Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106

02/23/2012 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 33(STA) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 23, 2012                                                                                        
                           8:09 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Pete Petersen                                                                                                    
Representative Kyle Johansen                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 33                                                                                                   
Urging  the  United States  Congress  and  the President  of  the                                                               
United States  to work  to amend the  Constitution of  the United                                                               
States  to prohibit  corporations, unions,  and individuals  from                                                               
making unlimited independent  expenditures supporting or opposing                                                               
candidates for public office.                                                                                                   
     - MOVED CSHJR 33(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                                                         
Supporting the Electoral College and opposing the Agreement                                                                     
Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote                                                                
interstate compact.                                                                                                             
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HJR 33                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AMEND U.S. CONST RE CAMPAIGN MONEY                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GARA                                                                                              
02/01/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/12       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/09/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/09/12       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
02/14/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/14/12       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/14/12       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/23/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HR  10                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPPOSE NAT'L POPULAR VOTE FOR PRESIDENT                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KELLER                                                                                            
01/17/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/17/12       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
02/23/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HJR 33 as sponsor.                                                                             
ARTHUR MARTIN                                                                                                                   
Hollis, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of himself in                                                                        
opposition to HJR 33.                                                                                                           
SHEILA FINKENBINDER                                                                                                             
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of herself in                                                                        
opposition to HJR 33.                                                                                                           
ERNEST PRAX, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HR 10 on behalf of Representative                                                              
Keller, sponsor.                                                                                                                
TARA ROSS, Author                                                                                                               
Enlightened Democracy:  The Case For The Electoral College                                                                    
Dallas, Texas                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of herself in support                                                                
of HR 10.                                                                                                                       
TRENT ENGLAND, Vice President of Policy                                                                                         
Freedom Foundation                                                                                                              
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HR 10.                                                                   
JOHN SAMPLES, Ph.D., Director                                                                                                   
Center for Representative Government                                                                                            
Cato Institute                                                                                                                  
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HR 10.                                                                   
LAURA BROD                                                                                                                      
Mountain View, California                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  during the hearing  on HR  10 on                                                             
behalf of the National Popular Vote organization in California.                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:09:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 8:09  a.m.  Representatives  Keller, Seaton,                                                               
P.  Wilson, Petersen,  Gruenberg, and  Lynn were  present at  the                                                               
call to  order.  Representative  Johansen arrived as  the meeting                                                               
was in progress.                                                                                                                
           HJR 33-AMEND U.S. CONST RE CAMPAIGN MONEY                                                                        
8:10:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 33, Urging  the United States  Congress and                                                               
the  President  of  the  United  States  to  work  to  amend  the                                                               
Constitution  of  the  United States  to  prohibit  corporations,                                                               
unions,  and   individuals  from  making   unlimited  independent                                                               
expenditures  supporting   or  opposing  candidates   for  public                                                               
8:10:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA, Alaska  State Legislature, presented HJR                                                               
33  as sponsor.   He  explained the  changes that  would be  made                                                               
under  the  proposed  committee   substitute  (CS),  Version  27-                                                               
LS1231\I,  Bullard,  2/16/12.    He  said  that  in  response  to                                                               
Representatives Seaton  and Gruenberg,  the words  "supporting or                                                               
opposing   candidates  for   public   office"  appear   following                                                               
"expenditures", on  page 2, lines 12-13,  as well as in  the bill                                                               
title.  He  related that in response  to Representative Johansen,                                                               
the word  "unions" was added  following the  word "corporations",                                                               
on  page  1,  line  7.   He  said  the  reference  to  "unlimited                                                               
expenditures by  individuals" was deleted, so  that under Version                                                               
I,  the focus  is  on  the Citizens  United  v. Federal  Election                                                             
Commission,  180S. Ct.876(2010)  ("Citizens United")  case, which                                                           
related to  unlimited contributions by corporations,  unions, and                                                               
other organizations.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  LYNN interjected  that  [corporations,  unions, and  other                                                               
organizations]  were defined  as  "persons" by  the U.S.  Supreme                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA stated  his personal  belief that  unlimited                                                               
contributions  by individuals  should be  regulated; however,  he                                                               
said he thinks  the committee made "a fine call"  by limiting HJR                                                               
