Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

03/14/2006 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 475 PUB EMPLOYEE & TEACHER RETIREMENT & SBS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 475(STA) Out of Committee
+= HB 448 LICENSE PLATES FOR MASONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 448(STA) Out of Committee
+= HB 438 INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, RECALL PETITIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 45 CONTRIBUTIONS, LOBBYISTS, DISCLOSURE TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 14, 2006                                                                                         
                           8:05 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                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 475                                                                                                              
"An  Act describing  contributions  to  the health  reimbursement                                                               
arrangement  plan  for  certain teachers  and  public  employees;                                                               
clarifying   eligibility   for    membership   in   that   health                                                               
reimbursement arrangement  plan; relating to  the 'administrator'                                                               
of  the  Public  Employees'  Retirement  System  of  Alaska;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 475(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 448                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to special  license  plates for  the Free  and                                                               
Accepted Masons."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 448(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 438                                                                                                              
"An   Act  relating   to  initiative,   referendum,  and   recall                                                               
petitions; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 45                                                                                                               
"An Act amending the definition of the term 'lobbyist' in the                                                                   
Regulation of Lobbying Act; and providing for an effective                                                                      
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 475                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUB EMPLOYEE/TEACHER RETIREM'T/SBS/D.C.                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/13/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/06       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/23/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/23/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/23/06       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/28/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/28/06       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/02/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/02/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/02/06       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/07/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/07/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/07/06       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/14/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 448                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LICENSE PLATES FOR MASONS                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ELKINS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/13/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/06       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/07/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/07/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/07/06       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/14/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 438                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, RECALL PETITIONS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RAMRAS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/08/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/08/06       (H)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
03/09/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/09/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
03/14/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
KATIE SHOWS, Staff                                                                                                              
to Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided clarification regarding Conceptual                                                                
Amendment 6 to HB 475, on behalf of Representative Seaton,                                                                      
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MELANIE MILLHORN, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Retirement & Benefits                                                                                               
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 475.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TRACI CARPENTER, Project Manager                                                                                                
Health Benefits Section                                                                                                         
Division of Retirement & Benefits                                                                                               
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 475.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES VAN HORN, Staff                                                                                                           
to Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions raised during the last                                                                  
committee hearing on HB 448, on behalf of Representative Elkins,                                                                
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DUANE BANNOCK, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions during the hearing                                                                  
on HB 448.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LOUIS S. BANDIROLA, State Deputy                                                                                                
Alaska Contingent                                                                                                               
Knights of Columbus                                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Asked the committee to consider including                                                                  
the Knights of Columbus in HB 448.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JIM POUND, Staff                                                                                                                
to Representative Jay Ramras                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered further  details regarding  HB 438,                                                               
on behalf of Representative Ramras, sponsor.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE KREITZER, Chief of Staff                                                                                                
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 438.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARAH FELIX, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                         
Labor and State Affairs Section                                                                                                 
Civil Division (Juneau)                                                                                                         
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 438.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WHITNEY H. BREWSTER, Director                                                                                                   
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Addressed the  fiscal implications of the HB
438.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BROOKE MILES, Director                                                                                                          
Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC)                                                                                         
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Talked about the fiscal  implications of HB
438.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOPE L. CERMELJ                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on  behalf of herself  during the                                                               
hearing on HB 438.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PAUL  SEATON  called  the  House  State  Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  8:05:32  AM.    Representatives                                                             
Gatto, Elkins,  Gardner, and Seaton  were present at the  call to                                                               
order.   Representatives Lynn, Ramras,  and Gruenberg  arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 475-PUB EMPLOYEE & TEACHER RETIREMENT & SBS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[Contains discussion of SB 141 and SB 293.]                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:06:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that  the first  order  of business  was                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  475,  "An Act  describing  contributions to  the                                                               
health reimbursement  arrangement plan  for certain  teachers and                                                               
public employees;  clarifying eligibility for membership  in that                                                               
health   reimbursement   arrangement   plan;  relating   to   the                                                               
'administrator'  of the  Public Employees'  Retirement System  of                                                               
Alaska; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Before the  committee was the  committee substitute (CS)  for HB
475, Version 24-LS1685\Y, Wayne, 3/1/06.]                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[CHAIR SEATON handed the gavel over to Vice Chair Gatto.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:07:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   brought  attention  to   a  consolidated                                                               
sectional  analysis  for  HB  475,  which  was  included  in  the                                                               
committee  packet.   He reminded  the committee  that during  the                                                               
first  hearing of  the  bill,  there had  been  a  review of  the                                                               
original sectional  analysis, in which many  issues were repeated                                                               
for the  various retirement systems.   The  consolidated analysis                                                               
combines those systems and provides clarity.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:07:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  moved to adopt  Conceptual Amendment 6,  which read                                                               
as  follows   [original  punctuation  provided,  but   with  some                                                               
formatting changed]:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 17, following line 15:                                                                                                
          Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
         "* Sec. 45.  AS 39.35 is amended by adding new                                                                       
     sections to read:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.    39.35.957.    Designation   of    eligible                                                                
     employees,  agreement to  contribute, and  amendment of                                                                  
     participation.  (a) A  political subdivision  or public                                                                  
     organization shall  designate the  departments, groups,                                                                    
     or  other  classifications  of  employees  eligible  to                                                                    
     participate  in  the  plan, and  shall  agree  to  make                                                                    
     contributions  each year  in the  amounts required  for                                                                    
     members of the plan under AS 39.35.750.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          (b) If the employer does not participate in the                                                                       
     defined  benefit retirement  plan  under AS  39.35.095-                                                                    
     39.35.680,  an employee  who is  eligible under  (a) of                                                                    
     this  section  and  who  is a  member  of  the  defined                                                                    
     benefit retirement plan under  AS 39.35.095 - 39.35.680                                                                    
     shall   not    accrue   credited   service    or   make                                                                    
     contributions under  that plan,  but shall be  a member                                                                    
     of the  defined contribution  retirement plan  under AS                                                                    
     39.35.700-39.35.990 and  make contributions  under that                                                                    
     plan.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          (c) An employer may request to amend its                                                                              
     participation   in  the   plan   to   add  or   exclude                                                                    
     departments,  groups,   or  other   classifications  of                                                                    
     employees  by filing  a resolution  as  provided by  AS                                                                    
     39.35.950 or AS 39.35.955 with the administrator.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 39.35.958.  Termination of participation in                                                                    
     the  plan.   (a)   A  political  subdivision or  public                                                                  
     organization may request that  its participation in the                                                                    
     plan  be terminated.    The request  may  be made  only                                                                    
     after adoption of a resolution  by the legislative body                                                                    
     of  the  political  subdivision  and  approval  of  the                                                                    
     resolution  by the  person required  by law  to approve                                                                    
     the   resolution,  or,   in  the   case  of   a  public                                                                    
     organization,  after adoption  of a  resolution by  the                                                                    
     governing   body  of   that   public  organization.   A                                                                    
     certified copy  of the resolution  shall be  filed with                                                                    
     the administrator.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          (b) If contributions are not transmitted to the                                                                       
     plan   within   the    prescribed   time   limit,   the                                                                    
     commissioner of  administration may grant  an extension                                                                    
     and   shall   assess   interest  on   the   outstanding                                                                    
     contributions   at  the   rate  established   under  AS                                                                    
     39.35.610.  If  the  political  subdivision  or  public                                                                    
     organization  is   in  default   at  the  end   of  the                                                                    
     extension,  participation in  the  plan is  terminated,                                                                    
     and it shall be sent notice of termination.                                                                                
          (c) When an employer's participation in the plan                                                                      
     is terminated, or when  an employer terminates coverage                                                                    
     of  a department,  group,  or  other classification  of                                                                    
     employees  under  AS  39.35.957(c),  the  administrator                                                                    
     shall   assess  the   employer  an   amount  that   the                                                                    
     administrator  determines  is actuarially  required  to                                                                    
     fully fund  the costs to  the plan for  employees whose                                                                    
     coverage   is  terminated,   including   the  cost   of                                                                    
     providing  the  employer's   share  of  retiree  health                                                                    
     benefits  under AS  39.35.880, occupational  disability                                                                    
     and occupational death benefits  under AS 39.35.890 and                                                                    
     39.35.892,  and retirement  benefits  elected under  AS                                                                    
     39.35.890(h)(2).                                                                                                           
          (d) An employee whose coverage under the plan is                                                                      
     terminated as a result  of termination of an employer's                                                                    
     participation under  this section  or amendment  of the                                                                    
     employer's  agreement under  AS  39.35.957(c) shall  be                                                                    
     considered  fully  vested   in  employer  contributions                                                                    
     under  AS 39.35.790(b)  and in  the individual  account                                                                    
     established for  the employee under  AS 39.30.370.   If                                                                    
     the  employee is  later employed  with a  participating                                                                    
     employer,  the  employee's  membership  service  earned                                                                    
     under  the plan  during  employment  with a  terminated                                                                    
     employer shall be credited  for purposes of determining                                                                    
     vesting    in   employer    contributions   under    AS                                                                    
     39.35.790(b)   and  eligibility   for  retirement   and                                                                    
