual amendment             
changing the number of days in a session from 90 to 100 days.                  
Representatives Berkowitz and James voted in support of the                    
amendment.  Representatives Elton, Dyson and Hodgins voted against             
it.  Therefore, Amendment 2 failed by a vote of 2-3.                           
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced the motion fails so we're back to 90 days.               
                                                                               
Number 0072                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to move HJR 1 with individual               
recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected, he said he believes we're                       
arbitrarily setting something in the constitution that we can do               
right now.  Several years ago this Legislature made an appropriate             
decision to reduce the amount of time to 120 days.  He stated he is            
very uncomfortable moving this forward with some of the unanswered             
questions that we've got, how much cost for transferring, and how              
we can compare apples and oranges between this state and other                 
states.  It's important to have those answers before we can take an            
informed vote on what the net effect of this is really going to be.            
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked for a roll call vote on the motion.                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked for a brief at-ease to await the                  
arrival of Representative Vezey.                                               
                                                                               
Number 0084                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES called the meeting back to order and announced the                 
motion is to move HJR 1 from committee with individual                         
recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected.                                                 
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked for a roll call vote.  Representatives Hodgins,              
Vezey, Dyson and James voted in support of moving HJR 1 from                   
committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal                  
notes. Representative Elton and Berkowitz voted against it.                    
Therefore, HJR 1 moved from the House State Affairs Standing                   
committee by a vote of 4-2.                                                    
                                                                               
HB 413 - INITIATIVE PETITION COMPENSATION                                      
                                                                               
Number 0094                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced the next issue up is, HB 413, "An Act                    
relating to disclosure of compensation paid to sponsors of                     
initiative petitions; placing limitations on the compensation that             
may be paid to sponsors of initiative petitions; and prohibiting               
payments to persons who sign or refrain from signing initiative                
petitions."                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0097                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON presented HB 413, he explained current law on             
initiative petitions simply requires that groups, that are                     
circulating petitions, circulate the petitions, there's no                     
disclosure requirement at all, Alaska Public Offices Commission                
(APOC) requires only filings by groups supporting or opposing                  
ballot propositions after they are established on the ballot and               
not during the circulation period of time.  In other words, groups             
that are circulating petitions only are required to disclose when              
they seek to influence the outcome of an election and that does not            
kick into place until after the initiative petition has been                   
certified by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.                            
                                                                               
Number 0108                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, essentially what we have here is                    
somewhat of a conflict of rights.  The right to petition, which of             
course we don't want to constrain, and the right of people who are             
being petitioned to know who is circulating the petition.  He noted            
HB 413 addresses that problem.                                                 
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated there is a growing commercialization.              
He said the most interesting phenomenon that's occurring in Oregon             
is there is a list of the top ten petition circulators who were                
paid ranging from $31,000 to $82,000 a year.  It's interesting to              
note that Julius Sabenorio, who was the highest paid petition                  
circulator, earned $82,457 in a two month period of time.  That                
describes the growing commercialization of the initiative petition             
process.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 0120                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out in Oregon the number of paid                  
circulators working one petition only was 484 and that represented             
18 percent of all of the petitions circulated.  And we'll assume               
that they were working that petition because they felt strongly                
what that petition was trying to accomplish.  The number of paid               
circulators working on more than one petition was 2,236 or 82                  
percent.  He said, "This also indicates that people who are                    
circuiting petitions are not necessarily doing it because they                 
believe in the initiative petition, they're doing it because                   
they're getting paid to circulate the petition."                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated, in Alaska there is only one petition              
that has been circulated for this general election ballot which was            
done by non-paid volunteers, that was the "billboard" petition.  He            
pointed out, while they didn't pay for signatures, in some cases               
there were salaried employees from the environmental community that            
were helping to circulate those petitions.  They weren't being paid            
for signatures, but some of those petition circulators were                    
salaried employees.                                                            
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON referred to the "education endowment," he said            
those petition circulators paid up to seventy-five cents per                   
signature.  The "English as the official language" ballot                      
initiative petition started at fifty cents, and went to seventy-               
five cents per signature, they said they couldn't compete with the             
education circulators and they needed to raise their price.  He                
noted they went from seventy-five cents up to a dollar later on in             
the process.  Those people who are circulating the petition to "ban            
the snaring of wolves" paid one dollar per signature at the                    
beginning, they did hire a professional group and are paying more              
than that now, but we weren't able to determine how much they were             
paid.                                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said one of the things that happened in Alaska            
is those who were responsible for the initiative petition that                 
wanted to create the education endowment had some serious                      
philosophical disagreements with those who were circulating the                
petitions for the English only as the official language.  He said              
they banned their paid signature people from also carrying the                 
petition and asking for signatures on the English only.                        
Representative Elton said, "That's not an unusual phenomena, paid              
signature gatherers will often have two, or three, or four                     
petitions because they're getting a dollar per signature, they can             
increase their income by four if they're carrying four petitions.              
If they get somebody coming out of a grocery store or coming out a             
mall, then they can get their signature four times, they're getting            
four dollars instead of one dollar."  He stressed that this is an              
industry.  This is no longer a grassroots effort.  These are some              
of the organizations that will pay people to gather signatures.                
                                                                               
