Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/03/2004 08:02 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        February 3, 2004                                                                                        
                           8:02 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch, Chair                                                                                           
Representative Jim Holm, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                                  
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 414                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to filling the vacancy in the office of United                                                                 
States Senator, and to the definition of 'political party.'"                                                                    
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 319                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the disposal of state land by lottery; and                                                                  
relating to the disposal, including sale or lease, of remote                                                                    
recreational cabin sites."                                                                                                      
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 241                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to optional exemptions from municipal property                                                                 
taxes on residential property."                                                                                                 
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 297                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to wildfires and other natural disasters."                                                                     
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 414                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: U.S.SENATE VACANCY/DEF OF POLITICAL PARTY                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): JUDICIARY                                                                                                           
01/28/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/28/04       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/03/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
BILL: HB 319                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REMOTE REC.CABIN SITE SALES/LOTTERY SALE                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) FATE                                                                                              
05/14/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/14/03       (H)       STA, RES, FIN                                                                                          
01/13/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
01/13/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/13/04       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/03/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
BILL: HB 241                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) CHENAULT                                                                                          
04/04/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/04/03       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
05/06/03       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
05/06/03       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
05/08/03       (H)       CRA AT 9:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
05/08/03       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
05/08/03       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
05/12/03       (H)       CRA RPT 3DP 1NR                                                                                        
05/12/03       (H)       DP: KOTT, WOLF, MORGAN; NR: CISSNA                                                                     
01/13/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
01/13/04       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                               
01/20/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
01/20/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/20/04       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/27/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
01/27/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/27/04       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/03/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE LESIL McGUIRE                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of HB 414.                                                                            
LEONARD JONES, Special Assistant                                                                                                
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Addressed questions  regarding the  fiscal                                                               
notes, during the hearing on HB 414.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HUGH FATE                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   As sponsor,  presented HB 319  and answered                                                               
JIM POUND, Staff                                                                                                                
to Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered  questions  regarding  HB 319  on                                                               
behalf of Representative Fate, sponsor.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-11, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  BRUCE WEYHRAUCH  called the  House State  Affairs Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at  8:02 a.m.   Representatives Holm,                                                               
Seaton, Coghill,  Lynn, Berkowitz, and Weyhrauch  were present at                                                               
the  call to  order.   Representative  Gruenberg  arrived as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
HB 414-U.S.SENATE VACANCY/DEF OF POLITICAL PARTY                                                                              
[Contains brief discussion of HB 307 and SB 166.]                                                                               
Number 0180                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  announced that the  first order of  business was                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 414, "An Act  relating to filling the  vacancy in                                                               
the office  of United  States Senator, and  to the  definition of                                                               
'political party.'"                                                                                                             
Number 0200                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LESIL  McGUIRE,   Alaska  State  Legislature,  as                                                               
sponsor, turned to page 2, [lines 4-9], which read as follows:                                                                  
     *Sec.3. AS 15.40.200 is amended to read:                                                                                 
          Sec. 15.40.200.  Requirements of party petition.                                                                    
     Petitions   for  the   nomination   of  candidates   of                                                                    
     political  parties shall  state in  substance that  the                                                                    
     party  desires   and  intends  to  support   the  named                                                                    
     candidate for  the office of  United States  senator or                                                                
     United  States representative,  as appropriate,  at the                                                                
     special  election and  requests  that the  name of  the                                                                    
     candidate nominated be placed on the ballot.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  indicated  this  is in  response  to  an                                                               
opinion issued by Superior Court  Judge John Reese on November 3,                                                               
2003.   She explained that  Alaska State  law says that  a person                                                               
has  to receive  3  percent  in a  gubernatorial  election to  be                                                               
considered a third  party, or has to have  received the requisite                                                               
amount  of   signatures  that  would  have   qualified  for  that                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE noted  that  an "odd  thing" happened  in                                                               
2002:   Diane  Benson, a  member of  the Green  Party, failed  to                                                               
gather 3 percent  of the vote, and yet she  was the gubernatorial                                                               
candidate.   Representative  McGuire also  noted that  there were                                                               
two other  people running for  U.S. Senate and U.S.  Congress who                                                               
both garnered over 6 percent [of  the vote] "on the Green Party."                                                               
She continued as follows:                                                                                                       
     Rightfully,  I   think,  Jim  Sykes  filed   suit,  and                                                                    
     basically  said  that  his party's  rights  were  being                                                                    
     infringed  and  that,  because   they  had  received  6                                                                    
     percent in both  of the other elections,  ... it seemed                                                                    
     arbitrary to make the  gubernatorial election ... [the]                                                                    
     election by which you had to have 3 percent.                                                                               
     So, Judge Reese agreed.  And  he came back and he said,                                                                    
     "I  enjoin  any  kind  of  the  state  law  going  into                                                                    
     effect," meaning if  the state law went  into effect as                                                                    
     it currently reads,  Jim Sykes would not  be allowed to                                                                    
     ... file as a candidate or  appear on the ballot as the                                                                    
     United States Senate candidate  for the Green Party....                                                                    
     And so, the  court agreed, as I said  before, and Judge                                                                    
     Reese   said  basically,   "It's  enjoined   until  the                                                                    
     legislature takes action, or at least through 2004."                                                                       
Number 0450                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  stated that  it is  obviously the  job of                                                               
the House  Judiciary Standing  Committee to  respond.   She named                                                               
the following three ways in which  the 3 percent can be garnered:                                                               
a  gubernatorial election,  a U.S.  Senate election,  and a  U.S.                                                               
House election.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  said  [the proposed  legislation]  would                                                               
allow for  a "snapshot in time"  to be taken every  two years, to                                                               
decide  whether or  not there  is still  interest and  still "the                                                               
participation by that third party."  She said:                                                                                  
     We all understand the point:  we basically have a two-                                                                     
     party system  in Alaska  - the  same as  we do  in [the                                                                    
     rest of]  the United States  of America - and  we don't                                                                    
     want  seven, eight,  nine,  ten third-party  candidates                                                                    
     the way they do in  England, for example, cluttering up                                                                    
     the ballot and, in  some people's opinion, incurring an                                                                    
     extra cost.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  clarified  that  "we" want  to  know  if                                                               
there's  really a  coordinated  effort behind  [a]  party -  that                                                               
people are still making a  meaningful effort to contribute to it,                                                               
to vote  for it, and  to be a  part of it.   She opined  that [HB                                                               
414] is a  good change to Alaska  state law.  She  added, "I hope                                                               
it stays  this way forever,  because I  think we finally  found a                                                               
way to fix it."                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE said  the decision was made  to stick with                                                               
the 3 percent  threshold the way it has always  been, because "we                                                               
