Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

04/14/2005 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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08:08:52 AM Start
08:09:49 AM Alaska Air National Guard - Brigadier General
08:16:19 AM HB167
08:37:21 AM HB160
09:44:37 AM HB238
10:01:44 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation hearing: AK Air National TELECONFERENCED
Guard-Brigadier General
Colonel Tony A. Hart--Kulis ANG Base
+ SB 141 PUBLIC EMPLOYEE/TEACHER RETIREMENT TELECONFERENCED
<Pending Referral>
+= HB 238 PUBLIC EMPLOYEE/TEACHER RETIREMENT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
+= HB 167 DEATH CERTIFICATE FOR DECEASED VETERAN TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 167(STA) Out of Committee
+= HB 160 PUBLIC FUNDS & BALLOT PROPS/CANDIDATES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 14, 2005                                                                                         
                           8:08 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Jay Ramras                                                                                                       
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Gatto, Vice Chair                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING: ALASKA AIR NATIONAL GUARD - BRIGADIER                                                                     
GENERAL COLONEL TONY A. HART - KULIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 167                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to providing a death certificate for a deceased                                                                
veteran without cost."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 167(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 160                                                                                                              
"An Act limiting the use of money of the state and its political                                                                
subdivisions to affect an election."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 238                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to contribution rates for employers and members                                                                
in the defined benefit plans of the teachers' retirement system                                                                 
and the public employees' retirement system and to the ad-hoc                                                                   
post-retirement pension adjustment in the teachers' retirement                                                                  
system; requiring insurance plans provided to members of the                                                                    
teachers' retirement system, the judicial retirement system, the                                                                
public employees' retirement system, and the former elected                                                                     
public officials retirement system to provide a list of                                                                         
preferred drugs; relating to defined contribution plans for                                                                     
members of the teachers' retirement system and the public                                                                       
employees' retirement system; and providing for an effective                                                                    
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 141(FIN)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to the teachers' and public employees'                                                                         
retirement systems and creating defined contribution and health                                                                 
reimbursement plans for members of the teachers' retirement                                                                     
system and the public employees' retirement system who are first                                                                
hired after July 1, 2005; relating to university retirement                                                                     
programs; establishing the Alaska Retirement Management Board to                                                                
replace the Alaska State Pension Investment Board, the Alaska                                                                   
Teachers' Retirement Board, and the Public Employees' Retirement                                                                
Board; adding appeals of the decisions of the administrator of                                                                  
the teachers' and public employees' retirement systems to the                                                                   
jurisdiction of the office of administrative hearings; providing                                                                
for nonvested members of the teachers' retirement system defined                                                                
benefit plans to transfer into the teachers' retirement system                                                                  
defined contribution plan and for nonvested members of the                                                                      
public employees' retirement system defined benefit plans to                                                                    
transfer into the public employees' retirement system defined                                                                   
contribution plan; providing for political subdivisions and                                                                     
public organizations to request to participate in the public                                                                    
employees' defined contribution retirement plan; and providing                                                                  
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - PENDING REFERRAL                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 167                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DECEASED VETERAN DEATH CERTIFICATE/HONOR                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
02/22/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/05       (H)       MLV, STA                                                                                               
03/17/05       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/17/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 167(MLV) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/17/05       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/18/05       (H)       MLV RPT CS(MLV) 5DP                                                                                    
03/18/05       (H)       DP: THOMAS, GRUENBERG, CISSNA, ELKINS,                                                                 
                         LYNN                                                                                                   
03/21/05       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER STA                                                                           
04/12/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/14/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 160                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC FUNDS & BALLOT  PROPS/CANDIDATES                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STOLTZE                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
02/18/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/05       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
03/17/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/17/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/17/05       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/07/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
04/07/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 160(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/07/05       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/08/05       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) 2DP 3NR                                                                                
04/08/05       (H)       DP: NEUMAN, THOMAS;                                                                                    
04/08/05       (H)       NR: SALMON, LEDOUX, OLSON                                                                              
04/12/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/14/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 238                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC EMPLOYEE/TEACHER RETIREMENT                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
03/30/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/30/05       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/31/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/31/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/31/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/02/05       (H)       STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                            
04/02/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/02/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/05/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/05/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/05/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/07/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/07/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/09/05       (H)       STA AT 9:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/09/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/09/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/12/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/12/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/12/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/14/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CRAMER, Director                                                                                                           
Administrative Services Division                                                                                                
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  on  behalf  of  Tony  A.  Hart,                                                              
Colonel,  appointee  as  Brigadier   General  of  the  Alaska  Air                                                              
National  Guard,  during  the  confirmation  hearing  for  Colonel                                                              
Hart.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SARAH HOOK, Staff                                                                                                               
to Representative Gruenberg                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Answered   questions   on   behalf   of                                                              
Representative  Gruenberg, member of  the House Special  Committee                                                              
on Military and Veterans' Affairs, sponsor of HB 167.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke as the sponsor of HB 160.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BEN MULLIGAN, Staff                                                                                                             
to Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Answered  questions regarding  HB  160  on                                                              
behalf of Representative Bill Stoltze, sponsor.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CAROL COMEAU, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 160.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RON LONG                                                                                                                        
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 160.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM BOEDEKER, City Manager                                                                                                      
City of Soldotna                                                                                                                
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Expressed  concerns with  the  scope of  HB
160.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BROOKE MILES, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC)                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions during the  hearing on HB
160.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ANNE MARIE HOLEN, Staff                                                                                                         
City Manager's Office                                                                                                           
