Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

01/31/2006 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 186 EXECUTIVE BRANCH ETHICS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 160 PUBLIC FUNDS & BALLOT PROPS/CANDIDATES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 347 MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE & NOTICE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        January 31, 2006                                                                                        
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Carl Gatto, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Jay Ramras                                                                                                       
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 186(JUD)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act; and                                                                 
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
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. 347                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to mandatory motor vehicle insurance, license                                                                  
suspensions, and notices relating to motor vehicles and driver's                                                                
licenses."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 186                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXECUTIVE BRANCH ETHICS                                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
04/22/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/22/05       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/26/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/26/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 186(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/26/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/27/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/27/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/28/05       (S)       STA     RPT     CS          3NR     1DNP                                                               
                         NEW TITLE                                                                                              
04/28/05       (S)       NR: THERRIAULT, WAGONER, HUGGINS                                                                       
04/28/05       (S)       DNP: ELTON                                                                                             
04/28/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/28/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/29/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/29/05       (S)       LEGISLATIVE ETHICS/MEETINGS                                                                            
04/30/05       (S)       JUD AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/30/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
05/01/05       (S)       JUD AT 4:00 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
05/01/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 186(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
05/01/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
05/02/05       (S)       JUD RPT CS FORTHCOMING  1DP 1DNP 2NR                                                                   
                         1AM                                                                                                    
05/02/05       (S)       DP: SEEKINS                                                                                            
05/02/05       (S)       DNP: FRENCH                                                                                            
05/02/05       (S)       NR: THERRIAULT, HUGGINS                                                                                
05/02/05       (S)       AM: GUESS                                                                                              
05/02/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
05/02/05       (S)       Moved Out of Committee 5/1/05                                                                          
05/02/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
05/03/05       (S)       JUD         CS                  RECEIVED                                                               
                         NEW TITLE                                                                                              
05/04/05       (S)       RETURNED TO RLS  COMMITTEE                                                                             
05/08/05       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
05/08/05       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 186(JUD)                                                                                 
05/09/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/09/05       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
01/31/06       (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                                                                             
04/14/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/14/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/31/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 347                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE & NOTICE                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GARA, LYNN                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
01/09/06       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/6/06                                                                                
01/09/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/09/06       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
01/31/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of SB 186.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MYRL THOMPSON                                                                                                                   
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of himself during the                                                                  
hearing on SB 186.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information regarding blind trusts                                                                 
during the hearing on SB 186; introduced HB 347, as sponsor.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BEN MULLIGAN, Staff                                                                                                             
to Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of Representative Stoltze,                                                                       
sponsor of HB 160, addressed questions that the committee had                                                                   
presented last year during the introduction of the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BROOKE MILES, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC)                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 160.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY WIGET, Director                                                                                                           
Government Relations                                                                                                            
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on behalf of  the district during                                                               
the hearing on HB 160 in  support of allowing school districts to                                                               
provide  the  public  with nonpartisan  information  regarding  a                                                               
ballot proposition.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
KATHY WASSERMAN                                                                                                                 
Alaska Municipal League (AML)                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on  behalf of AML in opposition to                                                               
HB 160.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DUANE BANNOCK, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Answered   questions  on  behalf  of  the                                                               
Division of Motor Vehicles during the hearing on HB 347.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TRICIA MOEN                                                                                                                     
Port Orchard, Washington                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on  behalf of herself  during the                                                               
hearing on HB 347.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PAUL  SEATON  called  the  House  State  Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:04:20  AM.  Present at  the call                                                             
to  order  were  Representatives   Gatto,  Elkins,  Gardner,  and                                                               
Seaton.   Representatives Lynn, Ramras, and  Gruenberg arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SB 186-EXECUTIVE BRANCH ETHICS                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[Contains brief mention of SB 187.]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:05:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  announced that the  first order of business  was CS                                                               
FOR  SENATE BILL  NO. 186(JUD),  "An Act  relating to  the Alaska                                                               
Executive  Branch  Ethics Act;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:05:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS, Alaska State  Legislature, as  sponsor of                                                               
SB 186, said  there are two bills addressing the  Ethics Act:  SB                                                               
186  and SB  187.    The former  addresses  the executive  branch                                                               
Ethics Act [while the latter  addresses ethics issues surrounding                                                               
legislators  and all  legislative  employees].   Senator  Seekins                                                               
presented a  committee substitute  (CS) for  SB 186,  Version 24-                                                               
LS0874\X, Wayne, 1/30/06.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:07:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON noted  that the committee had  just received Version                                                               
X and asked Senator Seekins to compare it to Version S.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:07:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS reviewed that last  year the matter [that brought                                                               
this  issue to  light] was  in regard  to State  Attorney General                                                               
Greg Renkes.  The Senate  reviewed current statutes and concluded                                                               
that there was  not a measurable violation level  or clear bright                                                               
line  beyond which  someone  in the  administration  would be  in                                                               
violation of certain  portions of the Ethics Act.   He said there                                                               
were other  areas of the Ethics  Act that were unclear,  as well,                                                               
and he  was charged with  looking at both the  administrative and                                                               
legislative  Ethics Acts  and  to  "go through  them  so that  we                                                               
didn't have to go through them again."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS noted  that when a complaint is  filed, there are                                                               
confidentiality  requirements; however,  he indicated  that there                                                               
are no clear lines as to  those requirements.  He stated that one                                                               
consideration  was   if  there   was  to  be   a  confidentiality                                                               
requirement,  it would  be  reasonable to  pattern  it after  the                                                               
grand   jury  process,   which   is  that   the  matter   remains                                                               
confidential until there is a finding  of probable cause.  At the                                                               
point of  probable cause, where  it's clear to  the investigating                                                               
body that  there has been  a violation and further  formal action                                                               
should be taken, then everything becomes public.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:10:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  other states' systems were  observed to see                                                               
what they  do if  there is  a violation  of confidentiality.   He                                                               
said,  "If we're  going to  have  a confidentiality  requirement,                                                               
then there  should be a penalty  for someone who breaks  it."  He                                                               
noted  that   in  some   states,  breaking   the  confidentiality                                                               
requirement results in a felony,  in others a misdemeanor, and in                                                               
still others, a civil fine.   The proposed legislation would make                                                               
breaking the  confidentiality a civil  fine, "regardless  of what                                                               
you may read in various  publications," he said.  Senator Seekins                                                               
said  the  desire  was  to  make this  intent  more  clear.    He                                                               
highlighted  the new  language  [beginning on  page  7, line  12,                                                               
through page 8, line 15, which read as follows:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The  attorney  general,  complainant,  subject  of  the                                                                
     complaint, and all persons  contacted during the course                                                                
     of  an  investigation  shall  maintain  confidentiality                                                                    
     regarding  the   existence  of  the   investigation  or                                                                
     proceeding.   In  a proceeding  conducted or  an action                                                                
     taken under this chapter,                                                                                              
               (1) a person may not disclose the filing of                                                                  
     a  complaint, its  contents, or  related matters  until                                                                
     after the  personnel board makes a  finding of probable                                                                
     cause  or  unless  the disclosure  is  made  while  the                                                                
     person is                                                                                                              
                    (A) communicating with personnel board                                                                  
     members or staff;                                                                                                      
            (B) seeking advice from an attorney; or                                                                         
                    (C) lawfully representing the person or                                                                 
     the person's client in defense  of a complaint that has                                                                
     been filed and the disclosure is necessary;                                                                            
               (2) personnel board proceedings related to a                                                                 
     complaint  that  has  been  filed  are  closed  to  all                                                                
     persons except board members and  staff until after the                                                                
     board makes a finding of probable cause unless                                                                         
                    (A) the board permits otherwise after                                                                   
     finding that  fairness to the subject  of the complaint                                                                