Number 0152                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out the bill also says you cannot pay             
somebody for their signature.  For example, you can't say, I'll pay            
you a dollar if you sign the petition, so that loophole is closed.             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON explained this bill also requires that those              
people who are being solicited for their signature have the right              
to know who is paying for the paid signature gatherers.  That                  
requirement would be disclosed toward the top of the first page in             
twelve-point bold print in capital letters.                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted HB 413 would also give the right of the             
people whose signatures are being solicited to ask how much they're            
being paid for their signature.                                                
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said one of the chief issues, and this is                 
something that has been an issue in other states, is whether or not            
restriction on payment is constitutional.  The issue has been                  
addressed in Colorado.  Colorado banned all payment for signatures.            
He said he believes that case went all the way to the supreme                  
court.  The supreme court found you cannot ban paid signature                  
gatherers.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0167                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked which court was that.                                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied Meyer v. Grant.  He said he believes              
it went from district court to the United States Supreme Court.                
The Supreme Court did find that you cannot ban payment in the                  
initiative petition arena.  He said, "They defined, as they had                
defined earlier in elections, that money is speech, essentially."              
But they didn't address the issue of constraining the amount that's            
paid and it's also important to note that this bill does not ban               
payment, it only bans one form of payment, and that form of payment            
being based upon a certain amount of money per signature.                      
Representative Elton explained that a person can still contract                
with somebody for signatures.  For example, they could contract for            
one hundred dollars to have somebody solicit signatures.  The only             
requirement would be, because this bill does establish that you                
can't pay more than ten cents a signature, if somebody has a                   
contract for one hundred dollars to gather signatures, they'd have             
to gather at least a thousand signatures to remain outside of the              
constraints of this legislation.  It also doesn't ban another form             
of payment for signature gatherers.  It doesn't ban salaried                   
employment.  The only thing that this does, is it constrains the               
amount of money that you can pay per signature, but it does not ban            
other forms of payment for circulating petitions.                              
                                                                               
Number 0182                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted other states have addressed this same               
problem.  For example Oregon requires disclosure of payment that               
the circulator is receiving for soliciting signatures.  Maine and              
Wyoming have an outright ban on paying per signature.  You have to             
use other forms of payment whether its contract or whether it's                
salary.  On the petition that circulators are, or may be paid,                 
Oregon, California and New Jersey have that requirement.  Reporting            
expenditures, which is something that's currently not required in              
the state of Alaska, reporting expenditures to petition circulators            
is required in Washington, Colorado, and Wyoming.  Other states                
have begun addressing this problem, they've done it in different               
forms, so far there has been no challenge to the constitutionality             
of those types of constraints that other states have used.                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he thinks another issue, especially an               
issue for people who are circulating petitions is, will this bill              
make it impossible to use the initiative process.  Representative              
Elton said he didn't think so, our history is replete with                     
grassroots efforts to push initiatives on the ballot and they have             
been successful.  And this is a prepaid signature era and also the             
other example is the (indisc.--coughing) initiative which did not              
pay for signatures.                                                            
                                                                               