City of Homer                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 160.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KATHY WASSERMAN, Policy & Program Coordinator                                                                                   
Alaska Municipal League (AML)                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 160.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE SHOWS, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed aspects of HB 238 on behalf of                                                                    
Representative Seaton, Chair of the House State Affairs Standing                                                                
Committee, sponsor.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PAUL  SEATON  called  the   House  State  Affairs  Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order at 8:08:52 AM.   Representatives Lynn,                                                            
Ramras, Gardner,  Gruenberg, and Seaton  were present at  the call                                                              
to order.   Representative  Elkins arrived as  the meeting  was in                                                              
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^Alaska Air National Guard - Brigadier General                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that  the  committee would  consider  the                                                              
confirmation  of  the  appointment  of  Colonel Tony  A.  Hart  as                                                              
Brigadier General of the Alaska Air National Guard.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:09:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:12:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN   added  that  the  Air  War   College  is  a                                                              
prestigious institution  for senior  officers, which  few officers                                                              
attend.  He  offered his understanding  that a person has  to be a                                                              
full colonel  to attend.   He  said it's  almost mandatory  for an                                                              
officer to  attend Air War College  in order to become  a general.                                                              
He added, "It's the military Harvard."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:13:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  listed some  additional  qualifications                                                              
of Colonel  Hart.   He noted  that the  colonel had testified  via                                                              
teleconference during  a House Special  Committee on  Military and                                                              
Veterans' Affairs meeting,  and he asked that "the  record in that                                                              
committee be incorporated by reference in today's hearing."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:15:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON agreed.    He  read what  he  understood  to be  the                                                              
mission  statement of  the Air  War College  for the  record.   He                                                              
said Colonel  Hart visited  with him and  he was impressed  by his                                                              
presentation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:15:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  [to   advance  the  confirmation]  of                                                              
Colonel  Tony A.  Hart  [to the  joint session  of  the House  and                                                              
Senate].   There  being no  objection, the  nomination of  Colonel                                                              
Tony A.  Hart to  the position  of Brigadier  General, Alaska  Air                                                              
National Guard, was advanced.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 167-DEATH CERTIFICATE FOR DECEASED VETERAN                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:16:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the next order of  business was HOUSE                                                              
BILL NO.  167, "An Act relating  to providing a  death certificate                                                              
for a deceased veteran without cost."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:17:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON noted  that Representatives Lynn and  Gruenberg serve                                                              
on  the  House   Special  Committee  on  Military   and  Veterans'                                                              
Affairs, sponsor of the bill.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:17:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,  speaking  as  a member  of  the  House                                                              
Special Committee  on Military and  Veterans' Affairs,  sponsor of                                                              
HB  167,  noted that  there  was  a committee  substitute  in  the                                                              
committee packet.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  moved to adopt the committee  substitute (CS)                                                              
for  HB 167,  Version  24-LS0605\Y, Bullock,  4/11/05,  as a  work                                                              
draft.    There being  no  objection,  Version  Y was  before  the                                                              
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:18:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  explained   that  the  House   Special                                                              
Committee on  Military and Veterans'  Affairs combined  the former                                                              
HB 166 into  HB 167; the first  half of the bill is  the former HB
167 and the second  half is the former HB 166.   [Section 1] would                                                              
amend AS 18.50.320  to add a new  [paragraph (7)].  He  said it is                                                              
modeled  on an  Arizona statute:   ARS  39.122.A.   Representative                                                              
Gruenberg directed  attention to  the death certificate  issued in                                                              
Arizona for  Seymour Epstein [included  in the committee  packet].                                                              
He  noted that  the late  Mr. Epstein  was his  uncle-in-law.   He                                                              
cited paragraph (7), which read as follows:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     (7)  upon request  and without  cost  to the  individual                                                               
     making the request,  the bureau shall issue  a certified                                                               
     copy  of  the death  certificate  of  a veteran  to  the                                                               
     surviving  spouse, next  of  kin, or  other relative  of                                                               
     the  deceased  veteran  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining                                                               
     veterans'  benefits,   social  security   benefits,  and                                                               
     other   government   benefits;    in   this   paragraph,                                                               
     "veteran" has the meaning given in AS 26.10.080.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:20:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON pointed  out that  the committee  packet includes  a                                                              
fiscal note,  but it  is for  the original  bill version,  not for                                                              
Version Y.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:21:11 AM to 8:21:33 AM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:21:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARAH  HOOK,  Staff  to  Representative  Gruenberg,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,   said  there   is  someone   available  to   address                                                              
questions regarding the fiscal note.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:21:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON clarified  that he wants to ensure a  fiscal note for                                                              
Version Y will be available for the record.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:22:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention  to Section 2  of the                                                              
bill,  which  he said  is  modeled  on  federal  law:   38  U.S.C.                                                              
Section  112.    It  would  allow  the  adjutant  general  of  the                                                              
Department  of Military and  Veterans' Affairs,  upon the  request                                                              
of  the governor,  to issue  certificates  expressing the  state's                                                              
recognition of  the veteran's service.   The certificate  could be                                                              
issued to  eligible recipients,  defined to  mean:  the  surviving                                                              
spouse, next  of kin, and  relative of  the deceased veteran.   He                                                              
added that  in this sense  the eligible  recipient is the  same in                                                              
both sections  of the bill.   He said  "veteran" is defined  in AS                                                              
26.10.080.    He  said  this  is a  small  token  of  the  state's                                                              
appreciation for people  who have really gone out of  their way to                                                              
help the country and the state of Alaska.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:24:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked if the  effective date  is such that  it would                                                              
not  negatively  impact  the bureau.    He  said  there may  be  a                                                              
backlog of  requests and he stated  for the record that  there may                                                              
be an  issue of  consistency regarding  the combining  of  the two                                                              
bills.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:26:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said it doesn't  cost $30,000 a  year to                                                              
print up  the death  certificates, because it's  just a  copy made                                                              
with a seal affixed  to it.  He added, "The only  thing would be -                                                              
at  least theoretically  - these  people might  ... be  requesting                                                              
death certificates."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:26:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  noted that the previously  mentioned death                                                              
certificate  has a  stamp on  it  that read,  "FOR GOVERNMENT  USE                                                              
ONLY Pursuant  to A.R.S. 39-122.A  this copy has been  issued free                                                              
of  charge  for   the  purpose  of  applying  for   and  obtaining                                                              
veteran's or Social  Security Benefits and shall not  be valid for                                                              
any other purpose."   She asked what other purpose  there would be                                                              
and why that stamp would be needed.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:27:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HOOK  said  that  she  spoke   with  Mr.  Mitchell  in  Vital                                                              
Statistics,  and  he  expressed  concern that  people  would  take                                                              