33 to  a Citizens United resolution.   He noted that  he fixed "a                                                             
typographical error" on  page 1, line 13, to  clarify that before                                                               
the Citizens  United ruling, states  and Congress had  the option                                                             
to ban  unlimited independent expenditures from  corporations and                                                               
8:13:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  adopt the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS), Version  27-LS1231\I,  Bullard,  2/16/12, as  a                                                               
work draft.   There being no objection, Version I  was before the                                                               
8:13:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  opined that  corporations and  unions should                                                               
not  be  considered "persons"  for  the  sake of  elections,  and                                                               
society should be  able to limit the amount  of expenditures that                                                               
flood into political  campaigns.  He relayed that  on the federal                                                               
level, "the candidate with the most  money wins ... 95 percent of                                                               
the time."                                                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN ventured the same is true on the local level.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  stated  that  the intent  of  the  proposed                                                               
resolution is "to  help build a movement  nationally for Congress                                                               
to  amend  the  Constitution,  to  reverse  the  Citizens  United                                                             
ruling," so that states and  Congress have the option to regulate                                                               
corporate and  union contributions.   He said, "I don't  see this                                                               
as a benefit  for either side of  the aisle.  There  are those of                                                               
us who are going to be  targeted by corporations, there are those                                                               
who  will be  targeted  by  unions ...."    He  pointed out  that                                                               
contributions to candidates are limited.   He opined, "The moment                                                               
you  have  ...  $500  million   of  contributions  going  into  a                                                               
Presidential  campaign from  outside  sources is  the moment  you                                                               
have less accountability in the political system."                                                                              
8:16:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  in response  to Chair Lynn,  confirmed that                                                               
HJR  33 would  give states  the discretion  to decide  whether to                                                               
regulate  contributions   from  corporations  and  unions.     He                                                               
conveyed that in the past, Alaska exercised that discretion.                                                                    
8:17:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  in  response to  Representative  Petersen,                                                               
confirmed that  HJR 33  is encouraging an  amendment to  the U.S.                                                               
Constitution.    He  said  there   are  two  ways  to  amend  the                                                               
Constitution, but the only way that  has worked in the past is by                                                               
a  vote of  two-thirds of  each  house of  Congress, followed  by                                                               
ratification by three-quarters of the states.                                                                                   
8:18:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  noted   that  Representative   Gara  had                                                               
consistently  used  the  word "contribution."    He  offered  his                                                               
understanding  that  Citizens United  took  away  the ability  to                                                             
limit independent  expenditures, but  did not affect  the ability                                                               
to make political campaign contributions to candidates.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GARA confirmed that is  correct.  He said Citizens                                                             
United  opened  the  floodgates "to  unlimited  contributions  by                                                             
corporations,   unions,   and   organizations   for   independent                                                               
8:19:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  offered his  understanding  that  HJR 33  would  not                                                               
affect  contributions   from  individuals  or   political  action                                                               
committees (PACs).                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  confirmed that is  correct.  He  said Alaska                                                               
currently   has  strong   limits  on   direct  contributions   to                                                               
8:20:47 AM                                                                                                                    
ARTHUR  MARTIN  specified  that  although he  is  an  intern  for                                                               
Representative P. Wilson,  he is testifying on  behalf of himself                                                               
in opposition to  HJR 33.  He indicated that  he was initially in                                                               
favor   of  the   proposed  joint   resolution  until   he  began                                                               
researching information  regarding Citizens  United.   He offered                                                             
his understanding  that the issue of  "corporations being people"                                                               
is a separate argument under  the Fourteenth Amendment and is not                                                               
related to Citizens  United.  He said Citizens  United dealt with                                                           
the First  Amendment and questioned why  corporations and unions,                                                               
which held  the same  First Amendment  rights as  individuals and                                                               
non-profit organizations,  did not also  share the right  to make                                                               
independent expenditures.                                                                                                       
Mr. Martin opined that there are  no facts or data to justify any                                                               
of the statements made in HJR  33.  He directed attention to page                                                               
2 of  a handout  in the  committee packet  containing information                                                               
published by  OpenSecrets.org, to  a chart showing  total outside                                                               
spending for  election cycles from  1990 to 2012, and  he offered                                                               
his understanding  that the  chart does not  show an  increase in                                                               
independent expenditures made since the Citizens United case.                                                                 
8:24:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MARTIN  directed attention to  the "WHEREAS" clause,  on page                                                             
2, lines 1-5 of HJR 33, which read as follows:                                                                                  
     WHEREAS  much of  the hundreds  of millions  of dollars                                                                  
     being   spent  by   corporations,  unions,   and  other                                                                    
     organizations  since the  ruling of  the United  States                                                                    
     Supreme Court  in Citizens  United v.  Federal Election                                                                    
     Commission  is  going  to  negative  ads,  which  often                                                                    
     misinform  voters  rather  than lead  to  a  productive                                                                    
     discussion of  the states' and nation's  most important                                                                    