Number 0198                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said we have to ask ourselves to what extent              
does the use of paid signature gatherers undercut the initiative               
process itself.  He said he believes signature gatherers, if they              
are paid, are probably less likely to communicate what the issue is            
effectively.  One of the reasons they might not want to do that is             
if they have to stop and explain what the initiative petition does,            
if they take 30 seconds to explain it and five people have already             
walked by, their imperative is, if they're getting a dollar a                  
signature, to get those five people.  So if somebody asks what does            
this do, they're probably less likely to respond because they're               
going to miss five other people that are walking by.                           
                                                                               
Number 0207                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON added that people aren't likely to communicate            
for another reason.  For example, a petition signature gatherer was            
sitting on a garbage can outside of a Brown Jug on New Year's Eve              
in Anchorage with four petitions.  And that person was receiving               
money for each signature and probably not under the best                       
circumstances.  He said that person is probably not going to have              
a complete understanding of what the education endowment does, he's            
probably not going to have a good understanding of what the                    
dynamics are in the trapping industry if they're carrying the snare            
petition for wolves.  That person probably doesn't care, all that              
person cares about is getting the signatures so that they receive              
the payment.                                                                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said the most important question is, do we                
really want to change the nature of the petition process itself.               
He said he thinks we've all assumed that the nature of the petition            
process is if there is a group of disgruntled Alaskans, this is the            
avenue that they have to circumnavigate legislators like us who are            
sitting here and maybe not addressing the issues that they think               
are important.  But it's now become an industry and that industry              
means that it's not necessarily the issue that's important and a               
broad group of people that share the same interest are not                     
necessarily behind it.  Sometimes what's behind it is a group of               
people or a special interest group that just has a lot of money to             
finance a petition drive and to get the initiatives on the ballot.             
He indicated we haven't seen that yet in our state, but we're                  
certainly seeing more of it in California.  Those issues aren't                
brought by a lot of people who are concerned about the issue,                  
they're brought by special interests that happen to have a lot of              
money to finance a petition drive and get the initiatives on the               
ballot.                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 0233                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said, "You indicated that there's no reporting until               
such time as an initiative goes on the ballot -- and then the same             
sponsor.  Does this bill do anything about making people who are               
circulating the petition to report?"                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied yes, in Section 3 (page 2), the bill              
requires each petition to include a statement of warning in 12                 
point capitalized bold type at or near the top of each page, the               
following language:                                                            
                                                                               
     THIS PETITION MAY BE CIRCULATED BY A PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER              
     OR A VOLUNTEER.  YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK, AND THE GATHERER              
     MUST DISCLOSE TO YOU, HOW MUCH AND BY WHOM THE GATHERER IS                
     PAID.                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked where did the money come from to pay the people              
and who has contributed to this group.  She also asked if that                 
doesn't have to be disclosed.                                                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON gave an example, he said if he was approached             
by a signature gatherer to sign the billboard petition, if this law            
were in place, he would have the right to ask the gatherer whether             
they are getting paid, if they said yes, he would then have the                
right to ask who was paying them.                                              
                                                                               
Number 0248                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked, who contributed to the Center for the                       
Environment to pay the signature gatherers.  She added that's not              
the only example out there, but if there's a group that's put                  
together to gather signatures on an issue, the public needs to have            
as much information about the initiative process as they do once an            
initiative is on the ballot.  She said she believes people need to             
know if this group or person put money into that process, and noted            
it's a political process.                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON responded, "I think that's handled in, for                
example campaigns that we may run for public office.  That's                   
handled by saying what can't happen.  For example somebody can't               
give us money that's kind of washed through somebody else.  So it's            
handled in that circumstance as a prohibition against - used                   
somewhat (indisc.) of a term, washing..."                                      
                                                                               
Number 0256                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES interjected the way the campaign finance law is                    
currently written for us, and for any group that is supporting a               
candidate or a ballot issue, is that corporations, unions and                  
political parties can't contribute money.  She said she doesn't                
think there is a limitation on initiatives.  Chair James stressed              
that she believes the same information of recording should be                  
required for them as well as once the initiative gets to the                   
ballot.  She stated she was hoping Representative Elton had                    
something in here that would make them, once they take on this                 
activity and collect money from people, to be able to put an                   
initiative process through, that they have to file and that they               
also have to report where their money is coming from and how                   
they're spending it.                                                           
                                                                               