didn't  have evidence  or rationale  for raising  it or  lowering                                                               
Number 0580                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  turned to  how a  U.S. Senator  is chosen                                                               
for  Alaska.   She paraphrased  from  the 17th  Amendment to  the                                                               
United  States  Constitution,  regarding Senate  seat  vacancies.                                                               
She emphasized, "I  think this clearly shows  that the initiative                                                               
is  probably  not  going  to   be  upheld."    She  mentioned  an                                                               
initiative with language  identical to HB 414, which  she said is                                                               
currently  under  a legal  challenge;  the  attorney general  has                                                               
challenged it based upon the 17th  Amendment.  She noted that the                                                               
Trust  the People  group has  responded, and  "so we're  awaiting                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  said  that  HB  414  is  an  attempt  to                                                               
solidify  the law  in  "this" area.   She  noted  that there  are                                                               
currently over 50,000 in the state  who believe that "this is the                                                               
right  thing to  do."   She added,  "Those were  the 50,000  that                                                               
signed it,  and then, of  that, there  were at least  28,000 that                                                               
were certified -  that were not duplicates, and  that ... checked                                                               
out."   She told  the committee  that this bill  is a  product of                                                               
talking to her  constituents, her party members,  and the "other"                                                               
party members.  She stated the following:                                                                                       
     I think that the  public doesn't understand this method                                                                    
     of picking  a United  States Senator  very well.   What                                                                    
     they   understand   is   elections;   they   understand                                                                    
     democracy and  the ability to  get out and vote.   It's                                                                    
     interesting  to note  that most  of them  don't realize                                                                    
     that the history of appointing  a Senator has, in fact,                                                                    
     been a precedent;  it has been the way  that we've done                                                                    
     business, going back to statehood.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  turned to  the  issue  of whether  party                                                               
affiliation comes into play.   She explained that, up until 1967,                                                               
a governor  would appoint someone  to fill a U.S.  Senate vacancy                                                               
who  was  of the  same  party  as  the  person who  created  that                                                               
vacancy.   She noted that  the law  was changed that  year, which                                                               
made  it possible  for  then Governor  Walter  Hickel to  appoint                                                               
[Republican]  Ted Stevens  to fill  the vacancy  of Democrat  Bob                                                               
Bartlett in 1968.                                                                                                               
Number 0929                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  mentioned HB  307, which  stipulated that                                                               
the  governor could  appoint somebody  to fill  the vacated  seat                                                               
only if that seat had been  vacated within 2.5 years, "toward the                                                               
end of that person's term."   She explained, for example, that if                                                               
a  Senator passes  away  with five  years left  in  a term,  that                                                               
Senate  seat would  require  a  special election  to  fill.   She                                                               
remarked that  [HB 307]  bifurcated the  issue between  a special                                                               
election  model and  an appointment  model.   She indicated  that                                                               
Governor  Knowles vetoed  [the  bill];  however, the  legislature                                                               
overrode the veto, and HB 307 became law.                                                                                       
Number 1052                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  said   the  Twenty-Second  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  "came  back with"  SB  166,  which imposed  a  5-day                                                               
waiting period, "which I think  we all understand allowed Senator                                                               
Murkowski to pick his replacement."                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  mentioned again a group  called Trust the                                                               
People.   She noted that  both Representative Harry  Crawford and                                                               
Representative Eric Croft are spokespeople  "on the issue."  That                                                               
group began  gathering signatures to  place an initiative  on the                                                               
ballot to allow  for a special election in the  case of a vacancy                                                               
for  the  United  States Senate  seat.    Representative  McGuire                                                               
offered  her  belief  that  [that  effort]  was  successful,  but                                                               
acknowledged  that  there is  a  legal  challenge that  has  been                                                               
brought  by the  attorney  general  of the  State  of Alaska  and                                                               
"responded to by  trusted people, so it's in legal  flux."  [In a                                                               
subsequent  meeting,  a  representative   from  the  Division  of                                                               
Elections clarified that the process  had not been completed and,                                                               
therefore, couldn't be certified by the Lieutenant Governor.]                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  stated that the  second half of  the bill                                                               
has to be [addressed], because  it would be "irresponsible for us                                                               
not to."   She opined that the judicial branch  of the government                                                               
is rightfully  reaching out  to the policy  making branch  of the                                                               
government to ask  it to reconsider "the way this  is done."  She                                                               
told the committee  members that if they know of  a better way to                                                               
address this  issue, or  if they think  that responding  to Judge                                                               
Reese's opinion  is wrong,  she is  willing to  take suggestions.                                                               
With respect to  the first half of the  bill, regarding [filling]                                                               
a  United  States Senator  vacancy,  she  said she  welcomes  the                                                               
debate regarding whether  there should be a  special election for                                                               
the  entire  amount  [of  the  term] versus  the  2.5  years  now                                                               
Number 1205                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   BERKOWITZ   clarified   for  the   record   that                                                               
Representative  David  Guttenberg  was also  [involved  with  the                                                               
initiative issue].                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Representative  McGuire why she is                                                               
introducing a  bill to fill the  vacancy in a U.S.  Senator seat,                                                               
when there's already one in the legislature.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE replied  that  she doesn't  think it's  a                                                               
secret that the  majority makes the policies  in the legislature,                                                               
whether that majority be Republican  or Democrat.  "In fact," she                                                               
added,   "it's  our   obligation."     She  told   Representative                                                               
Berkowitz, "You  spend a  lot of  time standing  up on  the floor                                                               
criticizing that - rightfully so."   She opined that the majority                                                               
should be  the driving  engine and the  policy-making body.   She                                                               
noted that  it is  often the  case that a  minority bill  will be                                                               
introduced and will  "sit right where it is first  referred to in                                                               
a committee."  She added, "And I don't think that's a secret."                                                                  
Number 1263                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  clarified  that  Representative  Berkowitz  has                                                               
introduced  a bill  that  is  related to  this  issue.   However,                                                               
Representative McGuire had  requested a hearing on [HB  414].  He                                                               
told Representative Berkowitz that if  he wants his bill heard in                                                               
conjunction with [HB 414] that can be done.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE said  that [being] the chair  of the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee  is a unique role, and  she said she                                                               
thinks there  is "a place to  respond to these types  of things."                                                               
She  noted  that   the  difference  in  her   bill  [compared  to                                                               
Representative Berkowitz's]  is that  it incorporates  a response                                                               
to Judge Reese's opinion.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  recalled   another  bill  introduced  by                                                               
Representative Harry  Crawford, which  she collaborated on.   She                                                               
continued as follows:                                                                                                           
     We ultimately  realized that,  for political  reasons -                                                                    
     particularly with  respect to the  other body -  ... it                                                                    
     would  probably be  politically expedient  to have  the                                                                    
     majority  person bring  that  bill across.   [It's]  no                                                                    
     different than if the Democrats  were in control on the                                                                    
     other side, we  might rethink how we do that.   It's of                                                                    
     no offense  to you,  and maybe I  could just  say great                                                                    
     minds think alike.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ responded  that he wishes Representative                                                               
McGuire would have spoken with him before introducing [HB 414].                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   McGUIRE,    in   response   to    questions   by                                                               
Representative Berkowitz, confirmed that  she has had opportunity                                                               
to speak  with [representatives  of] Trust  the People  and their                                                               
position  on HB  414 is  one  of support.   She  noted that  both                                                               
Representatives Crawford  and Croft  have expressed  concern with                                                               
the bill's legal challenge.   She indicated that it would require                                                               