     issues; and                                                                                                                
MR. MARTIN  indicated the proposed  legislation includes  no data                                                               
to  support the  statement that  much of  the money  is going  to                                                               
negative  advertisement.   Regarding  the  issue of  misinforming                                                               
voters  through  negative  advertisement, Mr.  Martin  said  that                                                               
assumes  that voters  are  "empty vessels."    He indicated  that                                                               
people's votes are  guided by their religion,  family values, and                                                               
"where  we come  from," and  he  opined that  the assertion  that                                                               
corporations  or  unions will  unduly  influence  the opinion  of                                                               
voters is unfounded.                                                                                                            
MR.  MARTIN  questioned  what the  "harmful  effects  of  Citizen                                                             
United", as referred  to on page 2,  line 6 of HJR  33, would be.                                                             
In regard to  the proposed amending of the  U.S. Constitution, he                                                               
questioned which part of the  U.S. Constitution would be amended.                                                               
Mr. Martin,  in response to the  "BE IT RESOLVED" portion  of the                                                             
bill [on  page 2,  lines 11-14,  said it  is not  the job  of the                                                               
President  to  propose  amendments   to  the  U.S.  Constitution;                                                               
therefore, he said that language needs to be removed.                                                                           
8:27:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MARTIN concluded by asking  the committee to consider whether                                                               
there really  is a  problem wherein  corporations and  unions are                                                               
unduly  influencing elections  and,  if there  is  a problem,  is                                                               
rewriting the U.S.  Constitution the right answer?   He urged the                                                               
committee  not  to   support  HJR  33.    He   said  he  provided                                                               
alternatives,  listed  on  a handout  in  the  committee  packet,                                                               
including: requiring  shareholders to approve  political spending                                                               
by their  corporations, requiring corporations to  disclose money                                                               
used to  influence public opinion, requiring  the chief executive                                                               
officer of a corporation that  pays for a political commercial to                                                               
appear  as  the  sponsor,   and  strengthening  Federal  Election                                                               
Commission  (FEC)   regulations  to  increase   transparency  and                                                               
disclosure.  He  talked about an idea to  have "democracy facts,"                                                               
listed, in much  the same format as nutritional  facts are listed                                                               
for food items.                                                                                                                 
8:30:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN pointed  out that opinions are,  by nature, subjective                                                               
and  based on  perception  of fact.    He said,  "An  ad that  is                                                               
perceived  as  negative by  one  is  perceived  as truth  by  the                                                               
other."    He  ventured  that  as a  citizen  of  the  U.S.,  the                                                               
President could  submit a  request for an  amendment to  the U.S.                                                               
8:31:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  pointed  out  that  President  Abraham                                                               
Lincoln proposed the 13th, 14th,  and 15th Amendments to the U.S.                                                               
MR. MARTIN,  in response to a  question, said he is  a student at                                                               
the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  complimented Mr. Martin for  using non-                                                               
traditional logic in his testimony.                                                                                             
8:34:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said although he appreciates  Mr. Martin's                                                               
proposed solutions,  they would be  actions of Congress,  and the                                                               
issue  before the  committee  concerns  financial disclosure  and                                                               
contribution limits  that were embedded  by the FEC  and Congress                                                               
but were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.                                                                                  
8:35:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MARTIN  responded that the aforementioned  alternatives would                                                               
not  go against  the ruling  made by  the U.S.  Supreme Court  in                                                               
Citizens  United,  but  would "create  more  oversight  on  these                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  corporations  are  creations of  the                                                               
individual states,  and he offered his  understanding that "this"                                                               
would  require Congress  to come  in, in  federal elections,  and                                                               
"regulate  what individual  shareholder  actions  and ...  rights                                                               
would be under the varying states' corporation laws."                                                                           
MR.  MARTIN said  HJR 33  is asking  Congress to  alter the  U.S.                                                               
Constitution  and  the  Bill  of   Rights,  and  he  said  he  is                                                               
uncomfortable with  that.   He said  corporations are  people who                                                               
have come together  and have certain rights, and  he posited that                                                               
they are  not all  "money-seeking."  He  said Citizen  United was                                                             
about  letting  the  people in  corporations  express  themselves                                                               
under the rights they already have.                                                                                             
8:37:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN  offered   his  understanding  that  Mr.                                                               
Martin said  that negative advertising  is not effective,  and he                                                               
ventured that  Newt Gingrich  would probably  disagree.   He said                                                               
studies  have shown  that  people  remember negative  advertising                                                               
after  fewer repetitions  than positive  advertising.   He  said,                                                               
"They  wouldn't  be  spending  tens of  millions  of  dollars  on                                                               
negative  ads  if they  didn't  work."   Regarding  Mr.  Martin's                                                               
previous remark  that there was  not much of an  increase between                                                               
the 2008  and 2010 [campaign]  expenditures, he pointed  out that                                                               
2008  was   a  Presidential   election  year,   and  Presidential                                                               
elections,  in   general,  have   more  expenditures   than  non-                                                               
presidential years.   He said he thinks that by  the end of 2012,                                                               
the amount of campaign expenditures  could easily double, or even                                                               