     medical benefits  under this chapter and  AS 39.30.300-                                                                    
     39.35.495."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:09:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR GATTO objected for discussion purposes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:09:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON spoke to Conceptual  Amendment 6.  He explained that                                                               
currently  there  are  provisions  in the  defined  benefit  (DB)                                                               
retirement  plan that  allow employers  to opt  out of  the plan.                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 6 would bring  the defined contribution (DC)                                                               
retirement plan in conformity, so  that if an employer decided to                                                               
opt out in the future, it  could be done basically under the same                                                               
conditions that employers currently follow for the DB plan.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:10:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATIE SHOWS,  Staff to Representative  Paul Seaton,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on behalf of Representative  Seaton, sponsor, and in                                                               
response   to  remarks   made  by   Representative  Gardner   and                                                               
Representative   Seaton,   clarified   that,   under   Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 6, a new employer can decide  to opt into both a DC and                                                               
a DB plan, or just the DC plan.   By opting into the DB plan, the                                                               
employer would be  able to hire employees  already established in                                                               
the DB plan and allow them  to continue to accrue defined benefit                                                               
service.  Alternatively, a new  employer could opt to participate                                                               
solely in the  DC plan, in which case, an  employee with previous                                                               
DB service would  effectively start over as a DC  employee and be                                                               
a member  of both plans, which  would be treated as  two separate                                                               
plans.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:12:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  suggested it may be  difficult for people                                                               
who have  been in the  DB plan but  are not  yet vested in  it to                                                               
leave  that plan  in order  to work  for a  new employee  who has                                                               
opted to only be in the DC plan.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:12:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHOWS  responded that's correct.   She stated that it  is the                                                               
decision of  the employer to decide  whether or not to  have that                                                               
flexibility in hiring [by offering both plans].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:12:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOWS,  in   response  to  Vice  Chair   Gatto,  stated  her                                                               
assumption that,  under the Internal Revenue  Service (IRS) code,                                                               
the employer could not offer one  plan to one employee and not to                                                               
another.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:13:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON clarified  that if a new  employer chose to                                                               
be solely in the DC plan, "it  would be exactly as if someone was                                                               
going to  work for a private  employer or somebody else  that was                                                               
not a member of PERS."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:13:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  GATTO removed his  objection to  Conceptual Amendment                                                               
6.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:14:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR GATTO  asked if  there was  any further  objection to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment  6.  There being  none, Conceptual Amendment                                                               
6 was adopted.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:14:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  directed   attention  to   Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 7, which  he explained is SB 293,  with minor technical                                                               
changes.  He  said the amendment would delay  [the effective date                                                               
of SB 141] from July 1, 2006, to  July 1, 2008.  He said [SB 141]                                                               
has had a  lot of unintended consequences.  It  is more expensive                                                               
than the existing  system for new employees, the  greater part of                                                               
the expense is shifted to  future employees, and the benefit risk                                                               
is  shifted to  employees.   He  said that  risk is  significant,                                                               
because   Alaska's   government  employees,   unlike   government                                                               
employees  elsewhere, are  not generally  eligible for  a "social                                                               
security safety  net."  He stated,  "The change from Tier  III to                                                               
Tier IV will do nothing to  pare down the unfunded liability, and                                                               
the changes do  not deal with the fundamental  driver of (indisc.                                                               
-- coughing) costs and skyrocketing health care costs."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:16:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  7, which read                                                               
as  follows   [with  some  handwritten  changes   and  formatting                                                               
changes]:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     "An   Act  relating   to  the   teachers'  and   public                                                                  
     employees'  retirement  systems  and  creating  defined                                                                  
     contribution   and  health   reimbursement  plans   for                                                                  
     members  of the  teachers'  retirement  system and  the                                                                  
     public  employees'  retirement  system  who  are  first                                                                  
     hired after  July 1, 2008;  providing for  an effective                                                                  
     date  by amending  the effective  date section  of sec.                                                                  
     148, ch. 9, FSSLA 2005;  and providing for an effective                                                                  
     date."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
     Add  the following  sections to  the bill  - insert  in                                                                    
     appropriate places                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        * Section 1. AS 14.25.009 is amended to read:                                                                         
          Sec. 14.25.009. Applicability of AS 14.25.009 -                                                                     
     14.25.220. The  provisions of AS 14.25.009  - 14.25.220                                                                  
     apply only  to members first hired  before July 1, 2008                                                                
     [2006].                                                                                                                    
        * Sec. 2. AS 14.25.012(c) is amended to read:                                                                         
          (c)  Employees first hired after June 30, 2008                                                                    
     [2006],  are not  eligible to  participate in  the plan                                                                    
     established in AS 14.25.009 - 14.25.220.                                                                                   
        * Sec. 3. AS 14.25.310 is amended to read:                                                                            
          Sec.  14.25.310. Applicability  of AS 14.25.310  -                                                                  
     14.25.590. The  provisions of AS 14.25.310  - 14.25.590                                                                  
     apply only to  teachers who first become  members on or                                                                    
     after July 1,  2008 [2006], or to  members who transfer                                                                
     into the defined contribution plan under AS 14.25.540.                                                                     
        * Sec. 4. AS 14.25.320(b) is amended to read:                                                                       
          (b)    The  defined contribution  retirement  plan                                                                    
     includes a plan in which  savings are accumulated in an                                                                    
     individual  account for  the exclusive  benefit of  the                                                                    
     member  or  beneficiaries.   The  plan  is  established                                                                    
     effective   July 1,   2008   [2006],  at   which   time                                                                
     contributions by employers and members begin.                                                                              
        * Sec. 5. AS 14.25.330(a) is amended to read:                                                                         
          Sec.  14.25.330.  Membership.  (a) A  teacher  who                                                                  
     first  becomes  a  member  on  or  after  July 1,  2008                                                                
     [2006], shall  participate in the  plan as a  member of                                                                    
     the defined contribution retirement plan.                                                                                  
        * Sec. 6. AS 39.30.300 is amended to read:                                                                            
          Sec.  39.30.300.  State  of Alaska  Teachers'  and                                                                  
     Public   Employees'    Retiree   Health   Reimbursement                                                                  
     Arrangement  Plan  established.  The  State  of  Alaska                                                                  
     Teachers'   and   Public  Employees'   Retiree   Health                                                                    
     Reimbursement  Arrangement  Plan   is  established  for                                                                    
     teachers  who  first  become  members  of  the  defined                                                                    
     contribution  plan of  the teachers'  retirement system                                                                    
     under  AS 14.25.310 -  14.25.590  on  or after  July 1,                                                                    
     2008  [2006], and  employees  of  the state,  political                                                                
     subdivisions of the state,  and public organizations of                                                                    
     the  state  who first  become  members  of the  defined                                                                    
     contribution plan  of the public  employees' retirement                                                                    
     system  under  AS 39.35.700  - 39.35.990  on  or  after                                                                    
     July 1, 2008 [2006].                                                                                                   
        * Sec. 7. AS 39.30.310(b) is amended to read:                                                                         
          (b)    The  plan becomes  effective  July 1,  2008                                                                
     [2006],  at  which   time  contributions  by  employers                                                                    
     begin.                                                                                                                     
        * Sec. 8. AS 39.35.095 is amended to read:                                                                            
          Sec.  39.35.095. Applicability  of AS 39.35.095  -                                                                  
     39.35.680.  The following  provisions  of this  chapter                                                                  
     apply only  to members first hired  before July 1, 2008                                                                
     [2006]: AS 39.35.095 - 39.35.680.                                                                                          
        * Sec. 9. AS 39.35.700 is amended to read:                                                                            
          Sec.  39.35.700. Applicability  of AS 39.35.700  -                                                                  
     39.35.990. The  provisions of AS 39.35.700  - 39.35.990                                                                  
     apply only to  members first hired on  or after July 1,                                                                    
     2008  [2006],  or  to members  who  transfer  into  the                                                                
     defined contribution plan under AS 39.35.940.                                                                              
        * Sec. 10. AS 39.35.710(b) is amended to read:                                                                        
          (b)  The defined contribution retirement plan is                                                                      
     a  plan   in  which  savings  are   accumulated  in  an                                                                    
     individual   retirement  account   for  the   exclusive                                                                    
     benefit  of the  member or  beneficiaries. The  plan is                                                                    
     established  effective July 1,  2008  [2006], at  which                                                                
     time contributions by employers and members begin.                                                                         
        * Sec. 11. AS 39.35.720 is amended to read:                                                                           
          Sec. 39.35.720. Membership. An employee who                                                                         
     becomes  a  member on  or  after  July 1, 2008  [2006],                                                                
     shall participate  in the plan set  out in AS 39.35.700                                                                    
     - 39.35.990.                                                                                                               
        * Sec. 12. AS 39.35.750(c) is amended to read:                                                                        
          (c)  Notwithstanding (b) of this section, the                                                                         
     employer   contribution  for   retiree  major   medical                                                                    
     insurance  for fiscal  year 2009  [2007] shall  be 1.75                                                                
     percent of  each member's  compensation from  July 1 to                                                                    
     the following June 30.                                                                                                     
       *Sec. 11. Section 148, ch.  9, FSSLA 2005, is amended                                                                  
     to read:                                                                                                                   
          Sec. 148. Sections 2, 8, 35, 40, 46, 61, 69, 80,                                                                      
     82, 122, and  134 of this Act take  effect July 1, 2008                                                                
     [2006].                                                                                                                    
        *  Sec.  13. The  uncodified  law  of the  State  of                                                                  
     Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                         
          CONDITIONAL RETROACTIVITY. If secs. 1 - 13 of                                                                         
     this Act take  effect after July 1, 2006, secs.  1 - 13                                                                    
     of this Act are retroactive to July 1, 2006.                                                                               
        (These sections shall  take effect immediately under                                                                  
     AS 01.10.070(c).)                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Change title as necessary                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:16:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS objected to Conceptual Amendment 7.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR GATTO said he wants to see a copy of SB
293/Conceptual Amendment 7.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[The committee moved to other business while waiting for copies                                                                 
of SB 293 to be made and distributed.]                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:17:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER directed attention to the part of the                                                                    
consolidated sectional analysis addressing a change from 120                                                                    
days -  the required time in  which a decision on  an appeal must                                                               
be issued - to 180 days.  She  asked if the original PERS and TRS                                                               
Boards  had  120  days  and  if  [the  Office  of  Administrative                                                               
Hearings (OAH)] wants the 180 days.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:17:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHOWS  deferred to the  Division of Retirement &  Benefits to                                                               
answer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:18:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  GATTO noted  that the committee  had just  received a                                                               