Number 0264                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON agreed, he said that it's a good point and                
would be amendable to an amendment to accomplish that.  He pointed             
out there are two ways to accomplish that.  One is under the APOC              
rules that govern us.  We just prohibit the washing of money.  The             
other way of accomplishing it would be to require APOC to regulate             
the behavior of groups.  For example, if there is an English as the            
official language group, it would be interesting to know where                 
their funds are coming from, if their funds are coming from another            
group or a citizen.                                                            
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stressed this is an important issue.  For                 
example in Washington state, the initiative that would have allowed            
the medicinal use of marijuana under their disclosure laws, he said            
he believes it was found three-quarters of the money that supported            
that petition drive was coming from a single individual in                     
California.  Representative Elton stated he would be open to an                
amendment.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0276                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES agreed that it is very important.  She said if the                 
"Friends of the Animals" from Connecticut are funding a petition               
drive, we need to know that and the people who are signing the                 
petition also need to know that.  She stated we also need to know              
where their money is coming from and how they're spending it,                  
particularly when the money is coming from outside of our state and            
it's not been a grassroots effort in this state to change state                
law.                                                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "If the only thing that this would                  
require, is if there is a group called 'Alaskans for the fair                  
pursuit of game,' that was funding the anti-snaring initiative                 
petition, that is all that would be required to be disclosed to the            
signature gatherer, or disclosed on (indisc--noise).  And you're               
right.  It doesn't cover whether or not it's the people for the                
'ethical treatment of animals' in Connecticut or somebody else."               
                                                                               
Number 0284                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said he appreciates what Representative Elton             
is trying to do and what he's done.  He asked, in your research,               
have you seen any examples of the paid signature gatherer sharing              
his bounty with the signature givers.                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied he hasn't.  But there is included in              
this proposed legislation a prohibition on that kind of behavior.              
He noted it would be classified as a misdemeanor for the signature             
gatherer to pay somebody for their signature.                                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON mentioned he assumed the guy outside the Brown            
Jug wasn't sharing commodities from the jug with the signature                 
givers.  Representative Dyson said, if he's going to stay in this              
line of work, he needs to increase his capacity for cynicism.  He              
asked, "Has any of the states, that have addressed this in statute,            
addressed the use of signatures for gathering a petition, for                  
future mailing lists fund-raising efforts."                                    
                                                                               
Number 0301                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied, clearly those lists have value.  He              
said he can't answer the question on whether or not people have                
converted the value of those lists by selling them because he                  
doesn't know.                                                                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked have other states addressed this in                 
statute.                                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON responded not to his knowledge.                           
                                                                               
Number 0305                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS noted he would like to see the initiative               
process put under the same scrutiny that the candidates have - with            
the expenditures and everything and applauded Representative                   
Elton's request of that.  He said he could probably support this if            
that language was in here to where there's full disclosure                     
including the 30-day reporting.  Representative Hodgins said he                
also believes the public needs to know who is behind these                     
initiatives because it's part of the public process and it's very              
important that the public has that information.                                
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES mentioned a petition drive which addressed an issue                
against something she was doing so she took a copy of the petition             
and wrote to the people that were on that list to explain her                  
position.  Chair James noted that she received lots of responses               
saying they didn't sign the petition.                                          
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES indicated if you put a petition up in front of                     
somebody, whether they like the idea or not they'll sign it.  We               
need to sieve the process to be sure that something that sounds                
really good and isn't good, doesn't get put upon the vulnerable.               
We also need to be cautious to be sure that the public process that            
we have is a real public process and not a sham.                               
                                                                               
Number 0322                                                                    
                                                                               
KEN JACOBUS, Representative, Alaskans for a Common Language                    
testified via teleconference on HB 413.  He said, "We were one of              
the sponsors and circulators for the 'official English petition'               
which has now been certified.  I'm opposed to placing a limitation             
on the payments for initiative signatures. ... Basically our                   
situation with the 'official English' was started by a bill which              
was filed by Pete Kott in the Legislature several years ago which              
did not get any action.  We then decided we needed to move it along            
as part of an initiative petition."                                            
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS stated, "What we're talking about here is the right to             
petition the government, and we believe that the right to petition             
the government should not be restricted.  Reporting may be                     
required, and that's perfectly appropriate, but restrictions on the            
person's right to participate in the petition process should not be            
restricted.  I presented a written letter [to Representative Elton,            
March 3, 1998] ... which discusses this matter in detail.  But                 
basically, Meyer v. Grant, which is the case cited by the sponsor              
did hold that it was a violation of the first amendment to prohibit            
payment for the circulation of an initiative."                                 
                                                                               