advantage of  the program by requesting  too many copies  of death                                                              
certificates,  which  would  in  turn increase  the  cost  of  the                                                              
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:27:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  stated that  originally  when the  bill                                                              
was drafted,  he thought a  person should be  able to get  as many                                                              
copies  as  desired.   However,  he  said  Mr. Mitchell  was  very                                                              
conservative.    He  said  the   way  the  language  is  currently                                                              
written,  one certificate  can  be  acquired.   He  said he  would                                                              
consider a friendly amendment to broaden that language.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:28:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN said he  would like to  keep the  language as                                                              
narrow as  possible; however,  he asked  about private  commercial                                                              
life insurance.   He expressed concern that the bill  not be bound                                                              
too much.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:29:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  suggested that  the  language could  be                                                              
deleted restricting  the purpose  of the certificate  to obtaining                                                              
veterans'   benefits,   social   security  benefits,   and   other                                                              
government  benefits.   He  also suggested  that  "copy" could  be                                                              
made "copies".                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:30:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  said  he  thinks   that  Representatives  Lynn  and                                                              
Gruenberg  have struck  some kind  of compromise,  and he  said he                                                              
would hate to jeopardize  the swift passage of the  bill by making                                                              
it too expansive.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:30:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked if  the words  that  Representative                                                              
Gruenberg suggested  striking would mean  that "that one  time the                                                              
bureau would issue a single certified copy."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:31:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  suggested that  instead  of saying  "a"                                                              
certified  copy, say  "one"  certified  copy.   In  response to  a                                                              
question from Representative  Gardner, he confirmed  that the copy                                                              
would  not be  stamped  regarding  the restrictive  purposes,  and                                                              
thus  the person  could  show  the  death certificate  for  varied                                                              
purposes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:31:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER moved Amendment 1 as follows:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     On page 2, line 23:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Delete "a"                                                                                                             
     Insert "one"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     On page 2, beginning on line 24:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
         Delete "for the purpose of obtaining veterans'                                                                     
    benefits,   social   security    benefits,   and   other                                                                
     government benefits"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:33:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN [objected  for  the purpose  of  discussion].                                                              
He asked  if it  isn't necessary  to have  a new  copy of  a death                                                              
certificate for each purpose.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:33:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  noted that, in the case of  the late Mr.                                                              
Epstein, he got one certificate and made copies.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:33:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON treated  Representative Lynn's  objection as  having                                                              
been withdrawn  and asked if  there was  any other objection.   No                                                              
objections were stated and Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:35:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON, in  response to  a  suggestion from  Representative                                                              
Gruenberg, stated for  record that two fiscal notes  would be sent                                                              
along with Version Y.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:35:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON,  after  ascertaining  that  there  was  no  one  to                                                              
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:35:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked how  people  will  become aware  of                                                              
this law if it is passed.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:36:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said he  is not sure  how that  would be                                                              
done;  however, he  said the division  usually  has a pretty  good                                                              
network  to  getting  the  word   out  to  veterans'  groups,  for                                                              
example.  He offered to inquire.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:36:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER responded  that if  there are benefits  to                                                              
survivors, "they need to know or it doesn't mean anything."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  moved to  report  CSHB 167,  Version  24-                                                              
LS0605\Y,  Bullock, 4/11/05,  as  amended, out  of committee  with                                                              
individual  recommendations  and  the accompanying  fiscal  notes.                                                              
There being  no objection, CSHB  167(STA) was reported out  of the                                                              
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 160-PUBLIC FUNDS & BALLOT PROPS/CANDIDATES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:37:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the next order of  business was HOUSE                                                              
BILL NO. 160, "An  Act limiting the use of money  of the state and                                                              
its political subdivisions to affect an election."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:37:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BILL    STOLTZE,   Alaska    State   Legislature,                                                              
introduced  HB 160 as  sponsor.   He said  the original  intent of                                                              
the bill  is based on his  opinion that the government  should not                                                              
spend money  to try  to influence elections.   He indicated  that,                                                              
based  on the  concerns of  a previous  committee  and some  local                                                              
governments,  he "didn't  want to micromanage  every local  level"                                                              
and instead narrowed the focus to statewide propositions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:38:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON clarified  that although there is a Version  F in the                                                              
committee packet,  the work draft  presently before  the committee                                                              
is  the committee  substitute (CS)  for HB  160(CRA), Version  24-                                                              
LS0586\Y.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:42:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  directed attention  to [page  1, lines 4-14],  which                                                              
read as follows:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     *Section 1. AS 15.13.145(a) is amended to read:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
               (a) Except as provided in (b) and (c) of                                                                         
     this section,  each of the  following may not  use money                                                                   
     held  by the  entity  to influence  the  outcome of  the                                                                   
     election of  a candidate to a state or  municipal office                                                                   
     or  the  outcome  of  an  election  concerning  a  state                                                               
     ballot proposition:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                    (1) the state, its agencies, and its                                                                        
     corporations;                                                                                                              
                    (2) the University of Alaska and its                                                                        
     Board of Regents;                                                                                                          
                    (3) municipalities, school districts,                                                                       
     and regional  educational attendance  areas, or  another                                                                   
     political subdivision of the state; and                                                                                    
                    (4) an officer or employee of an entity                                                                     
     identified in (1) - (3) of this subsection.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked  for confirmation that the entities  listed are                                                              
those that could not use the money.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:42:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BEN MULLIGAN, Staff  to Representative Bill Stoltze,  Alaska State                                                              
Legislature,  on   behalf  of  Representative   Stoltze,  sponsor,                                                              
answered  that's  correct.   In  response  to questions  from  the                                                              
committee,  he explained that  there is  a suggested amendment  in                                                              
the  committee packet  labeled,  "24-LS0586\Y.1, Kurtz,  4/11/05,"                                                              
which read:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "an"                                                                                                         
          Insert "a state"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2 line 1 - 17:                                                                                                        
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Sec. 2.  AS 15.13.145(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