copy of Conceptual Amendment 7.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:19:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said Conceptual Amendment 7  is simple;                                                               
it just  conforms the  language in the  appropriate places  in HB
475, to change the date from July 1, 2006, to July 1, [2008].                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:20:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS maintained his objection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:20:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  suggested  hearing from  representatives                                                               
from the  Division of Retirement  & Benefits regarding  what they                                                               
think the impact of the  delay proposed by Conceptual Amendment 7                                                               
would be.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:21:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  remarked   that  the   new  Tier   IV                                                               
retirement system  is more expensive  for employees than  the old                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:21:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MELANIE MILLHORN,  Director, Division  of Retirement  & Benefits,                                                               
Department  of  Administration,  said   she  doesn't  agree  with                                                               
Representative Gruenberg's  statement.  She said  the normal cost                                                               
for Tier  III [in TRS]  and Tier IV  [in PERS] is  less expensive                                                               
than  the   existing  Tiers  II   and  III  for  TRS   and  PERS,                                                               
respectively.   She said the  DC retirement plan provides  a more                                                               
predictable,  stable employer  contribution  rate.   The  portion                                                               
that  is  not   a  defined  contribution  plan   is  the  medical                                                               
component.  Ms.  Millhorn discussed rising health  care costs and                                                               
noted that  many states  do not offer  medical benefits  to their                                                               
employees.   She  offered further  statistics, and  she concluded                                                               
that [the DC  plan] reduces the cost to the  employer and reduces                                                               
the volatility associated with defined benefit components.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:26:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG clarified that he  wants to know if [the                                                               
new defined  contribution plan]  would be  more expensive  to new                                                               
employees, and he said he  thinks Ms. Millhorn's remarks indicate                                                               
that she agrees it really would be.  He continued:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     When we  look at  the health care  costs too,  we can't                                                                    
     artificially  separate  out   the  health  care  costs,                                                                    
     because ... from the employee's  point of view it's the                                                                    
     total cost.   And you have said that  these total costs                                                                    
     are going  to be  a certain amount.   You've  also said                                                                    
     the employer  section's going down.   It just logically                                                                    
     follows then that  the employee portion is  going to go                                                                    
     up, doesn't it?                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:27:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN offered information relating to contribution rates.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:27:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG stated  that  he is  not talking  about                                                               
just the contribution rate, but  rather the total cost, of which,                                                               
under the  new DC  plan, the state  will pay less.   He  said Ms.                                                               
Millhorn is talking  about the contribution rate,  not the amount                                                               
that the employee will have to pay the doctor.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:28:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  he  thinks Representative  Gruenberg                                                               
and  Ms. Millhorn  are talking  about two  different issues.   He                                                               
related that  every time the  state has changed from  an existing                                                               
tier to a new  tier, it could be said that those  in the new tier                                                               
pay more,  because they  receive less.   However, he  pointed out                                                               
that the new  DC plan includes occupational  death and disability                                                               
benefits that  were not provided  under the  DB plan.   He stated                                                               
that the plans are different and  it is difficult to measure what                                                               
employees  get  from one  plan  versus  the other,  because,  for                                                               
example, it  depends on how  many employees will qualify  for the                                                               
benefits.    He   offered  examples.    Chair   Seaton  said  the                                                               
contribution cost to the employer is easily assessable.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:30:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  stated  that  he has  been  under  the                                                               
misimpression that  the purpose  of creating Tier  IV was  to cut                                                               
down the cost  to the state.   He added, "And if  the total costs                                                               
remain  the  same,  and  the  part  the  state  pays  goes  less,                                                               
logically the part the employee pays must go up."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:31:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  GATTO  said  the unfunded  liability  was  not  just                                                               
climbing in interest, but also  in principle each year.  Stopping                                                               
that trend, he said, is certainly a savings to the state.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  responded that the employee  would then                                                               
make up the difference.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  GATTO said he  would not agree  that it would  be the                                                               
entire difference.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:31:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILLHORN said  she does  not believe  that the  cost to  the                                                               
employee is increased.   She said the  employee's contribution is                                                               
set in statute  at 8 percent, and the  employer's contribution is                                                               
set in  statute, as well.   She explained that [the  new DC plan]                                                               
will stop the  growth of unfunded liability in the  future "for a                                                               
system  that has  defined benefit  elements that  are subject  to                                                               
change over time, that can differ with experience."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:32:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  GATTO said one  question is whether the  new employee                                                               
who will not  be contributing into a DB plan  will cost the state                                                               
more in the long run when  he/she retires.  He stated, "This says                                                               
the state  will have  to cough  up some more  money in  the short                                                               
run, because  we don't have  the new employees  contributing into                                                               
the plan; but we maintain the liability."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:33:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  indicated that  he is  not particularly                                                               
disagreeing  with Vice  Chair Gatto,  but rather  is espousing  a                                                               
different view point.  He mentioned  the cost of living, which he                                                               
noted  comes from  "the cash  portion  of the  pension," and  the                                                               
insurance  cost, which  he said  "would come  when the  doctor is                                                               
paid.    He  stated  that  whatever those  costs  are,  they  are                                                               
projected to  increase -  especially the health  care costs.   He                                                               
reasoned that, given  one amount, if the state's  portion of that                                                               
amount is reduced,  then it stands to reason  that the employees'                                                               
portions will increase.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:34:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained that  Representative Gruenberg's                                                               
estimation is not quite correct.  He continued:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Seventy-five  percent   of  the  expense   coming  from                                                                    
     runaway  health  care  is  by   people  that  have  ...                                                                    
     retirement  before  the age  of  65  - before  Medicare                                                                    
     eligible age.   So, there  is a difference  in benefit.                                                                    
     Those people -  and they're not a vast  majority - that                                                                    
     retire early,  get that massive amount  of benefit that                                                                    
     everyone pays for  under the current plan.   So, if you                                                                    
     are a Tier  I employee and you could retire  at 55, you                                                                    
     would  have all  your health  care paid  for from  that                                                                    
     point on,  and solely by  the system.  ...  The current                                                                    
     plan, ... if  you've got 30 years, will  pay 90 percent                                                                    
     of the ... medical  benefit, ... because Medicare picks                                                                    
     up a  lot from that point  forward.  So, when  you talk                                                                    
     about "to  an employee," there is  no average employee.                                                                    
     Some  employees -  those  that retire  early  - get  an                                                                    
     extreme  benefit under  the current  plan because  they                                                                    
     get all  their medical paid  for by the system.   Those                                                                    
     people  that work  [until] they're  65  don't get  that                                                                    
     benefit  at all.   In  this  plan, what  happens is  it                                                                    
     comes  much  more  to   everyone  [who]  qualifies  for                                                                    
     benefits  and shares  equally.    The medical  benefits                                                                    
     that are  provided under the  defined benefit  plan are                                                                    
     far   [inequitably]  distributed   among  the   people,                                                                    
     depending  upon  when they  retire.    So, there  is  a                                                                    
     definite realignment that makes  these -- like the HRA.                                                                    
     Everybody  gets the  HRA, based  on  the entire  system                                                                    
     wide average of  ... wage base.  So,  everybody gets an                                                                    
     equal amount  of health  care dollars  there, depending                                                                    
     upon their years of service.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     So, what you have is a  system right now under DB which                                                                    
     is very ...  weighted, and some people get  a whole lot                                                                    
     of  benefits, and  some people  get much  less benefit.                                                                    
     And that's  the entire cost  of the plan.   Whereas the                                                                    
     new  defined  contribution   plan  is  very  definitely                                                                    
     individually based and much  more aligned with equality                                                                    
     for participants enjoying the benefits of their plan.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:37:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON asked  Ms. Millhorn for a  projection of how                                                               
many  new  employees would  "pick  up  under  SB 293,  under  the                                                               
current system."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:37:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN said there is a  projection, based upon the last 12-                                                               
month fiscal year,  which shows that there  will be approximately                                                               
4,400  new PERS  and  TRS members.   She  added,  "So, what  this                                                               
effective  delay would  do is  it  would allow  entry of  another                                                               
approximate 8,800  members, who would then  therefore be entitled                                                               
to this very rich medical benefit."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:37:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON  asked Ms.  Millhorn if  she knows  what the                                                               
cost would be.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:37:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN replied  that the division has not  yet analyzed the                                                               
cost.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:38:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked  Ms.   Millhorn  to  describe  the                                                               
difference in cost under the new  and old systems for the medical                                                               
insurance portion between retirement and Medicaid eligibility.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:38:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN stated  that currently, under PERS,  the normal cost                                                               
that  the  employer pays  for  the  employee medical  benefit  is                                                               
approximately 8.68 percent,  and under TRS it  is approximately 9                                                               
percent.  She continued:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     When  the tier  redesign  began a  task  force and  ...                                                                    
     asked  the  employers  ...  and  ...  employees  what's                                                                    
     really  important  ...,  employers and  employees  said                                                                    
     it's  very  important  to have  that  medical  benefit.                                                                    
     When  you actually  start analyzing  the cost  for that                                                                    
     medical benefit, you have to  redesign it in a way that                                                                    
     you preserved the  benefit to the employees  and to the                                                                    
     employers who  have to recruit and  retain a workforce.                                                                    
     So,  this  redesign  was studied  extensively,  it  was                                                                    
     reviewed,  [and] the  components within  it are  ... on                                                                    
     the leading edge of looking at that redesign.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I  appreciate the  comments from  Representative Seaton                                                                    
     also, because  before, under Tier  I, for  example, you                                                                    
     had a deferred,  vested member - most  of those parties                                                                    
     right  now that  are retiring  are Tier  I -  you could                                                                    
     have five  years of vested  service, you could  go work                                                                    
     for another  employer, and  then once  you're eligible,                                                                    
     you  can   start  drawing  that  pension   and  medical                                                                    
     benefit.    So, by  redesigning  this  plan that  costs                                                                    
     shares  with the  employee,  you  ... inject  consumer-                                                                    
     driven  health   care  into  your  health   plan  where                                                                    
     employees  value  decisions  that they  have  to  make.                                                                    
     They  have  these  dollars  set  aside  to  make  these                                                                    