     may be advanced by the permission; or                                                                                  
               (B) the subject of the complaint waives                                                                      
     confidentiality;                                                                                                       
               (3) the complaint document and each related                                                                  
     record  are  confidential  and are  not  available  for                                                                
     public inspection unless                                                                                               
                    (A) the personnel board makes a finding                                                                 
     of probable cause; or                                                                                                  
                    (B) the subject of the complaint waives                                                                 
     confidentiality;                                                                                                       
               (4) under this section, if the subject of a                                                                  
     complaint waives  confidentiality of a proceeding  or a                                                                
     document, the entire proceeding  is open to the public,                                                                
     and  the  entire  document   is  available  for  public                                                                
     inspection;                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
               (5)   the   personnel    board   shall   make                                                                
     appropriate   efforts   to   provide  notice   of   the                                                                
     confidentiality requirements of this section;                                                                          
               (6) this section governs confidentiality                                                                     
     only for  complaints filed under this  chapter and does                                                                
     not alter  confidentiality or the rights  of any person                                                                
     for matters not connected with this chapter;                                                                           
               (7) this subsection does not prevent a                                                                       
     person from  obtaining directly from  a state  agency a                                                                
     public record  of that agency  that has also  been made                                                                
     available  in connection  with  an  investigation or  a                                                                
     formal proceeding under AS 39.52.310-39.52.390.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  the new language clarifies that  there is a                                                               
timeframe of  confidentiality that  must be  observed.   He said,                                                               
"This is exactly the same  requirement of confidentiality that is                                                               
required of  the personnel  board and  of the  investigators that                                                               
are hired  by the  personnel board."   The  bill would  bring the                                                               
person  bringing  the complaint  into  the  same requirements  of                                                               
confidentiality required  of those  doing the investigation.   If                                                               
there is a finding of probable  cause, that person is relieved of                                                               
the "burden of  confidentiality."  Senator Seekins  said it's not                                                               
uncommon  for  someone  to  bring  an  ethics  complaint  against                                                               
another person  "simply to get  at them."   For example,  he said                                                               
two people  may be competing for  the same job and,  by filing an                                                               
ethics complaint,  the one  person can put  a black  mark against                                                               
the other  "for the period  of time that it  takes to be  able to                                                               
consider who  gets the  promotion."   He offered  other examples.                                                               
He asked  the committee to  consider what the impression  is upon                                                               
people  when they  read a  charge against  someone, even  if that                                                               
charge ends up being dismissed.   He offered an example involving                                                               
Commissioner  Joel  Gilbertson  that  he  said  could  have  been                                                               
avoided had a period of confidentiality been observed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:17:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS noted that a  "wrongful use of complaint" section                                                               
was added beginning on page 8, [line 26], which read as follows:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.39.52.352. Wrongful use of complaint. (a) The                                                                   
     board  shall find  there has  been wrongful  use of  an                                                                    
     executive  branch ethics  complaint  if it  determines,                                                                    
     after   compliance  with   due  process   requirements,                                                                    
     including  a  hearing and  a  majority  vote, that  the                                                                    
     complainant                                                                                                                
               (1) shall order the employee to stop                                                                             
     engaging  in   any  official  action  related   to  the                                                                    
     violation;                                                                                                                 
               (2) may order divestiture, establishment of                                                                      
     a blind trust for a  period of time or under conditions                                                                
     determined  appropriate,  placement  of  the  financial                                                                
     interest  into an  investment where  the employee  does                                                                
     not   have  management   control  over   the  financial                                                                
     interest, restitution, or forfeiture; and                                                                              
               (3) may recommend that the employee's agency                                                                     
     take disciplinary action, including dismissal.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS stated the intent of  the bill is not to penalize                                                               
someone who  has a complaint.   He said he  has read some  of the                                                               
most outrageous statements predicting  the bill intent, including                                                               
that a person bringing a complaint  will get fined.  He said that                                                               
is "absolute  poppycock."  He  clarified that what the  bill says                                                               
is that  if someone were to  misuse the statute, he/she  would be                                                               
in violation  of the law.   He stated,  "All we're asking  in the                                                               
bill is that  the person bringing in the  complaint [forgoes] the                                                               
24-hour  news cycle  until after  there's a  finding of  probable                                                               
cause."   He said there must  be some kind of  meaningful penalty                                                               
when the law is abused.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:20:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS pointed to the penalty  on page 9, line 16:  "may                                                               
impose a  civil fine of $5,000  or less for complainants  who are                                                               
not  state employees,  current public  officers or  former public                                                               
officers."  He concluded:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     This  person can  go home  and talk  to their  wife, or                                                                    
     their  husband, or  their best  friend, but  they can't                                                                    
     run  to  the  press;   they  can't  knowingly  disclose                                                                    
     publicly  or cause  to  be made  public  the fact  that                                                                    
     there's  a complaint  or the  facts  of the  complaint.                                                                    
     They can still  go down on the corner and  waive a sign                                                                    
     and   say  the   governor,  lieutenant   governor,  the                                                                    
     attorney  general,  or  whoever,  is a  crook  and  has                                                                    
     violated all  kinds of ethics laws;  [they] just cannot                                                                    
     talk about the specifics of  the complaint, or that the                                                                    
     complaint has been filed until  after there's a finding                                                                    
     of probable cause.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:22:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS,  in response  to a  question from  Chair Seaton,                                                               
reviewed the areas in Version X where new language was added.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:26:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER noted  that, on page 7,  beginning on line                                                               
[17] of  Version S,  a provision  for intent to  file a  claim is                                                               
included that  is not included  in Version  X.  The  provision in                                                               
Version S read as follows:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     A  person may  not  disclose to  any  other person  the                                                                
     filing of  or intention  to file  a complaint  under AS                                                                
     39.52.310 except  to a person  assisting in  the filing                                                                
     of the complaint.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:26:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  responded that  the intent  to file  a complaint                                                               
comes  right from  Oklahoma  law.   The  original  intent of  the                                                               
language  was to  prevent a  person from  notifying the  press on                                                               
his/her way to  file the complaint so that the  press could get a                                                               
good story.   He said the  new language in Version  X would start                                                               
the  confidentiality  requirement  at  the point  of  filing  the                                                               
complaint, which he said is a better starting point.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:28:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON stated  his understanding  that Version  X "removes                                                               
the  prohibition   on  the  disclosure   of  intent  to   file  a                                                               
complaint."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:28:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  clarified that the  new language was on  page 7,                                                               
[beginning on] line 12, and read as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  attorney  general,  complainant,  subject  of  the                                                                
     complaint, and all persons  contacted during the course                                                                
     of  an  investigation  shall  maintain  confidentiality                                                                    
     regarding  the   existence  of  the   investigation  or                                                                
     preceding.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:29:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER offered  an example in which  she may have                                                               
concerns about  the improper  conduct of  someone and  express an                                                               
opinion  that a  complaint should  be filed.   She  asked if  she                                                               
would be in violation of the bill's provisions.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:29:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS answered  no, and  he added  that she  "wouldn't                                                               
have been under the old either."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:30:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  offered an  example in which  someone talks                                                               
about  someone  else  who  may  be heading  downtown  to  file  a                                                               
complaint, and he asked if that would be a violation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:30:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said no.   He reiterated that the confidentiality                                                               
requirement  begins at  the  point  of filing  a  complaint.   In                                                               
response  to a  question from  Chair Seaton,  he said  that means                                                               
that if someone says they are  going to file and then they don't,                                                               
that person would not have violated the provision.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  questioned  that   there  might  be  a                                                               
circumstance where  a person would  want to announce  that he/she                                                               
has been  exonerated, but could not  do so because the  board had                                                               
not made a finding of probable cause.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  explained that the  minute that person  wants to                                                               
make the complaint public, the entire record becomes public.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:32:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  suggested  that a  complainant,  after                                                               
hearing that there was no finding  of probable cause, may want to                                                               
make  that  public,  but  could   not.    He  questioned  if  the                                                               
complainant could do so with the permission of the board.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:33:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS responded that that is  a good point.  He said he                                                               