          (b)  Money held by an entity identified in (a)(3)                                                                 
     [(a)(1) - (3)] of this section may be used to                                                                              
     influence the outcome of a municipal [AN] election                                                                     
     concerning a ballot proposition or question, but only                                                                      
     if the funds have been specifically appropriated for                                                                       
     that purpose by [A STATE LAW OR] a municipal                                                                               
     ordinance.                                                                                                                 
        * Sec. 3.  AS 15.13.145(c) is amended to read:                                                                        
          (c)  Money held by                                                                                                    
              (1)  the division of elections or a                                                                           
     municipal election official [AN ENTITY IDENTIFIED IN                                                                   
     (a)(1) - (3) OF THIS SECTION] may be used                                                                                  
               (A) [(1)]  to disseminate information about                                                                  
     the time and place of an election and to hold an                                                                           
     election; or                                                                                                           
               (B) [(2)]  to provide the public with the                                                                
     information described in AS 15.58.020;                                                                                 
     (2)     a   municipality,   school  district,   regional                                                               
     educational  attendance   area,  or  another   political                                                               
     subdivision  of the  state may  be used  to provide  the                                                               
     public  with  nonpartisan  information  about  a  ballot                                                               
     proposition  or  question  other  than  a  state  ballot                                                               
     proposition  or question  or  about  all the  candidates                                                               
     seeking election to a particular [PUBLIC] office."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:45:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS stated, "When  I look  at this, it  kind of                                                              
brings  to mind  that  maybe this  is a  backdoor  attempt to  get                                                              
around  the  [Frustrated Responsible  Alaskans  Needing  Knowledge                                                              
(FRANK)]  Initiative."   He  reviewed  that the  FRANK  Initiative                                                              
requires the  government to  notify the people  of the  total cost                                                              
of any proposed  capital move, and "this would  prohibit them from                                                              
doing that."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:46:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON responded,  "Knowing the sponsor, I  would doubt that                                                              
was his intent."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:46:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  said  he  thinks he  supports  the  FRANK                                                              
Initiative  enforcement  more  than   the  people  of  Juneau  do,                                                              
because  "they   have  a  selective   enforcement  of   the  FRANK                                                              
Initiative," while  he wants  it to apply  to all expenses  on any                                                              
capital.   He stated, "The  crux of the  FRANK Initiative  is that                                                              
the public  has the right  to vote on  the cost of  the relocation                                                              
of the  capital, and  I don't dispute  that.   ... That's  a right                                                              
that the public has demanded twice at the ballot box."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:46:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  replied that the  way he reads HB  160, the                                                              
government would  "not be allowed to  give them that cost  so that                                                              
they could make an intelligent decision."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:47:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  said  the government  could  provide  the                                                              
cost in  a public document.   He said, "I  think it's going  to be                                                              
available to the  public ....  I think the press  will deliver it.                                                              
I think  it would  still be  allowed to  be printed  right in  the                                                              
ballot  statement;   that's  very   explicit  in  our   language."                                                              
Representative  Stoltze  respectfully   disagreed  that  [HB  160]                                                              
would have any bearing on the Frank Initiative.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:48:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS remarked  that the  City of Fairbanks  held                                                              
an election  some years ago  to sell its  water utility  and phone                                                              
company.   The vote was supported  by the people of  Fairbanks and                                                              
the result has  been the significant public  employees' retirement                                                              
system (PERS)  deficit, which  is up to  $89 million  and growing.                                                              
He  said a  lot  of  money was  spent  by  the City  of  Fairbanks                                                              
advocating  the sale  of those  assets.   He asked  if there  is a                                                              
limit on  how much a  school system or  municipality can  spend in                                                              
representing  their point of  view and  whether they can  outspend                                                              
the private sector.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:49:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE   replied  that  if  they   pass  a  local                                                              
ordinance, there's no  limit.  He said he still  has a fundamental                                                              
philosophical  problem with  the  government's  spending money  to                                                              
tell  the  people  how  they should  vote.    He  offered  further                                                              
details.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:51:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON mentioned  a statewide  bond  issue regarding  rural                                                              
school  construction  and  a "70-30  bond  debt  reimbursement  by                                                              
municipalities."   He questioned  how [HB  160] would  affect that                                                              
statewide bond proposition,  and who could or could  not use funds                                                              
to campaign  for it.   He clarified  that he  is trying  to figure                                                              
out whether,  if there  is a statewide  initiative that  impacts a                                                              
municipality,  the  bill  would  prevent  that  municipality  from                                                              
communicating   its    concerns   with   its    citizens   through                                                              
campaigning.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:53:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  replied   that  he's  never  known  local                                                              
officials  to be shy  about sharing  their opinions.   He  said he                                                              
thinks  the appropriate  measure  is to  form  a political  action                                                              
committee or advocacy group.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:54:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  said she  is  concerned  about the  bill.                                                              
She offered  an example of a  public affairs official of  a museum                                                              
who  wants  to  advocate  for  museum   expansion  because  he/she                                                              
believes  to  do  so  would  be   in  the  best  interest  of  the                                                              
community.   She said under HB  160, that public  affairs official                                                              
would  be  prohibited  from actively  working  toward  passage  of                                                              
legislation that would improve the museum.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:54:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  said he respectfully disagrees.   He said,                                                              
"I think  you would be prohibited  from acting in the  capacity as                                                              
the  museum  director  during  the work  hours,  if  it's  clearly                                                              
spending  public funds,  but I don't  think you  check your  First                                                              
Amendment rights  at the door.   And I  think that's  been clearly                                                              
upheld."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:55:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  clarified  that  she is  asking  about  a                                                              
situation in which  it's the job of the museum  official to ensure                                                              
that the  museum gets all  the funding  it needs, for  example, in                                                              
order to serve its function in the community.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:56:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  responded that that may be  construed as a                                                              
use  of resources  if that  official is  on the  state payroll  or                                                              
actively promoting  the passage  of a statewide bond  proposition.                                                              
He said he would "get that clarified."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:57:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS indicated  that he  did not initially  like                                                              
the bill, but  then he read "vigorous opposition  from officials."                                                              
He  said, "It  makes  me nervous  when  elected  officials get  an                                                              
unfair  megaphone  compared  to  the private  sector  to  try  and                                                              
dictate  what the  private sector  should  be doing."   He  stated                                                              
that he's  not certain  how he would  vote for  this issue  on the                                                              