money.   She  said  she thinks  the 17th  Amendment  of the  U.S.                                                               
Constitution   presents  real   challenges.     She  noted   that                                                               
Representative Crawford has said that  he would have signed on as                                                               
a co-sponsor, but  the proposed legislation is  a House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee bill.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ noted  that Representative  McGuire had                                                               
previously said that there are  opinions that the challenge based                                                               
on the 17th  Amendment will be upheld.  He  asked for the sources                                                               
of those opinions.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE,  in response  to  that  and a  follow-up                                                               
question by Representative Berkowitz,  clarified that she had not                                                               
been  citing  an opinion  but  rather  was offering  an  informal                                                               
Number 1435                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   McGUIRE,   in   response  to   a   question   by                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg, confirmed  that she  doesn't have  any                                                               
other  formal legal  opinion.    She indicated  that  there is  a                                                               
saying regarding  what a fool a  person would be to  predict [the                                                               
rulings  of  a  judge].     She  stated  that  she  admires  that                                                               
Representatives Crawford  and Croft are  able to look  beyond the                                                               
politics of  [the issue] and  say they really believe  that "this                                                               
is the right way of doing it."                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked  if Representative McGuire doesn't                                                               
think that  Representatives Crawford  and Croft also  support the                                                               
idea  that  a law  like  this  should be  able  to  be passed  by                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE said she  has not discussed [that question                                                               
with  Representatives Crawford  and Croft],  but she  stated that                                                               
she would  assume so.   In  response to  a follow-up  question by                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg, she  confirmed that  she supports  the                                                               
initiative process.  She noted that  it is primarily a product of                                                               
the  west  coast  and  newer  legislatures.    For  example,  she                                                               
remarked  that Oregon  has had  more initiatives  and referendums                                                               
passed than any other state.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Representative McGuire  if  she                                                               
believes that  "the people" should  have the right  by initiative                                                               
to  select the  methods of  filling in  interim vacancies  in the                                                               
office of  the U.S.  Senator.  He  clarified, "I'm  talking about                                                               
not as a judge, but as a policy maker."                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  responded  that  she has  to  take  into                                                               
account the  law when she makes  policy.  She indicated  that the                                                               
17th Amendment to the U.S.  Constitution couldn't be clearer with                                                               
respect to who  has the authority; therefore, she  would not feel                                                               
comfortable saying  that the initiative  would be "the way  to do                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked if  she believes  the legislature                                                               
could  give the  people  the  right to  make  this  choice by  an                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE replied  that  she thinks  that could  be                                                               
done  through  a  constitutional  amendment,  and  she  suggested                                                               
perhaps that is something that  Representative Gruenberg wants to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said he  is  talking  about "a  simple                                                               
legislation."   He asked, "Don't  you agree that  the legislature                                                               
could simply  pass a law  that ...  could delegate to  the people                                                               
the authority to fill the office by an initiative process?"                                                                     
Number 1263                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  interjected that he understands  the philosophic                                                               
debate regarding this  issue.  He offered  his understanding that                                                               
Representative Bill  Williams would have  some initiative-related                                                               
"things" coming up on the floor soon.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained  that his  questions "go  to"                                                               
the possibility of an amendment to the bill.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE said  she  doesn't know  what powers  the                                                               
legislature really can delegate.   She offered her understanding,                                                               
for example, that [the legislature]  cannot delegate the power to                                                               
Number 1800                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON   said  he   appreciates   Representative                                                               
McGuire's bringing  [HB 414] forward.   He stated that  he thinks                                                               
if [the committee]  agrees that it's good public  policy, than it                                                               
should go forward with it.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  turned to the subject  of certification of                                                               
third parties.   He  noted that the  term [limits]  for governor,                                                               
U.S. Representative,  and U.S.  Senator are [not  the same].   He                                                               
offered an  example whereby  there is an  election in  which only                                                               
the Representative  is up for  election and the third  party does                                                               
not get  3 percent  at that election;  however, every  four years                                                               
there  is  a  gubernatorial  election where  "they  might  get  3                                                               
percent...."   He asked, "What  is the certification  process ...                                                               
either at  the four-year  or the six-year  election for  the U.S.                                                               
Senate or for  the governor, if the two-year  election is between                                                               
those and the third party does not get 3 percent at that time?"                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  responded that the short  answer is "they                                                               
wouldn't  be certified."    She  indicated that  [recertification                                                               
would  be  allowed].    She   invited  Representative  Seaton  to                                                               
"envision the  scenario that  we had before,"  in which  "a third                                                               
party would  have to  wait a  full four  years before  even being                                                               
considered  again."   She concluded,  "And  so, one  of the  nice                                                               
things is,  yeah, they might not  be considered, ... as  a result                                                               
of  that election,  but in  the  next two  years, hopefully  they                                                               
would get it."                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked, under the scenario  "as outlined in                                                               
the bill,"  if a  third party  doesn't have  a candidate  for the                                                               
U.S. Representative election, "are they then decertified?"                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE responded  that  that  is an  interesting                                                               
question.   She said she doesn't  know the answer, but  will find                                                               
Number 1925                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  asked  Representative McGuire  if  she                                                               
thinks it's good public policy for  the voters to be able to fill                                                               
vacancies in the U.S. Senate.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  answered yes; however, she  stated that a                                                               
lot of times  there are things she thinks are  good public policy                                                               
that are unconstitutional.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ asked  Representative  McGuire why,  if                                                               
she thinks  it's good public  policy, she voted against  it "when                                                               
the amendment was in front of  the entire legislature a couple of                                                               
years ago."                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   McGUIRE  responded   that   a   person  in   the                                                               
legislature is  bound to  grow and change  his/her opinion.   She                                                               
said, "When  it was first presented  to me, I don't  think I ever                                                               
felt comfortable with  it ... because I  didn't really understand                                                               
it very  well."   In the  end, she  revealed, she  struggled with                                                               
"how you  would fill that vacancy  between the time in  which the                                                               
person left and the special  election occurred."  She stated that                                                               
it's something that  still troubles her, and she  said she thinks                                                               
both  the  initiative and  the  language  in  [HB 414]  could  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE noted a problem  is that Alaska is a small                                                               
state and  the U.S. Senate is  the place in which  Alaska derives                                                               
most of its  power.  She warned that a  very real situation could                                                               
occur  where Alaska  could be  without  representation for  three                                                               
months while  waiting for a special  election.  She said,  "I was                                                               
persuaded  by that,  and I'm  still persuaded  by it  ..., but  I                                                               
think that there  is a way that  you can do both,  and I'm hoping                                                               
that the great  minds of the legislature can come  together to do                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  said that  her constituents let  her know                                                               
when she  is wrong  about an  issue.  She  stated that  they have                                                               
said they would like the  ability, through a special election, to                                                               
be "able  to weigh  in."   They feel, she  related, that  that is                                                               
"the more  democratic way  of selecting [a]  U.S. Senator."   She                                                               
indicated that  [her constituents] think  it's her job  to figure                                                               
out what to do in the mean time with the vacancy.                                                                               
Number 2081                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  asked  Representative McGuire  if  she                                                               
thinks the Republicans were wrong to turn down the amendment.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE responded  that she  can't speak  for all                                                               