had  not thought  about that  particular  scenario.   He said  he                                                               
would take  a look  at that to  see if that  issue is  covered in                                                               
other statutes.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:35:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved to adopt  the committee substitute (CS)                                                               
for  SB  186, Version  24-LS0874\X,  Wayne,  1/30/06, as  a  work                                                               
draft.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:36:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  objected.  He said  he has not had  time to                                                               
see if the  changes are instrumental.  He said  he trusts Senator                                                               
Seekins to let the committee know  if there have been any changes                                                               
of substance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:37:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON explained that the  committee has been talking about                                                               
Version X  and he wants  to make sure  it is  on the table  as an                                                               
item  for   discussion  before   too  much   longer.     He  told                                                               
Representative Gatto that it would  be possible to revert back to                                                               
Version S at a later date.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:37:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  said,  "With  that in  mind  I  remove  my                                                               
objection."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that there  being no  further objection,                                                               
Version X was before the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:37:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention  to page 2,  line 4,                                                               
and  asked the  sponsor if  he would  be amenable  to adding  "or                                                               
stock options" after the word "stock".                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he would have no problem  with the addition                                                               
of that language.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:39:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted  that the  judiciary  branch  of                                                               
government  has  its  own  Special  Ethics  for  the  Council  on                                                               
Judicial Conduct and the Legislature  has the Select Committee on                                                               
Legislative Ethics;  however, the executive branch  does not have                                                               
a specific ethics board.  He  asked Senator Seekins what he would                                                               
think about  establishing an  independent executive  ethics board                                                               
that  is set  up similarly  to the  legislative ethics  board and                                                               
with similar functions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:39:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he has no objection to  that idea; however,                                                               
he said he  would have to give it  careful consideration, because                                                               
it would take time to work out.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:41:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention  to page 9,  line 3,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
             (3) knowingly and intentionally made a                                                                             
     disclosure prohibited by AS 39.52.340.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG stated  his belief that in  Title 11, as                                                               
a  matter of  law,  the term  "intentionally" requires  knowledge                                                               
also.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:41:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said  he  thinks  Representative  Gruenberg  is                                                               
right,  but the  language  was drafted  that  way by  Legislative                                                               
Legal and Research Services to make it clear for the novice.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:42:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER offered  an example  in which  one person                                                               
faced  the up  to  $5,000  fine to  disclose  the other  person's                                                               
egregiousness.   The  other person  turns  out to  be guilty  and                                                               
although  he/she  could  end  up  with any  of  the  following  -                                                               
reprimand,  demotion,   suspension,  and  a   possible  financial                                                               
penalty - only ends up  with a reprimand.  Representative Gardner                                                               
asked, "Does that seem like a reasonable balance?"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:43:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS opined  that if  a person  intentionally misuses                                                               
the law, then there should be a penalty.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:44:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON interpreted  that what  Representative Gardner  was                                                               
saying was  that the  person who  correctly identified  an ethics                                                               
violation could  be in greater  jeopardy by revealing  that there                                                               
was a conflict, even though it was proven correct in the end.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:45:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  the court would have the  discretion of how                                                               
much of a penalty, if any, to impose.   He said there should be a                                                               
penalty for someone who misuses the law "if they don't care."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:46:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  said he  thinks the  question is  whether it  was a                                                               
misuse of the law if someone was found guilty.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS answered  that  it  is a  misuse  if the  person                                                               
violated the procedure of the law.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:46:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RAMRAS,   regarding   Representative   Gardner's                                                               
previous example, said, "It doesn't  feel like the rights of that                                                               
member  of the  executive branch  would be  protected even  if it                                                               
were  discovered ...  later that  this executive  branch employee                                                               
did  violate  the  law."    He said  he  is  more  interested  in                                                               
protecting the rights of that individual.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:48:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said there  are 15,000  state employees,  all of                                                               
whom are  subject to  this Ethics  Act.   He stated,  "We're just                                                               
trying   to  protect   that  period   of  time,   to  allow   the                                                               
investigators to  find out whether  there's any basis in  fact to                                                               
the charge.   ...  And then  once ...  there's probable  cause we                                                               
want  them prosecuted;  we don't  want anybody  skating by."   He                                                               
said  Representative  Ramras  is   correct  about  the  issue  of                                                               
protection.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:49:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked, "If  you had  $40,000 of  ... stock  in your                                                               
company and  you put that in  a blind trust, would  you know that                                                               
that stock was in there?"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:50:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS answered that he absolutely would.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:50:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON [referred  to language  beginning on  page 1,  line                                                               
12], regarding  blind trusts.   He said,  "It would no  longer be                                                               
... considered a conflict of interest  if you rule on things that                                                               
would  affect  the  value  that's  in  that  blind  trust."    He                                                               
suggested that  if the function  of the  blind trust is  that the                                                               
trustee  does not  know  what  is in  it,  then perhaps  language                                                               
should be  added requiring a trustor  of a blind trust  to divest                                                               
and reinvest the money.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:52:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS responded that that  might subject the person who                                                               
owns  the stock  to huge  income tax  penalties.   He offered  an                                                               
example.  He continued:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I think what we've done is  we've said, "You can put it                                                                    
     in a  mechanism where  you have  no control;  where the                                                                    
     trustee, in effect, can sell  it whenever they want to,                                                                    
     can reinvest  it however  they want  to, with  just the                                                                    
     reasonable man requirement."   Then I think  what we do                                                                    
     is  we  put  that  person   out  of  control  of  those                                                                    
     holdings.   Now, that's an option,  but it has to  be a                                                                    
     public option  - I  mean, everyone  now knows  that ...                                                                    
     that investment is  there, that it is  being managed by                                                                    
     someone  other than  the state  employee, and  it gives                                                                    
     them  an opportunity  to still  have ...  an investment                                                                    
     portfolio, but one over which they have no control.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said if  he owned  that type  of stock  he would                                                               
simply not get  involved with something that  could have anything                                                               
to  do with  his stock.   He  stated his  understanding that  the                                                               
person with the blind trust  receives a quarterly report and that                                                               
would be the extent of his/her involvement.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:54:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON indicated  that the trustee knows the  amount of the                                                               
deposit and,  because of the  quarterly reports,  the investments                                                               
in  the trust  are really  not blind  at all,  especially if  the                                                               
account  is  a managed  one.    He  stated,  "It seems  like  the                                                               
structure of  what we've done is  we've said that no  matter what                                                               
you  have in  there, it's  now  regarded as  a nonconflict,  even                                                               
though you know  what's there, ... simply because  you can't sell                                                               
it or buy it.  But it could affect the worth of it."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:55:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  answered,  "It  could, and  it  could  be  gone                                                               
tomorrow."   He  explained, "This  is  a common  option to  avoid                                                               
conflicts of interest in many states."  He continued:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     If the  governor were  to assign  you, as  the attorney                                                                    
     general,  to  handle  a particular  project,  and  your                                                                    
     holdings  were in  an investment  mechanism over  which                                                                    
     you had no control, then  I think it would be incumbent                                                                    
     upon  you to  go to  your  advisor on  ethics and  say,                                                                    
     "Does this accomplish  -- keep me out  of conflict with                                                                    
     the  law?"   And there'll  be a  determination made  at                                                                    
     that point  ....  There  is the small  possibility that                                                                    
     you could  still have  a conflict  that you  might know                                                                    
     about ....                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:56:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  indicated  that he  finds  the  proposed  language                                                               
regarding blind  trusts to be at  odds with the language  on page                                                               
2, lines 3-4, restricting a  public officer from owning more than                                                               
one percent of business-related stock,  with a value of less than                                                               
$10,000.   He said the  public officer  could have $100,000  in a                                                               
blind trust  as long as  someone else  has "the sales  ability on                                                               
it."                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:57:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said  that  the person  with  the  blind  trust                                                               
doesn't know  until he/she gets  the quarterly report what  is or                                                               
isn't in the trust.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON pointed  out that in a managed account  a person can                                                               
check his/her account by looking online.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said he is trying to find "bookends."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:58:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  responded that  he is trying  to find  "whether the                                                               