House floor, but  he said he believes he supports  the notion that                                                              
the legislature  should be  discussing how  public money  is spent                                                              
"to affect the outcomes  of these things."  He asked  why there is                                                              
so much opposition from elected officials in small communities.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:58:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  said, "I think  part of it is  [the Alaska                                                              
Municipal League  (AML)] has been on  the phone for the  last week                                                              
and saying,  'This is going  to prevent  you from talking  about a                                                              
local  school bond.'   I think  there's  been a lot  of bad  faith                                                              
misrepresentation,  with all due  respect, because I've  confirmed                                                              
some of that through conversations."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:58:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  interjected   that  he  wants  to   make  sure  the                                                              
conversation  remains focused  on the  bill rather  than on  other                                                              
people's actions.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:58:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  offered   his  understanding   that  a                                                              
municipal government  can hold money  from at least  the following                                                              
four sources:   money from  it's own tax  base or revenue  source;                                                              
money from  the state;  money from  federal government;  and money                                                              
from other  sources.   He offered  examples.   He stated  that the                                                              
bill seems to  limit the municipality's ability to  use money from                                                              
any  source,  not   just  state  money,  and  he   questioned  the                                                              
constitutionality of  doing so.   He offered further details.   He                                                              
clarified  that  his  constitutional   question  relates  to  free                                                              
speech,  to  the supremacy  clause  in  the  case of  the  federal                                                              
constitution, and to the inherent powers of a municipality.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON   recommended  a   legal  opinion  be   sought  from                                                              
Legislative Legal and  Research Services and take up  the issue in                                                              
future committee discussion.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:02:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROL   COMEAU,   Superintendent,   Anchorage   School   District,                                                              
testifying on  behalf of  the district, said  she is  pleased that                                                              
Version  Y  will  allow municipalities  and  school  districts  to                                                              
"continue   to  educate   the  public."     She   stated  that   a                                                              
superintendent  and his/her  staff cannot  advocate and must  give                                                              
facts.    She  said  she  thinks   it's  the  obligation  [of  the                                                              
superintendent's  office] to  give the  public enough  information                                                              
if,  for  example, the  community  is  being  asked to  support  a                                                              
school bond  that will impact  taxes.   She noted that  the school                                                              
board  is allowed  to advocate.    She stated,  "We believe  we've                                                              
been  very   upfront  and  honest   and  heavily   scrutinized  by                                                              
everybody about  what we're saying  and what our  information is."                                                              
She  said she  believes that  the  public is  informed when  money                                                              
spent is part of the budget.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:05:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COMEAU said  she took  personal leave  as superintendent  any                                                              
time  she  worked  on  campaigning  for  Proposition  C.  and  the                                                              
district  did  not  contribute  to  the  campaign.    She  offered                                                              
further  details.    She  said  she is  happy  to  work  with  the                                                              
committee on HB 160.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:08:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COMEAU,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                              
Gardner, she  said she  believes that Version  Y would  allow [the                                                              
Anchorage  School District]  to  "continue doing  what we've  been                                                              
doing," but she said she has not seen the suggested amendment.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:08:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MULLIGAN,  in  response  to  a  request  from  Chair  Seaton,                                                              
offered his  understanding of what  the suggested  amendment would                                                              
do.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:08:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU said  that based on Mr. Mulligan's  understanding, [the                                                              
district] would be supportive of "this."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:09:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RON LONG, testifying  on behalf of himself, said he  has only just                                                              
seen Version  Y, but is encouraged  by the testimony he  has heard                                                              
thus  far.   He  explained  that  the original  bill  version  had                                                              
caused him concern.   He stated that  he is not part  of any good-                                                              
or  bad-faith effort  to  overturn  anyone's right  "to  influence                                                              
anybody about  anything," but he  believes that there is  "a large                                                              
gap  between  informing  people  of  the  time  and  place  of  an                                                              
election and telling  people how to vote."  Somewhere  within that                                                              
gap,   he  continued,   lies  factual   information  that   voters                                                              
reasonably  look  to  their  elected officials  to  provide.    He                                                              
offered some examples.  He continued:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     If  we take  away  that gap  and conclude  that  there's                                                                   
     nothing left  beyond time and  place that's  not telling                                                                   
     people  how to vote,  then we  leave people looking  for                                                                   
     their  facts that  will  form the  basis  of their  vote                                                                   
     from the coffee  shop, from letters to the  editor, from                                                                   
     the newspapers  - whom of course we know  wouldn't print                                                                   
     it if it wasn't true.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  think the  existing system  is  working pretty  well.                                                                   
     The  consequences  are pretty  straightforward  and  not                                                                   
     usually pleasant  for anyone - whether they're  state or                                                                   
     local - that  abuses the system as it exists.  ...  It's                                                                   
     not plausible  to me to conclude that everyone  in local                                                                   
     ...  or   state  government   is  incapable  of   acting                                                                   
     responsibly  within the existing  law, and this  is more                                                                   
     fixed  than I  think is needed  for some  of the  abuses                                                                   
     that may have occurred somewhere around the state.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     ... I'm  accepting on good  faith that Y.1  will address                                                                   
     the concerns  of other local  officials like  myself who                                                                   
     feel  that we  need to  fairly  represents some  factual                                                                   
     evidence  to  the  public  so  that  they  can  make  an                                                                   
     informed  decision, without stepping  over the  line and                                                                   
     telling them how to vote.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:13:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM BOEDEKER,  City Manager, City  of Soldotna, Alaska,  expressed                                                              
concerns with  the scope of bill.   He stated one concern  is that                                                              
the  bill  "goes  way  beyond advocacy;  it  limits  the  type  of                                                              
information that  can be distributed to  time and place  ...."  He                                                              
mentioned  the  state  ballot proposition,  which  he  said  often                                                              
affects municipalities.   He  said his job  is to inform  the city                                                              
council and the  citizens of Soldotna, and [HB 160]  would put him                                                              
in the  position of  saying, "I can't  give you that  information,                                                              
because it  could be viewed as  information beyond time  and place                                                              
of the  election."   He predicted  that that  kind of  restriction                                                              
would  cost him  his  job.   He  stated  that he  understands  the                                                              
issues  the sponsor  has regarding  advocacy of  outcomes, but  he                                                              
said the  bill goes  well beyond  that and is  "much more  than is                                                              
needed to solve the problem."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:15:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  asked Mr. Boedeker  if he thinks  there are                                                              
a  lot  of people  in  his  municipality  who  look to  the  local                                                              
government  to provide "information  of this  kind" to  them prior                                                              