triple, what was spent in 2008.                                                                                                 
8:40:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SHEILA FINKENBINDER  stated that although  she serves as  a staff                                                               
member to Representative P. Wilson,  she was testifying on behalf                                                               
of  herself  in opposition  to  HJR  33.    She opined  that  the                                                               
language of  the "WHEREAS"  portions of  HJR 33  are "assumptions                                                             
that are  believed by  many but  are not  based on  research that                                                               
demonstrates they  are true."   She said  even assuming  that the                                                               
statements are  true, she  believes asking  Congress to  create a                                                               
Constitutional amendment is not the best solution.                                                                              
MS. FINKENBINDER posited that many  "reasonable people" would not                                                               
agree that the  influence of large amounts of  money in political                                                               
campaigns  harms the  ability of  the average  citizen to  have a                                                               
voice in his/her government, but  would instead argue that people                                                               
continue to  have the ability  to weigh the truth  in advertising                                                               
and  make  independent decisions  regarding  how  to vote.    She                                                               
stated that several  reports have shown that  the Citizens United                                                             
decision has had only an  incremental effect on campaign finance,                                                               
and  that large  campaign expenditures  occurred before  the U.S.                                                               
Supreme Court decision.   Ms. Finkenbinder argued  that there has                                                               
not been  a breakdown in the  electoral process "in spite  of all                                                               
that  money."   She  said  whether ads  run  by corporations  are                                                               
negative  is a  debatable point,  and she  opined that  "we" have                                                               
managed to  "do our  own thinking" and  have elected  "decent and                                                               
credible candidates  in spite of  all this."  She  indicated that                                                               
there has  been no evidence  to suggest that the  corporate media                                                               
should have its First Amendment rights infringed.                                                                               
MS. FINKENBINDER  said Congress  has had a  number of  options to                                                               
"clean  up  campaign finance,"  as  previously  mentioned by  Mr.                                                               
Martin, "almost since  the very day the  Citizens United decision                                                             
was made," and  she ventured that these options  will continue to                                                               
be researched and debated until solutions are found.                                                                            
8:44:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. FINKBINDER  argued that amendments  to the  U.S. Constitution                                                               
can   be  incredibly   complicated,   controversial,  and   time-                                                               
consuming.   Further, she said only  27 Constitutional amendments                                                               
have been adopted in the U.S.,  out of the 10,000 amendments that                                                               
have been proposed;  therefore, she ventured, the  chances of the                                                               
amendment proposed under HJR 33  happening are small.  She echoed                                                               
Mr. Martin's  remarks regarding  the inappropriateness  of asking                                                               
the  President  to  initiate  the   amendment  process,  and  she                                                               
indicated that support  for this comes from  "a document directly                                                               
from the government."                                                                                                           
8:46:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA, regarding  the  argument that  there is  no                                                               
evidence that  the public opposes  unlimited corporate  and union                                                               
contributions, stated that  every poll his staff  found shows the                                                               
opposite to be  true, and he said he could  provide those polling                                                               
results  to the  committee.   Regarding the  point made  that the                                                               
President has no  role in the amending of  the U.S. Constitution,                                                               
he  echoed  Representative   Gruenberg's  remark  that  President                                                               
Lincoln was  the one  who proposed  an end to  slavery.   He said                                                               
President Lincoln  had to  work with Congress,  who had  to enact                                                               
the amendment, and he opined  that the President should be active                                                               
in those issues  in which he/she believes.   Regarding the remark                                                               
by Mr. Martin that there is  no evidence that Citizens United has                                                             
had  any  impact,   he  echoed  the  previous   comment  made  by                                                               
Representative  Petersen  that  in Presidential  election  years,                                                               
independent  expenditures  and  campaign contributions  are  much                                                               
higher.  He said Citizens United was adopted in 2010 - a non-                                                                 
Presidential year.   He said,  "Four years  before that -  2006 -                                                               
independent expenditures  rose from $68 million  to $304 million.                                                               
That's   a  substantial   increase   in   two,  successive   non-                                                               
Presidential elections."   He said  "there is  every expectation"                                                               
that by  the end of  the 2012  Presidential election, it  will be                                                               
shown  that  in  Presidential  elections,  as  well,  independent                                                               
expenditures have increased.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA, regarding  the  suggestion  that "we  don't                                                               
know what  corporate contributions  had been," explained  that is                                                               
because  corporations don't  have to  reveal what  they spend  in                                                               
independent expenditures.   He said  he thinks the  same probably                                                               
applies to unions.  He said,  "They put money into fake groups or                                                               
groups that  have nice names,"  such as "People for  the American                                                               
Way," which does not reveal who donors to groups are.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA stated  that  he thinks  the proposed  joint                                                               
resolution is  factually accurate, with  some opinion, as  is put                                                               
in  resolutions,  and  he  would "leave  it  to  the  committee's                                                               
discretion" whether  or not to  pass HJR  33.  He  commented that                                                               
even though he does not agree  with the testimony heard today, it                                                               
was well-reasoned.   He stated,  "It is easier to  say somebody's                                                               
not telling  the truth;  its' harder  to address  somebody's good                                                               
argument head on."                                                                                                              