     medical decisions  and it provides  a redesign  of that                                                                    
     benefit  that  is very,  very  beneficial  to both  the                                                                    
     employer and the employee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:41:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER responded:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     During  that  period  when  the  employer's  percentage                                                                    
     drops  ...  from  8.68 to  1.75  percent,  doesn't  the                                                                    
     former employee  - who is  now retired but  doesn't yet                                                                    
     qualify  for [Medicare]  - ...  pick  up a  significant                                                                    
     portion?  And it comes out  of the HRA account or a set                                                                    
     aside until  that's gone, and then  there's another big                                                                    
     hit.   As  I recall,  last year  there was  some debate                                                                    
     about if payments were missed  and they didn't bring it                                                                    
     current  in a  given  timeframe, they  would then  lose                                                                    
     access in the future to medical coverage.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER,  in  response  to  a  request  from  Ms.                                                               
Millhorn, clarified  that she wants  a comparison between  the DB                                                               
and  DC members  "for  that period  between  retirement from  the                                                               
system as a fully vested member and access to [Medicare]."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:43:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN stated that the normal retirement age for employees                                                                
under the existing DB benefit plan is 55, at which point those                                                                  
employees  who  have  met  the  membership  service  and  vesting                                                               
requirements  would be  able  to receive  a  pension and  medical                                                               
benefit for  themselves and  for their  eligible dependents.   At                                                               
age 65, that  benefit "coordinates with Medicare."   Under the DC                                                               
benefit  plan, employees  who have  a service  eligibility of  30                                                               
years and are 55 years of  age would be eligible for their health                                                               
reimbursement  arrangement  in order  to  pay  the premiums  [for                                                               
health  care] until  age  65.   In response  to  a question  from                                                               
Representative  Gardner,   she  said  the   health  reimbursement                                                               
arrangement  is  not a  contribution  account  that the  employee                                                               
makes  any   contributions  to   at  all;   it  is   an  employer                                                               
contribution  that is  made on  behalf of  the employee  into the                                                               
account to pay for medical expenses.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:45:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER recalled  from testimony  last year  that                                                               
there  is  a potential  that  that  money  can  run out  and  the                                                               
employee would not have the  funds from that account or elsewhere                                                               
to keep  current with  his/her medical  coverage.   She described                                                               
that time  as occurring  between when an  employee has  access to                                                               
"funds for  maintaining coverage" and  when he/she has  access to                                                               
Medicare, and indicated that "that's  where there's an additional                                                               
for the ... employee."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:45:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  confirmed that  that's what  he was  talking about:                                                               
"this unequal benefit  by employees."  He said  the original Tier                                                               
I was too expensive for the state  to maintain, so a new tier was                                                               
created.  He continued:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     But those  people still have  this very - if  they take                                                                    
     advantage of  that -  this very  unequal benefit.   You                                                                    
     know, it could  be a couple hundred  thousand dollars a                                                                    
     year if you  started ... late and  missed service, came                                                                    
     back under  Tier I, and  then went forward  and retired                                                                    
     early at  55.  Now, if  you work to 65  it doesn't make                                                                    
     any  difference.   If  you  continue  to work  so  that                                                                    
     you're not  accepting that benefit, then  you have your                                                                    
     regular  active  medical plan  ...,  and  then you  get                                                                    
     Medicare and you get the ... retirement benefit.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     But Tier III is different than  Tier I:  you don't have                                                                    
     the same  retirement age, because  we found  that those                                                                    
     were  very  unequal  benefits that  were  provided  for                                                                    
     different employees  and it couldn't be  afforded.  And                                                                    
     we're  looking at  the same  thing in  Tier IV:   we're                                                                    
     looking  at benefits  that ...  vastly cost  the system                                                                    
     per individuals  if they  want to  choose to  retire as                                                                    
     early  as possible  and take  those  payments from  the                                                                    
     system,  versus  the majority  of  the  members in  the                                                                    
     system.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     And  so, you  again have  to come  back into  the basic                                                                    
     philosophy  ... [that]  a  DC  plan equalized  benefits                                                                    
     among people, instead of saying,  "Okay, we're going to                                                                    
     throw  out a  very rich  benefit for  a certain  select                                                                    
     group of  people in  our retiree  population."   ... If                                                                    
     you  only want  to consider  the cost  of somebody  who                                                                    
     makes  the selection  that costs  the system  the most,                                                                    
     you'll  find that  that's the  case.   If you  take the                                                                    
     person  that  retires  at 65,  then  those  differences                                                                    
     don't really exist.   So, that's what you  have to look                                                                    
     at, as well.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:48:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG directed  attention to  a letter  dated                                                               
Jan 7, 2006,  to Senator Elton from Gail  Schubert, Chair, Alaska                                                               
Retirement  Management (ARM)  Board, [included  in the  committee                                                               
packet].   He highlighted  information from  charts on  the first                                                               
and  second pages  of the  letter,  which shows  that the  normal                                                               
costs to employers will drop when  changing to a DC plan, whereas                                                               
the normal cost for employees will rise.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:50:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN said  she does not dispute the facts  and figures in                                                               
the letter.   She relayed that the new DC  plan does have members                                                               
paying  8 percent  and sets  out what  the employer  contribution                                                               
rate is going to be.  She  said it was observed that the existing                                                               
DB  plans did  not appear  to equally  share costs.   The  entire                                                               
normal cost  rate is over  20 percent  and the employer  pays the                                                               
bigger portion of it.   The employer is also left  with a lack of                                                               
predictability  regarding  ever-increasing   costs  that  may  be                                                               
different from assumptions.   Based on those  facts, Ms. Millhorn                                                               
said, the employer bears all of the  risk for the plan.  She said                                                               
the DC plan would be more equal  in terms of the employer cost in                                                               
relation to the employee cost.   She said members in focus groups                                                               
were surveyed  in 2004, and  some said  they would be  willing to                                                               
pay more for their valuable  benefits, but statute prohibits them                                                               
from doing so.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:52:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG indicated that he doesn't want to keep                                                                 
beating "this horse."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:52:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR   GATTO  observed  that  the   aforementioned  letter                                                               
indicates a  .5 percent  increase in  cost.   He asked,  "And the                                                               
short answer  is balanced by ...  the equity, or balanced  by the                                                               
long-term unfunded liability, or is that reasonable?"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:52:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLHORN answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:52:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON proffered:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     These  are the  normal costs;  these don't  include the                                                                    
     past service cost, of course,  which is associated with                                                                    
     Tier  II [and]  Tier III,  under [the]  defined benefit                                                                    
     plan.    I would  bring  everybody's  attention to  how                                                                    
     close  these are,  and  that  the defined  contribution                                                                    
     plan has  very high benefits compared  to other defined                                                                    
     contribution  plans  that  have been  done  around  the                                                                    
     nation.  And we did  this very specifically, because we                                                                    
     said that employers could pay  [this] kind or [amount],                                                                    
     and   employees    could   make   these    [kinds]   of                                                                    
     distributions  and   continue  hiring   employees,  not                                                                    
     having  to  cut  their  workforce, not  having  to  lay                                                                    
     people off because  of the high benefit cost.   And so,                                                                    
     what  this  does  is give  security  for  people  going                                                                    
     forward, but it's  a very ... high cost,  and that cost                                                                    
     is actuarially  determined so  that those  benefits are                                                                    
     ... quite  similar, although they're different.   So, I                                                                    
     would just  speak against  [Amendment 7],  because what                                                                    
     we're going to do is  continue a system that's going to                                                                    
     increase past service cost liability.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:54:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he would like to call a question                                                                  
on Amendment 7.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:54:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  GATTO stated  his intention  to wait  until committee                                                               
members who  recently vacated  the room  returned.   [Amendment 7                                                               
was set aside.]                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:54:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  adopt Amendment 8  to Version                                                               
Y, as follows:                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     On page 8, line 21:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          Between "administrator" and "the appeal"                                                                              
          Delete "receives"                                                                                                     
          Insert "takes"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          After "the appeal"                                                                                                    
          Insert "under advisement"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  a  court  does  not  receive  an                                                               
appeal; it "takes the appeal under advisement."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:55:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON   objected   to   Amendment   8.      For                                                               
clarification,  he  referred  to  the entire  sentence  to  which                                                               
Amendment 8  applies [beginning on  page 8, line 19],  which read                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The final decision  under AS 44.64 is  delegated to the                                                                    
     administrative  law judge  and shall  issue within  180                                                                    
     days  after the  date  the  administrator receives  the                                                                    
     appeal,  unless the  administrative law  judge and  all                                                                    
     parties agree to another time.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:55:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG responded, "I stand corrected."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON withdrew his objection.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG opined  that  is unusual  to require  a                                                               
judge to issue an opinion within  a certain amount of time of the                                                               
appeal being filed.  He said  there are statutes that don't allow                                                               
the judge to  get paid until he/she has issued  a decision within                                                               
six  months,  "but it's  within  six  months  after the  case  is                                                               
submitted to  the judge for  the decision  - after they  take the                                                               
case under advisement."  He  asked Ms. Carpenter why the division                                                               
chose the date  from which the administrator  receives the appeal                                                               
rather  than   the  date  the   judge  takes  the   appeal  under                                                               
advisement.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:57:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TRACI  CARPENTER,  Project   Manager,  Health  Benefits  Section,                                                               
Division of Retirement &  Benefits, Department of Administration,                                                               
said Representative Gruenberg brings up  an excellent point.  She                                                               
explained that  the language in  question was modeled  on current                                                               
Office  of Administration  Hearings'  statute,  with some  slight                                                               
variation.  The current statute  requires that the administrative                                                               
law  judge shall  prepare  a decision  within  the agency  having                                                               
received the appeal.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:57:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG withdrew  Amendment  8.   He  commented                                                               
that  that is  unusual, but  he doesn't  want to  change existing                                                               
law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:58:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR GATTO brought Amendment 7 back before the committee.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  he wants  Representative  Elkins                                                               