Republicans.  She added, "You're famous for doing that."                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ interjected,  "Well, you  spoke for  me                                                               
and all Democrats...."                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE told  Representative  Berkowitz that  she                                                               
doesn't want  to quibble with him.   She opined, "I  think we all                                                               
understand the  chip that's  on your shoulder  today."   She said                                                               
she's sorry  that Representative  Berkowitz has  not asked  for a                                                               
hearing  for his  bill  from  Chair Weyhrauch.    She stated  her                                                               
assumption that if he cared that  much about [his] bill, he would                                                               
have done so.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ responded as follows:                                                                                  
     Representative McGuire,  it's not about my  bill.  It's                                                                    
     about getting  you to do  the right thing.   It's about                                                                    
     respecting the  right of 50,000 Alaskans  who attempted                                                                    
     to  go to  the ballot  and vote  on this.   It's  about                                                                    
     whether   the  legislature   even  retains   the  moral                                                                    
     authority  to  vote  on  this  issue  now  that  50,000                                                                    
     Alaskans have  picked it  up.   It's about  the cynical                                                                    
     manipulation  of  the  internal  legislative  political                                                                    
     process to circumvent  the will of the  people.  That's                                                                    
     what  my  outrage  is  about.    And  I  think  it's  a                                                                    
     consistent pattern  where this issue's concerned.   Let                                                                    
     the  people   vote.    Quit   trying  to   steal  their                                                                    
Number 2150                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  asked, "Representative Berkowitz,  do you                                                               
think doing  the right  thing is  potentially allowing  the whole                                                               
issue to  go away on account  of a legal challenge?"   She added,                                                               
"So that  the process has never,  in fact, changed at  all."  She                                                               
said what  ends up happening  is "we end  up right back  where we                                                               
were before."                                                                                                                   
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH intervened.                                                                                                     
Number 2170                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted  that   several  years  ago,  an                                                               
initiative regarding minimum wage was  going to be on the ballot.                                                               
He  said the  legislature  "trumped that"  by  passing a  similar                                                               
bill.   If  a law  passes  by initiative,  there's a  prohibition                                                               
against the  legislature changing  that [law] for  several years.                                                               
He offered  his understanding that there  cannot constitutionally                                                               
be such a  prohibition if the legislature passes  a bill, because                                                               
"we" can't  bind future legislature.   What the  legislature did,                                                               
he continued,  was to trump  the initiative and then  repeal part                                                               
of  the  bill  the  next  year.   That,  he  concluded,  "clearly                                                               
thwarted what might have been the  will of the people."  He added                                                               
that he doesn't think that was good public policy.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG expressed his  concern that if something                                                               
were  to  happen [to  Alaska's  current  U.S. Senator],  and  "we                                                               
passed this  law through this legislature,"  the next legislature                                                               
could  then "undo  it in  the next  two years."   Conversely,  he                                                               
noted that  if "it  were done  by initiative,"  it would  have "a                                                               
much greater  permanence."   He said,  "And I  see that  as being                                                               
potentially a  significant difference with  the exact bill  - but                                                               
the way it's enacted.  Don't you?"                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  MCGUIRE  responded  that  she  thinks  there  are                                                               
problems "with that."   She said there have  been instances where                                                               
the legislature  has incorporated the substance  of an initiative                                                               
into law  and come  back and  changed [that law].   She  said she                                                               
thinks "you  give your  word and ...  you stay true  to it."   On                                                               
that note,  she told the  committee that  Representative Crawford                                                               
had asked her  if she was introducing the bill  so that she could                                                               
come back  later and  change it.   She said  her response  was to                                                               
give  him  her  word  that  that  was  not  the  reason  she  was                                                               
introducing the bill and that she defends "this."                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  opined that those who  put the initiative                                                               
process into  the Alaska State Constitution  must have envisioned                                                               
a  legislative role.   She  explained that  an initiative  cannot                                                               
appear on  a ballot  until after a  full legislative  session has                                                               
met.  She explained as follows:                                                                                                 
     That requirement  really can only  be in there  for one                                                                    
     reason,  and that  is  the  idea that  we  still are  a                                                                    
     representative democracy - not  a direct democracy.  We                                                                    
     envision   a  role   of  direct   democracy,  but   the                                                                    
     representative democracy is still  there.  And so, that                                                                    
     gives an  opportunity for  the legislature  to consider                                                                    
     those things that have been certified as initiatives.                                                                      
Number 2403                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  opined, "I think that,  as a legislature,                                                               
when you  have that  many people  speaking on  a subject,  if you                                                               
don't come  back and pay attention  to it and try  to incorporate                                                               
it into policy, you're not doing your job."                                                                                     
Number 2424                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  remarked  that  he thinks  the  voter  has  the                                                               
ultimate say on "who it is that is sitting here doing this."                                                                    
Number 2454                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Representative McGuire  if  she                                                               
would support a provision in  the bill stating that "this portion                                                               
of the  bill, at least" would  not be amended for  two years, for                                                               
example.   He noted  that this legislature  can't bind  the next,                                                               
but it  can state  its policy,  thereby making  a promise  by the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE replied that she would support that.                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  said he does  not know whether he  would support                                                               
that; he said he has never heard of such a precedence.                                                                          
Number 2786                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM  said  he  is  confused.    He  offered  his                                                               
understanding  that it  has  been proposed  that  the people  who                                                               
speak at  the polls have less  right to create policy  in Alaska,                                                               
by  virtue of  their representation,  than the  people who  speak                                                               
with an  initiative.  He asked  for an explanation of  "what road                                                               
we're going  down, in  terms of  whether or  not we're  trying to                                                               
negate the ability  of all legislatures to function at  all."  He                                                               
offered an  example of how  segregation would have  been affected                                                               
[if it had been decided by initiative].                                                                                         
Number 2650                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE said this subject  is a difficult one that                                                               
many legal minds  have reflected on, particularly in  the last 20                                                               
years.    Initiatives, she  said,  have  been  used to  move  the                                                               
legislature in  the right direction.   Notwithstanding  that, she                                                               
remarked that any  initiative process, if carried  too far, could                                                               
meet  with disastrous  results.   She indicated  that she  thinks                                                               
[the initiative  process] has been used  appropriately in Alaska.                                                               
She  said,  "Where  you  started  to  see  the  dialogue  in  the                                                               
beginning, I could see certain  individuals trying to create this                                                               
dichotomy - you're either  for it or against it.   I don't see it                                                               
that way."                                                                                                                      
Number 2786                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM stated he is  still concerned with whether or                                                               
not [the  legislature] is making  decisions because they  are the                                                               
right decisions to make.                                                                                                        
Number 2825                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  recalled  three other  instances  that                                                               
occurred during his time in  the legislature where the Republican                                                               
majority  has  overridden the  will  of  the  people:   two  wolf                                                               
initiatives and  a medical  marijuana initiative.   He  said, "So                                                               
you'll   excuse  me,   Representative  Holm   and  Representative                                                               
McGuire,  for being  a little  bit cynical  about the  ability of                                                               
this  majority to  honor the  direction the  voters want  to take                                                               