8:50:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN closed public testimony.                                                                                             
8:50:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON indicated  that since [Citizens United],                                                             
campaign expenditures have been more transparent.                                                                               
8:51:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  report CSHJR 33,  Version 27-                                                               
LS1231\I,  Bullard, 2/16/12,  out  of  committee with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
8:51:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  objected.   He posited  that HJR  33 would                                                               
affect  First Amendment  rights  and "gets  ...  onto a  slippery                                                               
slope that we don't want to be on."   He said there are many ways                                                               
that  people   are  influenced,  including  by   on  line  social                                                               
networking, and he questioned where  the limit on control may end                                                               
up.   He  stated that  corporations are  made of  people, and  to                                                               
restrict them is to make  the statement that "people aren't smart                                                               
enough to figure out what's going on."                                                                                          
8:53:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN expressed  appreciation for the sponsor's                                                               
passion  on  the issue,  even  though  he  said he  cannot  align                                                               
himself with it philosophically.                                                                                                
8:53:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  stated  that  corporations  are  economic                                                               
creatures  of various  states, and  reiterated  that in  general,                                                               
their sole  duty is  to make money.   Following  Citizens United,                                                             
the  board of  directors  and the  management  can use  corporate                                                               
funds  to oppose  or  support certain  candidates  to align  with                                                               
their  economic  interests,  but  not at  the  unanimity  of  the                                                               
shareholders of  those corporations.   He said he is  not opposed                                                               
to  people forming  associations  and PACs  "for  the purpose  of                                                               
putting their  money together to  do things"; however,  he stated                                                               
that he finds  it problematic when political choices  are made by                                                               
management that are not related to  the owners of the company and                                                               
do not  benefit the shareholders'  interests.  He said  he thinks                                                               
the only  way to get around  this is to revisit  the restrictions                                                               
that   have  been   around  for   100   years  wherein   economic                                                               
corporations do  not have political  free speech in the  same way                                                               
an individual does.  He stated his support for HJR 33.                                                                          
8:56:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  commented that foreign  nationals sometimes  serve on                                                               
the boards of corporations.                                                                                                     
8:56:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  recalled that  when the  Citizens United                                                             
decision was made, the majority  of the feedback he received from                                                               
his  constituents was  in opposition  to the  decision.   He said                                                               
that when  the House State Affairs  Standing Committee previously                                                               
worked on legislation that required  corporations to disclose who                                                               
was  behind  expenditures,  he received  numerous  communications                                                               
from  constituents congratulating  the committee  for doing  such                                                               
good work.   He stated his  belief that the people  who voted for                                                               
him would  like him to support  HJR 33; therefore, he  stated his                                                               
support of the proposed legislation.                                                                                            
8:57:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN, regarding  Representative Seaton's prior                                                               
comment, stated that he thinks  the interests of corporations and                                                               
shareholders  are  one  and  the  same.    Further,  he  said  an                                                               
individual  has the  choice to  socially  invest in  corporations                                                               
with similar philosophies.                                                                                                      
8:58:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  stated that his  motion was not  on the                                                               
merits of  the proposed legislation,  but on the right  to debate                                                               
the  bill.   He opined  that it  is ironic  and unfortunate  that                                                               
those supporting the right of  corporations to participate in the                                                               
political process  and exercise  the right  of free  speech would                                                               
vote against  allowing HJR 33 to  move to the full  body, so that                                                               
the full  body can  exercise its  right to debate  the bill.   He                                                               
said he probably would not feel  so vehement if the bill were not                                                               
about the right of free speech.                                                                                                 
9:00:09 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll call  vote was taken.   Representatives Seaton, Gruenberg,                                                               
Petersen, and Lynn  voted in favor of the motion  to report CSHJR                                                               
33, Version 27-LS1231\I, Bullard,  2/16/12, out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
Representatives  P. Wilson,  Keller, and  Johansen voted  against                                                               
it.   Therefore,  CSHJR 33(STA)  was  reported out  of the  House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee by a vote of 4-3.                                                                              
9:00:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  commented  that she  is  proud of  her                                                               
9:01:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG,    to   the    previous   testifiers,                                                               
paraphrased Patrick  Henry, by  saying, "I  may not  always agree                                                               
with what  you say,  but I  certainly support  your right  to say                                                               
9:01:38 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:01 a.m. to 9:04 a.m.                                                                       
9:04:01 AM                                                                                                                    
         HR  10-OPPOSE NAT'L POPULAR VOTE FOR PRESIDENT                                                                     
9:04:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  last order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
RESOLUTION NO. 10, Supporting the  Electoral College and opposing                                                               
the  Agreement  Among  the  States  to  Elect  the  President  by                                                               
National Popular Vote interstate compact.                                                                                       