bookends have one end off."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:58:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS reiterated that  the language regarding the blind                                                               
trust is common.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:58:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER observed:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  18  actually  addresses post  investigation  -                                                                    
     it's after  a violation has  been determined.   So, if,                                                                    
     as a body,  we wanted to eliminate blind  trusts as one                                                                    
     way of  reducing potential  conflict of  interest, this                                                                    
     isn't the place to do it.  This is a remedy.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:59:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS replied, "Yeah, as  part of the remedy they could                                                               
force you to put it in ... a nonmanaged account."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:59:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked what the  requirement is related to timing and                                                               
publishing a finding of probable cause.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:59:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  there is  a time  frame for  the personnel                                                               
board,  and he  could find  out what  it is.   In  response to  a                                                               
follow-up question from  Chair Seaton, he said  he doesn't recall                                                               
whether  a  finding  of  probable cause  has  to  be  immediately                                                               
published, but he  offered his understanding that  "it's in close                                                               
proximity to that timeframe that it ... becomes public."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:00:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  said the committee needs  that information, because                                                               
if  there   is  a  situation  wherein   the  complainant  doesn't                                                               
immediately know that  the probable cause has  been found, he/she                                                               
is still having to remain confidential.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS,  in response  to  another  question from  Chair                                                               
Seaton, said in  both Ethics Acts a person  cannot knowingly file                                                               
a false statement,  but "it's to the best of  your knowledge," he                                                               
recalled.   A  complaint on  the Ethics  Act has  to lay  out the                                                               
particulars of the  complaint, he said, and has to  be signed and                                                               
"sworn."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:02:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS, in response to  Chair Seaton, confirmed that the                                                               
fine that is up  to $5,000 is a civil one.   He reemphasized that                                                               
the fine could be zero or any  amount up to $5,000, a point which                                                               
he indicated that  the press continues to ignore.   He added, "It                                                               
is not  a $5,000 fine for  going home and telling  your wife that                                                               
you filed a complaint."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:03:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  recalled   that  Senator   Seekins  had                                                               
previously  stated that  a person  can disclose  to friends,  but                                                               
cannot disclose publicly.   She said she is unclear  as to when a                                                               
private disclosure becomes  public.  For example, if  she were to                                                               
have a  group of neighbors over  for a barbeque and  talk about a                                                               
disclosure, would that be public?                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:04:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  suggested  that  the  sponsor  could  answer  that                                                               
question when he returns to testify on another day.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:04:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  Senator Seekins  tried to  draw a                                                               
distinction  between  a  public  and nonpublic  disclosure.    He                                                               
directed  attention to  page  8,  line 21,  which  states that  a                                                               
person  who discloses  confidential information  is subject  to a                                                               
fine.  He said, "It doesn't draw the distinction that you did."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said the intent  is "public disclosure  or cause                                                               
to  be made  public," thus  he  said he  would talk  to the  bill                                                               
drafter.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG stated that he  is not aware of anything                                                               
in law  that draws a  distinction like Senator Seekins  is making                                                               
between something that's  "public" and something that's  not.  He                                                               
said generally "a disclosure is a disclosure."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  proffered, "I  would not say  that the  judge is                                                               
going to fine  you for telling your wife ...,  but I would advise                                                               
you not to have everybody over for a barbeque and tell them."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:05:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention  to Section 16.   He                                                               
mentioned  an Alaska  Supreme Court  case, Baker  v. the  City of                                                             
Fairbanks, which ruled that a person  is entitled to a jury trial                                                             
if  he/she  is  charged  with  a crime  that  either  results  in                                                               
imprisonment, substantial  fine, or  the loss of  a license.   He                                                               
said he  realizes "this is not  a criminal case," but  the person                                                               
would be  subject to  a substantial  fine.   He said  the supreme                                                               
court case  was grounded  on the  Alaska State  Constitution "and                                                               
I'm not  sure that  it would draw  the distinction  between civil                                                               
and criminal in this matter."   He offered his understanding that                                                               
the  House Judiciary  Standing Committee  is considering  certain                                                               
amendments  to the  Human Rights  Act.   He mentioned  a case  in                                                               
Hawaii.  He said:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The  question  is  here whether  the  person  would  be                                                                    
     entitled to a  jury trial on these  issues for wrongful                                                                    
     disclosure.   Secondly,  the question  is whether  they                                                                    
     would be  entitled to  go before a  judge, not  just as                                                                    
     you  state  on page  9,  lines  18-19, to  enforce  the                                                                    
     determination  of   the  board,  but  for   the  actual                                                                    
     determination  itself.   ...   And third,  what is  the                                                                    
     standard of proof?  Because  it's not set here what the                                                                    
     standard  of  proof  is.   And  it's  a  constitutional                                                                    
     question,  as well  as a  policy question  I'm raising,                                                                    
     whether  - if  you're talking  about a  ... substantial                                                                    
     civil  fine -  there is  a  right to  approve beyond  a                                                                    
     preponderance  of  the evidence.    I  don't know  that                                                                    
     there  is,  but I  certainly  think  it's an  important                                                                    
     issue.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:09:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  a $5,000  fine would  still be  within the                                                               
confines of small  claims court.  He referred to  the language on                                                               
[page 9], lines 18-19, which read as follows:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
               (d) The attorney general may enforce (c)(3)                                                                      
     of this  section by filing an  appropriate civil action                                                                    
     on the request of the board.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  the personnel  board is  the initiator  by                                                               
saying  [to the  Office of  the Attorney  General], "This  person                                                               
broke the confidentiality requirements, and  we would like you to                                                               
enforce the  confidentiality penalty against  them."  He  said at                                                               
that  point it  is not  a frivolous  action; the  personnel board                                                               
would have had to see the egregiousness of the case.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:09:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said the  question then  arises whether                                                               
the person who would be found  to have violated the Ethics Act by                                                               
wrongful  disclosure  would  have  a  similar  right  to  seek  a                                                               
judicial review of that decision.   Representative Gruenberg said                                                               
he assumes that would happen.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:10:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS concurred.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:10:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG directed  attention to  the use  of the                                                               
word "shall"  on page 8,  line 26.   He suggested using  the word                                                               
"may"  instead.   He  said  he doesn't  think  the  board can  be                                                               
directed to  make a determination;  it has the discretion  not to                                                               
do so.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:11:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MYRL  THOMPSON,  testifying  on   behalf  of  himself,  told  the                                                               
committee that he  sat through all the Senate's  hearings on both                                                               
[SB 186 and SB 187] last  year.  He remarked that Senator Seekins                                                               
was blaming the press, but the  press was writing about "what was                                                               
actually said at the time."   Mr. Thompson said when he testified                                                               
last year  he opined that the  bill was not addressing  "the true                                                               
problems," was against the First  Amendment, and was an insult to                                                               
Alaskans.   He stated, "Pretty  much those things are  still true                                                               
today."   He revealed  that there  was a  recent poll  taken this                                                               
week in  his area of the  state that asked, "Should  there be any                                                               
penalty whatsoever on a person  that puts out a complaint against                                                               
an official in  the government?"  He reported that  96 percent of                                                               
those polled  answered no.   He  said [SB  186] does  not address                                                               
that; it seems to be protecting  the person who has the complaint                                                               
filed against  him/her, more than  it does the  public's interest                                                               
and  the  public's   good.    In  response  to   a  request  from                                                               
Representative Gruenberg,  Mr. Thompson  said he would  produce a                                                               
copy  of  the poll.    [The  copy has  since  been  added to  the                                                               
committee packet.]                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:15:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES  GARA, Alaska  State Legislature, said  he has                                                               
been  researching  the  issue  of   blind  trusts.    He  offered                                                               
information he obtained from a stockbroker as follows:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Normally  in a  blind  trust,  the stockbroker  accepts                                                                    
     your stocks  - the stocks  that you transfer to  him or                                                                    
     her  -  and  keeps  them.     ...  So,  if  ...  you're                                                                    
     negotiating a deal with the  Pebble Mine, and you own a                                                                    
     ton of  stock in the  company that is going  to benefit                                                                    
     from the  Pebble Mine if  that project goes  ahead, you                                                                    
     transfer let's say ... your  $200,000-worth of stock in                                                                    
     the  Pebble Mine  to the  stock broker.   You  probably                                                                    
     tell  him,  "Hey,  I'm  working on  this  deal."    The                                                                    
     stockbroker holds  the stock,  because [in]  the normal                                                                    
     cases they  hold the stock  that you transfer  to them.                                                                    
     They may  make some  trades over  time, but  they won't                                                                    
     just sell  the stock  that they own.   And  then you're                                                                    
     going to  sit there knowing  I'm negotiating a  deal on                                                                    