Number 2854                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  turned to  "the Green Party  portion of                                                               
the bill."   He  stated, on  behalf of  the Democratic  Party and                                                               
possibly the Green Party as  well, that other parties, regardless                                                               
of who  they are, have  a right to  join together in  a partially                                                               
open  ballot.   He  asked  Representative  McGuire if  she  would                                                               
support an amendment that would "allow that to occur."                                                                          
Number 2926                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE responded that  because she wants [HB 414]                                                               
to pass,  she would  not support  adding that to  the bill.   She                                                               
said she is  not somebody who benefits from a  closed primary, so                                                               
she can see  where it would benefit her; however,  she also tries                                                               
to  support the  opinions of  the majority.   She  said, "From  a                                                               
political  perspective,  it would  make  this  bill dead  in  the                                                               
Number 2967                                                                                                                     
LEONARD JONES,  Special Assistant, Division of  Elections, Office                                                               
of the Lieutenant Governor, said he  was present in regard to the                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
TAPE 04-11, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2982                                                                                                                     
MR. JONES [told  the committee that he has held  his position for                                                               
just 30 days].  He offered to answer questions.                                                                                 
Number 2966                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  again to  page 2,  regarding the                                                               
issue  of  timing and  recertification  when  elections are  off-                                                               
cycle.  He  clarified that he is trying to  ascertain if "this is                                                               
going to require  every third party to have 3  percent of ... the                                                               
U.S.  House [of  Representatives]  election in  all those  cycles                                                               
when  there's not  one of  the  other elections  occurring."   He                                                               
added that  he wants to  know what the division's  position would                                                               
be  if  a   third  party  that  had  garnered  3   percent  in  a                                                               
gubernatorial  election, for  example, did  not file  or did  not                                                               
have a candidate run for the U.S. House [of Representatives].                                                                   
MR. JONES said he would get back to the committee on that.                                                                      
Number 2888                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ asked  Mr. Jones  to let  the committee                                                               
know the  following:   The cost of  primaries, with  the possible                                                               
intent of doing  an amendment that would  cause political parties                                                               
to pay for  their own primaries, if that's what  they want to do;                                                               
and  the  cost  of  collecting   and  maintaining  records  about                                                               
individuals'  political party  affiliations.    He said,  "You've                                                               
seen  today what  happens  when partisan  politics  intrudes.   I                                                               
think it's hostile to the state's  best interest."  He noted that                                                               
he has been  "running a bill" for a number  of years to eliminate                                                               
political parties and to eliminate  the state as a record keeper.                                                               
He commented  that perhaps Representative McGuire  would join him                                                               
in this  effort.  He  said he want to  know how much  [the state]                                                               
would save if [it no longer used the political party system].                                                                   
MR. JONES agreed to accomplish that request.                                                                                    
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  stated his  understanding that  that would  be a                                                               
research request on a separate issue, other than [HB 414].                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  responded, "That  would fit  within the                                                               
Number 2805                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  commented that he  would like to  see the                                                               
committee  [get the  information requested].   He  indicated that                                                               
whether  or not  people have  the  right to  "associate and  pick                                                               
their  party  affiliate members  to  represent  them" is  another                                                               
debate.  He said [HB 414]  certainly is one bill that would allow                                                               
those who  have standing in  the community  to be on  the ballot.                                                               
He added, "So, I'd be in support of that."                                                                                      
Number 2787                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  closed public testimony.   He announced  that HB                                                               
414 was heard and held.                                                                                                         
HB 319-REMOTE REC.CABIN SITE SALES/LOTTERY SALE                                                                               
Number 2761                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  announced that  the next  order of  business was                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 319, "An  Act relating  to the disposal  of state                                                               
land by lottery; and relating  to the disposal, including sale or                                                               
lease, of remote recreational cabin sites."                                                                                     
Number 2750                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to   adopt  HB  319  for  discussion                                                               
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH clarified  that  the motion  had  been made  for                                                               
Version H [the original bill version].                                                                                          
Number 2730                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUGH  FATE, Alaska State Legislature,  as sponsor,                                                               
read his  sponsor statement [included  in the  committee packet].                                                               
He clarified  that, regarding  those who will  incur the  cost of                                                               
surveys  and  appraisals  [in the  second  paragraph],  the  word                                                               
"they" means  those who buy the  land.  He noted  that, while not                                                               
specified  in the  sponsor statement,  the economic  trickle-down                                                               
effect could be  as much as "four times."   He said, "Passage [of                                                               
HB  319] will  expand the  opportunity  to satisfy  the dream  of                                                               
Alaskans by  allowing them to  secure, in fee simple,  a favorite                                                               
piece of  property in a  setting that epitomizes the  reason that                                                               
we live in ... this great state...."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  added  that  the  bill  would  enhance  the                                                               
present Department of Natural Resources  (DNR) programs, but does                                                               
not take  the place of them.   He said it's  a win-win situation;                                                               
it not only gives an  individual private, peaceable ownership [of                                                               
land], but also stimulates local and state economy.                                                                             
Number 2583                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE referred  to Article VIII, Section  9, of the                                                               
Alaska State Constitution, and indicated  that it gives the power                                                               
to the legislature  to provide the process under  which lands may                                                               
be sold.   He  noted that  there is  also a  statute in  law that                                                               
allows for the sale  of these lands.  He stated  that [HB 319] is                                                               
a  resource-based economic  bill,  which is  based on  fee-simple                                                               
ownership - "the  title to the land."  Currently,  he noted, most                                                               
of  Alaska's land  is "nonproductive."   Because  of that,  it is                                                               
exempt from local taxation.  Most of  the land is not an asset to                                                               
the state  or to an individual.   It becomes an  asset under fee-                                                               
simple ownership.  He said  he has heard newcomers and old-timers                                                               
alike say that they wish they could "have a piece of Alaska."                                                                   
Number 2452                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE offered  his understanding  that this  issue                                                               
started out in  the Twenty-Second Alaska State  Legislature as HB                                                               
[233] and  was worked on  by those  in the mining  industry, DNR,                                                               
and the  environmental community.   The result of  that continued                                                               
work is the  bill before the committee today,  he said, including                                                               
some amendments in the committee packet.                                                                                        
Number 2407                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  turned to a page  listing issues raised                                                               
by  the Alaska  Conservation  Voters [included  in the  committee                                                               
packet].  He said he would like those [issues] addressed.                                                                       
Number 2215                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON turned  to page 3, line 14,  [of the bill],                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
           (e) The space between remote recreational                                                                            
     cabin sites offered under this section may not be less                                                                     
     than 660 feet in any direction.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if the intent  of the bill is to make                                                               
a patchwork  of private  ownership which is  not contiguous.   He                                                               
asked why there is so much space in between the sites.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE FATE replied  that this started out  with a larger                                                               
separation to preserve  the remoteness of the site.   He said DNR                                                               
pointed out  that that could  be problematic.  He  indicated that                                                               
changing from 2.5 acres to 5.0,  helps [in platting the land], as                                                               
well  as provides  adjoining acreage.   He  stated that  660 feet                                                               