9:04:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER, as  sponsor, introduced  HR 10  and noted                                                               
that there  were a number of  people on line waiting  to testify.                                                               
He opined that the current electoral  voting system is fair if it                                                               
is the states that  are voting, but not fair if  it is the people                                                               
that are voting.   He said this is an issue  of democracy, and he                                                               
talked about  the balance between  the sovereignty of  the states                                                               
and the  sovereignty of the  federal government.  He  opined that                                                               
with its small population, Alaska would  lose power if it were to                                                               
change to a National Popular Vote (NPV).                                                                                        
9:08:10 AM                                                                                                                    
ERNEST  PRAX,  Staff,  Representative Wes  Keller,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented HR 10 on  behalf of Representative Keller,                                                               
sponsor.   He stated  that the intent  of HR 10  is to  voice the                                                               
concern of the Alaska House  of Representatives that an NPV would                                                               
conflict with  the U.S. Constitution and  founding Federalist and                                                               
Republican  principles  and   would  unlikely  increase  Alaska's                                                               
influence in deciding future presidential  elections.  He relayed                                                               
that there are multiple,  practical, and constitutional conflicts                                                               
related to the proposed National  Popular Vote Interstate Compact                                                               
(NPVIC),  and  said  HR  10 would  reaffirm  that  the  Electoral                                                               
College "remains  the most prudent  and proper means  of electing                                                               
the  President of  the United  States."   He  clarified that  the                                                               
NPVIC proposes to replace the  Electoral College system of voting                                                               
based on  the combined  will of  the states  with a  system using                                                               
popular vote.                                                                                                                   
MR.  PRAX  stated  that  the most  common  argument  against  the                                                               
current  Electoral College  system of  voting is  that it  is not                                                               
based on the idea  of every vote being equal and  can result in a                                                               
President  being elected,  despite losing  the popular  vote, the                                                               
most recent example being the 2000 General Election.                                                                            
MR.  PRAX  listed  the  shortcomings  inherent  in  the  proposed                                                               
compact:  First,  he said, Alaska could lose up  to 55 percent of                                                               
its  electoral influence.   Second,  he indicated,  the political                                                               
motives of the  states that have thus far ratified  the compact -                                                               
on the  East and West Coasts  - differ from Alaska's.   Third, he                                                               
said, the compact is unlikely  to change the "supposed problem of                                                               
battleground stakes," and there likely  will not be "attention by                                                               
Presidential  candidates focused  on  safe  states like  Alaska."                                                               
Fourth, he  relayed, the compact  is "likely to shift  focus away                                                               
from  the current  system, where  candidates are  incentivized to                                                               
establish broad geographic coalitions  of support" and "shift the                                                               
attention  towards densely  populated  areas"  - particularly  in                                                               
areas where the candidate may have a "strong showing."                                                                          
9:12:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PRAX  admitted that  the Electoral College  is not  a perfect                                                               
system.  He  quoted Alexander Hamilton as  saying, "The Electoral                                                               
College, if  not perfect, is  at least  excellent."  He  said the                                                               
proposed  compact is  "an  idea  that works  well  in a  bubble";                                                               
however, it  has many shortcomings  such that it will  likely not                                                               
"work as  advertised."   He stated  that the  compact incorrectly                                                               
assumes  that  American people  speak  with  a unified  political                                                               
voice,  and  it  depends  on   too  many  variables  to  function                                                               
properly.    Mr.  Prax  concluded,  "Just  because  electing  the                                                               
President  of the  United States  by popular  vote may  ... look,                                                               
feel, or sound good, it  does not necessarily therefore mean that                                                               
it is good."                                                                                                                    
9:14:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  Article 2,  Section 1,  of the  U.S.                                                               
Constitution gives states the authority  to award their electoral                                                               
votes  as determined  by the  legislatures of  those states.   He                                                               
asked  Mr.  Prax  if  he  is  disputing  that  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  has the  right and  responsibility to  determine the                                                               
basis of the allocation of its Electoral College votes.                                                                         
MR. PRAX urged Representative Seaton  to look beyond "that single                                                               
section  of  the Constitution"  to  the  intent of  the  Founding                                                               
Fathers  and question  whether  "that  proposed action"  complies                                                               
with "the spirit of the rest  of the Constitution."  He indicated                                                               
that there  is a PowerPoint  presentation, which contains  a more                                                               
comprehensive answer to that question.                                                                                          
9:17:36 AM                                                                                                                    
TARA  ROSS, Author,  Enlightened  Democracy:   The  Case For  The                                                             
Electoral College, testified  on behalf of herself  in support of                                                             
HR  10.   She  said it  is important  to  remember that  although                                                               
Alaska  is large  in size,  it has  three electoral  votes and  a                                                               
population of  722,000, while the  population of the U.S.  is 311                                                               
million.   She said it  is difficult for  Presidential candidates                                                               
to  travel  to Alaska,  given  its  distance  from the  Lower  48                                                               
states.   She  said Alaska  needs the  protection offered  by the                                                               
Electoral   College.     She  said   during  the   Constitutional                                                               
Convention, the Founding  Fathers focused not only  on giving the                                                               