to an election.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:16:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOEDEKER answered  yes.   He  said in  almost every  instance                                                              
where a  proposition could  affect the  municipality, he  has been                                                              
asked  to speak  at the  Chamber  of Commerce  and before  various                                                              
groups  in the  community  to explain  the  pros and  cons of  the                                                              
issue.   He  concluded,  "This  occurs on  a  regular  basis in  a                                                              
community like Soldotna, and I think in many other communities."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:16:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BROOKE   MILES,   Executive  Director,   Alaska   Public   Offices                                                              
Commission (APOC),  stated that APOC  has not taken a  position on                                                              
HB  160.   Notwithstanding  that,  she  suggested that  she  could                                                              
illustrate  how  the proposed  legislation  would  change  current                                                              
law.  Regarding  the suggested amendment, she said  it "would go a                                                              
far  way to  clarify  ...  what the  sponsor  is intending  to  do                                                              
here."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:17:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILES reviewed  that under  the  current campaign  disclosure                                                              
law, municipalities  and the state are restricted  from ever using                                                              
funds to  advocate on behalf  of a candidate  and from  using them                                                              
on  behalf   of  ballot  propositions   unless  those   funds  are                                                              
specifically  appropriated by  a municipal  ordinance or  by state                                                              
law.   She  said it  happened last  year that  when agencies  came                                                              
before  the  legislature  asking for  specific  appropriations  to                                                              
advocate  on behalf  of  a potential  ballot  question, they  were                                                              
denied.   However, different  municipalities have approved  school                                                              
board advocacy on behalf of school bonds.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILES  directed attention  to page  2, lines  4-7,   which she                                                              
noted  is language  that  was removed  from  Version  Y [shown  in                                                              
brackets  and  capitalized]  but  would  be  reinserted  with  the                                                              
suggested amendment,  Y.1.  That  language [with the  beginning of                                                              
the sentence from line 2] read:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
               (b) Money held by an entity identified in                                                                        
     (a)(1)-(3)  of this section  may be used to  disseminate                                                               
     information  about the  time  and place  of an  election                                                               
     [INFLUENCE  THE  OUTCOME  OF AN  ELECTION  CONCERNING  A                                                                   
     BALLOT PROPOSITION  OR QUESTION,  BUT ONLY IF  THE FUNDS                                                                   
     HAVE  BEEN SPECIFICALLY  APPROPRIATED  FOR THAT  PURPOSE                                                                   
     BY A STATE LAW OR A MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE].                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILES  indicated  her  belief that  APOC  would  support  the                                                              
language [being added back].                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:19:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILES, regarding  the question  of  public employees  "taking                                                              
action"  during  their  regular  duties,  noted that  there  is  a                                                              
current  law that  provides  that  in the  absence  of a  specific                                                              
appropriation, those  entities listed [on page 1,  subsection (a),                                                              
paragraphs  (1)-(4)]  may  use  money  held  by  "the  entity"  to                                                              
communicate  about  a  ballot  proposition   or  question  if  the                                                              
communication is  made in the  usual and customary  performance of                                                              
the officer's  or employee's  duties.   For example,  she  said if                                                              
[Mr.  Boedeker],   City  Manager,   Soldotna,  routinely   attends                                                              
meetings  where he provides  information  and speaks to  questions                                                              
that are on the ballot, that would not be a violation of law.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:20:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG noted  that in  the suggested  amendment                                                              
there  would still  be  a prohibition  of  an  appropriation by  a                                                              
subsequent state  legislature.   He asked Ms.  Miles if  she could                                                              
comment   regarding   the   constitutionality   of   the   current                                                              
legislature's  limiting the  ability  of a  future legislature  to                                                              
appropriate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:21:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  suggested  that  that opinion  could  be  asked  of                                                              
Legislative Legal and Research Services.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:22:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN recalled  that he had,  during his  campaign,                                                              
sent out  what he thought  were political advocacy  "mailers," but                                                              
suggested  that  they could  have  been  called educational.    He                                                              
questioned where  the line is drawn.   He concluded, "It  seems to                                                              
me that the whole thing has become rather disingenuous."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:23:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILES  responded that  there  are  major differences  in  the                                                              
rules  that regulate  how a  candidate  conducts his/her  campaign                                                              
and  how the  campaigns  for ballot  issues  are  conducted.   For                                                              
example,  she  said  the  law  has   no  restriction  on  who  can                                                              
contribute to a  ballot issue or question.  Furthermore,  there is                                                              
not restriction  on the  amount that is  contributed.   She added,                                                              
"And as  you all are  very much aware,  that is not  the situation                                                              
with  respect  to candidate  campaign."    Ms. Miles  offered  the                                                              
example  that  sometimes  the  PTA   might  take  a  poll  of  all                                                              
candidates  and then  publish that  poll in the  paper, which  she                                                              
said  would  be   just  informational.    She   stated,  "But  ...                                                              
basically  everything that's  sent  by a  candidate's campaign  is                                                              
viewed to be in support of that candidate's candidacy."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:25:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILES,  in   response  to  a  question   from  Representative                                                              
Gardner, said  although she  has not had  much time to  study this                                                              
legislation,  she doesn't  think that  it would  change "the  area                                                              
that  was carved  out  by regulation  to  protect  the elected  or                                                              
appointed officials' rights of free speech."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:25:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE MARIE  HOLEN, Staff,  City Manager's  Office, Homer,  Alaska,                                                              
testified on behalf  of the City Manager in opposition  to HB 160.                                                              
Ms. Holen  reminded the committee  that municipalities  around the                                                              
state  have been  hit hard  by the  elimination  of state  revenue                                                              
sharing and  other state  funding.  Last  October, the  Homer City                                                              
Council put a question  on the ballot to increase  the local sales                                                              
tax  to  address a  projected  budget  shortfall  in 2005.    That                                                              
measure  failed and  criticism was  expressed by  the public  that                                                              
the city  had not offered  enough information  to explain  why the                                                              
tax increase  was needed.   The City Council  of Homer  decided to                                                              
put the  question back  on the  ballot for  a special election  in                                                              
March,  that time  making a  concerted  effort to  supply all  the                                                              
facts  regarding increased  expenses, reduced  revenues, and  what                                                              
it would mean if  the sales tax did or did not pass.   As a result                                                              
of the  increased public education  effort, the voters  passed the                                                              
tax increase.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOLEN concluded:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     We  were shocked  to learn  of a bill  that would  allow                                                                   
     municipal  funds   to  be  spent  only   to  disseminate                                                                   
     information  about the  time and place  of an  election.                                                                   
     And,   frankly,  our   dismay   would   ...  extend   to                                                                   
     legislation  that   narrowed  the  scope   to  statewide                                                                   
     ballot questions;  although that would be  less onerous,                                                                   
     we still  feel like it is  not good public policy.   ...                                                                   
     Following the  elimination of state revenue  sharing, HB
     160 is  sort of like adding  insult to injury  for local                                                                   
