Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

02/11/2014 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 275(CRA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 11, 2014                                                                                        
                           8:06 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative Shelley Hughes                                                                                                   
Representative Doug Isaacson                                                                                                    
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 274                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to public hearings on initiatives and referenda                                                                
scheduled to appear on the ballot; and providing for an                                                                         
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 274 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 18                                                                                                   
Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska                                                                 
relating to the office of attorney general.                                                                                     
     - MOVED HJR 18 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 275                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to electronic publication of certain municipal                                                                 
notices and to publication and electronic distribution of                                                                       
reports by state agencies."                                                                                                     
     - MOVED CSHB 275(CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 199                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to Department of Public Safety regulations                                                                     
allowing village public safety officers to carry firearms."                                                                     
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 274                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: HEARINGS ON REFERENDA                                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): RULES                                                                                                               
01/24/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/24/14       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/06/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/06/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/06/14       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/11/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HJR 18                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): STOLTZE                                                                                                             
01/21/14       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/10/14                                                                               
01/21/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/14       (H)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/04/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/04/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/04/14       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/11/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HB 275                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ELECTRONIC DISTRIB. OF REPORTS/NOTICES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): HAWKER                                                                                                              
01/24/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/24/14       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
02/04/14       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/04/14       (H)       Moved CSHB 275(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/04/14       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/07/14       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) 6DP                                                                                    
02/07/14       (H)       DP: HERRON, FOSTER, REINBOLD, OLSON,                                                                   
                         LEDOUX, NAGEAK                                                                                         
02/11/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
BILL: HB 199                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: VPSO FIREARMS                                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): EDGMON                                                                                                              
04/04/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/04/13       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
01/28/14       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
01/28/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/28/14       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/04/14       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/04/14       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/04/14       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/05/14       (H)       CRA RPT 5DP 1NR                                                                                        
02/05/14       (H)       DP: REINBOLD, FOSTER, HERRON, LEDOUX,                                                                  
02/05/14       (H)       NR: OLSON                                                                                              
02/11/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JEFF TURNER, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 275 on behalf of                                                                            
Representative Millett, sponsor.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As sponsor, introduced HJR 18.                                                                           
MIKE COONS                                                                                                                      
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 18.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As sponsor, presented HB 275.                                                                            
KATHIE WASSERMAN, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Municipal League (AML)                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 275.                                                                          
DEBORAH L. REICH, Foreclosure Specialist                                                                                        
Real Estate Services Division                                                                                                   
Department of Real Estate                                                                                                       
Municipality of Anchorage                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 275.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE BRYCE EDGMON                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As sponsor, presented HB 199.                                                                            
STEVE ARLOW, Captain                                                                                                            
C Detachment Commander                                                                                                          
Division of State Troopers                                                                                                      
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered questions  regarding the  Village                                                             
Public Safety  Officer (VPSO)  program during  the hearing  on HB                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:06:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 8:06  a.m.  Representatives  Keller, Gattis,                                                               
Isaacson, Hughes,  Kreiss-Tomkins, and  Lynn were present  at the                                                               
call to order.                                                                                                                  
                  HB 274-HEARINGS ON REFERENDA                                                                              
8:06:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO. 274, "An Act  relating to public hearings on initiatives                                                               
and referenda  scheduled to appear  on the ballot;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
8:07:01 AM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  TURNER,  Staff,  Representative  Charisse  Millett,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB 275 on  behalf of Representative                                                               
Millett, sponsor.  He said  the proposed legislation would extend                                                               
the public  hearing requirements  for referendums.   He described                                                               
it  as "an  add-on" to  House Bill  36, which  was passed  by the                                                               
legislature in 2010.   He said referendums do  not commonly occur                                                               
on the ballot, but noted there would  be one later this year.  In                                                               
response to the chair, he reviewed  that an initiative is a voter                                                               
initiated item  on the ballot that  allows the public to  enact a                                                               
piece of  legislation in place  of the legislature;  a referendum                                                               
repeals a  law that was  passed by  the legislature.   Mr. Powell                                                               
said HB 274 would require  the lieutenant governor to hold public                                                               
hearings in  each of  the judicial  districts around  the states,                                                               
and it  would require a  hearing of  a standing committee  of the                                                               
legislature  whose  members  would  be chosen  by  the  presiding                                                               
officers of the House and Senate.                                                                                               
8:08:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN,  after  ascertaining  that no  one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
8:08:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said he  appreciates the  sponsor bringing                                                               
forward HB 274.  He said it seems like a great bill.                                                                            
8:09:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON said he was  thinking the same thing.  He                                                               
said it seems necessary and is  consistent.  He said, "Anytime we                                                               
ask people  to vote on something  it is good to  educate and have                                                               
both sides."  He stated his support of the proposed legislation.                                                                
8:09:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN stated, "I, too, think  it's a good thing."  Regarding                                                               
referendums, he opined public hearings are needed.                                                                              
8:10:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to  report HB  274 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HB 274 was reported out of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
           HJR 18-CONST. AM: ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                       
8:10:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  next order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
JOINT   RESOLUTION   NO.   18,  Proposing   amendments   to   the                                                               
Constitution of  the State  of Alaska relating  to the  office of                                                               
attorney general.                                                                                                               
8:10:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE, Alaska  State  Legislature, as  sponsor,                                                               
introduced  HJR 18.   He  said one  reason to  elect the  state's                                                               
attorney  general would  be to  "sanctify" that  he/she would  be                                                               
"the people's lawyer."   He indicated that a current  AG may call                                                               
him/herself that, but in fact is  the governor's lawyer.  He said                                                               
the resolution is  for the future of Alaska.   In response to the                                                               
chair,  he  indicated  that subsequent  to  1972,  constitutional                                                               
amendments must appear  on the General Election ballot.   He said                                                               
if the  legislature ratifies  this by a  two-thirds vote  in each                                                               
body, it  would be placed on  the [General Election] ballot.   He                                                               
added that then it  would be in the hands of  the voters, in whom                                                               
he trusts.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  said some  people have suggested  that an                                                               
elected  attorney  general may  be  politically  influenced.   He                                                               
stated that  anyone who has  watched attorney generals  in Alaska                                                               
knows they  already are political by  nature.  He said  he trusts                                                               
that  Alaskans  would  vet  their  candidates  just  as  they  do                                                               
8:14:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  asked if it would  be possible to have  a governor in                                                               
one political party and an AG in another.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  answered  yes,  and  said  it  currently                                                               
happens  in about  a dozen  other states.   He  surmised that  it                                                               
would be the  will of the voters.   He said he is  not sure there                                                               
should be  a mandate  that the  AG and governor  are of  the same                                                               
party,  but suggested  a stronger  mandate would  be that  the AG                                                               
must  be a  person  that  will support  the  Constitution of  the                                                               
United States, the  Constitution of the State of  Alaska, and the                                                               
people of Alaska.                                                                                                               
8:14:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON   said  the   sponsor  almost   had  him                                                               
convinced, "especially because of the  events here recently."  He                                                               
stated,  "Sometimes   if  you  don't   have  a  direct   line  of                                                               
accountability in place, you might  have a different outcome; you                                                               
might have more scrutiny on issues  and so forth."  He said early                                                               
in the history of the U.S.  Constitution it was possible to elect                                                               
a Vice President of a political  party different from that of the                                                               
President.   He asked, "Is  there a  way, perhaps, that  we could                                                               
close that gap, so that if  people are electing a governor of one                                                               
party,  they could  also  then have,  similar  to the  lieutenant                                                               
governor and  so forth, a ticket,  or is that going  to bring too                                                               
close of a ... tieback?"                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  answered that it could  be a possibility.                                                               
He said the  lieutenant governor is tethered to  [the governor by                                                               
political party].   He indicated that the  difference between the                                                               
lieutenant  governor  and  all other  appointments  is  that  the                                                               
lieutenant governor  is elected by  the people, does  not require                                                               
confirmation, and cannot be removed by  the governor.  He said it                                                               
is part  of the process  for the  committee to decide  whether to                                                               
"propose that change here."                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  clarified, "How would that  be affecting                                                               
the intent of your ... legislation?"                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE responded  that he was "not  sure it would                                                               
solve everything you would want it  to solve," but said he thinks                                                               
"it would have the same net  result, because that person would be                                                               
elected  by  the  voters  [and]  could  not  be  removed  by  the                                                               
8:19:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  suggested  some  may see  an  elected  AG                                                               
position as a  training ground for governor, which  may result in                                                               
a lot  more attorneys  serving as governor.   She  then proffered                                                               
that a  positive effect  of HJR  18 may be  that it  could reduce                                                               
turnover  of attorneys  general.   She offered  her understanding                                                               
that  in other  states, the  AG  often serves  a full,  four-year                                                               
term, and  go on to  a second or third  term, and that  under HJR                                                               
18, there  would be a two-term  limit.  She asked  the sponsor if                                                               
he thinks  [the proposed legislation]  would impact  the turnover                                                               
rate, and asked, "How do you see that as a plus for Alaska?"                                                                    
8:20:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  replied that the average  turnover of the                                                               
AG is 18  months, and HJR 18 would offer  some stability, because                                                               
the  AG  would  not  be  subject to  "the  whim  of  a  political                                                               
disagreement."  He said he  does not recall a lieutenant governor                                                               
who has ever resigned.  He  said, "The attorney general, I think,                                                               
...  probably would  have  ... more  powers  than the  lieutenant                                                               
governor, [but] would  not be in the line  of succession though."                                                               
He surmised that morale would  be raised within the Department of                                                               
Law (DOL),  "knowing that they  had one person" and  "without the                                                               
vagaries"  related to  the current  steady turnover  of attorneys                                                               
8:21:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked if there would  be any additional cost in adding                                                               
another [position] for election on the ballot.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE indicated that  the standard cost shown on                                                               
a fiscal note for printing an extra page is $1,500.                                                                             
8:22:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS asked why the  sponsor was proposing HJR 18                                                               
now, beside  the fact that  other states [have  elected attorneys                                                               
8:22:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  answered  that others  have  pushed  the                                                               
measure in the past.  He  offered his understanding that the last                                                               
three to  four attempts were  made by [Democrats];  therefore, he                                                               
called the issue bi-partisan.                                                                                                   
8:23:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER said  he is looking forward  to hearing HJR                                                               
18  in the  House  Judiciary Standing  Committee  (HJUD), and  he                                                               
expressed  his  appreciation  to  the  sponsor  for  bringing  it                                                               
forward for  consideration.   He stated, "In  a ...  legal system                                                               
where crimes  are against the  state and the attorney  general is                                                               
also  the commissioner  of the  Department of  Law, I  think it's                                                               
very, very valuable  for the people of Alaska to  be able to know                                                               
who their  attorney general is."   He indicated intent  to remain                                                               
open minded  during the hearing of  HJR 18, but said  it would be                                                               
unfair to not state his bias.                                                                                                   
8:24:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN remarked  that the  AG is  basically a  commissioner;                                                               
therefore, he asked if it would  be appropriate to elect "all the                                                               
different commissioners."                                                                                                       
8:25:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE answered that he  will not delve into that                                                               
debate.   He  opined that  the position  of AG  "rises to  a much                                                               
higher  level."   He  stated that  the average  AG  can make  law                                                               
faster than [the  legislature]; the opinion of an  AG can nullify                                                               
a  statute  or  regulation.   He  said  recently  the  lieutenant                                                               
governor  turned  down  a  citizens'  initiative,  based  on  the                                                               
opinion of  an assistant  and signed  by the AG,  and he  said it                                                               
bothers him that  an assistant AG has more power  than the people                                                               
of Alaska, but with no accountability.                                                                                          
8:26:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  noted that  city and  borough assemblies                                                               
and  councils usually  have  the  power to  hire  and fire  their                                                               
attorneys.  Looking back on his  experience as mayor [of the City                                                               
of North Pole],  he said he used whatever attorney  was there and                                                               
had no issues  with them; however, if he had  wanted to terminate                                                               
the attorney  for not representing  the interest of the  city, it                                                               
would have  been a  political battle.   He questioned  what would                                                               
happen if  the AG was  elected and turned  out not to  be serving                                                               
the state's best interest and it  was too cumbersome a process to                                                               
remove  that  AG  from  office.     He  suggested  following  the                                                               
municipal model by  having the legislature hire and  fire the AG,                                                               
which  might provide  a quicker  political  process, because  the                                                               
legislature would  know whether the  interests of the  state were                                                               
being served and  the governor would not  be directly controlling                                                               
"that one function."  He asked the sponsor for his feedback.                                                                    
8:28:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE,  returning   to  Chair  Lynn's  previous                                                               
question,  said in  most states  in the  union, the  agricultural                                                               
director  or commission  is  elected,  while in  Alaska  it is  a                                                               
political  appointment, and  the only  qualification is  that the                                                               
person  must  be a  citizen  of  the  United States.    Regarding                                                               
Representative Isaacson's question, he said  he is not sure about                                                               
bringing the legislature into the  process.  He surmised that the                                                               
legislature has the  ability to bring an  attorney general before                                                               
it for a hearing if there are  grounds to do so; however, he said                                                               
sometimes people  won't show up for  a hearing.  For  example, he                                                               
related  that a  previous administration  chose an  AG, the  next                                                               
administration retained  the AG, but  the AG would  often decline                                                               
to  appear   before  the  judiciary  committees   or  would  send                                                               
surrogates.  He  offered his understanding that  it would require                                                               
an amendment to  the Constitution of the State of  Alaska to give                                                               
the  power  to  the  legislature  to  "micromanage  the  attorney                                                               
general," which is something he said he  does not want to do.  He                                                               
emphasized  that he  wants the  AG to  work for  the people.   He                                                               
said, "I think an attorney  general that's working for the people                                                               
would have no  problem with the appropriation  process here, just                                                               
like they don't right now."   He indicated that there are critics                                                               
of  the way  things are  working right  now and  the way  that is                                                               
proposed in HJR 18.                                                                                                             
8:30:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   expressed  concern   over   the                                                               
possible  loss of  coordination between  a governor  and attorney                                                               
general  of differing  political parties.   He  asked about  that                                                               
situation  in other  states  and whether  the  sponsor thinks  it                                                               
would be as pronounced in Alaska.                                                                                               
8:31:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  indicated that  it would be  no different                                                               
from  having a  governor  and lieutenant  governor who  disagree.                                                               
For example, he  recollected there was a  lieutenant governor who                                                               
did not support  the re-election of the governor's  daughter.  He                                                               
said  there  are conflicts  in  other  states,  such as  when  an                                                               
attorney  general   runs  against  the  governor.     He  stated,                                                               
"Sometimes ... [when]  trying to figure out how  to stop politics                                                               
you  inject more  politics."   He admitted  that some  people may                                                               
accuse him  of doing just  that, but  noted that he  has received                                                               
support  from his  constituents and  colleagues for  the proposed                                                               
joint  resolution.    He  said  there  have  been  governors  and                                                               
attorneys general  who have  worked well  together and  those who                                                               
have  not,  and  he  indicated  that  there  are  no  guarantees,                                                               
irrespective of whether an AG is appointed or elected.                                                                          
8:33:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  expressed appreciation to the  sponsor for                                                               
pointing out how  under HJR 18, the AG would  be more accountable                                                               
to the people  of Alaska.  She said she  values the public's vote                                                               
and hopes  [a race for  AG] would not  become a beauty  or public                                                               
speaking contest, because she ventured  that someone who is not a                                                               
good  public speaker  could  be  a good  attorney  general.   She                                                               
stated her support of [HJR 18]  as a "healthy process."  She said                                                               
she  thinks  it  is  good   that  the  House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee will be considering whether  there would be some way to                                                               
recall  an AG.   She  questioned whether  the race  for AG  would                                                               
appear on the primary ballot by party  in a long list of names on                                                               
the General Election ballot.                                                                                                    
8:35:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  answered that  under HJR 18,  the process                                                               
for electing the AG would be  the same as the current process for                                                               
electing  the  lieutenant governor.    He  said, "The  lieutenant                                                               
governor is almost  written as another exemption."   The AG would                                                               
run separately  or as  "a triad,"  depending on  the will  of the                                                               
8:36:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  said  the  concept  is  interesting,  but  expressed                                                               
concern about  the possibility of  having a governor and  AG with                                                               
opposing  views.    He  opined  that  the  AG,  who  advises  the                                                               
governor, should have similar philosophical views.                                                                              
8:38:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  surmised that if the  chair believes that                                                               
the governor and  AG should be philosophically  aligned, then HJR                                                               
18  is   probably  not   legislation  he   would  support.     He                                                               
reemphasized that  the purpose of  changing the AG's  position to                                                               
an elected one is to make  him/her a direct representative of the                                                               
CHAIR LYNN remarked  that all elected officials are  in office to                                                               
serve the people, and he  suggested that by advising the governor                                                               
on the constitutionality  of proposed law, he/she  is serving the                                                               
8:40:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE said  he  cannot  predict every  possible                                                               
scenario in  which there may  be conflict.   He stated,  "I'm not                                                               
trying  to  cast aspersions  on  anybody,  but it's  a  different                                                               
relationship when  the attorney  general, first and  foremost, is                                                               
the governor's attorney."                                                                                                       
CHAIR LYNN suggested at least electing  an AG who shares the same                                                               
political party.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE reiterated  that he  is "amenable  to the                                                               
deliberations of the committee."   Notwithstanding that, he said,                                                               
"I think  philosophy isn't  something we  can define  by statute,                                                               
and party  doesn't necessarily define  philosophy as ...  we know                                                               
from some of our critics."                                                                                                      
8:42:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  stated, "I think  most of us get  the fact                                                               
that  if we  were  appointed  by somebody,  we  certainly have  a                                                               
certain allegiance by who may  have appointed us, versus if we're                                                               
elected by  somebody else  - the  voters -  we certainly  have an                                                               
allegiance there."   She proffered that the  question being asked                                                               
is for whom [the AG] works.                                                                                                     
8:42:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  offered a  reminder that legal  counsel to                                                               
the  governor  is  not  just  the AG,  because  as  head  of  the                                                               
Department of Law, the AG  has deputy commissioners, many of whom                                                               
give council  in specific areas.   He  said, "By electing  ... an                                                               
attorney  general, I  think we  would begin  to see  that process                                                               
better in the electorate."                                                                                                      
CHAIR  LYNN  stated  his   assumption  the  [assistant  attorneys                                                               
general]  would not  want to  irritate their  boss by  "coming up                                                               
with opposite opinions on everything."                                                                                          
8:44:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  noted that Wikipedia  says an AG  is the                                                             
advisor to  the governor, while the  Encyclopedia Britannica says                                                             
the AG is "the  chief law officer of the state  or nation and the                                                               
legal advisor to the chief executor."   He said everyone seems to                                                               
recognize that  the AG is going  to advise the governor,  but the                                                               
AG is  also the  chief legal  counsel for the  state.   He opined                                                               
that  there  is  a  distinction  between  the  governor  and  the                                                               
government, the  latter being of the  people.  At the  same time,                                                               
he said,  the legislature is  the government, as well,  and makes                                                               
laws,  and   in  some  aspects   the  AG  needs  to   advise  the                                                               
legislature.     Further,  he   said,  the   AG  looks   out  for                                                               
infringements of law outside the  state.  Representative Isaacson                                                               
said  he thinks  the  point  to consider  is  where  the line  of                                                               
accountability is  to be drawn.   He said he thinks  this relates                                                               
back to  the Seventeenth Amendment,  which he  recommended should                                                               
be considered as  a corollary.  He asked the  sponsor to weigh in                                                               
on the distinction  between governor and government.   He further                                                               
asked how  the sponsor  would "educate his  thinking" so  that he                                                               
might "align more to  this."  He said he sees  value in [HJR 18],                                                               
but expressed concern that it may have unintended consequences.                                                                 
8:47:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE said  he thought  Representative Isaacson                                                               
made  a good  distinction.   He  said there  are differences  and                                                               
similarities.   He said he  hopes that  if things are  working as                                                               
they should,  an AG representing  the government  is representing                                                               
the people's interest  as well.  He said that  could extend to an                                                               
elected  AG, who  certainly would  have his/her  own initiatives.                                                               
He  mentioned "what  Attorney General  Sullivan did  on [Governor                                                               
Sean Parnell's]  Choose Respect [campaign]."   He  indicated that                                                               
activism and questioning  the government is seen  more often from                                                               
[an  elected] AG  serving the  public than  from a  "co-employee"                                                               
that does not have "that same optic or prism."                                                                                  
8:49:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  stated that  currently the  governor signs                                                               
the  paychecks  of  state  employees,  and  an  elected  attorney                                                               
general would be  the boss to those working in  the Department of                                                               
Law.  She  questioned whether the governor would have  any say if                                                               
there were  people in the  department he/she did not  feel should                                                               
be  there  anymore.   She  offered  her understanding  that  that                                                               
relationship would be different, but questioned how.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  mentioned  an appropriation  process  in                                                               
other states.   He then said the Office of  Management and Budget                                                               
(OMB)  does  not  review  the  court  budget;  the  court  system                                                               
presents  its budget  to the  legislative branch.   He  indicated                                                               
that the  proposed joint  resolution outlines  the implementation                                                               
process  for electing  the AG,  and that  process could  be fine-                                                               
tuned.   He stated that  he envisions  that the AG  would present                                                               
the budget through the legislative arm.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  indicated she was thinking  of a situation                                                               
in which  the governor may  have a  problem with a  particular AG                                                               
outside  of legislative  session and  the appropriation  process,                                                               
and  asked  how the  relationship  would  be different  in  other                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  replied that other states  have different                                                               
personnel rules.   He added, "I don't think  we'd be eviscerating                                                               
the employee rights."                                                                                                           
8:52:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE COONS noted he had  submitted written testimony [included in                                                               
the  committee packet].   He  expressed  his hope  that [the  AG]                                                               
would not be "a yes man or yes  woman."  He stated his support of                                                               
HJR 18.   He directed attention  to [a sentence] on  page 1, line                                                               
16, through page 2,  line 1, of HJR 18, which  read, "A person is                                                               
not  eligible to  serve  as attorney  general  unless the  person                                                               
meets the qualifications for a  superior court judge."  Mr. Coons                                                               
stated  that  no one  who  has  "run  for  a judge"  will  answer                                                               
questions  regarding  subjects  such as  criminal  penalties  and                                                               
minimum or maximum  sentences, the stated reason  being that they                                                               
may  have  to  make a  decision  on  one  of  those issues.    He                                                               
questioned  whether "we"  would  be reduced  to candidates  whose                                                               
campaigns focus on  the length of time they have  been a judge, a                                                               
lawyer, an  Alaska resident, or  a part of  a fine family,  or if                                                               
more substantive information would be given.                                                                                    
MR. COONS  stated, "We need  to know that  the AG will  stand for                                                               
the  law, will  fight back  against federal  overreach, and  give                                                               
sound advice to  the legislature without waffling as  I have seen                                                               
from this existing Department of  Law."  He paraphrased a portion                                                               
of  his  written  testimony,  which  read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Lastly,   I  struggled   about   this  position   being                                                                    
     appointed  and vetted  and approved  or disapproved  by                                                                    
     the  legislature.    I  felt   that  the  Governor  and                                                                    
     Legislature were in a better  position to determine the                                                                    
     best AG.                                                                                                                   
MR.  COONS  explained  that  his  view changed  as  a  result  of                                                               
comments made  by a Senator  who believed he and  the legislature                                                               
were, by virtue of a  college education and superior knowledge on                                                               
the matter  - especially concerning a  constitutional amendment -                                                               
more qualified to  make that decision for the voters.   Mr. Coons                                                               
emphasized  that he  would  trust  his fellow  voters  to make  a                                                               
valued decision, and he would not give up his vote.                                                                             
8:55:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE said he appreciates  the point made by Mr.                                                               
Coons,  but said  he  does  not want  to  confuse  this with  the                                                               
judicial appointment process.                                                                                                   
8:56:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN,  after ascertaining  that there was  no one  else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                     
8:57:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  suggested  that  the  committee  could  consider  an                                                               
amendment to limit the choice of  AG to someone in the same party                                                               
[as  the governor];  however, he  said such  an amendment  may be                                                               
better addressed by the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                     
8:57:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  said  he  wonders  if  conceptually  it                                                               
should  be  the  House  State  Affairs  Standing  Committee  that                                                               
addresses  that amendment.   He  indicated that  if the  proposed                                                               
legislation were  to pass  out of  committee, he  would recommend                                                               
that the  conceptual amendment was in  place.  He said  he sees a                                                               
lot of  disruption of good  governments, and he does  not believe                                                               
that's what the  people want.  He said back  when the Seventeenth                                                               
Amendment  was  passed, the  idea  was  for  Senators not  to  be                                                               
"selected out of  the states," but to be voted  on by the people.                                                               
He opined that  "the people ultimately are  the best government,"                                                               
and mistakes made by voters tend to be corrected later.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON stated  that one of the  values of having                                                               
a governor appoint the attorney  general is that the governor has                                                               
been  elected  to serve  according  to  a vision  that  resonated                                                               
within  the  voters.   In  order  to  [follow that  vision],  the                                                               
governor must have department heads who  will "toe the line."  He                                                               
said  that does  not  always happen,  and when  it  does not  the                                                               
result is  a dysfunctional  government.  He  opined that  when it                                                               
comes to matters of law, it is  important to have not just a good                                                               
lawyer but one who understands  the state and whose philosophy is                                                               
"right."   He said if  the people  elect someone who  is recently                                                               
from  another state,  and that  person is  charismatic and  has a                                                               
great record  but does  not understand  the issues  particular to                                                               
Alaska, then  the state  is stuck  with that  AG for  four years,                                                               
whereas,  an appointed  AG that  is not  working out  could leave                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON opined  that Alaska, at over  50 years of                                                               
age, cannot  afford to "play  lightly" with its future,  which is                                                               
insecure at present  because there are too many  people in charge                                                               
that  do   not  understand  the   requirements  of   the  state's                                                               
constitution.  He  said he could envision how an  elected AG, not                                                               
knowing the  "peculiarities" of Alaska's state  government, could                                                               
shut down  resource development.   He said the states  lost their                                                               
power to  control federal overreach  when they lost the  power to                                                               
"insert people  selected by  the various  legislatures in  to the                                                               
Senate" to protect the states' interests.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON stated:                                                                                                 
     I would  say I could go  along with this as  long as we                                                                    
     at least  had alignment  of parties.   I don't  want to                                                                    
     see a  dysfunctional government or one  that's divisive                                                                    
     to the best interests of the state.                                                                                        
9:04:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  said the state is  hoping to build                                                               
a  large  diameter natural  gas  line,  and  he wonders  how  the                                                               
coordination  between DOL  and the  executive branch  would work,                                                               
under  HJR  18.    He  explained  that  the  project  is  one  of                                                               
unprecedented scale and,  presumably, would require unprecedented                                                               
coordination.   He  said he  also  worries that  the AG  position                                                               
would  be  filled more  by  political  ability than  professional                                                               
competence.  Finally, he said he  thinks the AG in Alaska is more                                                               
powerful  than the  lieutenant  governor, in  terms  of scope  of                                                               
power and responsibility.  He stated,  "I ... think that's a fair                                                               
point to make,  that the precedent exists.  This  would be moving                                                               
that further, and that's just something we should acknowledge."                                                                 
9:06:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  stated  for  the record  that  the  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee, [which he chairs],  would consider                                                               
an  amendment  on  the partisan  issue,  removal  standards,  and                                                               
9:07:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  echoed  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins'  remark  that                                                               
there  is  a  difference  between   campaign  ability  and  legal                                                               
ability;  just  because  someone  campaigns well  does  not  mean                                                               
he/she will perform well in office.                                                                                             
9:07:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  admitted  that  as  a  "political                                                               
junky," he  would relish the  idea of having another  campaign to                                                               
9:08:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES offered  her understanding  that 43  other                                                               
states elect  their AG, and she  said she would like  to know how                                                               
many of  those states require  the elected AG  to be of  the same                                                               
party as the governor.                                                                                                          
9:08:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE said committee members  had asked a lot of                                                               
good  questions,  and  he  stated his  intent  to  address  their                                                               
concerns.   Regarding  the  concern that  someone  elected as  AG                                                               
might not be intimately involved with  Alaska, he said an AG that                                                               
is appointed  does not have  to be a resident  of the state.   He                                                               
recalled  an AG  that left  the state  right after  service.   He                                                               
indicated that  the qualification requirements for  residency and                                                               
citizenship  are  the same  [for  an  AG]  as for  other  elected                                                               
executive positions.   He  surmised that  Representative Isaacson                                                               
might take more comfort if there  was an assurance that the AG is                                                               
an  Alaska  resident -  "someone  familiar  with Alaska  and  its                                                               
economy  and our  legal system,  because they've  lived here  and                                                               
worked here."   He stated  that through the  existing appointment                                                               
process,  there have  been people  from other  states serving  as                                                               
attorneys general, some of whom were  not even members of the bar                                                               
and had to secure that credential.                                                                                              
9:11:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved to  report HJR  18 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HJR 18 was reported out of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
         HB 275-ELECTRONIC DISTRIB. OF REPORTS/NOTICES                                                                      
9:11:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  next order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 275,  "An  Act relating  to  electronic publication  of                                                               
certain  municipal  notices  and to  publication  and  electronic                                                               
distribution of reports by state agencies."                                                                                     
[Before the committee was CSHB 275(CRA).]                                                                                       
9:12:06 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:12 a.m. to 9:14 a.m.                                                                       
9:14:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER,  Alaska  State Legislature,  as  sponsor,                                                               
presented HB  275.  He  indicated that  the two main  purposes of                                                               
the  proposed  legislation  pertain  to the  state's  ability  to                                                               
promote efficiency and effectiveness  of government and to reduce                                                               
unnecessary  government spending,  which  he said  could also  be                                                               
called government  waste.   He said the  first three  sections of                                                               
the proposed  bill would affect  municipalities and the  last two                                                               
sections would affect  state agencies.  The  first three sections                                                               
would permit  a municipality  to adopt an  ordinance to  post the                                                               
following  three things  on  its web  site  rather than  printing                                                               
them:   mill  rates,  foreclosure listings,  and [expiration  of]                                                               
redemption  of foreclosures.   He  said  similar legislation  was                                                               
proposed in  the past, but did  not pass.  He  indicated that the                                                               
provisions in  Section 1-3 of  HB 275 were added  after listening                                                               
to the concerns of the municipalities.                                                                                          
9:16:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER  stated  that  the  core  of  bill  is  in                                                               
Sections 4 and 5, which would  reduce paper waste.  He questioned                                                               
how many  legislators actually read  all the agency  reports that                                                               
are required by law.  He  said under the proposed legislation, it                                                               
would   be  mandatory   for  those   reports   to  be   delivered                                                               
electronically.   He  said there  would be  exceptions, found  in                                                               
language of  Section 5,  [beginning on page  4, line  30, through                                                               
page 5, line 4], which read as follows:                                                                                         
           An agency may not produce print copies of                                                                            
     reports except as                                                                                                          
                         (1) required                                                                                           
                              (A) under AS 14.56.120;                                                                           
                              (B) by agreement; or                                                                              
                              (C) by federal law; or                                                                            
                (2) requested under AS 44.99.260                                                                                
     or specifically approved by the head of a state agency                                                                     
     or the head's designee.                                                                                                    
9:20:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER said  the  bill would  not compromise  the                                                               
public's right  to know  or the  legislature's ability  to access                                                               
information.   He directed attention  to Section 4, and  said the                                                               
state already  utilizes the Alaska  Online Public  Notice System,                                                               
and language on  page 4, line 24, would require  reports of state                                                               
agencies to go  onto that system.  Representative  Hawker said HB                                                               
275 is not  all-encompassing, but is a step  in making government                                                               
activities more efficient.  He said  he thinks if this works out,                                                               
it will merit discussion in future years for expansion.                                                                         
9:23:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked how much money might be saved under HB 275.                                                                    
9:23:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  indicated that  in 2011, $1.6  million was                                                               
spent on  publications.  He  said that  "as we have  narrowed the                                                               
scope of  this legislation,"  the Office  of Management  & Budget                                                               
(OMB)  believes  it  is  spending   $530,000  for  this  type  of                                                               
reporting.   He  said,  "The  savings is  going  to be  somewhere                                                               
within that."  He said he  thinks it is realistic to believe that                                                               
there will be material savings  across all agencies under HB 275,                                                               
and that  future legislation could  "go after the  second million                                                               
dollars that's  out there" and  "be more efficient  and effective                                                               
without compromising the public's need to know."                                                                                
9:24:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  thanked the  bill  sponsor  for what  she                                                               
called "common sense legislation."   She said as a new legislator                                                               
last  year, she  soon realized  the difficulty  in reading  every                                                               
hard copy  report and finding space  to keep them all.   She said                                                               
she  had  made   a  suggestion  that  the   reports  be  provided                                                               
electronically, with  a list of  all the reports  for legislators                                                               
to see.   Representative Hughes  questioned the  reasoning behind                                                               
the language regarding graphic design  reports, on page 5, [lines                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  indicated that  some reports seem  to have                                                               
more  emphasis  on technical  beauty  than  content.   Under  the                                                               
proposed legislation,  an agency would  not be allowed to  hire a                                                               
contractor to provide photographs or  graphics unless there is no                                                               
one  in  the  agency  qualified  to  do  the  work  or  hiring  a                                                               
contractor would cost  the state less.  In response  to a follow-                                                               
up question, he said he has no  idea if an agency has ever [hired                                                               
a contractor for a job that  would have cost less done in house],                                                               
but he  has noted the  "large volume of  what would appear  to be                                                               
very costly photographs"  in the reports to  legislators that are                                                               
delivered and  "going by the wayside  so very quickly."   He said                                                               
the concept  of the bill  is to allow  agency heads to  retain as                                                               
much decision-making  latitude as  possible, while  being mindful                                                               
that the  directive from  the legislature is  to use  the state's                                                               
resources more efficiently.                                                                                                     
9:30:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER remarked  he  is sure  the sponsor  agrees                                                               
that the  intent is not to  quell information.  He  said he would                                                               
not  mind  if   agencies  spent  funds  doing   work  on  getting                                                               
information available, such as a  specialized application where a                                                               
legislator could  find information on an  iPad.  He said  he does                                                               
not want  to propose an  amendment, but would like  the sponsor's                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER acknowledged  the importance  of testimony                                                               
in  terms  of  conveying  the   intent  of  legislation,  and  he                                                               
confirmed   that   the  "need   in   the   state"  suggested   by                                                               
Representative Keller would not be compromised under HB 275.                                                                    
9:32:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   opined    that   the   proposed                                                               
legislation  is  fantastic.   He  echoed  Representative  Hughes'                                                               
remark about being a new  legislator and noticing the money being                                                               
spent on  reports.  Regarding  graphics, he said he  thinks there                                                               
is  an incentive  for  state  agencies to  out-do  each other  in                                                               
design,  in an  attempt to  garner  the most  attention from  the                                                               
legislature to secure  funds for their causes.   He surmised that                                                               
the  cost of  design has  got to  be extraordinary.   He  stated,                                                               
"When  we're  hearing numbers  like  half  a  million to  over  a                                                               
million,  it's not  ... just  a symbolic  gesture, but  it's real                                                               
savings."   He said  he suspects  the aforementioned  language on                                                               
page  5,  regarding  graphics,   would  result  in  even  greater                                                               
9:34:04 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director,  Alaska Municipal  League                                                               
(AML), testified  that AML  supports HB 275.   She  remarked that                                                               
this  is the  first  time in  her many  years  involved in  local                                                               
government that  she has witnessed  the state relax a  mandate on                                                               
municipalities,  and she  said that  is  reason for  celebration.                                                               
She  stated  that  most  communities   know  best  how  to  relay                                                               
information  to  their people.    She  pointed out  that,  unlike                                                               
legislators who  must leave  their constituents  to take  part in                                                               
the 90-day  legislative session,  municipal officials are  in the                                                               
vicinity  of   the  people  they  serve   every  day;  therefore,                                                               
municipal officials  know early  on whether information  has been                                                               
delivered  or not.   She  said as  a former  mayor in  many small                                                               
communities, she was  required many years ago  to post everything                                                               
in the closest newspaper, which,  with any luck, was delivered to                                                               
her community  six days later.   She said  that was a  waste, but                                                               
she knew  how to  get the  information to  the people,  and other                                                               
municipalities do,  as well.   She thanked  the bill  sponsor for                                                               
bring HB 275 forward.                                                                                                           
9:35:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN suggested that perhaps  [legislators] should not be so                                                               
9:36:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ISAACSON  said he  echoes  the  testimony of  Ms.                                                               
Wasserman  and  thinks  the proposed  legislation  is  "extremely                                                               
helpful."   He said the  elective aspect of  posting requirements                                                               
is good.   He asked Ms.  Wasserman what kind of  feedback she may                                                               
have received regarding HB 275.                                                                                                 
9:37:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  WASSERMAN said  she has  heard from  a few  communities, but                                                               
AML's winter  meeting is not  until another week, at  which point                                                               
the issue will  be discussed at length.  She  said she thinks she                                                               
has been in her  job long enough to know that  for the most part,                                                               
if  a legislative  bill "falls  under local  control," AML  would                                                               
never oppose it.                                                                                                                
9:38:05 AM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH L.  REICH, Foreclosure  Specialist, Real  Estate Services                                                               
Division, Department  of Real Estate, Municipality  of Anchorage,                                                               
testified in  support of HB  275.   She said the  Municipality of                                                               
Anchorage appreciates  the provision in the  proposed legislation                                                               
that would  give municipalities  across the  state the  option to                                                               
publish   foreclosure  notices   on   line  or   in  local   news                                                               
publications.  She  said that change would  save the municipality                                                               
a minimum  of $20,000  annually, a  significant savings  in times                                                               
when budgets  are so  tight.  She  expressed appreciation  to the                                                               
bill sponsor and offered to answer questions from the committee.                                                                
9:39:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN,  after ascertaining  that there was  no one  else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                     
9:39:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to  report CSHB  275(CRA)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  275(CRA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
9:40:05 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:40 a.m. to 9:43 a.m.                                                                       
                      HB 199-VPSO FIREARMS                                                                                  
9:42:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  the final order of business  was HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO.  199,  "An  Act  relating  to  Department  of  Public  Safety                                                               
regulations  allowing village  public  safety  officers to  carry                                                               
9:43:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BRYCE   EDGMON,  Alaska  State   Legislature,  as                                                               
sponsor, presented HB  199.  He prefaced his  introduction of the                                                               
proposed  legislation  by offering  an  overview  of the  Village                                                               
Public Safety  Officer (VPSO) program.   He said the  program was                                                               
established "in the  late '70s and early '80s"  to provide safety                                                               
to  outlying  rural  communities  that did  not  have  access  to                                                               
regular law  enforcement presence.   He  stated that  the program                                                               
has, for the most part, been  successful.  He said there were 125                                                               
VPSOs  working  in   the  early  '90s,  but   currently,  of  the                                                               
authorized  120-plus  authorized positions  there  are  92 or  93                                                               
working VPSOs.  He explained the  reasons for the ebb and flow in                                                               
the  numbers  of  VPSOs  are  related  to  circumstances  in  the                                                               
particular  communities and  underscore  one  of the  fundamental                                                               
issues of the program, which has been turnover.                                                                                 
9:44:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  said having  grown  up  in Dillingham,  a                                                               
rural part  of the state,  he is familiar with  the circumstances                                                               
surrounding the VPSO program.   He said his research in preparing                                                               
to present  HB 199  has taught  him to  appreciate what  VPSOs do                                                               
throughout  rural Alaska.   He  expressed  pride in  some of  the                                                               
changes that have occurred in rural  Alaska over the years in the                                                               
areas of transportation,  health care, and education,  as well as                                                               
opportunities for  living a subsistence/cash  lifestyle; however,                                                               
he said  the increased  use of  hard drugs  and pervasive  use of                                                               
alcohol  have  resulted in  increased  violence  in rural  Alaska                                                               
communities.   He indicated  that these  problems have  created a                                                               
more lethal environment in which VPSOs must operate.                                                                            
9:46:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON explained  that all this came to  a head on                                                               
March 19, [2014], when a VPSO lost  his life in the line of duty.                                                               
He said on a recent trip  home, he listened to harrowing accounts                                                               
of  the  experiences  of  two VPSOs,  who  sometimes  dealt  with                                                               
perpetrators with high  powered rifles and other arms  that put a                                                               
VPSO in danger.  Representative  Edgmon said he introduced HB 199                                                               
to require [the commissioner of  the Department of Public Safety]                                                               
not  to prohibit  VPSOs from  carrying firearms.   He  emphasized                                                               
that under  HB 199,  VPSOs would have  to meet  minimum standards                                                               
and training in order to qualify to carry firearms.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON relayed that he  has been contacted by many                                                               
not-for-profit  organizations  around  the   state,  as  well  as                                                               
members  of  the rural  community,  and  he  said he  thinks  the                                                               
support [for  HB 199]  is widespread.   He said  there are  a few                                                               
communities that have  some trepidation and may not  want to have                                                               
an  armed VPSO;  however,  the  way HB  199  is structured,  that                                                               
decision  would  be made  between  the  department, the  regional                                                               
Native association, and the community itself.                                                                                   
9:49:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EDGMON  said   there   is  a   fiscal  note   of                                                               
approximately $62,000 a year, which  is based on the department's                                                               
premise  that  about 20  VPSOs  would  be  sent to  the  training                                                               
academy in  Sitka, Alaska.   He  said the  fiscal note  is broken                                                               
down  into  three  components:    travel;  liability,  under  the                                                               
services component;  and commodities,  including the cost  of the                                                               
firearms, holsters, and ammunition.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON relayed  that last  week he  learned of  a                                                               
VPSO program  oversight issue, which the  department is currently                                                               
in  the process  of  rectifying.   He  recommended the  committee                                                               
invite Captain Steve Arlow to  explain the oversight and have the                                                               
deputy commissioner  provide details  about the  training program                                                               
that would  be offered  under HB  199.  He  said during  the last                                                               
legislative  session, the  department  began putting  regulations                                                               
into effect that  would not prohibit a regional  association in a                                                               
community to  work towards the  process of getting a  VPSO armed.                                                               
He said the thrust of the bill  is to make the proposed change in                                                               
perpetuity and  to help legitimize  the program, in terms  of any                                                               
secondary issues that  may follow the arming of  VPSOs in Alaska.                                                               
In response  to the chair,  he confirmed  that under HB  199, the                                                               
arming of VPSOs would be optional for rural communities.                                                                        
9:51:44 AM                                                                                                                    
STEVE ARLOW,  Captain, C Detachment Commander,  Division of State                                                               
Troopers, Department  of Public  Safety (DPS), testified  that he                                                               
has run  the Alaska VPSO  program for the  last eight years.   He                                                               
brought  to the  attention of  the committee  an event  wherein a                                                               
nonprofit  organization hired  a VPSO  with a  felony conviction.                                                               
In response  to the chair, he  said conviction was for  a Driving                                                               
Under the  Influence (DUI) incident,  which resulted in  the harm                                                               
of  another  individual, but  he  indicated  that there  were  no                                                               
firearms  involved.   He said  there is  a procedure,  written in                                                               
regulation 13  AAC, which gives guidelines  on what investigators                                                               
are supposed to consider and what  they can and cannot approve in                                                               
a person's background.  The  regulation makes clear that a person                                                               
with a felony  conviction cannot enter into the  VPSO program and                                                               
a nonprofit cannot use state funds  to hire someone with a felony                                                               
conviction as  a VPSO.   Nevertheless, he pointed out  that there                                                               
is  regulation  that  allows  the  commissioner  of  DPS  or  his                                                               
designee to review any denials in  the process by a nonprofit, if                                                               
the  nonprofit  requests  the  review.   He  said  that  is  what                                                               
happened in the  aforementioned case.  He said this  case came to                                                               
his  desk after  an investigator  reviewed the  background, which                                                               
showed that  the person  interested in becoming  a VPSO  was from                                                               
the community, and his father had  been a VPSO for over 20 years.                                                               
The application  was the first  the department had  received from                                                               
this village since the father had left.                                                                                         
CAPTAIN ARLOW  stated that it  is challenging to find  people who                                                               
will  fill VPSO  positions, and  the nonprofit  organization said                                                               
the community  really supported the  selection of  the individual                                                               
as its  VPSO; he had only  one felony event, and  that was twelve                                                               
years  ago.   He  said  he reviewed  the  case  yesterday and  it                                                               
appears it is complex, because the  details are unclear.  He said                                                               
there  is a  letter from  the  district attorney,  who wanted  to                                                               
decline  prosecution because  of insufficient  evidence, but  the                                                               
case went  forward and a plea  agreement was made to  a different                                                               
level of  assault, but it  was still a felony.   He said  it also                                                               
appears that the  information surrounding the event  is "a little                                                               
muddy."  He offered further details.                                                                                            
CAPTAIN ARLOW  explained that  he shared  this information  as an                                                               
example not only  of why there are guiding  regulations, but also                                                               
why there is a stipulation  that allows a commissioner or his/her                                                               
designee to "look at these  on a case-by-case basis to determine"                                                               
whether each  meets "the  intent of  the law,  the letter  of the                                                               
law."   He said this  is the only  individual in the  program who                                                               
has the  background of a felony  conviction.  He said,  "We don't                                                               
make it a practice, but it is  something that in this case we did                                                               
have one."   In  response to  follow-up questions,  he reiterated                                                               
that  the person  was  convicted of  a felony,  and  he said  the                                                               
person is still working as a VPSO  and appears to be doing a very                                                               
good job.                                                                                                                       
9:57:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN asked what the entry pay is for a VPSO.                                                                              
CAPTAIN ARLOW  answered it  is currently $25  an hour,  and there                                                               
could be benefit packages included,  depending on which nonprofit                                                               
employs  the  VPSO.   Further,  he  said  in some  instances  the                                                               
communities  provide housing  and  stipends for  fuel "and  other                                                               
things" for those living in a rural village.                                                                                    
9:57:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  recollected  that the  sponsor  had  said                                                               
there  are currently  93 VPSOs  working, and  she asked  how many                                                               
villages  that  covers.    Also,  she  asked  how  long  a  rural                                                               
community  might  expect to  wait  until  an armed  Alaska  State                                                               
Trooper arrived.                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN ARLOW  answered that currently  there are  69 communities                                                               
serviced  by  VPSOs; however,  some  VPSOs  are assigned  to  hub                                                               
communities  that  touch  other   communities  beyond  those  69.                                                               
Regarding  response  time,  he   relayed  that  having  been  the                                                               
detachment commander  for Western Alaska  for many years,  he can                                                               
say that  there are times  Alaska State Troopers have  arrived in                                                               
villages the  same day, even within  hours of an event.   He said                                                               
there  are not  enough  troopers to  respond  to all  communities                                                               
simultaneously, but  they do their  best to respond to  calls and                                                               
have to prioritize them.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES said having  lived out in Bush communities,                                                               
response time is  a concern.  She added, "Thus  the need for this                                                               
10:00:28 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR LYNN said he thinks HB 199 is an important bill.                                                                          
10:00:30 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR LYNN closed public testimony.                                                                                             
10:01:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR LYNN reopened public testimony.                                                                                           
[HB 199 was held over.]                                                                                                         
10:01:13 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:01                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
00 HB0275 CRA v.O.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
01 HB0275A.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
02 HB 275 sponsor statement.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
03 HB 275 Sectional.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
04 HB275 Fiscal note Lt Gov.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
05 HB275 Fiscal note OMB various.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
06 Back up HB275 OMB.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
07 Legal memo on commas.PDF HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
08 MOA letter of support HB275.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
09 Letter Support HB275 - Alaska Municipal League - Waserman 2-7-2014.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
10 Changes to HB 275 HCRA.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275
01 HB 199 28-LS0739 U.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
02 HB 199 2014 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
03 HB 199 DPS Draft Revised VPSO Regs.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
04 HB 199 Information Hearing BBNA Testimony and Resolutions CEO Ralph Anderson.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
05 HB 199 Informational Meeting Summary 9.26.2013.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
06 HB 199 Letters--Informational Hearing--9.26.2013.PDF HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
07 HB 199 Edgmon Op-Ed Alaska Dispatch 9.13.13.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
08 HB 199 ADN Article--VPSO Slain.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
09 HB 199 ADN Letter to the Editor.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
10 HB 199 Mike McCarthy Support.PDF HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
11 HB 199 Informational Hearing Letter Robert Claus.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
12 HB 199 Kathie Wasserman Support.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
13 HB199 email Mike Coons Testimony.pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 199
05 HB275 Fiscal note OMB various (updated 2-2-2014).pdf HSTA 2/11/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 275