     the Pebble  Mine and I'm  making money.  So,  the blind                                                                    
     trust  provision completely  guts  the  ethics law;  it                                                                    
     lets you  work on a matter  that you intend to  use for                                                                    
     financial benefit and says it's ethical.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said he  would attempt  to get  something in                                                               
writing from  someone in the  stockbroker industry.  He  said the                                                               
committee's questions have been right on point.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:16:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked Representative Gara if  he believes a                                                               
person who  has those stocks  perhaps should  divest him/herself,                                                               
take the profit, pay  the tax, and just say, "If  I'm going to be                                                               
involved like this, maybe that's the only resolution to it."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:17:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA answered, "Not really."   He clarified that a                                                               
person  doesn't  violate  the   ethics  law  unless  that  person                                                               
intended  to pad  his/her pocket.   He  said, "I  think you  just                                                               
don't work on  the issue."  Using the example  of the Pebble Mine                                                               
again,  he said  the other  option  would be  to get  rid of  the                                                               
stock.  He  concluded, "You can't have it both  ways; you have to                                                               
do one  or the other.   The preference really is  just don't work                                                               
on the  deal, which is  what should  have happened on  the Renkes                                                               
case, in my opinion."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  suggested that in  that case, if Mr.  Renkes hadn't                                                               
been negotiating the  deal, there wouldn't have  been any problem                                                               
with him owning and having that amount of stock anyway."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA replied, "Sure."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:18:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA,   in   response   to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative Gruenberg, said, "There  is currently no exemption                                                               
in the executive  ethics law that allows you to  work on a matter                                                               
to benefit  yourself as  long as  you put your  money in  a blind                                                               
trust.  That's just in the bill."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:18:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON closed  public testimony.  He announced  that SB 186                                                               
was heard and held.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 160-PUBLIC FUNDS & BALLOT PROPS/CANDIDATES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:19:19 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."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  noted  for the  record  that  Representative  Bill                                                               
Stoltze, sponsor of  HB 160, had been waiting to  testify but had                                                               
to leave for another meeting.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:19:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BEN MULLIGAN, Staff to Representative  Bill Stoltze, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  testifying  on  behalf of  Representative  Stoltze,                                                               
sponsor of HB 160, said  he would address questions the committee                                                               
had last year when the bill was introduced.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:20:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO moved  to  adopt  the committee  substitute                                                               
(CS) for HB 160, Version   24-LS0586\X, Kurtz, 1/30/06, as a work                                                               
draft.   There  being  no  objection, Version  X  was before  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:21:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN  explained that Version X  incorporated an amendment                                                               
adopted by  the committee last  year.   In response to  a request                                                               
from Chair Seaton,  he explained that Version  X specifies "state                                                             
election" in  the title.  It  would allow local school  boards to                                                             
advocate for local  municipal bond propositions.   Version X also                                                               
added new language to Section 3, which read as follows:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     *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.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:22:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON said,  "As I  read this,  if it's  a state  bond or                                                               
state  anything,  then they  wouldn't  be  able to  provide  that                                                               
information, is  that correct?   But  a local  ballot proposition                                                               
they could?"                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:23:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN answered that's correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:23:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MULLIGAN,  in response  to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Gatto,  said [a  school  district] could  advertise  for a  local                                                               
ballot proposition on  a state bond, because it would  be a local                                                               
proposition to accept or not accept it.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:24:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER offered an example  of a ballot issue that                                                               
dealt  with municipal  revenue sharing  and  said the  Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna Borough  was "intensely interested in  seeing that pass."                                                               
She asked if under this  proposal the borough would be prohibited                                                               
from lobbying for that.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:24:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN answered that's correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:24:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO said, "Since  the bonds haven't been passed,                                                               
the money  they're using to  advocate for these bonds  comes from                                                               
some other  source."  He  questioned whether there are  legal and                                                               
illegal sources and if there is  some way to identify if there is                                                               
an illegal source.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:25:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN  said money in  a municipality's general  fund could                                                               
be used  to advocate.  He  said currently most state  and federal                                                               
monies are earmarked for a specific purpose.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:25:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON noted  that government  obligation  (GO) bonds  can                                                               
only be used for capital projects.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:25:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  offered an example  in which a  city could                                                               
spend a  half million  dollars to influence  a statewide  vote to                                                               
fail.  If  the proponents of that ballot measure  didn't have the                                                               
means of raising  money, then - as Representative  Ramras said is                                                               
often the  case - one  side would be empowered  and well-financed                                                               
while the other  side would not be able to  gets its message out.                                                               
He offered his understanding that  the proposed legislation would                                                               
"prohibit that kind of influence from a governmental agency."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:26:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN confirmed that is correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:27:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  the last time the  bill was before                                                               
the  committee   he  had  expressed   concern  about   issues  of                                                               
constitutionality.    He  said  he has  since  received  a  legal                                                               
opinion  from Kathryn  Kurtz of  Legislative  Legal and  Research                                                               
Services,  which is  included as  a memorandum  in the  committee                                                               
packet.  He  read portions of the letter, and  he stated that his                                                               
concerns are now alleviated.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked, "This does prohibit  ... the use                                                               
of any money  held by the municipality, whether  it's state money                                                               
or any other money, right?"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:29:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN answered that's correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:29:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention to language  on page                                                               
2, lines 7-8, which read as follows:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
               (c) Money held by                                                                                                
               (1) the division of elections or a                                                                           
     municipal election official                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  stated that  he is  not certain  if the                                                               
money is  technically held by  the Division of Elections  or held                                                               
by a  municipal election official.   He said, "I think  the money                                                               
is technically  held in  the treasury."   He  said if  that's the                                                               
case,  then HB  160 would  not achieve  its desired  effect.   He                                                               
recommended having legal counsel check on that.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:30:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN said he would have that question addressed.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:30:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON directed  attention to  page 1,  on which  he noted                                                               
there  is a  list  of those  entities that  cannot  use money  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"].    He  then  directed                                                           
attention to Section 2, which read as follows:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     *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.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   SEATON  said,   "So,  normally   you  can't   unless  you                                                               
specifically have  an ordinance  -- by  ordinance, not  any other                                                               
action."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:32:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN  responded, "They  can use  the money  to distribute                                                               
nonpartisan information or those designated  in Section 3, not to                                                               
influence the  outcome.  So, ...  if you designate that  money to                                                               
be  used  to  distribute  information   about  ...  a  given  ...                                                               
municipal  ballot proposition  at  the time,  they can  designate                                                               
that money and use that for that purpose."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON added, "To influence the election."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:33:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MULLIGAN,  in response  to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg,  noted that  Ms. Kurtz  said if  a future  legislature                                                               
wants to  permit state entities  to use state funds  to influence                                                               
the outcome  of elections concerning ballot  propositions, it can                                                               
amend the law.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:34:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BROOKE   MILES,  Executive   Director,   Alaska  Public   Offices                                                               
Commission (APOC),  told the committee that  the commission takes                                                               
a neutral position on the bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:36:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Ms.  Miles,                                                               
specified that  certain language she had  expressed concern about                                                               
is deleted from Version X.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:36:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  WIGET, Director,  Government  Relations, Anchorage  School                                                               
District,  testified on  behalf  of the  district  in support  of                                                               
allowing school districts to provide  the public with nonpartisan                                                               
information  regarding  a  ballot   proposition.    He  said  the                                                               
district  would  also  appreciate  having  the  same  ability  to                                                               
provide   the   public   with  nonpartisan   ballot   proposition                                                               
information  for  state ballots,  particularly  in  regard to  GO                                                               
bonds or  other statewide  bonds that  would directly  impact the                                                               
school   district,   in   terms  of   school   construction   and                                                               
maintenance.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WIGET  said at the  local level, under the  current municipal                                                               
ethics law, the  district is not allowed to advocate  yeah or nay                                                               
for  bond propositions,  but  may only  provide  its public  with                                                               
information.   He said the  district would appreciate  having the                                                               