really provides  a more remote  site, which  is the [aim]  of [HB                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE   listed  some   types  of  land   that  are                                                               
available, including  land with several lots  together.  However,                                                               
what  is not  available currently  is [land  for] a  remote cabin                                                               
site.   He clarified [the bill  would provide] that if  the state                                                               
wants to  "select an area,  once a  nomination is made,  ... they                                                               
can then select  a broader area within that area."   He said [the                                                               
legislation]  doesn't  encourage  the congestion  that  sometimes                                                               
occurs in a (indisc.) area.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE,  in response  to  a  follow-up question  by                                                               
Representative Seaton,  explained that  the change to  five acres                                                               
is in the language of an amendment [still to be] offered.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if the  same philosophy is being used                                                               
in  regard to  rivers and  lakes, [requiring]  that the  frontage                                                               
must be  at least 300  feet and not  exceed 400 [feet],  and that                                                               
there must  be one  quarter mile from  another parcel  with river                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  answered that  it is  the same,  "except for                                                               
lakes."   He explained that  the computation regarding  lakes was                                                               
made based  on how much water  it takes to safely  [land and take                                                               
off in a float plane].                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he  is still  trying  to  get  "the                                                               
feeling of  the distribution of  a lot."  Regarding  the 660-foot                                                               
separation, he  asked what  provision there is  for access.   For                                                               
example, he  asked if [the  bill] would give provisions  for road                                                               
building or "anything else."                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FATE responded that  the state would not guarantee                                                               
rights of way  or fire fighting for a remote  site.  He mentioned                                                               
that  there  was   a  tremendous  amount  of   research  done  on                                                               
identifying RS2477s.   He stated that these  [parcels] are remote                                                               
sites and,  as such, it would  be up to the  applicant to provide                                                               
the  transportation to  them,  to develop  them,  and to  protect                                                               
them.  He said the state would be waived from those liabilities.                                                                
Number 1948                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked  what  discussion  would  have  to                                                               
happen  between  DNR  and  the  person  buying  a  remote  parcel                                                               
regarding how that person [stakes out a piece of property].                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  replied that  in the  past, the  surveys and                                                               
appraisals  have been  done  at  a cost  to  the state;  however,                                                               
[under this legislation]  the people would pay  for those surveys                                                               
themselves.   He  noted some  exceptions,  such as  land that  is                                                               
picked up through lotteries.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  noted  that  the language  in  the  bill                                                               
stipulates size  of land.  He  said, for example, if  he went out                                                               
to nominate  a parcel  of land  and wanted to  share a  lake with                                                               
someone,  he would  want to  ensure  that he  didn't nullify  his                                                               
application  by "getting  ...  20  feet over."    He  said he  is                                                               
wondering  what  the  working  process  is  on  that  nomination,                                                               
regarding how  much latitude DNR  [would have] "to move  it," and                                                               
what  would  have to  happen,  for  example,  if he  has  already                                                               
"brushed it."                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FATE responded, "We  have added personnel in there                                                               
to do  that."  People  may not  know, for example,  whether their                                                               
land  is overlaid  by a  native  allotment or  whether there's  a                                                               
military operation  area (MOA) on it.   There would need  to be a                                                               
status map  made available, so  that people can actually  look to                                                               
see if the land is open for entry.                                                                                              
Number 1664                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if there  is any language in the bill                                                               
that  requires that  a configuration  [of  a parcel  of land]  be                                                               
within certain parameters.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE FATE answered, "On  riverbanks and on lakes, yes."                                                               
He said he  cannot recall a limitation inland.   He mentioned 300                                                               
feet for shoreline frontage.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  if that means a person  could have a                                                               
pear-shaped small valley, for example.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE surmised  that  as a  practical matter,  the                                                               
department  would probably  provide regulations.   He  offered an                                                               
example.  He  indicated it would limit "the amount  of fudging in                                                               
the [staking] of ground."                                                                                                       
Number 1545                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  noted that  "this" calls  for 660  feet in                                                               
any direction, as  well as "a distance  from another recreational                                                               
cabin  site."   He offered  an example  of a  house on  the Kenai                                                               
River that  is not certified  as a  recreational cabin site.   He                                                               
offered  his understanding  that  the proposed  language [of  the                                                               
bill]  wouldn't  prevent nominating  a  piece  [of land]  on  the                                                               
riverfront adjoining someone else's house.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  said that's  correct.  He  said, "Nomination                                                               
is  not  automatic; this  still  gives  the prerogatives  to  the                                                               
commissioner to approve or disapprove that after the nomination.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said the  land could  still border  with a                                                               
native  allotment.    He  asked   if  it  is  correct  that  "the                                                               
distances" are  only from recreational  sites and not  from other                                                               
pieces of property.                                                                                                             
JIM POUND, Staff to Representative  Hugh Fate, answered on behalf                                                               
of Representative  Fate, sponsor.   Regarding the example  of the                                                               
Kenai River cabin, he said it  must be in a 660-foot buffer zone.                                                               
He  stated that  he  is not  really certain,  even  on the  Kenai                                                               
River, that  there would be  a situation  where there would  be a                                                               
remote  recreational cabin  where there  is already  a residence.                                                               
He surmised that that land would be in private hands already.                                                                   
Number 1360                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted that  Caribou Hills and Caribou Lake,                                                               
for example,  hold both  private and state  lands, and  there are                                                               
recreational cabins "all  over the Caribou Hills."   He explained                                                               
that he  is trying to  figure out whether  [HB 319] has  a buffer                                                               
between "existing,"  or whether it is  "just between recreational                                                               
Number 1327                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  began discussion of  Amendment 1, which  read as                                                               
     Page 3, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "12"                                                                                                       
          Insert "24"                                                                                                       
     Page 3, line 5, following "private sale":                                                                              
          Insert "under (g) of this section"                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 9 - 12:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
               "(1) prepare a schedule of land offerings                                                                        
     under this  section from lands  that were  not selected                                                                    
     by  the  state for  mineral  values,  except for  lands                                                                    
     having  a  proven high  mineral  potential  based on  a                                                                    
     geophysical survey  or geological  evaluation completed                                                                    
     not  more  than  15  years  before  the  offering,  and                                                                    
     identify the parcels for disposal each year; and"                                                                        
     Page 3, lines 21 - 30:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
     "(g) A person may nominate  a parcel for disposal under                                                                    
     this section and request a  right of first refusal.  If                                                                    
     the  commissioner accepts  the nomination  of a  parcel                                                                    
     for  disposal, the  commissioner may  also provide  for                                                                    
     disposal  of  additional  parcels  in  the  surrounding                                                                    
     area, subject to (d)(1) and (f) of this section."                                                                          
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH noted that Amendment  1 would delete [subsection]                                                               
(g) on  page 3 entirely.   He asked  if that [decision  to delete                                                               
subsection (g)] was  based upon the input from  the Alaska Miners                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  reiterated that concerns had  been expressed                                                               
by  environmental   groups,  miners  groups,  and   DNR,  and  he                                                               
indicated that those concerns are addressed [in Amendment 1].                                                                   
Number 1240                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  asked Representative  Fate if  he would  like to                                                               
"offer this amendment at this time."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE FATE said yes.                                                                                                   
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                            