people of the  nation a means by which to  govern themselves, but                                                               
also on protecting minority interests  and the interests of small                                                               
states from "the  tyranny of unreasonable majorities."   She said                                                               
a pure democracy, in which 51  percent of the people can rule the                                                               
other 49 percent, would not  accomplish this objective.  Ms. Ross                                                               
said  the   Founding  Fathers  combined  the   best  elements  of                                                               
democracy, republicanism,  and federalism.  Because  of this, the                                                               
U.S. has a system that  incorporates protections, such as the one                                                               
state/one  vote  of  the  Senate,   Presidential  veto,  and  the                                                               
Electoral College.                                                                                                              
MS.  ROSS  stated that  the  NPV  organization has  been  telling                                                               
Alaskans  that a  direct  national election  would:   bring  more                                                               
attention  to Alaska,  because every  vote would  be equal;  give                                                               
Alaska  the  same  legal  weight  as  California;  and  encourage                                                               
Presidential candidates to  "flock to the state in  droves."  She                                                               
said  this information  is wrong.   She  admitted perhaps  Alaska                                                               
currently does  not receive the  same attention as  other states,                                                               
but  posited  that  it  does  not  follow  that  eliminating  the                                                               
Electoral College will improve the  situation.  She said the U.S.                                                               
Census shows  the population of  California is 37.7  million, and                                                               
California has 55 electoral votes.   She said California has more                                                               
than 52  times the population  of Alaska,  but only 18  times the                                                               
number of  electoral votes.   She highlighted the  populations of                                                               
the two states to emphasize the effect of an NPV.                                                                               
9:22:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ROSS  mentioned  other legal  and  Constitutional  problems,                                                               
which she said  she does not have time to  address presently, but                                                               
she offered  her understanding that  the committee should  have a                                                               
white paper she submitted.                                                                                                      
9:23:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  remarked that the Presidential  race is                                                               
different from other races because  of the Unit Rule, which means                                                               
that the President is not elected by the people, but by states.                                                                 
MS. ROSS said that  is right, but said she thinks  that is a good                                                               
thing.    She  reiterated  that   the  Electoral  College  offers                                                               
democracy within  federalism.  She  proffered that  the Electoral                                                               
College  system  ensures  that Presidential  candidates  have  to                                                               
"broaden  their  base of  appeal,"  rather  than simply  focusing                                                               
their campaigns  on heavily populated  areas; they must  focus on                                                               
achieving  "simultaneous   victory  in  multiple  parts   of  the                                                               
country."   She opined  that [the Electoral  College] is  a great                                                               
system that has worked out well.                                                                                                
9:25:31 AM                                                                                                                    
TRENT  ENGLAND, Vice  President  of  Policy, Freedom  Foundation,                                                               
related  that  he  directed  a   state  project,  which  he  then                                                               
convinced the Freedom Foundation to  adopt.  He stated his belief                                                               
that the  Electoral College is  an important institution  in this                                                               
country.   He said this  debate is  about how the  country elects                                                               
the person  who is  the leader of  the free world.   He  said the                                                               
U.S. has  a republic, which is  a system of government  that uses                                                               
representation and has legal processes  and structures built into                                                               
it  to   provide  the  stability   and  moderation   that  direct                                                               
democratic systems  have never been  able to achieve.   There are                                                               
provisions in the U.S. Constitution  that explicitly do not allow                                                               
the majority to have its way.                                                                                                   
9:28:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ENGLAND  talked about  federalism being  a unique  quality of                                                               
the U.S., and proffered that the  U.S. Senate is the most obvious                                                               
example of  how federalism is  built into the  U.S. Constitution.                                                               
He said if  four states changed who they sent  as their Senators,                                                               
it  would change  the current  make-up of  the U.S.  Senate.   He                                                               
opined  that  the U.S.  Senate  is  less  "fair," from  a  purely                                                               
democratic  view,  than  is "the  Electoral  College  that  we're                                                               
talking about today."  Nevertheless,  he said he thinks Alaskans,                                                               
more than any other state,  understand the importance of the U.S.                                                               
Senate, and he said he hopes [Alaskans] support HR 10.                                                                          
MR.  ENGLAND  said  individual   disputes  are  contained  within                                                               
states, and he mentioned there  was a significant dispute in some                                                               
states  in 1876.    [Due  to poor  audio  quality,  much of  this                                                               
portion is indiscernible.]  He  offered further details regarding                                                               
the 1867 election.                                                                                                              
9:33:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ENGLAND  concluded that  the  Electoral  College, while  not                                                               
always making everyone  happy, is "a brilliant  system that works                                                               
differently  but  almost  certainly   better  than  the  American                                                               
founders thought it would."  He  said much of the reason for that                                                               
is that  it respects the  uses of  states as states  and provides                                                               
moderation and stability in the federal republic.                                                                               
9:34:21 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN   SAMPLES,  Ph.D.,   Director,  Center   for  Representative                                                               
Government,  Cato  Institute,  ventured  that  state  legislators                                                               
would like  to know  whether their state  would benefit  under an                                                               