ability to provide  the voters of the  community with information                                                               
on  statewide  ballot  propositions  that  impact  the  Anchorage                                                               
School District.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:37:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WIGET,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, clarified that he would  like the language "other than                                                           
a state  ballot proposition or  question" removed from  [page 2],                                                           
lines 16-17.   He further clarified that on the  local level, all                                                               
the  information   that  the  district  sends   out  through  its                                                               
"dissemination  process" is  approved  by local  bond council  to                                                               
ensure a  high level of  neutrality in  order not to  influence a                                                               
level  of outcome.    He  said, "Our  basic  goal  is to  provide                                                               
information from  which our voters  can make an  educated guess."                                                               
He indicated that  the community makes up its own  mind, based on                                                               
the information.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:38:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked Mr. Wiget if  he understands that Section 2 on                                                               
page 2  would "allow for advocacy  for a position on  a municipal                                                               
bond ballot  proposition if the assembly  would specifically pass                                                               
a municipal ordinance allowing for that."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:39:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WIGET said he does.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:39:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referred  again to lines 16  and 17, and                                                               
clarified that  Mr. Wiget  would like the  school district  to be                                                               
able  to advocate  on a  state ballot  proposition.   He observed                                                               
that Section 2 only applies to municipal elections.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:39:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked Mr. Wiget  if he is  proposing that                                                               
school districts  be taken out  "of the  effect of this  bill" in                                                               
order that  the school district  could lobby for issues  that are                                                               
statewide issues that affect school districts.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:40:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WIGET  responded that  the  issue  is  not  to lobby  for  a                                                               
position, but  to be able  to provide information from  which the                                                               
voters can make a decision to vote yeah or nay.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:40:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  observed that  the language on  page 2,                                                               
line   14,  includes   not  just   school  districts,   but  also                                                               
municipalities,  regional   educational  attendance   areas,  and                                                               
political subdivisions of the state.   He indicated that he would                                                               
like to know how those other entities felt about the language.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:41:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY  WASSERMAN, Alaska  Municipal  League  (AML), testified  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The Alaska Municipal League is  opposed to HB 160.  The                                                                    
     first and most important reason  is that it attempts to                                                                    
     remove local control.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     There have  been and  will continue  to be  many issues                                                                    
     that   this   state   faces   that   impact   different                                                                    
     communities in many different ways.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     We  would defend  local  governments'  right to  inform                                                                    
     residents, in  as fair a  manner as possible,  what the                                                                    
     ramifications  of state  election results  might entail                                                                    
     for their community.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Many times, local assemblies and  councils take a stand                                                                    
     - through  resolutions, proclamations,  and so  forth -                                                                    
     on state issues  which may then find their  way back to                                                                    
     the  state voting  booth.   To say  "nothing," as  this                                                                    
     bill  mentions, does  not  reflect nonpartisanship;  it                                                                    
     reflects  irresponsibility.    A   good  manager  of  a                                                                    
     business  or a  city owes  [his/her] employees  and the                                                                    
     constituents as  much information  as possible  to make                                                                    
     an informed decision.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Most  small  communities  have  no  other  organization                                                                    
     within  their community  to pass  that information  on.                                                                    
     The local government and the  schools are sometimes the                                                                    
     only places to  go to get your questions  answered.  In                                                                    
     larger communities, the local  government does not have                                                                    
     to  be the  only organization  giving any  information,                                                                    
     but why  would the government be  the only organization                                                                    
     prohibited from giving that information?                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Local government  is made up  of local  people, elected                                                                    
     by  their  neighbors.   Why  would  the state  wish  to                                                                    
     silence  those elected  officials from  informing their                                                                    
     constituents on impacts to their area?                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     One example  that comes  to mind is  a couple  of years                                                                    
     ago we had  a state vote that dealt with  the gas line.                                                                    
     Would that have kept  the Fairbanks North Star Borough,                                                                    
     the City of Valdez, and  the North Slope [Borough] from                                                                    
     speaking  to the  issue?   In  that  case, we  probably                                                                    
     could have heard  input from the oil  producers and the                                                                    
     environmentalist  -  not  that there's  anything  wrong                                                                    
     with  that, but  that is  only a  section of  the whole                                                                    
     story.  So, I would ask that you not pass this bill.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[MS. WASSERMAN'S  written testimony is included  in the committee                                                               
packet.]                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:43:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RAMRAS  stated   his   understanding  that   Ms.                                                               
Wasserman  testified  that  local  bodies  pass  resolutions  and                                                               
represent local constituencies.  He said:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill  doesn't  prevent local  bodies  from  doing                                                                    
     that,  it just  prevents  them from  then leveraging  a                                                                    
     resolution into a local  municipality spending money to                                                                    
     represent an  opinion.   Earned media  isn't prohibited                                                                    
     by  this  bill.    Am  I  misunderstanding  what  local                                                                    
     municipalities, assemblies, and  whatnot are allowed to                                                                    
     do?                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:44:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN   stated  her  understanding  that   there  is  no                                                               
differential between how  that money is spent.   She queried, "If                                                               
a stipend  is given  to assembly  or council  members, if  a city                                                               
manager is  indeed paid for  his time  and he researches  a state                                                               
issue in  order to  give information across,  where does  it stop                                                               
where  money is  spent?   It  doesn't necessarily  just speak  to                                                               
media."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:45:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS asked  Ms. Wasserman if she  feels that the                                                               
bill   would   prohibit   local   municipalities   from   passing                                                               
resolutions to take  a position for or against a  bond issue or a                                                               
matter that comes before the state.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:45:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN replied  that she feels the bill does  not give the                                                               
municipality the ability  to speak on behalf of state  issues - a                                                               
resolution being a small part of that.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:45:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked Ms. Wasserman to  clarify if she is saying the                                                               
bill would  allow [a municipality]  to pass a resolution,  but it                                                               
could not advertise  the resolution or state  the city's position                                                               
in the event of an election.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:45:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN  answered, "Unless  there's something in  this bill                                                               
that I  don't see, I don't  think you could pass  a resolution, I                                                               
don't  think  you  could  take  a  stand,  you  can  just  simply                                                               
advertise the time and the place  of the election.  I'm just very                                                               
concerned that local  government ... would not have  the right to                                                               
make their wishes known or to inform, more than anything."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:46:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS said the bill  doesn't seem to restrict the                                                               
freedom of  speech of  a municipality taking  a position,  but it                                                               
does  restrict  that  municipality  from  spending  discretionary                                                               
funds to advertise the position that it takes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:46:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WASSERMAN responded  that she  doesn't see  anything in  the                                                               
bill  that speaks  to  advertising; she  interprets  the bill  as                                                               
addressing "money spent," which she said is of concern to her.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:47:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER,   regarding  money  spent,   stated  her                                                               
understanding that  Ms. Wasserman testified that  a paid employee                                                               
of  the  municipality  who  spends   money  researching  a  state                                                               
proposition would be in violation of the proposed law in HB 160.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:47:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN confirmed that is a concern.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:47:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  told  Ms. Wasserman  that  Mr.  Wiget,                                                               
during his testimony, had said  the removal of the phrase, "other                                                           
than a state  ballot proposition or question" from  page 2, lines                                                           
16-17, would be  helpful for the school districts.   He asked Ms.                                                               
Wasserman  if  she  would  support  an  amendment  deleting  that                                                               
phrase.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:48:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN answered in the affirmative.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:49:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  directed attention  to  Section  2 [text  provided                                                               
previously], and  interpreted Ms. Wasserman's concern  related to                                                               
that section as follows:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     You're  saying that  it could  be interpreted  that the                                                                    
     time, effort,  and energy to  pass a resolution  - that                                                                    
     is expenditure of  funds, and if that is  related to an                                                                    
     election question or question that  is going to be on a                                                                    
     ballot,  then  that  might be  prohibited,  because  it                                                                    
     would be  expending money, even  to pass  a resolution,                                                                    
     unless you  first pass  an ordinance  granting specific                                                                    
     authority  to spend  money that  would be  necessary to                                                                    
     generate  the resolution,  because  this specifies  "by                                                                    