     governments,  and  we  urge  you to  vote  against  this                                                                   
     bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:28:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON noted  that the latest version of bill  takes care of                                                              
some of Ms. Holen's concerns.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:29:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  welcomed all  local officials to  call his                                                              
office.    He  stated  his  intent  has  been  to  work  with  the                                                              
municipalities.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:30:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY WASSERMAN,  Policy &  Program Coordinator, Alaska  Municipal                                                              
League  (AML), testified  on behalf  of  AML in  opposition to  HB
160.   She stated  it is  the job  of AML  to keep  municipalities                                                              
aware  of legislation.   She said,  "Sometimes  that works  to the                                                              
benefit of  the sponsors on  bills that  they may have  before the                                                              
legislature."  She  said information positions that  explain local                                                              
and/or  state impacts  should be  expected by  constituents.   She                                                              
said, "We  believe constituents  want strong  positions on  issues                                                              
by  the  people  they  elect.    Silence  and  the  appearance  of                                                              
waffling  is not good  leadership."   The decision  as to  whether                                                              
money has been  spent to influence voters should  be made locally,                                                              
she opined, and should not be made by the legislature.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:32:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN  stated her  concerns:    First,  she said  she  is                                                              
worried  about the  sources  of money  that  come to  communities,                                                              
particularly regarding  how to separate "what came  from where and                                                              
how and where  it is spent."   Second, she emphasized  her concern                                                              
with  the  "gray  parameters"  surrounding  what  is  and  is  not                                                              
allowed.  She said  she thinks it puts local elected  officials in                                                              
a  dangerous  spot  not  to  know when  they  can  or  cannot  say                                                              
something, or  when they can or  cannot spend money.   She offered                                                              
further details.   She concluded, "I don't think  we should demean                                                              
the local  voters by  thinking that,  at the  local level,  we can                                                              
tell them how to vote."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:33:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS  suggested that  the  city  is telling  the                                                              
public how  to vote when it runs  an advertisement.  He  asked why                                                              
it's  not  acceptable to  just  use  letters  to the  editor,  for                                                              
example.    He  asked,  "Why  does  the  government,  beyond  just                                                              
providing  the  election  pamphlet  information,  have  to  insert                                                              
themselves  into  the  fray.   I  mean,  obviously,  if  it's  put                                                              
forward  by the  municipality,  the  assembly, the  city  council,                                                              
[or]  the  mayor's ...  [office],  why  do  you  then have  to  go                                                              
allocate money to ... prove the point?"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:34:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN responded,  "I  think  they have  already  inserted                                                              
themselves  into   the  fray  -  as  being  government   or  local                                                              
officials  - when  propositions  come up,  and  I certainly  think                                                              
that  the  local  voters  look  to  those  elected  officials  for                                                              
information.  Call that influence, if you will."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:35:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RAMRAS  offered   an  example   when  the   local                                                              
officials in  Fairbanks decided that they  wanted to put  up a $30                                                              
million  school bond.   He  said  he finds  it somewhat  offensive                                                              
when  those officials  are able  to insert  themselves with  money                                                              
and  influence into  that election.    He said  in that  situation                                                              
only the  public sector  was speaking for  the school  bond; there                                                              
was  no advocacy  for the  other  side to  suggest thinking  about                                                              
whether the  schools would be adequate  for another 10,  20, or 30                                                              
years.  He asked Ms. Wasserman to address that issue.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:36:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN  said she has been  aware of many groups  around the                                                              
state   who  act   as  "advocates   against   things  that   local                                                              
governments  ...   or  even  the   state  has  advocated."     She                                                              
reiterated that the  local school board who has put  out a bond is                                                              
in the  fray, and  she thinks  it is  up to  them to explain  why.                                                              
She added,  "And I would hope that  their hands would  not be tied                                                              
so  that the  only people  you  would hear  are  the ones  against                                                              
those bonds."   Ms. Wasserman  said there  are very few  people on                                                              
the outside  of local government who  are going to be  pushing for                                                              
more  taxes; therefore,  there needs  to be  an explanation  [when                                                              
local  officials   are  calling  for   more  taxes].     She  said                                                              
especially  in  the  case  of  local  municipalities  looking  for                                                              
money, sometimes "taxes are all that's left."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:37:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested the  best public policy  is to                                                              
allow more free speech so that both sides are heard.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:38:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN concurred.   She said the legislature,  for example,                                                              
has been elected by the public to represent it.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:38:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS responded:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I'm with  you: public officials  get elected to  have an                                                                   
     opinion.    But  aren't  you   then  asking  the  public                                                                   
     officials  to  spend  the public's  money  to  tell  the                                                                   
     public what they should think?                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:38:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN  replied, "Telling infers  that they are  doing what                                                              
you  say.    I  don't think  that  that  happens  with  very  many                                                              
people."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:39:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  asked Ms. Wasserman  if she finds  that the                                                              
hard  working public  looks for  explanations  from government  to                                                              
help them make  an intelligent decision, because  they haven't had                                                              
time to listen to the radio or [read the paper].                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:39:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN answered  yes.   She offered  an example  regarding                                                              
the [percent of market value (POMV)] issue.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:40:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  revealed that he had been  against the POMV                                                              
until the state  came to Ketchikan and made a  presentation to the                                                              
chamber of commerce.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:41:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   reiterated  his   previously   stated                                                              
concerns regarding  the constitutionality of the  proposed bill in                                                              
allowing  the  current   legislature  to  set  limits   on  future                                                              
legislatures.   He said he would  also like to know how  the local                                                              
governments are supposed  to separate out the money  "so that they                                                              
know that  this dollar  that goes  into the  treasury is  used for                                                              
this purpose."  He said it seems an impossibility.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:42:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE,  regarding  the  first concern,  said  he                                                              
doesn't think it's  an issue.  He said there is  already a statute                                                              
that  prohibits   the  use   of  state   funds  to  advocate   for                                                              
candidates.    Notwithstanding   that,  he  said   he  would  seek                                                              
clarification on the issue.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:43:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON asked  Representative  Stoltze  if  he supports  the                                                              
suggested amendment, labeled Y.1.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:43:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE answered yes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:43:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG moved  to adopt  Amendment [1],  labeled                                                              