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH,  in  response   to  remarks  by  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, clarified that the  committee was addressing Amendment                                                               
1  in  parts,  but  was  not treating  those  parts  as  separate                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FATE explained the  changes that Amendment 1 would                                                               
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH clarified  that the input from  the Alaska Miners                                                               
Association was in the form of  a letter in the committee packet,                                                               
dated January 23, 2004.                                                                                                         
Number 0989                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   stated   that  the   Alaska   Miners                                                               
Association  makes a  good case  in  its letter  for adding  "and                                                               
geologic  evaluation"  to  the  bill.   Amendment  1,  he  noted,                                                               
actually adds the phrase "or  geological evaluation".  He said he                                                               
thinks the "or" is better.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  turned  the committee's  attention  to                                                               
page 3,  lines 10-11 of the  bill, and read the  phrase "having a                                                               
low  mineral potential".   He  noted  that Amendment  1 uses  the                                                               
words "except for lands having  a proven high mineral potential",                                                               
which  he  said  "flips  it  around."   He  said  he  feels  more                                                               
comfortable with the current language in the bill.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  responded that  "low mineral  potential" can                                                               
be [ambiguous].  He suggested it  could mean "one color in a pan"                                                               
or "ten colors in a pan."   He said [the language in Amendment 1]                                                               
achieves the same thing through an  evaluation.  He added that it                                                               
also  sets  some  sort  of   standard  of  high  potential.    He                                                               
explained,  "If it's  high potential,  then  that land  sometimes                                                               
should not be selected for a  remote cabin site."  In response to                                                               
a request  for a  definition of  "color in a  pan," he  said that                                                               
gold plate itself is "just called a color."                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  regarding the word  "proven", surmised                                                               
that  the sponsor  is  assuming that  DNR  would, by  regulation,                                                               
define  the term  "high proven  mineral potential".   He  said he                                                               
does  not want  it  to  be a  vague  delegation  that is  without                                                               
standard.  In  response to a question by  Representative Fate, he                                                               
clarified  that  he  wants  to  know  how  that  phrase  will  be                                                               
administered by the department.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH suggested  that someone  from DNR  could address                                                               
that concern later.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE FATE said  it seems to him  that "the nomenclature                                                               
'low' is more prone to  litigiousness than 'high', which does set                                                               
a standard...."                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said his  question would then focus more                                                               
on the word "proven".                                                                                                           
Number 0589                                                                                                                     
MR.  POUND stated  his assumption  that, between  the geophysical                                                               
and  the geological  evaluation,  there  are already  established                                                               
standards  in place.    He indicated  his  understanding that  "a                                                               
proven high" is almost a technical term in the mineral [world].                                                                 
Number 0538                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to  the portion  of Amendment  1                                                               
that would add  language at page 3, lines 9-12  of the bill [text                                                               
provided previously].  He noted  that the word "except" was used.                                                               
He offered his understanding that  the [lands] that are "excepted                                                               
from this"  are those that  have high mineral potential,  and are                                                               
available for remote cabin sites.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   FATE  told   Representative  Seaton   that  that                                                               
language means just the opposite.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  repeated the  language in  question again.                                                               
He  said, "So,  the  exception  is for  those  that  have a  high                                                               
mineral potential from  those that were not  selected for mineral                                                               
value.   I don't  think that's  what we mean,  but that's  what I                                                               
believe it says."                                                                                                               
Number 0383                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  noted that  the language  in question  differs a                                                               
bit  from the  language of  the  Alaska Miners  Association.   He                                                               
added  his belief  that the  drafter  of the  amendment may  have                                                               
missed something in the translation.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  that,  with all  due respect,  he                                                               
doesn't think that  most judges or lawyers  would [interpret] the                                                               
language as Representative  Seaton did.  Instead,  they would say                                                               
there are  two different  categories of lands  that would  not be                                                               
available [as land  offerings]:  one category  would be comprised                                                               
of lands  that have been  selected as having mineral  values, and                                                               
the other  would be comprised of  lands that have a  high mineral                                                               
potential.   He  added that  he is  not sure  he understands  the                                                               
difference;  however, he  thinks  the drafter  was attempting  to                                                               
exempt both of those.                                                                                                           
Number 0248                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH said it's not that clear.                                                                                       
Number 0203                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  stated  that  if Amendment  1  is  to  be                                                               
adopted, he wants that language made clearer.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  said he would accept  a conceptual amendment                                                               
for purposes of clarification.                                                                                                  
Number 0129                                                                                                                     
MR. POUND  turned to the  last portion  of Amendment 1,  which he                                                               
said  would  allow  a  first  right of  refusal  to  someone  who                                                               
nominates  a parcel  [for  disposal].   It would  be  up to  "the                                                               
commissioner, through the director" to  grant that first right of                                                               
The committee took a brief at-ease at 9:34 a.m.                                                                                 
TAPE 04-12, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
MR. POUND noted  that the last portion of Amendment  1 would also                                                               
address  a  need  for   technical  clarification  by  referencing                                                               
[subsection] (d), [paragraph] (1).                                                                                              
Number 0099                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON stated his  understanding that this portion                                                               
of Amendment [1] would delete  the language requiring a person to                                                               
provide an affidavit  to the commissioner showing  at least three                                                               
consecutive  years  of  recreational  use [of  the  parcel],  and                                                               
replace  it with  language  that  would allow  a  person just  to                                                               
nominate a  parcel and  request first  right of  refusal, without                                                               
showing any use of the land at all.                                                                                             
MR. POUND said that's correct.                                                                                                  
Number 0163                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  gave an  example of  three different  people who                                                               
each have  visited the same spot,  but at different times  of the                                                               
year.   Furthermore, if HB  319 passes, they each  could nominate                                                               
that parcel  for disposal and  request a right of  first refusal.                                                               
He asked  how that situation  would be dealt  with.  He  asked if                                                               
[the commissioner]  would just  throw up  his/her hands  and open                                                               
the land to public market.                                                                                                      
MR. POUND responded that that  would certainly be his/her option.                                                               
He  said it  is  important  to note  that  all  the parcels  must                                                               
involve a public notice process.                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  suggested the  possibility that if  it is  up to                                                               
the discretion  of the commissioner  to grant the right  of first                                                               
refusal, then somebody  might say of [the person  who was granted                                                               
that right]  that he/she had  a lobbyist get the  commissioner to                                                               
grant that right,  which might result in  litigation over whether                                                               
it was a good use of discretion.                                                                                                
MR. POUND  replied that the aspect  of litigation would be  up to                                                               
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH remarked that it  happens a lot [that people love                                                               
the same  parcel of  land].   He questioned  whether it  would be                                                               
better [for the  commissioner] to say, "We're going  to just open                                                               
this  to a  bid," in  order to  get away  from the  perception of                                                               
unfairness or inside dealing, for example.                                                                                      
Number 0420                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE said that  it's completely discretionary, but                                                               