     ordinance."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:51:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASSERMAN confirmed  that she is concerned  about that issue.                                                               
She explained  that some  boroughs include  remote areas,  and if                                                               
travel  by an  official  was  necessary to  inform  people of  an                                                               
upcoming vote, that would be prohibited.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:51:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN  mentioned "legislation in administrative  code" and                                                               
read as follows:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In the absence of  a specific appropriation, an officer                                                                    
     or  an  employee of  an  entity  who is  identified  in                                                                    
     statute  may   use  money  held   by  that   entity  to                                                                    
     communicate about  a ballot proposition or  question if                                                                    
     the communication  is made in  the usual  and customary                                                                    
     performance of the officer or employee's duties.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MULLIGAN interpreted  that language to mean  that [an officer                                                               
or  employee] can  research and  report to  the council,  because                                                               
doing so is his job.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON requested language be drafted regarding this issue.                                                                
He asked Mr. Mulligan to coordinate with Ms. Miles.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:53:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that HB 160 was heard and held.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 347-MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE & NOTICE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:53:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  last order of business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO.  347,  "An  Act relating  to  mandatory  motor  vehicle                                                               
insurance,  license suspensions,  and notices  relating to  motor                                                               
vehicles and driver's licenses."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:54:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA, Alaska  State Legislature, introduced HB                                                               
347, as sponsor.   He said it  would close a loophole  in the law                                                               
that has  caused a number  of drivers  to be charged  for driving                                                               
without auto  insurance when,  in fact, they  had insurance.   He                                                               
explained that  the driver charged,  even after showing  proof of                                                               
insurance,  must  submit  paperwork  to  the  Division  of  Motor                                                               
Vehicles (DMV).   In at least  one case, the DMV  did not receive                                                               
the  paperwork  and sent  the  request  for  it to  a  noncurrent                                                               
address.   Under current law,  a driver can lose  his/her license                                                               
for driving without  insurance and can be  criminally charged for                                                               
driving  when his/her  license is  subsequently  suspended.   The                                                               
proposed bill  would allow a  person who really had  insurance at                                                               
the time his/her  license was suspended for not having  it to use                                                               
that fact  as a  defense to a  driving without  insurance charge.                                                               
Furthermore, the  bill would give  the DMV the authority  to send                                                               
the  notices that  keep  getting lost  in the  mail  to the  most                                                               
current address, rather than the one on the driver's license.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:56:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON moved to adopt Amendment [1, labeled 24-LS1372\G.2,                                                                
Luckhaupt, 1/27/06], which read as follows:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 1, following "suspensions,":                                                                                
          Insert "penalties for operating a motor vehicle                                                                     
     while  license  is  canceled,  suspended,  revoked,  or                                                                  
     limited,  mandatory impoundments  of  vehicles used  in                                                                  
     certain offenses,"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 6:                                                                                                  
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
        "* Sec. 2. AS 28.15.291(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
          (b)  Upon conviction under (a) of this section,                                                                       
     the court                                                                                                                  
               (1)  shall impose a minimum sentence of                                                                          
     imprisonment                                                                                                               
               (A)  if the person has not been previously                                                                       
     convicted,  of  not less  than  10  days with  10  days                                                                    
     suspended,   including   a   mandatory   condition   of                                                                    
     probation that the defendant complete  not less than 80                                                                    
     hours of community work service;                                                                                           
               (B)  if the person has been previously                                                                           
     convicted, of not less than 10 days;                                                                                       
               (C)  if the person's driver's license,                                                                           
     privilege to  drive, or privilege  to obtain  a license                                                                    
     was   revoked   under    circumstances   described   in                                                                    
     AS 28.15.181(c)(1),  or if  the person  was driving  in                                                                    
     violation   of   a   limited   license   issued   under                                                                    
     AS 28.15.201(d) following that  revocation, of not less                                                                    
     than 20 days with 10 days  suspended, and a fine of not                                                                    
     less  than $500,  including  a  mandatory condition  of                                                                    
     probation that the defendant complete  not less than 80                                                                    
     hours of community work service;                                                                                           
               (D)  if the person's driver's license,                                                                           
     privilege to  drive, or privilege  to obtain  a license                                                                    
     was   revoked   under    circumstances   described   in                                                                    
     AS 28.15.181(c)(2), (3),  or (4)  or if the  person was                                                                    
     driving in violation of a  limited license issued under                                                                    
     AS 28.15.201(d) following that  revocation, of not less                                                                    
     than 30 days and a fine of not less than $1,000;                                                                           
               (2)  may impose additional conditions of                                                                         
     probation;                                                                                                                 
               (3)  may not                                                                                                     
               (A)  suspend execution of sentence or grant                                                                      
     probation except  on condition that the  person serve a                                                                    
     minimum  term  of  imprisonment  and  perform  required                                                                    
     community  work  service as  provided  in  (1) of  this                                                                    
     subsection;                                                                                                                
              (B)  suspend imposition of sentence;                                                                              
               (4)  shall revoke the person's license,                                                                          
     privilege to  drive, or privilege to  obtain a license,                                                                    
     and the  person may not  be issued  a new license  or a                                                                    
     limited  license  nor may  the  privilege  to drive  or                                                                    
     obtain a  license be restored for  an additional period                                                                    
     of  not less  than  90  days after  the  date that  the                                                                    
     person  would  have  been entitled  to  restoration  of                                                                    
     driving privileges; and                                                                                                    
               (5)  may order that the motor vehicle that                                                                       
     was  used in  commission  of the  offense be  forfeited                                                                    
     under  AS 28.35.036  and  shall order  that  the  motor                                                                
     vehicle  used  in  the commission  of  the  offense  be                                                                
     forfeited  under AS 28.35.036  if the  person has  been                                                                
     previously convicted under this section."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, following line 9:                                                                                                  
     Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                          
        "* Sec. 5. AS 28.35.036(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
          (b)  Before forfeiture of a motor vehicle,                                                                            
     aircraft,  or watercraft,  the court  shall schedule  a                                                                    
     hearing on  the matter and  shall notify the  state and                                                                    
     the convicted person of the  time and place set for the                                                                    
     hearing.  Except  for  a motor  vehicle,  aircraft,  or                                                                    
     watercraft  that  is  required to  be  forfeited  under                                                                    
     AS 28.15.291,  AS 28.35.030,  or 28.35.032,  the  court                                                            
     may order  the forfeiture of  the motor vehicle  if the                                                                    
     court,  sitting  without  a   jury,  determines,  by  a                                                                    
     preponderance of  the evidence, that the  forfeiture of                                                                    
     the motor  vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft  will serve                                                                    
     one or more of the following purposes:                                                                                     
               (1)  deterrence of the convicted person from                                                                     
     the    commission    of     future    offenses    under                                                                    
     [AS 28.15.291(b),] AS 28.35.030 [,] or 28.35.032;                                                                          
               (2)  protection of the safety and welfare of                                                                     
     the public;                                                                                                                
               (3)  deterrence of other persons who are                                                                         
     potential     offenders    under     [AS 28.15.291(b),]                                                                    
     AS 28.35.030 [,] or 28.35.032; or                                                                                          
               (4)  expression of public condemnation of                                                                        
     the  serious  or  aggravated nature  of  the  convicted                                                                    
     person's conduct.                                                                                                          
        *  Sec.  6. AS 28.40  is  amended  by adding  a  new                                                                  
     section to read:                                                                                                           
          Sec. 28.40.080. Impoundment of motor vehicle when                                                                   
     arrested  for  certain offenses.  On  the  arrest of  a                                                                  
     person for  a violation of  AS 28.15.291, AS 28.33.030,                                                                    
     28.33.031,  AS 28.35.030,   or  28.35.032,   the  motor                                                                    
     vehicle used in the commission  of the offense shall be                                                                    
     impounded. If  the motor vehicle is  not forfeited, the                                                                    
     motor vehicle shall be held  for six months, unless the                                                                    
     person is acquitted of the  offense. The cost of towing                                                                    
     and storage  of the vehicle  is a lien on  the vehicle.                                                                    
     If  another  person  claims an  ownership  or  security                                                                    
     interest in the motor  vehicle and establishes that the                                                                    
     interest predated  the offense and was  acquired by the                                                                    
     other  person  in  good  faith,   the  vehicle  may  be                                                                    
     released to  that other person  if the person  pays the                                                                    
     accrued cost of towing and storage of the vehicle."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  explained that [Amendment 1]  addresses the license                                                               