Number 0332                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS continued, "What you're doing, by placing a ten cents              
per limit on the signatures, is also effectively prohibiting the               
circulation of initiative petitions.  An average circulator can                
average 20 signatures per hour, at ten cents per hour he earns two             
bucks.  You can't hire somebody for that amount to circulate your              
petitions.  The going rate is somewhere between 40 to 50 percent,              
where there are problems, a dollar an hour -- and this is detailed             
in my letter.  The three to four dollars an hour is set forth in               
the sponsor's statement, that's real hard to believe.  I'd have to             
verify that to see where that came from.  But there's no way that              
one would be required to pay three or four dollars an hour to a                
circulator to collect signatures."                                             
                                                                               
Number 0338                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS continued, "What you're trying to do basically here is             
price-fix it at an unreasonable level.  This is no different than              
legislating than McDonald's may charge ten cents for a 'Big Mac.'              
That's absolutely unreasonable to place such a limitation on people            
who circulate initiative petitions.  To say that you can do it                 
through salaried employees doesn't solve that because the most                 
effective way to gather signatures quickly is through a piecework              
method.  It's going to cost a lot more to do a petition if you have            
to do it through salaried employees.  And what you're doing here is            
discriminating against people who want to circulate an initiative              
petition in the most efficient way by requiring them to pay in the             
manner which is least efficient.  Basically I believe the ten-cent             
limitation violates Meyer v. Grant.  You're just asking for                    
constitutional litigation.  I would recommend that this entire bill            
be defeated.  But that something which maybe requires reporting                
prior to the initiative being certified might be appropriate but               
this particular approach is not appropriate."                                  
                                                                               
Number 0348                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said she understands the free enterprise system, the               
right to free speech, and the right to be paid for your services.              
She asked, what responsibility do we have to the vulnerable, do we             
just let everybody fall into whatever pit they can fall in and say,            
that's their fault?                                                            
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES pointed out a lot of petitions indicate that there were            
people who signed petitions didn't know they did and were                      
distressed that they did.  She asked what kind of protection do we             
have for that happening.                                                       
                                                                               
Number 0354                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS responded, "It shouldn't be regulated at the signature             
gathering stage.  I can tell with our petition, we gave our                    
circulators a lot of instruction on how to circulate petitions,                
what the petition was about and our circulators would answer                   
questions that people might have about the petition.  The place                
that this is controlled though is not at the circulation stage,                
it's at the election stage.  You can't prevent people from voting              
a mistake without saying that you can't vote.  The place where this            
all falls out is not when you're gathering signatures.  It's during            
the debate prior to the election when people actually vote on the              
proposition.  It's not something that needs to be restricted here."            
                                                                               
Number 0361                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Jacobus if it were more than ten            
cents, say a quarter, would that be okay with you.                             
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS replied no, in order to get somebody to go out in the              
cold to collect signatures you've got to pay more than twenty-five             
cents.                                                                         
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS further explained they originally paid their                       
circulators fifty cents per signature, they went up to seventy-five            
and had to go up to a dollar.  This was a problem circulation                  
because there were adverse weather conditions, they had a short                
time frame for signature collection, and they had problems with                
lack of access to certain good signature gathering locations.  They            
also had competition, the anti-wolf snaring people came in, and the            
National Education Association came in and bid the price up.  And              
the permanent fund dividend came out in the middle of the                      
circulation process which meant people had money and were less                 
likely to want to go to work earning extra money to collect                    
signatures.  So you're probably going to be paying a dollar per                
signature in Alaska.                                                           
                                                                               
Number 0373                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS indicated the "wolf people," if they're smart are                  
paying much more than a dollar per signature because they're up                
against a 30-day deadline.  He said the market should control                  
what's being paid for this.  The people who agree to circulate                 
petitions should be able to charge whatever they want to charge and            
the people who are in the business of circulating petitions should             
be able to pay whatever the market rate is.  Mr. Jacobus stated it             
doesn't work to place some sort of artificial limitation on it.                
Twenty-five cents will absolutely not work in Alaska and fifty                 
cents probably will not now even work in Alaska.                               
                                                                               
