Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/03/1998 08:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE 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.