"they  can make  that decision."   He  added, "If  that situation                                                               
arose, then this piece of legislation allows for that."                                                                         
Number 0455                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  asked  about   a  possible  situation  where  a                                                               
corporation takes kayak  trips and uses the same  parcel over and                                                               
over.   He noted that there  are places like that  - for example,                                                               
tent sites.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  answered,  "The  applicant  will  determine                                                               
that."    He  clarified  that  the  commissioner  will  make  the                                                               
determination based on the application.   He indicated that there                                                               
are probably ways to make the process a fair one.                                                                               
Number 0615                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  stated  that  it's  easy  to  see  how  growing                                                               
ecotourism  companies could  start  staking [land]  all over  the                                                               
place, to the exclusion of the  intent of the bill, which he said                                                               
he thinks  is to  allow an  individual who has  grown up  here to                                                               
"get a piece of Alaska."                                                                                                        
Number 0600                                                                                                                     
MR. POUND  referred to  AS 38.05.035, which  he said  is existing                                                               
statute addressing  the issue of  state land and  individuals who                                                               
have erected  a building on  the land and  is using the  land for                                                               
bona fide business purposes for  five or more years, either under                                                               
a  federal  permit,  or  without  the need  for  a  permit.    He                                                               
indicated that  there's a separate  process for  commercial [land                                                               
use].   He  concluded, "We're  not dealing  with that  particular                                                               
statute - it's already in place."                                                                                               
Number 0709                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG noted  that [HB  319] does  not have  a                                                               
referral  to House  Judiciary Standing  Committee; therefore,  he                                                               
suggested  that it  is within  this  committee's jurisdiction  to                                                               
deal with the issue of fairness.                                                                                                
Number 0762                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he sees  no limitation on  the number                                                               
of  sites that  can  be applied  for,  or that  they  have to  be                                                               
applied  for by  an individual.   He  said it  seems to  him that                                                               
Princess Tours could solicit from  the commissioner every quarter                                                               
mile down  the river where that  company takes tours.   He stated                                                               
that  if the  purpose of  the bill  is to  "get it  into economic                                                               
development  hands,"  then  the  commissioner  would  "almost  be                                                               
directed to grant those."  He  said that this seems to be allowed                                                               
under this proposed  legislation, even if it's not  the intent of                                                               
it.  He suggested that the sponsor change that.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE FATE replied  that this is another tool  to add to                                                               
those the  department already uses to  dispose of land.   He said                                                               
the intent  of the bill  is certainly not to  "create individuals                                                               
who run around selecting land all  over the country."  He said he                                                               
suspects  that   that  would   be  looked   at  askance   by  the                                                               
Number 0939                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH said there's nothing  that would prohibit someone                                                               
from  going  around  and  asking  to  buy  the  land  from  other                                                               
individuals and  then eventually consolidating those  sites under                                                               
a corporate shell.                                                                                                              
MR.  POUND said  he  certainly thinks  that  the 660-foot  buffer                                                               
would be a  disincentive to a commercial venture.   He also noted                                                               
that   there   is   language  in   existing   statute   regarding                                                               
requirements for a  buffer anywhere from 50 to 100  feet from the                                                               
Number 1029                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  said  he  would like  the  committee  to  adopt                                                               
Amendment 1,  and then  subsume it  into a  committee substitute.                                                               
Then  he would  like  representatives  from DNR  to  look at  the                                                               
committee  substitute   and  reevaluate  the  fiscal   note  that                                                               
accompanied the original bill.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  stated that  he  would  not object  to                                                               
that, with  the understanding  that the  committee has  still not                                                               
dealt  with  his  question  regarding  the  proven  high  mineral                                                               
Number 1101                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   noted   that   the   Alaska   Miners                                                               
Association had  mentioned an  airstrip in the  last part  of its                                                               
letter.  He  said he noticed that the sponsor  didn't accept that                                                               
group's proposal.                                                                                                               
MR.  POUND said  the  sponsor felt  that a  25-acre  lot has  the                                                               
potential to make  it a commercial venture.  If  said, "If you're                                                               
landing  an aircraft  out  there, we'd  tend to  prefer  it be  a                                                               
floatplane ...."                                                                                                                
Number 1200                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH stated that this  proposed legislation would give                                                               
the private  sector access  to own  land.  He  asked if  there is                                                               
already such a  program and what the hold-up would  be.  He said,                                                               
"Certainly the legislature has dealt  with this ... over and over                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  mentioned  taking  people  to  see  lottery                                                               
lands, and  those people saying  that they wouldn't  purchase the                                                               
land  at  any  price.    He confirmed  that  programs  do  exist;                                                               
however, even  though "you  don't select what  you would  like to                                                               
select yourself."   The proposed legislation is an  effort to get                                                               
more land  to people who  would pay for  the surveys.   The state                                                               
then  reaps the  harvest of  the economy  that it's  stimulating,                                                               
while the individual gets fee-simple  ground.  He added, "He gets                                                               
fee-simple ground  before, but a lot  of times it's not  the kind                                                               
of ground that he wanted."                                                                                                      
Number 1350                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH asked  if there  was any  objection to  adopting                                                               
Amendment 1.  There being  no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                               
Chair Weyhrauch announced that Amendment  1 would be incorporated                                                               
into a committee substitute.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked for  confirmation that the portion of                                                               
the  amendment  that he  had  previously  expressed concern  over                                                               
would be rewritten.                                                                                                             
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH answered, "Conceptually."                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE FATE agreed, and he  added that [he and his staff]                                                               
would continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                
Number 1400                                                                                                                     
MR.  POUND turned  to page  3, line  31, under  [subsection] (h),                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
          (h) A parcel sold under this section may not                                                                          
     exceed two and one-half acres.                                                                                             
MR. POUND proposed [Amendment 2] as follows:                                                                                    
     Page 3, line 31                                                                                                            
     Between "exceed" and "acres"                                                                                               
     Delete "two and one-half"                                                                                                  
     Insert "five"                                                                                                              
Number 1460                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH asked if there  was any objection to Amendment 2.                                                               
There being none, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                      
[HB 319 was heard and held.]                                                                                                    
HB 241-MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION                                                                                       
Number 1500                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  announced that  the next  order of  business was                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 241, "An  Act relating to optional exemptions from                                                               
municipal property taxes on residential property."                                                                              
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  reminded the committee members  that before them                                                               
was  the  committee  substitute  (CS) for  HB  241,  Version  23-                                                               
LS0851\D, Cook, 1/22/04.                                                                                                        
Number 1521                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved Amendment 1  [to HB 241.  Amendment 1                                                               
was taken up and clarified in the next meeting].                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH announced that [HB 241] was heard and held.                                                                     
Number 1576                                                                                                                     
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 9:58                                                               

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