suspension portion  of the bill  by increasing the  penalties for                                                               
driving  with  a  suspended  or  revoked  license  and  requiring                                                               
mandatory impoundment  of a  vehicle if  the driver  operating it                                                               
has  a suspended  or revoked  license.   Upon second  offense, he                                                               
added,  [Amendment 1]  would require  forfeiture of  the vehicle.                                                               
He stated his intention is to "just get this on the table."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:58:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected to [Amendment 1].                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:58:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:58:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DUANE BANNOCK,  Director, Division of Motor  Vehicles, Department                                                               
of  Administration, thanked  Representative Gara  for taking  the                                                               
time to  hear the concerns  of the division.   He said  there are                                                               
instances when  the division knows  the person has a  new address                                                               
but is  required to send the  information [to the address  on the                                                               
person's driver's license].   He stated that [HB  347] would help                                                               
the  division  get  the pertinent  information  directly  to  the                                                               
person.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:00:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked  Mr. Bannock if he is satisfied  with the bill                                                               
as introduced.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:00:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK said he is not  familiar with [Amendment 1].  He said                                                               
he spoke yesterday  with the sponsor about  some technical issues                                                               
in [the  original bill],  and he  said he  doesn't know  if those                                                               
issues have been addressed.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  said they have  not been  addressed.  He  asked Mr.                                                               
Bannock if  he is  comfortable with the  intent and  structure of                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:00:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  he  would like  Mr.  Bannock  to                                                               
remain  available to  answer the  committee's  questions, and  he                                                               
asked  that   Mr.  Bannock  and  Representative   Gara  give  any                                                               
technical amendments to the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:01:13 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TRICIA MOEN, testifying on behalf  of herself, told the committee                                                               
that she was  pulled over by an Alaska State  Trooper last summer                                                               
for speeding.   She  gave the  officer her  license and  proof of                                                               
insurance and  was informed  that her  license had  formerly been                                                               
suspended because  she didn't  have a  special kind  of insurance                                                               
required  of  "high-risk" drivers.    The  trooper handed  her  a                                                               
summons to appear  in court on criminal charges.   Her companions                                                               
were instructed  to drive, because her  license, technically, was                                                               
suspended.    Ms.  Mullen  explained  that she  had  been  in  an                                                               
accident nine months prior to this  event, at which time she gave                                                               
the  officer her  [proof of]  insurance and  was given  a "yellow                                                               
piece of paper to fill out."   She said she sent the paperwork in                                                               
to the  [DMV] by facsimile,  didn't get a response,  and "figured                                                               
everything was good and ... was  over with."  She added, "I guess                                                               
it  wasn't.   They suspended  my license."   Ms.  Mullen reported                                                               
that  the issue  was resolved  without  her having  to appear  in                                                               
court, and  her license has been  restored to her.   However, she                                                               
said, "It was a pain, to say the least."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:03:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON,  after ascertaining that  there was no one  else to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:03:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  in  response  to  a  question  from  Chair                                                               
Seaton, said Mr.  Bannock had voiced concerns about  the issue of                                                               
the most  current address, which  is the reason for  the language                                                               
[on page  2, beginning on line  2 through line 9],  which read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
        The department shall provide this notice to the                                                                     
     address that appears to be the most current from among                                                                 
     the following:                                                                                                         
           (1) the address the department has for the                                                                       
     person;                                                                                                                
            (2) the address shown on the citation or                                                                        
     police report of the accident; and                                                                                     
           (3) the address provided to the Department                                                                       
       of Revenue in an application for a permanent fund                                                                    
     dividend.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA surmised that the  address given at the scene                                                               
of the accident  is probably the most current.   He said he would                                                               
leave it  up to the  committee whether  to leave in  the language                                                               
regarding the permanent fund dividend source.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:05:35 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked  Mr. Bannock to forward  his recommendation in                                                               
writing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:06:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gatto,  said he  finds  the  use of  the  phrase  "appear to  be"                                                               
troubling,  as  it  relates  to   determining  the  most  current                                                               
address.  He said, arguably, the  police report would be the most                                                               
accurate, current, and best available  address source, because it                                                               
would have  been done at  the scene of  the accident.   He stated                                                               
his belief that the ability to use that document is key.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:08:08 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK, in  response  to Chair  Seaton,  specified that  he                                                               
would like the word "citation" to  be removed.  He explained that                                                               
when DMV gets a traffic ticket,  for example, it does not receive                                                               
any of  the address data  pertaining to the citation,  whereas it                                                               
definitely receives  address information on Alaska  motor vehicle                                                               
collision reports.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:08:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  pinpointed that Mr. Bannock  is proposing something                                                               
like, "the  address shown on  the Alaska motor  vehicle collision                                                               
report" and, if  that address is unavailable, to  use the address                                                               
"that the department has for the person."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK responded,  "That's very, very, very  close sir, yes,                                                               
sir, thank you."   In response to Chair Seaton,  he said he would                                                               
send  any technical  suggestions  for such  an  amendment to  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:09:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention to Section  1 of the                                                               
bill, which read as follows:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     *Section 1.  AS 28.05.071  is amended  by adding  a new                                                                  
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
               (b) A person convicted of a violation of (a)                                                                     
     of this section is guilty of an infraction.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   noted  that  AS  28.05.071   read  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 28.05.071.  Change of name or address.                                                                                
     A  person  who  has  applied   for  or  been  issued  a                                                                    
     certificate, registration,  title, license,  permit, or                                                                    
     other  form  under  this title,  and  who  changes  the                                                                    
     person's name  or moves from  the address shown  on the                                                                    
     records or  forms of  the Department  of Administration                                                                    
     or the  Department of Public  Safety, shall  notify the                                                                    
     appropriate  department in  writing  of  the change  in                                                                    
     name or address within 30 days.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG stated that  since there is currently no                                                               
penalty set  forth in AS 28.05.071,  "you go back to  the general                                                               
provisions in  Title 28, which  are found  in AS 28.40.050."   He                                                               
noted that AS 28.40.050(a) read:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (a) It is a misdemeanor for a person to violate a                                                                     
     provision  of this  title unless  the  violation is  by                                                                    
     this title or  other law declared to be a  felony or an                                                                    
     infraction.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  [Section  1]  lowers the  penalty                                                               
from  a  misdemeanor  to  an  infraction.    Regarding  what  the                                                               
punishment for an infraction would  be, he said that doesn't seem                                                               
to be written.   He directed attention to  AS 28.40.050(c), which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          (c) Unless otherwise specified by law a person                                                                        
     convicted of a violation  of a regulation adopted under                                                                    
     this  title,   or  a  municipal   ordinance  regulating                                                                    
     vehicles or  traffic when the municipal  ordinance does                                                                    
     not correspond to a provision  of this title, is guilty                                                                    
     of an  infraction and  is punishable by  a fine  not to                                                                    
     exceed $300.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked,  "Do we need to  say something in                                                               
Title  28 as  to  what  the punishment  for  this particular  new                                                               
infraction's  going to  be, or  do you  go back  to Title  12 for                                                               
that?"                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:11:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  said  unless   Mr.  Bannock  has  a  better                                                               
suggestion  he  concurs  with Representative  Gruenberg,  and  he                                                               
suggested  that the  language "with  a fine  not to  exceed $300"                                                               
should be added to [Section 1, page 1, line 6].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:12:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON suggested that language  be offered at the next bill                                                               
hearing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON, regarding  [Amendment 1],  told committee  members                                                               
they should be  aware that Sections 2-5 of  the amendment address                                                               
the forfeiture  of a vehicle  "on second offense," and  Section 6                                                               
deals with impoundment.   He also pointed out  that the citations                                                               
in Section 6  relate to statutes on driving  under the influence.                                                               
He said if the committee wishes  to have the impoundment apply to                                                               
both  the  suspension   of  a  license  and   driving  under  the                                                               
influence, then "we can leave those references in."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:13:39 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said a  lot of  people in  his district                                                               
have  problems  with  getting cars  impounded  "from  very  small                                                               
infractions."  He indicated this is hard when a person is poor.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[HB  347  was  heard  and  held.    Amendment  1,  later  labeled                                                               
Amendment  7   at  the  2/14/06  House   State  Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee meeting, was left pending.]                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State  Affairs  Standing  Committee   meeting  was  adjourned  at                                                               
10:13:58 AM.                                                                                                                  

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