Number 0379                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked, "Are people that are hiring people by the                   
signature, or in any other way, are they required then to - if                 
anyone keeps track so that anyone that's paid more than $600 gets              
a 1099, or do they put them on the payroll.  How does this money               
ever get taxed?"                                                               
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS replied that he can't speak for every company.  But                
there's no withholding, it's an independent contractor                         
relationship.  He said he doesn't know what they do about 1099's               
and doesn't know about reporting.                                              
                                                                               
Number 0385                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ mentioned the Center for the Environment              
people did it for free.  He said that seems to him, the true idea              
behind a citizen initiative, is you get people who really believe              
in a cause, get the signatures rather than folks that are                      
mercenaries about the signatures they're gathering.                            
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS responded that's one way of doing it.  But the problem             
in getting volunteers is there is less volunteerism available.  He             
indicated political parties are getting weaker, the bodies and                 
hours that were available for volunteer services are no longer                 
available.  People would rather make a contribution of money to                
support their cause than spend eight hours standing out in sub-zero            
weather collecting signatures.  He said virtually all initiatives              
are currently done professionally.                                             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "I just got to say, the cynicism                
that Representative Dyson felt on an earlier issue seems to be                 
catching because I find it hard to believe that there are no                   
ideologues out there to stand around in sub-zero temperatures, or              
even during the summer when the weather's nice to collect                      
signatures for an issue they believe in."                                      
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS replied there are ideologues who will do that, but the             
most effective way to do something in a short time is to get                   
contributions from supporters and pay people to collect signatures.            
He said the U.S. Supreme Court has approved that process.                      
                                                                               
TAPE 98-29, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES continued, "...will go out and collect signatures, that            
the signatures on that petition are the people who are even going              
to vote for it."                                                               
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS stated that's true, the purpose of the initiative                  
process is for supporters to place an issue on the ballot.  And                
these supporters can support the petition either by going out and              
standing on the corner, or by contributing a hundred dollars so                
that someone else can be hired to go out and stand on the corner.              
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said that isn't one man one vote because if they're                
willing to pay a hundred dollars for somebody else to get                      
signatures then they're voting several times on this issue.                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS said no, they're not voting on the issue, they're just             
getting signatures.  The important point is whether the issue will             
be adopted or not and each person gets one vote there.  He said,               
"Getting it on the ballot is crucial of course, but it doesn't get             
the measure enacted.  You've got to get it through the public                  
debate and then through the election.  That's where the important              
decision is made."                                                             
                                                                               
Number 0012                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY noted if this bill were to become law, it                 
would prohibit paying more than ten cents for a signature.                     
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS explained, "Apparently unless you did this by having a             
salaried employee do it, and that's just not efficient to pay                  
somebody an hourly rate for sitting on a garbage can at the Brown              
Jug with no incentive to collect signatures - with no incentive to             
do the job.  Actually, the guy sitting on the garbage can at the               
Brown Jug on New Year's Eve really exercised quite a bit of                    
initiative, that guy ought to be congratulated for having a good               
idea."                                                                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what is the limit that could be paid a              
salaried employee.                                                             
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS responded there's no limitation as he sees it in the               
bill.                                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY indicated, "So if this bill was to become law,            
you simply change it from piece work to hourly work or monthly work            
and you go about your business."                                               
                                                                               
Number 0024                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS responded, "While obviously true, but there will                   
probably be litigation over it, but to do it by monthly or hourly              
will result in the campaign being much more expensive.  And that,              
since there's much more expense involved, results in further                   
restrictions in the individual people's right to petition their                
government.  They're going to have to spend a lot more money to                
petition their government than they would have to spend under a                
piecework type approach."                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he thought our constitution had something            
in it about the right to petition the government, shall not be                 
infringed.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0030                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS responded that's true, that's in the federal and the               
Alaska constitution.  It should be restricted in a least manner                
possible.  He said, "It can be restricted for example by requiring             
reporting in advance ... we don't have to report prior to the                  
initiative being certified.  And there would be nothing wrong with             
requiring reporting prior to the initiative being certified if the             
Legislature wanted to do that.  But reporting is different from                
regulating.  And I support reporting and disclosure, but I don't               
support restriction."                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked, if we believe that the right to                    
petition the government shall not be infringed, where do we get the            
statutory authority to put "warning" on there.                                 
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS stated he also has problems with the warnings.  When               
you're talking about constitutional issues, you can infringe to a              
certain minor degree so long as there's a compelling interest if               
it's a fundamental right.  But you do have the right to infringe a             
little bit.  He indicated he has problems with the warning, but it             
may be held that there's a state interest for the warning.  He said            
he doesn't mind the warning which says you can't sign more than                
once, you can't sign somebody else's name - if you do you're guilty            
of a Class B misdemeanor.  He said even that warning doesn't help              
because somebody signed their petition "Taco Bell," obviously that             
got a buck for the signature gatherer, but it wasn't a valid                   
signature.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 0052                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS read: "This petition may be circulated by a paid                   
signature gatherer or a volunteer, you have the right to ask, and              
the gatherer must disclose to you, how much and by whom the                    
gatherer is paid."  He said he has some problems with that because             
it interferes with the right of privacy of the gatherer.  He's                 
going to have to disclose his compensation to a member of the                  
public and most other people, other than public officers, don't                
have to disclose their salary when anybody asks.                               
                                                                               
MR. JACOBUS concluded you have authority to place certain                      
limitations on the process and the warning may be within the                   
authority of the Legislature to enact.  He reiterated that he has              
problems with it but would not strongly object to the warning.                 
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what is the purpose of this proposed                
legislation.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 0062                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON explained the point is to ensure that the                 
initiative petition process is exactly as we envision it that it's             
a grassroots process, and it's not a process that's simply                     
available to any interest that has a lot of money.  He also pointed            
out the purpose is to constrain the petition process to those                  
people who feel strongly about an issue and who don't feel that                
issue is being addressed by the Legislature and who have enough                
supporters in the jurisdiction, in this case the state, to get it              
on the ballot and to constrain the ability of a special interest               
group that simply has a lot of money to get on the general election            
ballot.                                                                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said we're talking about first amendment              
issues and it's important to recognize it.  It's not an absolute               
right in the first amendment.  It's subject to reasonable time,                
place, and manner of restrictions.  He said the question we have to            
ask is this a reasonable thing to do.  When we're moving in favor              
of full disclosure and the purity of the political process is                  
involved, which it is here, then this is an eminently reasonable               
step to take.                                                                  
                                                                               
Number 0078                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted some interesting issues have come up                
subsequent to his opening statement.  The first is whether or not              
we can restrict a constitutional right to petition.  He said the               
simplest answer to that is we already do it, we assign a certain               
number of signatures that must be gathered before the petition goes            
on the ballot, so right there is a significant constraint on how               
you petition government.                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out that in some cases volunteerism               
declines because there aren't enough people out there that want to             
volunteer to do the activity that is being requested.  For example,            
in Juneau, including a lot of communities in Alaska, we have a lot             
of people that man the Salvation Army Kettles during Christmas.                
They get a lot of people to do that simply because there are a lot             
of people who believe in doing that.  So, it's less a question of              
volunteerism declining than it is a question of zeal that people               
may have for different issues.                                                 
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON read the following excerpt from the Salem                 
Statesman Journal, 3/30/97, An out-of-state petitioner earns big               
bucks in Oregon, which describes the business of signature                     
gathering more succinctly.                                                     
                                                                               
     Julius Sabenorio was working in Vancouver, Washington, last               
     year, collecting signatures on a petition drive, when he heard            
     that the real money was in Oregon,                                        
                                                                               
     So he headed south to Portland where he hooked Oregon                     
     Taxpayers United, the group that was mounting an initiative to            
     cut and cap property taxes.                                               
                                                                               
     Two months later, Sabenorio had paid a total of $82,457 for               
     collecting signatures on that initiative and seven others,                
     according to records in the secretary of state's office.                  
                                                                               
     Sabenorio said, "It was a lot of money; there was easy money              
     to be made out there, believe me."                                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said that is the kind of situation that this              
bill is attempting to address and attempting to constrain.  He                 
stated that he would prepare an amendment to change the APOC rules             
to address the full disclosure.                                                
                                                                               
Number 0101                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said she would like to assign HB 413 to a subcommittee.            
She appointed herself and Representatives Berkowitz, and Elton to              
the subcommittee.                                                              
                                                                               
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Standing Committee at            
9:54 a.m.                                                                      

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