present for the vote on Amendment 7.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:59:17 AM to 8:59:30 AM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:59:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS maintained his objection to Amendment 7.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Gardner, Gruenberg,                                                               
and Lynn voted in favor  of Amendment 7.  Representatives Ramras,                                                               
Gatto,  Elkins,   and  Seaton  voted  against   it.    Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 7 failed by a vote of 3-4.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:00:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR GATTO closed public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:01:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved to  report  CSHB  475, Version  24-                                                               
LS1685\Y,  Wayne,  3/1/06,  as amended,  out  of  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being no objection, CSHB 475  (STA) was reported out of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[VICE CHAIR GATTO handed the gavel back to Chair Seaton.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 448-LICENSE PLATES FOR MASONS                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:02:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  next order of business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO. 448, "An Act relating  to special license plates for the                                                               
Free and Accepted Masons."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:02:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES VAN HORN, Staff to  Representative Jim Elkins, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, answered questions raised  during the last committee                                                               
hearing on HB  448, on behalf of  Representative Elkins, sponsor.                                                               
Regarding  Representative  Lynn's  previous suggestion  that  the                                                               
Knights of  Columbus be included,  he remarked that the  title of                                                               
the bill would  have to be changed.   He noted that  the bill was                                                               
originally  called, "An  act relating  to special  license plates                                                               
for  benevolent  associations",  but   after  talking  to  [Duane                                                               
Bannock], the director  of the [Division] of  Motor Vehicles, the                                                               
title was  changed to its  present form.   Mr. Van Horn  said the                                                               
term  "benevolent associations"  is found  only in  the insurance                                                               
section   of  Alaska   Statutes,  and   says  a   new  benevolent                                                               
association  may  not  be  formed  in  Alaska  after  1966.    He                                                               
indicated that he was informed  by the Division of Motor Vehicles                                                               
that the set-up  cost of making a special license  plate is about                                                               
$300.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:06:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked for  a  description  of "free  and                                                               
accepted Mason."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN HORN  deferred to Representative Elkins, whom  he said is                                                               
a Mason.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:06:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS said he is  not certain what the definition                                                               
would be for "free and  accepted."  Notwithstanding that he noted                                                               
that  the organization  is  the oldest  one of  its  kind in  the                                                               
world,  and it  does not  discriminate by  religion.   He shared,                                                               
"It's more of  a way of life  in what you practice  when you're a                                                               
Mason; it's a very ritualistic lodge within the lodge."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:07:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN noted  that George  Washington was  a Mason.                                                               
He said the  Masons and the Knights of Columbus  do much the same                                                               
things.  He listed the principals  of the Knights of Columbus as:                                                               
charity,  unity,  fraternity,  and  patriotism.   He  stated  his                                                               
intention to eventually offer an  amendment to add the Knights of                                                               
Columbus to the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:08:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS,  in response  to  a  question from  Chair                                                               
Seaton, said  he would  have no objection  to such  an amendment,                                                               
but questioned  if the  committee would  like to  consider adding                                                               
other fraternal organizations.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:09:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked Mr. Van  Horn to distribute a copy                                                               
of  the committee  substitute he  had mentioned  previously.   He                                                               
said  he  understands  why  Representative  Lynn  would  like  to                                                               
include the  Knights of Columbus.   He indicated concern  that by                                                               
using  the  term  "benevolent organization,"  some  organizations                                                               
that are not  so benevolent may try to be  included, for example,                                                               
the Ku Klux Klan.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:10:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  recollected that Mr.  Van Horn had  told him                                                               
that some  states have watchdog  agencies that have the  power to                                                               
decline applications.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:10:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VAN HORN  clarified that  Representative Elkins'  office had                                                               
done some research  regarding the Department of  Licensing in the                                                               
State  of  Washington, and  found  that  that department  has  41                                                               
special license  plates and  has a  special license  plate review                                                               
board, broken  up into  categories.  He  deferred to  Mr. Bannock                                                               
for further  response on the issue.   He noted that  Version F is                                                               
actually the  original form of  the bill, and he  reiterated that                                                               
statute does  not recognize  any benevolent  organizations formed                                                               
after July  1, 1966.   Mr.  Van Horn  stated, "So,  hopefully the                                                               
Knights of Columbus  were recognized by the state  prior to 1966,                                                               
as, for example,  the Elks, the Moose, and  organizations such as                                                               
that."  In response to  a question from Representative Gruenberg,                                                               
he said he does not have a list of those organizations.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:12:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said  he shares  Representative Gruenberg's                                                               
concern regarding  the "benevolent organization" definition.   He                                                               
explained  that there  could be  some  organizations that  formed                                                               
before  1966, but  changed their  focus since  then to  something                                                               
less good.   He  stated, "I  really feel  good about  having each                                                               
individual organization  come before  a body of  legislators, and                                                               
I'm not happy  about opening it up to whatever  the definition of                                                               
benevolent association is."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:14:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:14:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DUANE BANNOCK,  Director, Division of Motor  Vehicles, Department                                                               
of Administration, in  response to a question  from Chair Seaton,                                                               
stated that  he has  recommended creating  a subsection  in "this                                                               
chapter" for  each individual license plate.   Regarding previous                                                               
comment that other  states have some sort of body  that makes the                                                               
determination  regarding license  plates, he  suggested that  the                                                               
Alaska  State  Legislature  is  that  body.    A  more  "blanket"                                                               
approach, he said,  would arguably take that  authority away from                                                               
the legislature  and return  it to  bureaucrats.   Currently, the                                                               
legislature  has  the  authority  to approve  or  disapprove  all                                                               
plates before the Division of  Motor Vehicles produces and issues                                                               
them, which Mr. Bannock opined is a good process.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:15:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  asked   Mr.  Bannock  to  clarify   who  pays  the                                                               
previously mentioned $300 set-up fee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:16:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK  explained that although  he included that  amount in                                                               
the bill  analysis for informational purposes,  traditionally the                                                               
DMV has  paid that fee.   He stated,  "To be consistent,  we have                                                               
never charged the individual organization for them."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:16:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Ramras,  informed  the  committee   that  the  Advanced  Business                                                               
Partners  (ABPs)  [who  are  qualified  to  do  work  related  to                                                               
licensing  and  registration] often  stock  some  of the  special                                                               
license plates.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:17:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to the  aforementioned statute                                                               
regarding  benevolent  association,  and   he  asked,  "Does  the                                                               
Division  of Motor  Vehicles have  any experience  in determining                                                               
what  are the  relevant benevolent  associations, et  cetera, for                                                               
the issuance of license plates?"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:18:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK  replied, "In  the last  three years  I can  say zero                                                               
experience in that field."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:18:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON reminded the committee  that it does not have before                                                               
it a  working draft  addressing benevolent  [associations], thus,                                                               
he asked the committee to focus on [the original bill version].                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:19:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOUIS S.  BANDIROLA, State Deputy, Alaska  Contingent, Knights of                                                               
Columbus, asked  the committee to consider  including the Knights                                                               
of Columbus in HB 448.   He said the organization has existed for                                                               
over 150  years, is  spread throughout most  of the  Americas and                                                               
currently moving into parts of  Europe, and has over 1.75 million                                                               
members worldwide.  He spoke  about the principals of the Knights                                                               
of   Columbus,   previously   listed  by   Representative   Lynn,                                                               
characterizing  them as  key goals.    In Alaska,  he noted,  the                                                               
Knights  of Columbus  have  just over  1,600  members; its  first                                                               
council  met  in 1914  in  Juneau.    He  noted that  the  Alaska                                                               
contingent did  not receive  statewide status "as  a unit  of its                                                               
own" until 1994.  However, based  on the work that the Knights of                                                               
Columbus have done in the past and  hope to continue to do in the                                                               
future,  Mr. Bandirola  restated his  hope that  the organization                                                               
will be offered similar recognition in HB 488.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:21:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Mr.   Bannock  to  explain  the                                                               
significance of  the last  sentence in Version  G, which  read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The   department  may   disapprove   the  issuance   of                                                                    
     registration  plates  under  this subsection  when  the                                                                    
     requested  plates  are  a duplication  of  an  existing                                                                    
     registration.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:22:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK said that is  standard language, the purpose of which                                                               
is to  clear up any  confusion "from  a customer point  of view."                                                               
He offered an example.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:23:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON,  after ascertaining that  there was no one  else to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:23:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  moved to adopt [Conceptual]  Amendment 1, to                                                               
add  the Knights  of  Columbus  to HB  448,  with an  appropriate                                                               
change of title.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN declared a conflict  of interest; he revealed                                                               
that he is a "fourth degree Knight of Columbus."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON asked  if there  was any  objection [to  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:23:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS said he  would accept [Conceptual Amendment                                                               
1].                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:23:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that there  being no objection, Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked Mr. Bannock if  the addition of the Knights of                                                               
Columbus should be made in a separate subsection (y).                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK answered yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:25:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON, in response to  a question by Representative Gatto,                                                               
explained that  he had  just clarified with  Mr. Bannock  that by                                                               
putting  the   Knights  of  Columbus  reference   as  a  separate                                                               
paragraph, the  license plate itself  would be separate  from the                                                               
design for the Free and Accepted Masons.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BANNOCK  concurred  with Chair  Seaton's  explanation.    He                                                               
stated, "What  we would have is  one bill that addresses  two ...                                                               
distinctly different license plates."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:26:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  moved to report  HB 448, as amended,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  448(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 438-INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, RECALL PETITIONS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:27:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  next order of business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO.  438, "An  Act relating  to initiative,  referendum, and                                                               
recall petitions; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[Although  it  was never  adopted,  the  committee substitute  to                                                               
which  the   committee  referred  throughout  this   hearing  was                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)  for  HB  438,  Version  24-LS1344\X,                                                               
Kurtz, 2/22/06, included in the committee packet.]                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:27:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS introduced  HB 438 as sponsor.   He said he                                                               
learned  recently that  there  is "a  certain  looseness" to  the                                                               
processes   related  to   initiative,   referendum,  and   recall                                                               
petitions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:29:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM  POUND,  Staff to  Representative  Jay  Ramras, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, offered further details  regarding HB 438, on behalf                                                               
of  Representative Ramras,  sponsor.   He described  the proposed                                                               
bill as  a "tweaking"  of House  Bill 31  - legislation  that was                                                               
passed  in  2004.    He  stated,  "The  process  is  broken  down                                                               
primarily  between  petitions  and   recalls,  but  it  deals  in                                                               
generalities between  the two, as  well."   Although it is  a law                                                               
that those collecting signatures must  be residents of the state,                                                               
there have been cases where nonresidents  have come up to work on                                                               
petitions during  particular "drives."   Mr. Pound said  there is                                                               
language in [Version  X] that would allow  the signature gatherer                                                               
up to $15  a day for food  if he/she travels more  than 100 miles                                                               
from home.   He explained that quite often,  individuals from one                                                               
of the urban centers travel to outlying regions.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  stated that HB  438 would require each  "committee" to                                                               
receive training related  to the rules of  circulating a petition                                                               
or recall.   Presently that  is not  a requirement.   There would                                                               
also  be   a  requirement  that   [the  sponsors]   instruct  the                                                               
circulators as to what the rules are.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND indicated  that when  signature  collectors travel  to                                                               
rural  areas, they  sometimes have  no  idea whether  or not  the                                                               
district they  are in is  "qualified"; therefore,  the collectors                                                               
"run blind"  until they turn in  the petition books.   He said HB
438  would  allow the  petition  gatherers  or the  committee  to                                                               
submit up to 2,000 signatures  to the Division of Elections prior                                                               
to  the  actual  turning  in  of the  petition.    He  explained,                                                               
"There's a $1-dollar  fee that covers expenses  for the division,                                                               
but it will  also allow the petition gatherers ...  to ... have a                                                               
read on  ... the  number of signatures  and the  percentages that                                                               
they are receiving on an average."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:31:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND indicated [one of the  provisions in Version X is] that                                                               
an individual may not start a  recall effort if a public official                                                               
is within 270 days  of the term's end.  He  offered an example of                                                               
"term's end."  He said  the proposed legislation would change the                                                               
formula  for the  recall  petition from  10 to  20  percent.   He                                                               
emphasized that the  issue of recall is a serious  one and should                                                               
only  be approached  when there  is strong  support.   He posited                                                               
that the current  requirement to obtain signatures  of 10 percent                                                               
of those  who voted  in the previous  election within  a district                                                               
does  not represent  strong support,  ultimately costs  the state                                                               
money, and inflicts unnecessary  hardship on the public official.                                                               
Mr. Pound  said when a  person seeks  a recall, he/she  must make                                                               
charges against  the public official.   Regarding  those charges,                                                               
[he paraphrased  proposed language  in Version  X, which  read as                                                               
follows]:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
               (5) a certification by each member of the                                                                    
     recall committee,  under penalty  of perjury,  that the                                                                
     facts alleged in  the application are true  to the best                                                                
     of the member's knowledge.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  noted that there  is no current definition  of "normal                                                               
use" and "recall efforts," and  he indicated that the sponsor has                                                               
attempted  to supply  those definitions.   He  said the  proposed                                                               
legislation  further defines  the  petition  and recall  process,                                                               
which will result  in a better and "cleaner" public  process.  He                                                               
urged the committee to support the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:33:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, said  there are some  legal opinions regarding  HB 438                                                               
that he has not yet had an opportunity to review.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:33:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he  would like to  view them.   He                                                               
referred to  [the language on page  4, lines 8-10, which  read as                                                               
follows]:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 15.45.490. Time of filing application. An                                                                      
     application may not be filed  during the first 120 days                                                                    
     or  the last  270 days  of the  term of  office of  any                                                                
     state public official subject to recall.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he wonders  if the addition of "270                                                           
days" may be unconstitutional, because  under Article 11, Section                                                           
8 of the constitution, all  public officials of the state, except                                                               
judicial offices,  are subject to  recall.  He said,  "This would                                                               
carve out a class of people  who are not subject to recall within                                                               
the last three-quarters of the year of their term.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:34:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS said, "I believe  that presently in statute                                                               
it's  180 days,  so  all  we're doing  is  adjusting the  current                                                               
statute.    So,  the  current  statute  would  have  to  also  be                                                               
unconstitutional.   But it's just  a tweak, so  it may or  not be                                                               
the  case, and  I think  a  lot of  this  is subject  to the  ...                                                               
Buckley case ...."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:35:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  remarked, "Representative  Ramras, the  citation in                                                               
the bill, here, does not show a deletion of those terms."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:35:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG clarified:                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     ... No, what  he is saying is  on line 9:   "may not be                                                                    
     filed  within the  first 120  days".   And logically  I                                                                    
     would have  to agree that if  that - the last  270 - is                                                                    
     unconstitutional,  then  probably  the first  120  days                                                                    
     might also be subject to the same challenge ....                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:35:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND noted  that the  review he  received from  Legislative                                                               
Legal and Research Services does not address that issue.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:35:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked how many successful  recall efforts                                                               
have  been made  in Alaska  and  how many  recall petitions  have                                                               
actually made it to the ballot.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:36:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.   POUND   said   he   doesn't    know   the   exact   number.                                                               
Notwithstanding that, he related that  in most of the cases where                                                               
there  has  been  a  recall,   the  individual  in  question  has                                                               
resigned.   In response to Representative  Gardner's request that                                                               
he find out the answer, [Mr. Pound nodded].                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:36:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON noted  that in  Sections  5-8 of  Version X,  "270"                                                           
replaces "[180]", but  Section 2 - referred  to by Representative                                                               
Gruenberg -  is also amended to  "270 days", but from  "120", not                                                           
"180".  He suggested that there  may be some discrepancy in play.                                                               
He asked Mr.  Pound to check with Legislative  Legal and Research                                                               
Services to find out if that was an omission.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:37:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  directed attention  to  page  1, [line  12,                                                               
through page 2, line 1, of Version X], which read as follows:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
               Sec. 15.45.003. Circulation; prohibition.                                                                      
     (a)  A  petition  may  be  circulated  only  in  person                                                                    
     throughout  the estate.    However, in  the  case of  a                                                                    
     petition to  recall a member of  the state legislature,                                                                    
     a  petition may  be circulated  only in  person in  the                                                                    
     senate or  house district  represented by  the official                                                                    
     sought to be recalled.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked  if that means, for  example, that [the                                                               
circulator] could  not gather signatures in  a supermarket across                                                               
the street if it was out of his/her district.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:38:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND answered  that  for recalls,  everyone  who signs  the                                                               
petition has to  be a member of the district  in which the public                                                               
official being  recalled resides.   He added, "So,  going outside                                                               
of the district would probably be considered a violation."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked, "If you  got the signature outside the                                                               
district, but  the person lived  within the district,  would that                                                               
be acceptable?"                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND responded,  "As I understand the change -  no, it would                                                               
not."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:38:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON clarified  that the bottom of page 1  to top of page                                                               
2 [in Version X] is what is being discussed.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON, in response to  a query from Representative Ramras,                                                               
clarified that the questions from  Representative Lynn have to do                                                               
only with recalls, not with initiatives or referendums.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he thinks Representative  Lynn has                                                               
made a  good point;  it shouldn't make  any difference  where the                                                               
signature  is  obtained,  only  that the  person  who  signs  the                                                               
petition  is a  registered voter  in  the district  in which  the                                                               
person being recalled resides.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:39:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS responded  that his intent was  not to draw                                                               
boundaries as previously described by Representative Lynn.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:40:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  stated that HB  438 is  a complicated bill,  and he                                                               
said the committee would certainly work on it for awhile.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:41:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, stated that the person  who signs the petition must be                                                               
a registered voter.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:41:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE  KREITZER,  Chief  of Staff,  Office  of  the  Lieutenant                                                               
Governor,  revealed  that  Lieutenant Governor  Loren  Leman  has                                                               
spoken  with the  sponsor  of  the bill  and  has "encouraged  us                                                               
strongly to  work with  the sponsor and  help him  accomplish the                                                               
goals  that he's  set  out to  do  here."   She  stated that  the                                                               
sponsor has said  that he would like to have  "this discussion on                                                               
the record."   Ms. Kreitzer  recommended that the  most efficient                                                               
manner  to study  a bill  is to  deconstruct it  first, and  then                                                               
reconstruct  it -  to  not  build understanding  of  the bill  on                                                               
assumptions, but  rather on the sponsor's  explanation of his/her                                                               
intent.  She  referred to a list of questions  from the Office of                                                               
the Lieutenant  Governor [included in the  committee packet], and                                                               
she  explained that  they were  formed to  illicit the  sponsor's                                                               
intent, not to be adversarial.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:43:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER,  in response  to a  request for  clarification from                                                               
Chair Seaton,  she said the  aforementioned list  shows materials                                                               
submitted by Whitney Brewster, addressed to Ms. Pierson.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER said she examined the  bill in terms of issues.  One                                                               
of  the  first issues,  she  noted,  is  the qualification  of  a                                                               
circulator, to include the definition  of "not registered to vote                                                               
in any other state."   She said, "We do believe  that this is not                                                               
consistent with  the Buckley decision."   She said the  Office of                                                             
the Lieutenant Governor does not  think there is a constitutional                                                               
issue  regarding  the mandatory  training  of  sponsors, but  has                                                               
recommended  that  the   sponsor  "separately  and  independently                                                               
verify that."   In the  recent past, the [Division  of Elections]                                                               
has been asked to grant waivers  for people who have gone through                                                               
the training  in the past and  don't feel the need  to repeat it.                                                               
If  the bill  makes training  mandatory,  there will  be no  more                                                               
waivers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said it seems  like a good idea to allow                                                               
[the  division] the  discretion of  a waiver.   He  asked if  Ms.                                                               
Kreitzer sees any benefit in disallowing the waiver.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  said the sponsor  and the director of  the division                                                               
would most  likely like to  weigh in on  the subject.   She noted                                                               