24-LS0586\Y.1.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[HB 160 was heard and held.]                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:44:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 238-PUBLIC EMPLOYEE/TEACHER RETIREMENT                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:44:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the last order of  business was HOUSE                                                              
BILL  NO.  238,  "An  Act  relating   to  contribution  rates  for                                                              
employers  and  members  in  the  defined  benefit  plans  of  the                                                              
teachers' retirement  system and the public  employees' retirement                                                              
system and  to the  ad-hoc post-retirement  pension adjustment  in                                                              
the  teachers'   retirement  system;  requiring   insurance  plans                                                              
provided  to  members  of the  teachers'  retirement  system,  the                                                              
judicial  retirement  system,  the  public  employees'  retirement                                                              
system,  and  the  former  elected   public  officials  retirement                                                              
system to provide  a list of preferred drugs;  relating to defined                                                              
contribution  plans  for  members   of  the  teachers'  retirement                                                              
system   and  the   public  employees'   retirement  system;   and                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  noted  that the  committee  had  discussed  several                                                              
changes to  Version L  and those  changes are  shown in  a handout                                                              
with  color-coded type  [included in  the committee  packet].   He                                                              
announced  he would  give the  committee three  minutes to  review                                                              
the handout before proceeding with the bill hearing.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:45:19 AM to 9:48:06 AM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:48:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS  noted  that   the  committee  members  had                                                              
received  a  facsimile  that  mornings   from  AARP  advising  the                                                              
committee to take  HB 238 slowly.  He said he thinks  that is good                                                              
advice.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:48:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  agreed that  the  matter  before the  committee  is                                                              
"extremely serious."   He  returned to the  subject of  the color-                                                              
coded handout  and explained that  it contained all the  ideas for                                                              
amendments  that   the  committee  had  discussed   at  its  prior                                                              
meeting.   He stated  his intent  for the  committee to  adopt all                                                              
the  changes  in  the  handout as  a  unit  rather  than  adopting                                                              
individual amendments.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:50:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE  SHOWS,  Staff  to Representative  Paul  Seaton,  Alaska                                                              
State Legislature,  on behalf of  Representative Seaton,  chair of                                                              
the  House State  Affairs  Standing Committee,  sponsor,  reviewed                                                              
the color-coded  handout.   She said the  changes would be  to the                                                              
following  categories:  changing  "health  reimburse  account"  to                                                              
"health  reimbursement  arrangement";   adding  definitions  where                                                              
needed; making  changes in semantics;  clarifying the part  of the                                                              
bill that addresses  cost sharing as it relates  to the increasing                                                              
health care costs;  addressing the committee's  concerns regarding                                                              
a   retiree's   acquiring   dependents   after   retirement;   and                                                              
eliminating  the  language that  spoke  to  the issue  of  generic                                                              
drugs  and changing  it to  intent  language for  the Division  of                                                              
Retirement & Benefits.   She said there would be  no change of the                                                              
intent of the bill.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:52:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOWS,  in   response  to  a  question   from  Representative                                                              
Gruenberg,  explained that  the red  type shows  the changes  that                                                              
she made, while  the blue type shows the language  changes by Brad                                                              
Lawson of Mercer Human Resource Consulting.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:52:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  if the intent  language  would be                                                              
in the  form of a  letter of  intent or an  intent section  in the                                                              
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:53:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON said  he believes that would be an  intent section in                                                              
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHOWS  said she expects  that the bill  drafter will  put that                                                              
into more formal language.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:53:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG stated  his assumption  that there  will                                                              
be a new  committee substitute (CS)  that contains the  changes in                                                              
the handout.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON answered  yes.   He  added that  he  didn't want  to                                                              
create a CS without  first displaying the changes  in writing that                                                              
the committee spoke of previously.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said he  is not  familiar with  the word                                                              
"arrangement" as  a legal term of  art.  He also  recommended that                                                              
the phrase  "must retire  directly" is the  most accurate  term to                                                              
use.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:54:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOWS  said  the actual  language  in  the  Internal  Revenue                                                              
Service (IRS)  code is  "arrangement," although  "account"  is the                                                              
more well-known term.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:55:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   observed  that  there   appear  to  be                                                              
typographical  errors in  the color-coded  handout  and urged  Ms.                                                              
Shows to clear those before giving it to the bill drafter.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:56:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  asked  the  committee  members  if  there  was  any                                                              
objection  to adopting  the language  in  the handout  into a  new                                                              
committee  substitute.    There  being  no objection,  it  was  so                                                              
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:57:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON referred  to  a handout  included  in the  committee                                                              
packet  showing the  "Projected  Values for  Health  Reimbursement                                                              
Accounts,"  [with  various  scenarios,  including  early  or  late                                                              
hire, with spouse,  PERS "other," PERS police/fire,  and TRS].  He                                                              
reviewed that the  early hire provision is when  someone works for                                                              
30 years  and, in the  example provided, retires  at 55.   In that                                                              
example,  the employee  would probably  not  be able  to make  the                                                              
medical payments  necessary.  He  said the question is  whether to                                                              
choose  a   30-years-and-out  retirement   provision  or   to  set                                                              
retirement at  age 60.  At age  60 and with an HRA  provision of 2                                                              
percent, the  tables show  that there  would probably  be adequate                                                              
funding to  allow people  to transition  between early  retirement                                                              
at  age 60  and  Medicare eligibility.    Another  option for  the                                                              
committee  to consider  is whether  to  just have  a big  warning:                                                              
"If you  retire before  age 60  and are  required to have  medical                                                              
insurance  bridging that  coverage,  our projections  are that  if                                                              
you  don't  have  ...  another  job  with  medical  coverage  [or]                                                              
medical  coverage with  spouse  that you  can  identify, the  plan                                                              
will not  provide you  sufficient  money to bridge  [the gap]  and                                                              
you  will lose  your  post-Medicare  eligible contribution."    He                                                              
summarized   that  the   question  is   whether  to   go  with   a                                                              
conservative  approach  or  to just  issue  a  warning.   He  said                                                              
another  option would  be to  decide to  increase to  a 3  percent                                                              
HRA,  or some  other  mechanism to  fund the  early  retiree.   He                                                              
stated,  "That  is  the philosophical  problem  that  we  have  to                                                              
address."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:59:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  he  would like  to  hear  various                                                              
groups testify regarding this issue to find out what they want.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:00:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON said  he  wants to  put these  questions  out to  be                                                              
addressed at the succeeding hearings on HB 238.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[HB 238 was heard and held.]                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
State  Affairs   Standing  Committee  meeting  was   adjourned  at                                                              
10:01:44 AM.                                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects