Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106

03/22/2012 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 22, 2012                                                                                         
                           8:07 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 CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 28                                                                                              
Proclaiming the month of April 2012 to be Sexual Assault                                                                        
Awareness Month.                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCR 28 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 347                                                                                                              
"An  Act prohibiting  the use  of municipal  funds to  support or                                                               
oppose  an initiative  proposal  to circulate  a  petition for  a                                                               
ballot initiative,  or to  influence the  outcome of  an election                                                               
concerning  a ballot  initiative, without  approval by  municipal                                                               
voters at an election."                                                                                                         
     - MOVED HB 347 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HCR 28                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                                                        
03/15/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/15/12       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
03/22/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HB 347                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: USE OF MUNICIPAL FUNDS FOR INITIATIVES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): OLSON                                                                                                               
02/22/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/12       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/22/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
RACHEL KALLANDER, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HCR 28 on behalf of the House                                                                  
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee (HCRA),                                                                       
sponsor, on which Representative Munoz is chair.                                                                                
ROWENA PALOMAR, Executive Director                                                                                              
Advocates for Victims of Violence (AVV)                                                                                         
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of the designation of                                                               
April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, during the hearing on                                                                  
HCR 28.                                                                                                                         
SARALYN TABACHNICK, Executive Director                                                                                          
Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE);                                                                             
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA)                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support HCR 28.                                                                             
LAUREE MORTON, Executive Director                                                                                               
Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (CDVSA)                                                                           
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 28.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE KURT OLSON                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As sponsor, presented HB 347.                                                                            
ANNA LATHAM, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  347   on   behalf   of                                                             
Representative Olson, sponsor.                                                                                                  
KATHIE WASSERMAN, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Municipal League (AML)                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 347.                                                                       
MAKO HAGGERTY                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified   on  behalf  of   himself  in                                                             
opposition to HB 347.                                                                                                           
SCOTT RUBY, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Community and Regional Affairs                                                                                      
Department of Commerce, Community, and Regional Development                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 347.                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:07:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 8:07  a.m.  Representatives  Keller, Seaton,                                                               
P. Wilson, Petersen, and Lynn were  present at the call to order.                                                               
Representatives  Johansen and  Gruenberg arrived  as the  meeting                                                               
was in progress.                                                                                                                
             HCR 28-SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH                                                                          
8:07:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION NO.  28,  Proclaiming the  month of  April                                                               
2012 to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month.                                                                                      
8:07:43 AM                                                                                                                    
RACHEL  KALLANDER,  Staff,  Representative  Cathy  Munoz,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  presented HCR  28  on  behalf of  the  House                                                               
Community  and   Regional  Affairs  Standing   Committee  (HCRA),                                                               
sponsor,  on which  Representative Munoz  is chair.   She  stated                                                               
that  Alaska has  the  highest  rates of  sexual  assault in  the                                                               
country, estimated  at 2.5 times  the national average; it  is an                                                               
epidemic  that,   until  stopped,  will  continue   to  devastate                                                               
Alaska's individuals,  families, and  communities.  She  said HCR
28,  along   with  the  governor's  "Choose   Respect"  campaign,                                                               
hopefully will  send a message  to Alaskans that  sexual violence                                                               
is not to  be tolerated, silenced, or covered up.   Ms. Kallander                                                               
said the  resolution recognizes the  many volunteers,  staff, and                                                               
agencies  that provide  victims  of sexual  assault with  safety,                                                               
options, and justice.  She  said claiming April as sexual assault                                                               
awareness month  is "an honorable  recognition of the  great need                                                               
in Alaska to combat this  epidemic ... by speaking out, listening                                                               
to those who  have been harmed, and removing the  veil of silence                                                               
from this issue."  She encouraged co-sponsorship of HCR 28.                                                                     
8:10:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KALLANDER, in response to  Chair Lynn, said the sponsor could                                                               
work with the  Office of the Governor  to come up with  a list of                                                               
those to whom copies of  the proposed concurrent resolution would                                                               
be sent.                                                                                                                        
8:11:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN asked  what would  be done  to make  the                                                               
public aware of  the designation of April 2012  as Sexual Assault                                                               
Awareness Month.                                                                                                                
MS.  KALLANDER indicated  that  a resolution  has  been made  [in                                                               
Alaska]  since 2001,  and she  said many  communities and  states                                                               
across the country have had  similar legislation since the 1990s.                                                               
She said she would bring this  issue up with the sponsor, and she                                                               
expressed her hope  that the delivery of  this campaign's message                                                               
would be aligned with the Choose Respect campaign.                                                                              
CHAIR LYNN  suggested that  a presentation could  be made  by the                                                               
governor in conjunction with HCR 28.                                                                                            
8:12:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON, in response to  Ms. Kallander's urging                                                               
committee   members   to   co-sponsor   HCR   28,   offered   her                                                               
understanding that the  committee could not do so  because HCR 28                                                               
is being presented by the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                               
CHAIR LYNN suggested that [a  member of the committee] could make                                                               
a statement when HCR 28 reaches the House floor.                                                                                
8:13:41 AM                                                                                                                    
ROWENA  PALOMAR, Executive  Director,  Advocates  for Victims  of                                                               
Violence  (AVV), related  that AVV  is a  shelter for  victims of                                                               
domestic violence and  sexual assault, and stated  her support of                                                               
the designation of April as  Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  She                                                               
said the  proposed legislation will  send the message  to victims                                                               
that there  are people  ready to  listen and  help.   Ms. Palomar                                                               
listed the  following activities  AVV has  planned in  Valdez for                                                               
April   Sexual  Assault   Awareness  Month:     reading   of  the                                                               
proclamation at  the Valdez  City Council meeting  on April  2; a                                                               
Walk a Mile in  Her Shoes event on April 3, which  will be led by                                                               
men walking in  high heels and flip  flops to get an  idea of the                                                               
position  a  woman is  in  when  assaulted; partnering  with  the                                                               
school  district to  have students  draw  depictions on  t-shirts                                                               
showing how  they want to  be protected, and displaying  those t-                                                               
shirts in  the school; and  holding a women of  distinction event                                                               
honoring  female role  models in  the community.   She  expressed                                                               
thanks to  Ms. Kallander and  emphasized the importance  of women                                                               
coming forward to tell their stories.                                                                                           
8:19:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PALOMAR,  in response  to  Representative  Seaton and  Chair                                                               
Lynn,  stated her  preference that  all Aprils  be designated  as                                                               
Sexual Assault Awareness Month - not just 2012.                                                                                 
8:19:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON suggested  finding  out  what the  sponsor                                                               
would like to do.                                                                                                               
8:20:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KALLANDER said she does not  know the position of the sponsor                                                               
regarding   that   question,   but   once   again   offered   her                                                               
understanding  that similar  resolutions  have  been passed  each                                                               
year since 2001.                                                                                                                
8:21:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON said she  carried a resolution that made                                                               
February Heart Awareness  month, and she said  the American Heart                                                               
Association stated  a preference  for the  resolution to  be made                                                               
each year.   However, she noted that that resolution  is still in                                                               
the possession of  the Senate, so it  is too late for  2012.  She                                                               
said she thinks it would be a good  idea to pass HCR 28 as a one-                                                               
time  resolution that  would make  every succeeding  April Sexual                                                               
Assault Awareness Month.                                                                                                        
MS. PALOMAR concurred.                                                                                                          
8:22:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  offered his understanding  that that would  require a                                                               
bill, not just a resolution.                                                                                                    
8:22:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG echoed the chair's remark.                                                                             
CHAIR LYNN said  National Guard Day just passed in  the form of a                                                               
bill.   He  commented that  no one  knows today  what legislative                                                               
schedules will be a year from now.                                                                                              
8:23:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER said  he would  resist making  a permanent                                                               
designation, because  people are uncomfortable talking  about the                                                               
issue and there  is value in bringing  it up each year.   He said                                                               
he would  like a direct  response from  the sponsor on  the issue                                                               
before making this decision.                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  said it was unfortunate  that Gavel to Gavel  was not                                                               
present to televise this meeting.                                                                                               
8:25:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KALLANDER stated  a preference  to speak  with all  involved                                                               
agencies before  the committee  considered changing  the proposed                                                               
concurrent resolution to be perpetual.                                                                                          
CHAIR  LYNN suggested  that that  conversation take  place before                                                               
considering the issue again next year.                                                                                          
8:26:41 AM                                                                                                                    
SARALYN  TABACHNICK, Executive  Director, Aiding  Women in  Abuse                                                               
and Rape  Emergencies (AWARE); Chair, Alaska  Network on Domestic                                                               
Violence  and Sexual  Assault (ANDVSA),  testified in  support of                                                               
HCR 28.   She said the  resolution states many reasons  that this                                                               
designation   is  important   for  Alaska,   and  she   expressed                                                               
appreciation  for  the  committee's  focus on  the  issue.    She                                                               
related  that a  2010 survey  revealed  that over  37 percent  of                                                               
adult  women  in  Alaska  experience  sexual  violence  in  their                                                               
lifetime.   She said the survey  did not count the  number of men                                                               
or  children who  have  been  victims of  sexual  violence.   She                                                               
stated that bringing  awareness to the issue through  HCR 28 will                                                               
invite  individuals   and  communities  to  speak   about  sexual                                                               
assault,   which  will   allow  for   greater  intervention   and                                                               
prevention services.   She  said, "It helps  take away  the shame                                                               
and take away the blame."                                                                                                       
MS. TABACHNICK listed the following  activities planned in Juneau                                                               
for April:   a training  to engage men in  the work of  AWARE, on                                                               
April  3; a  healing  art  exhibit on  April  6;  and the  annual                                                               
waterfront race  on April  7.   She said  next week  the governor                                                               
will hold his Choose Respect march,  which will take place in 120                                                               
communities  in   Alaska.    She   said  AWARE   appreciates  the                                                               
legislature's  support   for  victims   of  sexual   assault  and                                                               
CHAIR  LYNN pointed  out that  the  elderly are  also victims  of                                                               
sexual assault.                                                                                                                 
8:29:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked Ms.  Tabachnick to clarify  that she                                                               
was  talking about  the normal  response of  the victims  to feel                                                               
shame and blame themselves.                                                                                                     
MS. TABACHNICK answered that is correct.                                                                                        
CHAIR  LYNN remarked  that often  there is  shame and  blame with                                                               
family  members who  question why  they were  not aware  of abuse                                                               
going on within the family.                                                                                                     
8:32:01 AM                                                                                                                    
LAUREE MORTON,  Executive Director, Council on  Domestic Violence                                                               
& Sexual Assault  (CDVSA), Department of Public  Safety, said she                                                               
is  currently in  Fairbanks, Alaska,  overseeing the  training of                                                               
eight   sexual  assault   response   teams,   comprised  of   law                                                               
enforcement  officers,  advocates,  health  care  providers,  and                                                               
prosecutors.   She  stated her  belief that  it is  important for                                                               
"the leaders  of the  state to  say with one  voice that  help is                                                               
available,  survivors will  be believed,  and  offenders will  be                                                               
held  accountable."    She  talked   about  the  opportunity  the                                                               
legislature has  to spread  awareness, not  only through  HCR 28,                                                               
but through  constituent outreach.   She spoke of safety  at home                                                               
and work,  noting that  coworkers and  relatives are  more likely                                                               
than others to commit acts of sexual violence.                                                                                  
MS. MORTON  expressed her appreciation  of the  acknowledgment in                                                               
HCR 28  of "the  people who  are dedicated to  this work  and the                                                               
call to assist  them in this effort."  She  said there are heroes                                                               
around the state  who respond to help victims  of sexual assault.                                                               
She thanked the  committee for its "constant support  and work on                                                               
these issues over  the years," and she asked  for the committee's                                                               
support of HCR 28.                                                                                                              
8:35:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN,  after ascertaining  that there was  no one  else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                     
8:35:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG reported that  legal holidays are listed                                                               
in AS  44.12.010.  He said  Martin Luther King Day  was first set                                                               
up as a  "day of honor," then  it moved to become a  statute.  He                                                               
said, "There are  a whole bunch of those  statutes," ranging from                                                               
AS 44.12.030  to AS  44.12.118.   He offered  some examples.   He                                                               
suggested  that the  committee may  want to  consider designating                                                               
sexual awareness in statute.                                                                                                    
8:37:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KALLANDER said  that is an important question  for next year,                                                               
and she said she will speak with the sponsor and other agencies.                                                                
8:38:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to  report HCR  28 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection, HCR  was reported out  of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
8:39:18 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:39 a.m. to 8:41 a.m.                                                                       
         HB 347-USE OF MUNICIPAL FUNDS FOR INITIATIVES                                                                      
8:41:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  last order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO. 347,  "An Act prohibiting the use of  municipal funds to                                                               
support or oppose an initiative  proposal to circulate a petition                                                               
for  a ballot  initiative,  or  to influence  the  outcome of  an                                                               
election  concerning a  ballot  initiative,  without approval  by                                                               
municipal voters at an election."                                                                                               
8:41:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KURT OLSON, Alaska  State Legislature, as sponsor,                                                               
presented HB  347.   He said  the bill  would provide  checks and                                                               
balances  to the  "expenditure of  the money."   He  said he  had                                                               
hoped  the  quarterly  report  from  the  Alaska  Public  Offices                                                               
Commission (APOC) was available, but  said he believes someone in                                                               
the room may have a better  understanding of "what the total will                                                               
be."   He  surmised, "It's  probably going  to come  in at  about                                                               
$250,000,  possibly more."   He  offered  his understanding  that                                                               
"the actual dollars  spent on gathering these  signatures will be                                                               
somewhere between 80 and 100 thousand dollars."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON noted that  included in the committee packet                                                               
is information  regarding related  laws in 20  other states.   He                                                               
said other  states' laws  are stricter.   He said  if he  had had                                                               
that information in the beginning,  he might have changed HB 347;                                                               
however, he indicated that he  was satisfied with the balance the                                                               
proposed legislation would provide.                                                                                             
8:44:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN commented  that quite  often those  trying to  get an                                                               
initiative  passed don't  have the  same funds  available as  the                                                               
8:45:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON offered  an example  of petition  gathering                                                               
where  no  public  money  was  spent and  an  example  where  the                                                               
petition signature gatherers were paid.   He said often the money                                                               
spent by  municipalities has come  from the  state.  He  said his                                                               
issue is with public money being used.                                                                                          
8:48:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  listed  the amounts  spent  by  various                                                               
municipal entities on initiative  petition gathering, as follows:                                                               
the  Alaska Municipal  League, $5,000;  the Alaska  Conference of                                                               
Mayors,  $10,000;  North  Slope  Borough,  $25,000;  Bristol  Bay                                                               
Borough, $4,000;  the community of Pribilof  Island, $10,000; and                                                               
the City of Valdez, $5,000.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON  pointed  out  that  "those  are  only  the                                                               
numbers that have been reported."                                                                                               
CHAIR LYNN  said the money  spent came  from taxes of  the people                                                               
who may or may not agree with the issue.                                                                                        
8:49:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN offered  his understanding that municipal                                                               
revenue sharing is  based on the price of oil  and, thus, some of                                                               
the  money comes  from the  state's  operating budget.   He  said                                                               
during a recent signature gathering  there was no paid opposition                                                               
to the gathering of the signatures, which he said is fine.                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN said  ultimately the money comes from  the citizens of                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON  said that is  why he wants to  compare this                                                               
with  the legislative  Capital Project  Submission &  Information                                                               
System (CAPSIS) project.                                                                                                        
8:51:06 AM                                                                                                                    
ANNA  LATHAM,  Staff,  Representative Kurt  Olson,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented HB 347 on  behalf of Representative Olson,                                                               
sponsor.  She stated:                                                                                                           
     Currently   municipalities  can   spend  thousands   of                                                                    
     dollars  on consultants  and paid  signature collectors                                                                    
     to  influence  the  outcome  of  a  ballot  initiative.                                                                    
     Although  voters   may  be  in  support   of  a  ballot                                                                    
     initiative, they  may be not  be in favor  of municipal                                                                    
     funds  being allocated  to special  interest groups  to                                                                    
     finance  that  initiative,   as  Alaska  law  currently                                                                    
     This  bill  creates  awareness  about  where  municipal                                                                    
     funds are  actually going and  it empowers voters.   If                                                                    
     the   voters'   priorities   are  the   same   as   the                                                                    
     municipalities,  voters  would   approve  of  funds  to                                                                    
     influence  a ballot  initiative.   And  if the  voters'                                                                    
     priorities  differed  from  the municipal  agenda,  the                                                                    
     process would stop before additional funds were spent.                                                                     
     So, in a sense, HB 347 could be a cost-saving measure                                                                      
          as the state shifts to become more fiscally                                                                           
MS.  LATHAM said  14 of  the  20 states  reviewed by  Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services prohibited  the use of  public funds                                                               
to support  or oppose  an initiative  altogether.   Those states,                                                               
she  said, are:   Arizona,  California, Georgia,  Florida, Idaho,                                                               
Massachusetts,  Montana,   Nevada,  New  Mexico,   North  Dakota,                                                               
Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.   She said those states do                                                               
allow municipalities  to extend  funds to provide  information or                                                               
educational materials regarding  an initiative.  She  said HB 347                                                               
is not  nearly as restrictive  as the current legislation  in the                                                               
states  she just  listed; it  would allow  municipalities to  use                                                               
funds with voter approval.   She said the intent of  HB 347 is to                                                               
keep the  ballot initiative process  fair and to ensure  that the                                                               
priorities of the  municipalities are the same  as the priorities                                                               
of its citizens.                                                                                                                
8:53:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  what the cost to  the boroughs would                                                               
be for  authorizing expenditures  of funds for  special elections                                                               
and   how   those  costs   would   relate   to  the   cost   that                                                               
"municipalities have put in to the recent initiative."                                                                          
MS. LATHAM  answered that that  would depend  on the size  of the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  if  Ms. Latham  could  answer  the                                                               
question for any specific borough.                                                                                              
MS. LATHAM said she could find out that information.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  opined that  it is  important to  find out                                                               
that  information on  behalf  of those  people  who have  elected                                                               
their municipal leaders.   He said, "If the effect  of this is to                                                               
dramatically increase the cost of  participation, then we need to                                                               
know  that."    He  offered  his  understanding  that  a  special                                                               
election held in the Kenai  Peninsula Borough costs approximately                                                               
8:55:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  directed attention to language  on page 1,                                                               
line 7, which  read, "When expenditure of money  is authorized by                                                               
(b) or (c) of this section", and  he said he is not familiar with                                                               
subsections (b) and (c).                                                                                                        
8:56:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON responded as follows:                                                                                      
     It was quite contentious when  it was brought up to the                                                                    
     Council of  Mayors.   I believe  that the  small mayors                                                                    
     outnumbered  the large  mayors in  this one  person/one                                                                    
     vote.    ...  The  three   or  four  mayors  that  were                                                                    
     adamantly  against expending  monies on  the initiative                                                                    
     represented probably 60-65 percent of the state.                                                                           
8:57:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  said  the cost  varies  depending  on                                                               
factors such as whether an initiative  is going to be added to an                                                               
already planned special  election or a special  election is being                                                               
called just  for the  initiative.  She  stated her  preference to                                                               
not have  municipalities paying  [for initiative  processes] with                                                               
money the state has given for other purposes.                                                                                   
8:58:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN stated,  "This is  not about  voicing an                                                               
opinion; this about  writing a check."  He  said any municipality                                                               
can voice an  opinion through a resolution or  through letters to                                                               
the mayor.   He  said of the  $100,000 raised  by municipalities,                                                               
$50,000 was sent to a signature gatherer in Anchorage.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON said  Representative Johansen's statement is                                                               
accurate.    He  related  that  he has  not  heard  any  negative                                                               
feedback on this proposed bill.                                                                                                 
9:00:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Ms.  Latham if  she inquired  of                                                               
Legislative Legal  and Research Services whether  any courts have                                                               
construed the  constitutionality, particularly  in regard  to the                                                               
possible  infringement  of  the  municipalities'  right  to  free                                                               
MS. LATHAM  answered no,  but said she  received a  court opinion                                                               
that  said "initiative  petition  circulation  is poor  political                                                               
speech."   She said,  "So, that  cannot be  prohibited.   What we                                                               
could  prohibit,  as  other  states  have  already  done,  is  to                                                               
prohibit municipalities from receiving."                                                                                        
9:02:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked for a  copy of that case  and any                                                               
other related legal matter.  He  said it seems that an initiative                                                               
is one method of expressing  an opposition to a government policy                                                               
or program,  usually utilized by  people who cannot  gain redress                                                               
through the normal  form of representative government.   He said,                                                               
"It would seem to me that the  application of a ... law like this                                                               
would be to  allow the initiative sponsors to  present their side                                                               
of the case yet to  prohibit the municipality from presenting its                                                               
side of the case."   He ventured that if there is  going to be an                                                               
election to  determine whether municipal  money can be  spent, it                                                               
will change only the timing of the debate.                                                                                      
9:04:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON responded  that  [under HB  347], at  least                                                               
[the municipality]  would know whether  the people  supported the                                                               
direction in which it was going.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG concurred.   He  said the  debate would                                                               
take place around the time of  the election that would be held to                                                               
decide whether to spend money on the initiative.                                                                                
9:05:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  argued  that  the  debate  may  not  be                                                               
limited  to  the  issue.   To  Representative  Gruenberg's  first                                                               
question,  he  pointed  to  [the first  sentence  of]  the  third                                                               
footnote  in the  aforementioned Legislative  Legal and  Research                                                               
Services memorandum, which read  as follows [original punctuation                                                               
    In   Idaho,   Massachusetts   and   New   Mexico,   the                                                                     
         prohibition is not codified in law but rather,                                                                         
     pursuant to court rulings.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said this issue is  interesting because                                                               
it deals  not only with policy,  but also with legal  issues.  He                                                               
named  two issues:   free  speech and  a question  regarding what                                                               
right  a  municipality  has  under  the  articles  in  the  state                                                               
constitution dealing  with municipality  government.   He offered                                                               
his understanding  that under HB 347  there is no issue  with the                                                               
latter, but  said he  "did not  see anything  on the  free speech                                                               
9:07:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON stated,  "That was  my overriding  concern,                                                               
and it was expressed that way to the [bill] drafter."                                                                           
9:07:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred to  a paragraph in the Legislative                                                               
Legal and Research Services  memorandum [regarding Ballot Measure                                                               
1], which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                      
     The  initiative would  have banned  the  use of  public                                                                    
     funds  for political  campaigns and  lobbying by  state                                                                    
     and local  government agencies and school  districts to                                                                    
     support  or oppose  ballot measures,  lobby  to pass  a                                                                    
     law, or request public funding.   The measure failed as                                                                    
     nearly 61 percent of voters  cast their ballots against                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked how  [Ballot Measure  1] and  HB 347                                                               
9:08:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON answered  that HB  347 is  less restrictive                                                               
and does not  include school districts, for example.   He said he                                                               
would  distribute a  copy of  Ballot Measure  1 [included  in the                                                               
committee packet].                                                                                                              
9:08:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained he  is trying  to figure  out if                                                               
the  issue is  the same,  because if  it is  he questioned  why a                                                               
different result from the voters would be anticipated.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON said reading  the language of Ballot Measure                                                               
1 would answer Representative Seaton's query.                                                                                   
9:09:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN said  as  a result  of  a Supreme  Court                                                               
ruling in the  Citizens United case, it is unlawful  to limit the                                                             
political  speech  of corporations  and  unions.   He  questioned                                                               
whether trying to  limit the free speech  of municipalities would                                                               
result in another court battle.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  LYNN  said the  committee  needs  to  get input  from  the                                                               
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
9:10:30 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal League,                                                               
testified in  opposition to  HB 347.   She directed  attention to                                                               
language  in the  sponsor statement  [included  in the  committee                                                               
packet],  which indicates  HB 347  would prohibit  municipalities                                                               
from spending  "copious amounts  of money"  to advance  their own                                                               
agenda.  She  questioned the meaning of copious  in this context.                                                               
She explained  that any  amount of money  spent on  an initiative                                                               
must  go through  a hearing  process in  the municipality.   That                                                               
hearing process must be legally  posted and advertised.  She said                                                               
there  are  two hearings,  and  public  input  is allowed.    She                                                               
posited that  it is false to  say people do not  have the ability                                                               
to be part of the process.   Ms. Wasserman expressed concern with                                                               
the statement that  municipalities follow their own  agenda.  She                                                               
said  elected   officials  never   have  100  percent   of  their                                                               
constituency backing  them; however, they are  elected, they have                                                               
fiduciary  responsibilities, and  some  of them  do have  agenda.                                                               
She said agenda is not always a bad word.                                                                                       
9:13:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  WASSERMAN disagreed  with the  sponsor's statement  that the                                                               
mayors  who were  against spending  money [on  the aforementioned                                                               
initiative] represented 65  percent of the state.   She said they                                                               
were from the  same area and represented a  large population, but                                                               
not 65 percent.  She emphasized that  a vote was taken.  She said                                                               
the 2010 initiative referred to  by Representative Seaton was one                                                               
that the  municipalities, through AML, ran  the campaign against.                                                               
She said, "We did that  with many organizations across the state,                                                               
and  we  were  able  to  defeat  that  initiative,  but  it  also                                                               
protected  the  state  legislators  from spending  any  money  on                                                               
anything that  they voted on."   Ms. Wasserman said  she received                                                               
thanks from  many legislators for  taking the stand  against that                                                               
initiative.   She said, "And  now we  have an initiative  that is                                                               
against some  of the  legislators, and  suddenly it  shouldn't be                                                               
done.   And I just have  a very difficult time  understanding why                                                               
it's dependent on which viewpoint we take."                                                                                     
9:15:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN noted  that  one  of the  co-sponsors  of  HB 347  is                                                               
Representative  Anna Fairclough,  who was  a prominent  member of                                                               
the Anchorage  Assembly, and  he stated  his assumption  that she                                                               
has intimate knowledge of municipal politics in that community.                                                                 
9:15:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  referred  to the  information  in  the                                                               
Legislative Legal  and Research Services memorandum  and said the                                                               
document shows  only how many  states prohibit the use  of public                                                               
funds to  support or oppose  an initiative.   He said  those laws                                                               
could take various forms.   He offered the following hypothetical                                                               
examples:   public funds may not  be used to oppose  or support a                                                               
ballot measure or  an initiative; and the only  prohibition is to                                                               
use public  funds to speak out  on an initiative proposed  by the                                                               
voters.    He said  this  brings  up  a fundamental  question  of                                                               
whether  it is  constitutional  and good  policy  only to  oppose                                                               
public  funds  vis-à-vis an  initiative.    He concluded:    "Why                                                               
should it make  a difference whether something's  proposed by the                                                               
voters as opposed [to] ... the  municipality?  In both cases, the                                                               
voters are asked to approve it."                                                                                                
9:18:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WASSERMAN  said municipalities  have donated money,  but none                                                               
have sponsored  "the current initiative";  it was sponsored  by a                                                               
group formed  separately.   She said with  the way  some national                                                               
laws  have changed,  under HB  347 municipalities  would be  "the                                                               
only ones that can't say anything."   She relayed that the lesson                                                               
learned from "the last initiative  that we fought against a group                                                               
that carried the  gag law to the voters" was  that expenditure of                                                               
money means  "while you're on  the clock, you can't  say anything                                                               
... unless you  are at home, on  your own phone."   She said that                                                               
calls into question  whether a mayor, who is not  paid, is on the                                                               
clock  24  hours  a  day.    She  said  initiatives  may  involve                                                               
municipalities,  and she  opined that  municipalities need  to be                                                               
able to represent themselves in a  timely manner.  In response to                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg,  she said  she  would  seek out  legal                                                               
research on this issue.                                                                                                         
9:20:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed attention  to language in the bill                                                               
title,  starting on  line 2,  which  read, "or  to influence  the                                                             
outcome  of an  election  concerning a  ballot  initiative".   He                                                           
asked  Ms. Wasserman  if her  interpretation  from "the  previous                                                               
bill initiative"  is that  a municipal  official who  traveled to                                                               
Juneau when hearings  were taking place would  be prohibited from                                                               
taking part in those hearings.                                                                                                  
MS. WASSERMAN  answered yes.  She  said, "We were told  that they                                                               
would be  prohibited from taking  part in anything."   She added,                                                               
"It's a lot more far reaching than just handing a check over."                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said  he thinks it would  be an interesting                                                               
situation  if  initiatives are  brought  up  that would  directly                                                               
affect   municipalities,  but   the   representatives  of   those                                                               
municipalities were  prohibited from sending people  to Juneau to                                                               
talk to the legislature.                                                                                                        
9:22:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  suggested  adding   a  provision  stating  that  the                                                               
proposed legislation  would not prohibit municipal  employees who                                                               
are on  the clock  from communicating  with or  testifying before                                                               
the legislature.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said that would  help, and it would further                                                               
help if those  municipal employees were allowed  to have hearings                                                               
in their own municipality.                                                                                                      
9:24:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHANSEN  said   "this"  is   not  "a   flat-out                                                               
prohibition from  taking part in  the process."   He then  said a                                                               
borough  could set  up a  structure that  could "run  through the                                                               
ballot one time and create a pot  of money" that could be used to                                                               
deal with initiatives.   He said that would keep  "the big money"                                                               
out, but would allow for staff to testify.                                                                                      
MS.  WASSERMAN,   in  response   to  series  of   questions  from                                                               
Representative Johansen, confirmed that  the Conference of Mayors                                                               
is  part of  the  structure of  AML, but  the  two entities  have                                                               
separate   bank  accounts.     The   executive  boards   of  each                                                               
organization, through votes, decide how  the money is spent.  She                                                               
said AML's money comes from  membership dues from municipalities,                                                               
business sponsors, and associates  throughout the state that join                                                               
AML,  nonprofit organizations,  and associations.   Additionally,                                                               
AML charges  fees for  training in,  for example,  grant writing,                                                               
parliamentary  procedure, and  how to  run a  good meeting.   She                                                               
relayed that  the information pertaining  to AML's  money sources                                                               
is  posted on  its web  site  and available  to the  public.   In                                                               
regard to  her previous  statement that  two hearings  are given,                                                               
she  confirmed that  that applies  to every  municipality in  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  offered  his  understanding  that  some                                                               
municipalities  utilize consent  calendars, on  which all  topics                                                               
are listed, and if someone must  make a motion to bring the topic                                                               
forward.   He  said  he  has seen  some  large appropriations  go                                                               
through  the Ketchikan  Borough  Assembly on  a consent  calendar                                                               
without any reading or discussion.                                                                                              
MS.  WASSERMAN, in  response  to Chair  Lynn,  estimated that  60                                                               
percent of AML's funding comes  from municipalities.  She offered                                                               
further information regarding benefits of membership.                                                                           
9:31:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  said there  is state law  that prohibits                                                               
people from  using legislatively appropriated money  to lobby the                                                               
legislature.   He said  AML could  say that it  does not  use the                                                               
municipal revenue sharing money, but  uses "the money we get from                                                               
the 40 or  50 people or the other money."   He questioned whether                                                               
at some  point that other  money would run  out and AML  would be                                                               
left with  only municipal money.   He said there is  a comingling                                                               
of funds.                                                                                                                       
CHAIR LYNN asked if the funds are comingled.                                                                                    
MS.  WASSERMAN  answered  yes.     In  response  to  a  follow-up                                                               
question, she said the board decides how to use the funds.                                                                      
9:32:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WASSERMAN,  in response to Representative  Johansen, said she                                                               
has  only four  employees, so  if smaller  communities need  help                                                               
with balance sheets  and budgets, she defers them to  a source of                                                               
9:34:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said, "It seems like  we're saying, 'Since                                                               
you're a  member of an  organization, then any  organization that                                                               
you're a member  of is prohibited from using any  funds from that                                                               
organization to  support or oppose  an initiative.'"  He  said he                                                               
thinks the committee should qualify that with the sponsor.                                                                      
9:36:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MAKO  HAGGERTY  specified that  although  he  sits on  the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula  Borough  Assembly,  he  is  testifying  on  behalf  of                                                               
himself.   He relayed that  he is one  of the co-sponsors  of the                                                               
Coastal  Management  Program  Initiative.    He  said  his  first                                                               
reaction to reading HB  347 is that it is a  gag order to silence                                                               
those who are making an effort  to represent themselves.  He said                                                               
one thing that  is done at the municipal level  is the allocation                                                               
of money.   He  said the  top ordinances  introduced at  the last                                                               
assembly  meeting were  for:   $29,000,  $200,000, $569,000,  and                                                               
$4.7 million.   He said  those are large  sums of money  that the                                                               
public  trusts   the  assembly   to  allocate.     He   said  the                                                               
municipalities felt  it was important to  spend $5,000-$28,000 on                                                               
the initiative, which he said is  minor compared to the amount of                                                               
money it would  take to run an election to  see if municipalities                                                               
could even speak to the issue.                                                                                                  
MR. HAGGERTY stated his opposed to  HB 347, which he described as                                                               
"nothing  less than  an unfunded  mandate."   He  warned that  if                                                               
passed, municipalities  would be forced  to spend a lot  of money                                                               
that  they would  not have  spent in  the first  place.   He said                                                               
there  have  been several  local  initiatives  that have  had  an                                                               
adverse  effect  on the  way  the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough  does                                                               
business, and under HB 347, the  assembly would not be allowed to                                                               
explain  why  an initiative  would  harm  the municipality.    He                                                               
concluded, "No matter  which direction you come at  this bill, it                                                               
just ... seems kind of knee jerk and shortsighted."                                                                             
9:40:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  regarding Mr. Haggerty's  comment that                                                               
under  HB 347  the assembly  would not  be allowed  to explain  a                                                               
ballot  measure, said  that  is  not the  way  he interprets  the                                                               
proposed legislation.                                                                                                           
MR.  HAGGERTY  said  he  does   not  agree  because  of  the  way                                                               
information  is interpreted.   He  said someone  will decide  the                                                               
explanation is in support or opposition to an initiative.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he thinks  that would depend on how                                                               
the message was crafted.                                                                                                        
9:42:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER,   regarding  previous   comments   about                                                               
restrictions  on  holding  hearings, said  when  the  legislature                                                               
holds hearings, the intent is to  listen to the community, not to                                                               
steer the community.   He said he cannot see  where a restriction                                                               
on spending money  can possibly be construed to  be a restriction                                                               
on freedom of speech.                                                                                                           
9:44:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  asked Mr.  Haggerty if he  believes that                                                               
voters  give  the  assembly  members  the  power  to  manage  the                                                               