that  some people  who have  asked  for and  received the  waiver                                                               
still had "some  problems" that could have been  avoided had they                                                               
undergone the training again.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  cited another  issue of  the bill  is in  regard to                                                               
"the certification that  a circulator has not  received more than                                                               
$15 to  cover meals."   She said there  are some sections  in the                                                               
bill that  would best be  addressed by the Alaska  Public Offices                                                               
Commission (APOC), and she noted  that the director of APOC would                                                               
be available to testify.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:45:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER,  regarding  the   enforcement  of  infractions  of                                                               
election  law,  suggested  that   the  committee  hear  from  the                                                               
Criminal  Division of  the Department  of Law,  regarding how  it                                                               
currently handles  complaints related to those  infractions.  She                                                               
suggested APOC  address the  issue of  who enforces  and collects                                                               
civil  fines.     She  mentioned   an  advance   verification  of                                                               
signatures requirement, which Mr. Pound  had noted was being paid                                                               
for with $1  per signature fee.  However, Ms.  Kreitzer said, "As                                                               
you all know, [if] that fee  goes into the general fund, we would                                                               
still  have to  reflect  an  increased cost  to  the Division  of                                                               
Elections to implement this section."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER,  regarding the  proposed raised  thresholds related                                                               
to recalls, indicated that the decision  to adopt them would be a                                                               
policy call of the legislature.   She mentioned a requirement for                                                               
certification  that facts  in the  recall  application are  true.                                                               
She added, "It  is an interesting application of  recall law that                                                               
these facts  don't necessarily have to  be true, and it's  a very                                                               
important point."  She offered  to provide additional material on                                                               
the subject.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:47:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  questioned how  something can  be a  fact if                                                               
it's not true.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:47:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   said  he  would  like   to  see  that                                                               
material.   Referring to the issue  of raising the 10  percent to                                                               
the 20 percent, he noted that  in the field of taxation, there is                                                               
a distinction between a tax that  is regulatory in nature and one                                                               
that is  called, "confiscatory" and  has a "chilling fact  on the                                                               
activity."   He said  he thinks it  would be  unconstitutional to                                                               
require  that 100  percent of  people  in the  district sign  the                                                               
petition;  it would  have "a  chilling effect  on the  ability to                                                               
exercise  that activity."   He  questioned  whether doubling  the                                                               
requirement  for  signatures   would  have  an  "unconstitutional                                                               
chilling effect on the protected constitutional activity."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:49:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  countered, "What if  it's too easy?   What                                                               
if 10 percent is  too low of a bar and  it's easier to 'un-elect'                                                               
somebody than it is for a person to get elected?"                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:49:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON clarified the issue as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We're  talking about  a legal  question of  saying, "At                                                                    
     what point of  raising the amount do we get  to a legal                                                                    
     question of inhibiting  - probably unconstitutionally -                                                                    
     the ability to recall?"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON said  it may be a  good idea to get  a legal opinion                                                               
in writing.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Mr.  Pound  if  this  issue  is                                                               
written in the legal opinion he spoke of previously.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:50:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND answered no.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:50:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARAH FELIX, Assistant Attorney  General, Labor and State Affairs                                                               
Section, Civil  Division (Juneau),  Department of  Law, concurred                                                               
with Chair  Seaton that the  aforementioned issue of  raising the                                                               
percentages is  not one  that attorney  Mike Barnhill  focused on                                                               
when  studying the  recall aspects  of the  bill; therefore,  she                                                               
recommended  bringing  the  issue  to  the  department  and  then                                                               
bringing  an opinion  back to  the House  State Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:51:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he would like  both the Department                                                               
of Law  and Legislative  Legal and  Research Services  to discuss                                                               
any possible constitutional problems with the bill.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:52:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  noted that  the following  areas currently  are not                                                               
defined in statute, but would  be through Version X:  corruption,                                                               
incompetence, lack of fitness, and  neglect of duties.  Regarding                                                               
Chair  Seaton's previous  observation that  of the  five proposed                                                               
changes in the  number of days related to term  of office, one of                                                               
the  references did  not match,  she said  it is  most likely  an                                                               
oversight and the department will research the matter.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:53:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WHITNEY  H.  BREWSTER,  Director,  Central  Office,  Division  of                                                               
Elections,  addressed the  fiscal implications  of HB  438.   She                                                               
directed attention to page 2, line  8, where reference is made to                                                               
a  form  from the  division  that  a  circulator would  fill  out                                                               
showing that  he/she traveled  more than 100  miles from  home in                                                               
one day  in order  to receive  $15 compensation.   She  said this                                                               
provision  in the  bill  would require  the  division to  develop                                                               
another  form  and  administratively   process  the  form.    She                                                               
directed attention to page 3, [paragraph] (6), which read:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          (6) that the circulator has not entered into                                                                          
         an agreement with a person or organization in                                                                          
     violation of AS 15.45.003(b);                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER suggested that that  language would take care of the                                                               
requirement  without  requiring  another form  to  be  processed,                                                               
because  the  circulator  would  sign that  he/she  has  met  the                                                               
requirements and has not "violated subsection (b) on page 2."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:56:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  clarified that  Ms. Brewster  is saying  the person                                                               
would make submissions to the  signature gatherer that he/she was                                                               
out for 15  or 20 days, thus that proclamation  would not have to                                                               
be on a separate form designed  by the division.  He stated, "The                                                               
fact that  they have to sign  that they ... haven't  claimed more                                                               
than their due would take care of that fiscal responsibility."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER said that's correct.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  summarized,  "The  difference  between  those  two                                                               
approaches  is:   in  one way  we  would have  a  listing at  the                                                               
division  of  the  number  of  days  that  were  claimed  by  the                                                               
individual, and the other way  we would have a certification, but                                                               
no listing of the days.  Is that correct?"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:58:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER  answered in  the affirmative.   Regarding  the same                                                               
issue, she  suggested, "This may  be more of a  responsibility of                                                               
APOC  than  a  Division  of   Elections'  responsibility."    She                                                               
directed  attention to  page 2,  line 21,  subsection (e),  which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     A person  who pays  a circulator  and a  circulator who                                                                    
     receives compensation  other than that  permitted under                                                                    
     (b)  of this  section are  liable  to the  state for  a                                                                    
     civil fine  of $1  for each  signature gathered  by the                                                                    
     circulator  on a  petition  filed  with the  lieutenant                                                                    
     governor.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER said  the question is, "Who will  assess and collect                                                               
this fine?"   She  explained that  historically the  division has                                                               
never been  a "fining body."   She suggested that  the collecting                                                               
of the fine may be more appropriate  a task for APOC than for the                                                               
division.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:59:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER turned focus to  language [beginning on page 3, line                                                               
31, through] page 4, line 2, which read as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The  sponsors may,  before  filing  a petition,  submit                                                                    
     individual numbered petitions containing  up to a total                                                                    
     of 2,000 subscriptions to the director for review.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BREWSTER  said the  additional  signatures  for review  will                                                               
require additional staff  time, which will have  a fiscal impact.                                                               
The $1  per signature fee  assessed will  go to the  general fund                                                               
and  will not  benefit the  Division of  Elections' budget.   She                                                               
directed attention to  page 4, line 17, which  shows the increase                                                               
in the percentage of required signatures  for a recall from 10 to                                                               
20 percent, which  she said will result  in additional signatures                                                               
for  review,  which  could  also  have a  fiscal  impact  on  the                                                               
division.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:00:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.   BREWSTER,  in   response   to  Representative   Gruenberg's                                                               
aforementioned  query,  said  any  time the  required  number  of                                                               
signatures  is  increased, it  makes  it  more difficult  for  an                                                               
individual or  committee to  recall or get  an initiative  on the                                                               
ballot.  Whether that difficulty  inhibits the person by creating                                                               
a  threshold  that  is  insurmountable  is  a  question  for  the                                                               
Department of Law, she said.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:01:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  the recall process is  part of the                                                               
balance of power  among the people and the legislature.   He said                                                               
he would like  to hear feedback as to whether  or not the raising                                                               
of the signature requirement would  upset the balance of power in                                                               
state government from a constitutional point of view.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:02:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  interjected, "We're  happy to await  the Department                                                               
of Law's assessment."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:02:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR GATTO  directed attention  back to  page 2,  line 21,                                                               
[text provided  previously], and stated  his concern is  not with                                                               
the fine, but  is related to whether a  signature collected "when                                                               
a  person is  performing an  illegal  act" qualifies  as a  valid                                                               
signature.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:03:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BREWSTER said  [page 2,  lines 25-27]  answer Representative                                                               
Gatto's question as follows:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               (f) In determining the sufficiency of a                                                                          
     petition,  the   lieutenant  governor  may   not  count                                                                    
     subscriptions on a petition  circulated by a circulator                                                                    
     who violated (b) of this section.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:03:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said he  would  also  like that  issue                                                               
addressed in a  legal opinion.  He said, "It's  one thing to fine                                                               
the  person  because they're  getting  paid  too much,  but  it's                                                               
something  else not  to count  the signature  of the  citizen who                                                               
wishes to  endorse the  petition."   He said  he would  like that                                                               
issue examined from a constitutional point of view.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:04:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  remarked, "I don't  think we're just  talking about                                                               
constitutional,  we're  talking about  all  legal  issues in  the                                                               
state."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG concurred.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:04:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  proffered, "It's  possible for  someone who                                                               
opposes  the recall  to  collect  a whole  lot  of signatures  in                                                               
violation of  the rule,  and therefore nullify  a whole  bunch of                                                               
people who  thought they were voting  for a recall, but  now have                                                               
been disqualified."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:05:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BREWSTER pointed  out that  if someone  wants to  sabotage a                                                               
recall effort,  they could do that  right now by not  signing the                                                               
back of  the book or not  signing whether or not  he/she has been                                                               
paid.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:05:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  amended his previous request  by asking                                                               