NPV, and related that he answered  that question in a 2008 policy                                                               
analysis.   He said  the outcome  of his  analysis shows  that in                                                               
general, small states "lose power  mathematically" under a system                                                               
of direct voting, which  is what the NPV is.   He said that large                                                               
states tend to do well under an NPV system.                                                                                     
DR. SAMPLES said the NPV is based  on the idea that there will be                                                               
more  attention  to  Alaska;  however, a  leading  study  in  The                                                             
America  Economic Review,  based on  data from  1948-2000, states                                                             
that  Alaska  will  lose  about  half  its  votes  and  get  less                                                               
attention  from  Presidential candidates  if  it  moves from  the                                                               
Electoral College Vote to the NPV.                                                                                              
9:37:12 AM                                                                                                                    
LAURA BROD said she is a  former legislator from Minnesota who is                                                               
testifying   on  behalf   of  the   NPV  organization   based  in                                                               
California.   She opined  that the legislature  has been  given a                                                               
"false  choice."   She  explained  that it  is  not an  either/or                                                               
choice; the legislature  does not have to choose  whether to keep                                                               
the Electoral  College or go to  an NPV.  She  explained that the                                                               
NPV  currently  before  the  U.S.   Senate  does  not  touch  the                                                               
Electoral  College, she  said.    She said  she  agrees that  the                                                               
Electoral College is  an important part of the  foundation of the                                                               
U.S, and she emphasized, "The  National Popular Vote bill doesn't                                                               
address that  or touch it and  run around it, repeal  it, replace                                                               
it, or any other thing.  It doesn't  mess with it one bit.  If it                                                               
did, ...  I would  not be  here before ...  the committee."   She                                                               
opined that  how the country  elects its President is  big issue,                                                               
which is  why the  NPV organization's complaint  is not  with the                                                               
Electoral College, but with winner-take-all  rules that are in 48                                                               
out of the 50 states and ignoring Alaska.                                                                                       
MS. BROD said  previous testifiers have used simple  math to warn                                                               
that under  the NPV Alaska  would lose about half  its influence.                                                               
She said her  response is:  "zero times zero  still equals zero."                                                               
She  said Presidential  candidates focus  all their  attention on                                                               
the battleground  states; 35 states  are ignored.  She  said that                                                               
builds coalitions  in certain  states at  the expense  of others.                                                               
She said it  is not just about the money  or attention, but about                                                               
the issues, such  as the Arctic National  Wildlife Refuge (ANWR),                                                               
base closures, land management, and oil and gas.                                                                                
MS. BROD said  an NPV would expand the coalitions  in the country                                                               
and expand the  influence of Alaskans by  "making candidates care                                                               
about what ... the people you represent think."                                                                                 
9:40:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BROD  said Article  2, Section 1,  of the  U.S. Constitution,                                                               
gave  state legislatures  the authority  to "award  your electors                                                               
however you see  fit in the best interest of  the people that you                                                               
represent."  She relayed that  she has spoken with many Alaskans,                                                               
and  she offered  her understanding  that they  truly want  their                                                               
vote to  matter, want  candidates to talk  about the  issues they                                                               
care about, and do not  want the Presidential election decided by                                                               
4:00 p.m. on  the day of the  election.  She said  this issue has                                                               
been studied in  committees throughout the country  and she urged                                                               
further time  be devoted to its  discussion.  In response  to the                                                               
chair,  she  said  she  would  be  happy  to  return  for  future                                                               
discussions on the issue.                                                                                                       
9:41:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  expressed  appreciation  for  Ms.  Brod's                                                               
MS. BROD,  in response to  Representative Keller,  explained that                                                               
there are  two entities promoting  the NPV:  one  is incorporated                                                               
in  Florida and  is called,  "Support Popular  Vote"; the  other,                                                               
which she represents, is incorporated in California.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  said he  takes  exception  to Ms.  Brod's                                                               
statement that  the NPV would  not affect the  Electoral College.                                                               
He said, "The  effect of the National Popular Vote  is to go from                                                               
a  popular vote  that is  determined  state by  state across  the                                                               
whole U.S. to a popular vote  that is national.  That changes the                                                               
fundamental intent of the founders for the Electoral College."                                                                  
[HR 10 was held over.]                                                                                                          
9:43:00 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 9:43                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HR 10.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
02 HR 10 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
03 HR10 The American Presidency and the Electoral College.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
06 CSHJR 33 Version I.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
07 HJR 33 Memo from Gara to Committee 02.17.12.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
08 HJR 33 LEG HSTA Zero Fiscal Note 2-8-12.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
09 HJR 33 Letter of Support - Move to Support.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
10 Public Testimony Veh_HJR33_HSTA_021412.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
05 HR 10 Cato Institute--Critique of the National Popular Vote.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
06 HR 10 Heritage Paper on NPV.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
07 HR 10 Debunk the myth.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
08 HR 10 Tara Ross--Legal Implications of NPV.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HR 10
01 HJR 33 Version B.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
02 HJR 33 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
03 HJR 33 Center for Responsive Politics article.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
04 HJR 33 Backup articles.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33
05 ARTICLE The hard truth about Citizens United.pdf HSTA 2/23/2012 8:00:00 AM
HJR 33