community's money, and that if they  don't like the way the money                                                               
is  managed,  they  can  choose  to not  re-elect  any  of  those                                                               
MR. HAGGERTY answered yes.  He  said those who elected him expect                                                               
him to listen  and make good choices based  on differing opinions                                                               
of the public.   He said another  reason he thinks HB  347 is not                                                               
necessary is  because if a  municipality is going to  spend money                                                               
to support or oppose an initiative,  it will still have to notify                                                               
the  community  and  base  its  decisions  off  of  the  public's                                                               
response.  He  indicated that in his community,  that response is                                                               
9:46:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN told Mr.  Haggerty he does not appreciate                                                               
"assigning  the  motive of  introducing  the  bill because  of  a                                                               
specific initiative."   He said, "Language such as  this that was                                                               
compared  to the  ... anti-corruption  initiative, that  language                                                               
was introduced in 2007, so this issue  ... is not a reaction to a                                                               
specific  initiative."   Regarding  Mr.  Haggerty's remark  about                                                               
being  responsive  to   the  local  constituency,  Representative                                                               
Johansen said  [the legislature]  needs to  be responsive  to the                                                               
state, and "this" is about state money.                                                                                         
9:47:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  RUBY,   Director,  Division  of  Community   and  Regional                                                               
Affairs,   Department  of   Commerce,  Community,   and  Regional                                                               
Development,  testified that  the  division  provides advice  and                                                               
assistance  to municipalities  "on these  types of  issues."   In                                                               
regard to  the previous question  about subsections (b)  and (c),                                                               
he  said those  subsections address  how a  municipality may  use                                                               
money   to   explain   initiatives   and   expressly   authorizes                                                               
municipalities to  do so.   He said there  is a zero  fiscal note                                                               
because the  division already has staff  that provides assistance                                                               
to  communities and  works  with AML  in  providing training  and                                                               
assistance to the municipalities.                                                                                               
9:49:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON expressed  appreciation  of Mr.  Haggerty's                                                               
petition  signature gathering  efforts,  for  which Mr.  Haggerty                                                               
used no municipal  funds.  Regarding intent language,  he said he                                                               
thinks there are some qualified  people who could address some of                                                               
the issues raised today.                                                                                                        
9:51:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON, in response  to Representative Seaton, said                                                               
the  intent of  the bill  is  not to  disallow elected  community                                                               
leaders from coming to testify  before the legislature in Juneau.                                                               
He clarified that  the only intent of HB 347  is to prevent state                                                               
monies from being used for signature gathering.                                                                                 
9:52:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said he would  like to move the  bill, and                                                               
he emphasized  that he  thinks the issues  raised today  could be                                                               
addressed by the next committee of referral.                                                                                    
9:52:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said  he would object to  a motion, because                                                               
he thinks  "we all  represent communities."   He said  he checked                                                               
with  one  of  his  municipalities who  object  to  the  proposed                                                               
legislation, and  he has  not yet  checked with  the rest  of his                                                               
constituent communities, an obligation he said he must fulfill.                                                                 
CHAIR LYNN remarked that the bill was noticed.                                                                                  
9:54:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to  report HB  347 out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
9:54:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected.                                                                                                 
9:54:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN, regarding  the  remark  by Chair  Lynn,                                                               
noted that HB 347  was noticed 6 days and 18  hours ago, which he                                                               
opined is ample time in which  to canvas a district for opinions.                                                               
He  reiterated  that  HB  347  does not  speak  to  any  specific                                                               
initiative, but speaks  for itself.  He opined that  it is ironic                                                               
that the  sponsor of the  aforementioned Ballot Measure 1  is the                                                               
same person  who received $50,000  to put the Alaska  Sea Party's                                                               
initiative  [Ballot   Measure  2  in  support   of  Coastal  Zone                                                               
Management] on the ballot.  He stated his support for HB 347.                                                                   
9:56:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  objected to  the motion  to move  HB 347                                                               
out of committee.   He reiterated his concern that  it would open                                                               
the state up to legal entanglement.                                                                                             
CHAIR LYNN  said as a member  of the next committee  of referral,                                                               
the  House  Judiciary Standing  Committee,  he  will ensure  that                                                               
someone is  present from the Department  of Law to speak  to that                                                               
9:56:51 AM                                                                                                                    
A  roll  call  vote  was taken.    Representatives  Johansen,  P.                                                               
Wilson, Keller, and Lynn voted in  favor of the motion to move HB
347  out of  committee  with individual  recommendations and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal  notes.  Representatives Petersen  and Seaton                                                               
voted against  it.   Therefore, HB  347 was  reported out  of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee by a vote of 4-2.                                                                        
9:57:42 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 9:58                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HCR28 Version A.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
HCR 28
02 HCR28 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
HCR 28
03 HCR28 Council DSV 2012 Dashboard Findings.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
HCR 28
04 HCR28 2010 Alaska Victimization Survey.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
HCR 28
05 HCR 28 HSTA Zero Fiscal Note 3-21-12.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
HCR 28
01 HB0347A.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/13/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 347
02 HB 347 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/13/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 347
03 HB347 Sectional Analysis.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/13/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 347
04 HB347 Legislative Research 3-9-2012.pdf HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/13/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 347
05 HB347-DCCED-DCRA-02-24-12.pdf HJUD 4/2/2012 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 3/22/2012 8:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/13/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 347