that  the legal  opinions also  address the  constitutionality of                                                               
the current law.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:06:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER,  in response  to Representative  Gardner's question                                                               
as  to how  many recall  petitions have  been successful  and how                                                               
many  have made  it to  the ballot,  said she  doesn't have  that                                                               
information at hand, but will follow up on that.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:06:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER  offered her  understanding  that  there have  been                                                               
three  court cases  on  recalls  that involved  municipal-elected                                                               
officials,  and  only one  for  a  state-elected official.    The                                                               
latter recall  was successful, she  reported.   It did not  go to                                                               
the  ballot,  because  the  individual   resigned;  but  had  the                                                               
individual not resigned,  it would have gone to the  ballot.  She                                                               
added that there is one recall pending in court.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER questioned why an  effort is being made to                                                               
make  recalls so  difficult  when there  has only  been  1 in  50                                                               
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:08:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER asked  that  Brook  Miles be  allowed  to speak  on                                                               
behalf of APOC,  since currently any committee  formed to support                                                               
or oppose  an initiative,  referendum, or  recall is  required to                                                               
file with  APOC.  She  stated, "There  is an opportunity  to file                                                               
what's  called  a  zero  report   for  efforts  that  are  merely                                                               
collecting signatures.   And  it would seem,  since the  focus of                                                               
those parts  of the bill  that I've  mentioned before have  to do                                                               
with  the reporting  of people  that  are collecting  signatures,                                                               
that it may be a good fit,  but it's for the committee to discuss                                                               
and decide."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:09:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BROOKE MILES, Director, Alaska  Public Offices Commission (APOC),                                                               
Department of  Administration, said  she hasn't  had a  chance to                                                               
study the  bill to "explain whether  or not it's a  good fit with                                                               
APOC."  She continued as follows:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     As  the committee  may be  aware, the  requirements for                                                                    
     filing disclosure  reports are  limited to  when groups                                                                    
     are  collecting signatures.   In  other words,  they're                                                                    
     filing  zero  reports  until such  time  as  a  recall,                                                                    
     referendum, or  proposition is  certified to  appear on                                                                    
     the ballot.  At that  point, the groups that are formed                                                                    
     to  support or  oppose the  election must  file a  full                                                                    
     disclosure report.   ... At this point we  have no idea                                                                    
     who gets  paid a  dollar or doesn't  get paid  a dollar                                                                    
     for  signatures,  and  I'm not  really  sure  how  that                                                                    
     report  is going  to look  at APOC.   And  just from  a                                                                    
     fiscal standpoint ...  I have to, in  all fairness, say                                                                    
     at this  point I have  such limited staff I  don't have                                                                    
     one person  who can do  one more  thing.  So,  it would                                                                    
     certainly have fiscal impact on this agency.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:11:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked Ms. Miles to  consider some of the issues that                                                               
the  Division  of Elections  and  the  Office of  the  Lieutenant                                                               
Governor pointed out  might be more appropriate for  APOC, and to                                                               
assign any fiscal note necessary.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILES acquiesced.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:11:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  referred to  the  language  in the  bill                                                               
regarding training, [found  on page 3, lines 1-4],  which read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 15.45.005. Mandatory training. (a) At least                                                                    
     once  during  each   two-year  period  between  general                                                                    
     elections,  the  division   of  elections  shall  offer                                                                    
     training   explaining   the  legal   requirements   for                                                                    
     petitions.  Each committee  applying for or circulating                                                                    
     a  petition   during  that  period  shall   attend  the                                                                    
     training.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Ms.  Brewster  to offer  details                                                               
related  to the  training, including:   where  it is  offered, by                                                               
whom, how much  it costs, and how it would  affect someone from a                                                               
rural area trying to recall a state representative.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:12:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER relayed that currently  the training is offered by a                                                               
division employee,  in person or  over the  phone.  She  said she                                                               
does not  know the cost,  but can find out.   She stated  that an                                                               
individual or committee  in a remote rural area  could be offered                                                               
training by teleconference.  In  response to a follow-up question                                                               
from Representative  Gardner, she offered her  understanding that                                                               
the  training takes  several hours.   In  response to  a question                                                               
from Chair  Seaton, she said  she doesn't believe  [the training]                                                               
is required for municipal election recalls.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:14:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON asked  Ms. Brewster  to get  back to  the committee                                                               
with that  information, because he  said it is important  to know                                                               
which elections will be covered under the bill.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:14:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HOPE L. CERMELJ,  testifying on behalf of  herself, revealed that                                                               
she  is  a  circulator  and  petition  gatherer.    She  directed                                                               
attention  to a  handout she  had obtained  from the  Division of                                                               
Elections [included in the  committee packet], showing statistics                                                               
from March 3,  2006, including that there will  be 450,985 voters                                                               
in the next election.  Ms. Cermelj stated:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     240,211  people  - possible  voters  -  are upset  with                                                                    
     what's going on  with the Republican/Democratic process                                                                    
     here  in   the  state   of  Alaska;  that's   why  they                                                                    
     (indisc.).   I  myself was  certified in  the Fairbanks                                                                    
     office  at the  Division  of Elections  to  be a  voter                                                                    
     registrar, so  I was on  that ... petition  trail doing                                                                    
     the same.   We have a new political party  in the state                                                                    
     of Alaska  right now, which  Loren Leman  approved last                                                                    
     year, and that's the Veterans' Party.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. CERMELJ  noted that [there is  a missing column on  the first                                                               
page of  the handout],  which should show  a [column]  "V," which                                                               
displays the numbers for that  Veterans' Party.  She implored the                                                               
Division  of Elections  to include  that group's  numbers on  the                                                               
page of  statistics so that the  numbers are more accurate.   She                                                               
noted that she has carried  four petitions, and she listed places                                                               
in the  state in  which she has  lived and  mentioned legislative                                                               
topics of concern.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:18:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CERMELJ  referred to the next  two pages of the  handout, and                                                               
pinpointed the  areas on  the page  that show  a list  of reasons                                                               
that people who signed petitions will  not be counted.  She noted                                                               
that on  the first page of  petition totals, it shows  that 8,171                                                               
people will  not be  counted because their  names did  not match.                                                               
Ms.  Cermelj opined,  "That is  against  their civil  liberties."                                                               
The  list shows  that  there  were 1,968  duplicate  names.   She                                                               
indicated  a  connection  between the  proposed  legislation  and                                                               
ensuring  that  petition  gatherers are  registered  voters  from                                                               
Alaska who  care about the  issues.  She  talked about a  man who                                                               
came up  from the state of  Washington to gather petitions.   The                                                               
man, she related,  was "in it for the money,"  and he intimidated                                                               
the Native  elders of the  village and was  asked to leave.   Ms.                                                               
Cermelj   related  further   personal   experience  in   petition                                                               
gathering.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:20:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CERMELJ  indicated that there  has recently been a  change in                                                               
personnel within  the Division of  Elections and the  director is                                                               
currently  learning about  a new  system  that will  be in  place                                                               
forthcoming.   She relayed  that, as a  voter registrar,  she has                                                               
received four  phone calls  from people who  have yet  to receive                                                               
their voter cards.  She stated  her believe that their rights are                                                               
being violated.  Ms. Cermelj  offered statistics from the handout                                                               
showing the petition  totals from an initiative related  to a 90-                                                               
day regular session of the  Alaska State Legislature, emphasizing                                                               
that out of 450,985 voters,  the number of unqualified signatures                                                               
was 11,370, which  she reiterated is against  the civil liberties                                                               
of those people.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:22:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CERMELJ shared  further accounts,  including one  related to                                                               
homeless  people who  did not  receive  their voter  registration                                                               
cards, and  a story  of a woman  affected adversely  by political                                                               
decisions made, and she emphasized  that people sign petitions in                                                               
order to see change.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:24:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON said  the committee  is  not dealing  with any  one                                                               
specific  petition,  but  with  the system  in  general,  and  he                                                               
remarked  that  Ms.  Cermelj  brought  up  many  points  for  the                                                               
committee to consider.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:24:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CERMELJ,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gardner, said  she supports the  bill, with the exception  of the                                                               
$15 payment, which she said she hopes can be more.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:25:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER,   regarding  Ms.   Cermelj's   previous                                                               
reference  to the  person from  out  of state,  suggested that  a                                                               
local person  could also be rude  and disruptive and be  asked to                                                               
leave.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:25:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CERMELJ responded  that  that is  true;  however, the  local                                                               
people have good training.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:26:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked Ms.  Cermelj to specify  if she  supports the                                                               
bill's proposal  to increase the  number of  qualified signatures                                                               
for a recall petition  from 10 to 20 percent, and  also if she is                                                               
in favor of  not allowing a petition to be  filed within 270 days                                                               
of termination of office.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:27:08 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CERMELJ answered yes to both.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  noted that neither  of the petitions for  which Ms.                                                               
Cermelj brought  the petition  totals would  have passed  had the                                                               
percentage been at 20.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:28:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  Ms.  Brewster,  "If somebody,  say                                                               
Andy  Jones, is  registered as  Andrew Jones,  and he  signs Andy                                                               
Jones and provides a correct  birth date, would that signature be                                                               
qualified, or not?"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:29:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER said that signature would count.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:29:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER   asked  at   what  point  is   the  name                                                               
dissimilar enough to be considered unmatched.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:29:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER  answered that if  there is a qualifier  that allows                                                               
the division to  locate the signer within  the voter registration                                                               
system, and the  name is similar, then the  signature will count.                                                               
If the  name is  entirely different,  she said,  it would  not be                                                               
counted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:30:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked, "If  someone signs  Andy instead  of Andrew,                                                               
would that mean  that it probably wouldn't be a  computer match -                                                               
that would be a manual match?"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:30:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. BREWSTER said she believes that would be a manual match.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:30:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked another testifier to return at the next                                                                      
hearing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[HB 438 was heard and held.]                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                       
10:31:15 AM.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

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