Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

01/31/2005 01:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


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01:31:39 PM Start
01:32:35 PM SB14
01:41:53 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 14 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 14 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                        January 31, 2005                                                                                        
                           1:31 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 14                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to municipal initiative and referendum                                                                         
elections."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 14 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  14                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL  ELECTIONS                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEVENS G                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
01/11/05       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              
01/11/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/11/05       (S)       CRA                                                                                                    
01/26/05       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
01/26/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/26/05       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Linda Murphy, Clerk                                                                                                             
Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                                                         
144 North Binkley Street                                                                                                        
Soldotna, AK 99669                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 14                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mona Lisa Drexler, Clerk                                                                                                        
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
PO Box 71267                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 14                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Bonnie Williams, Legislative Liaison                                                                                            
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
PO Box 71267                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 14                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Kathy Wasserman, Policy and Program Coordinator                                                                                 
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
217 Second Street                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in support of SB 14                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting  to order  at  1:31:39  PM.                                                             
Present  were Senators  Stedman,  Kookesh, Ellis  and Chair  Gary                                                               
Stevens. Senator Wagoner arrived momentarily.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                  SB  14-MUNICIPAL  ELECTIONS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced the  first order of business to come                                                               
before the committee was SB 14.  He explained that the bill gives                                                               
local  municipalities an  option when  there is  a referendum  or                                                               
initiative  to hold  the  election  at the  time  of a  regularly                                                               
scheduled  election  if the  issue  isn't  urgent  or to  hold  a                                                               
special election if the issue is timely.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:32:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The  bill would  avoid costly  special elections  that frequently                                                               
result  in low  voter  turnout.  He reported  the  bill has  wide                                                               
support from municipalities and communities across the state.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He noted  supporting letters  in members'  packets from  City and                                                               
Borough municipal clerk, Laurie Sica, and from Wrangell.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He asked  Linda Murphy  whether she  had anything  to add  to her                                                               
previous testimony.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:33:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA  MURPHY, Kenai  Peninsula Borough  clerk, said  she had  no                                                               
additional  comments,   but  she   was  concerned   with  Senator                                                               
Wagoner's  proposed  amendment. She  asked  that  he introduce  a                                                               
separate  bill so  that each  issue could  be argued  on its  own                                                               
merit.  She   said  the   proposed  amendment   is  sure   to  be                                                               
controversial and  the Kenai Peninsula  Borough would  be opposed                                                               
to it.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:34:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER   announced  that   he  wouldn't   introduce  an                                                               
amendment at this  time and furthermore he hadn't  found too many                                                               
clerks that  even understand what  his amendment would  have been                                                               
or how the process works.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked Ms.  Drexler whether she had anything to                                                               
add to her previous testimony.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:35:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MONA LISA DREXLER, Fairbanks North  Star Borough clerk,  said she                                                               
had no  additional testimony,  but she wanted  to clarify  that a                                                               
special  election  in  the Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough  costs                                                               
between $60,000-$66,000 rather than $30,000  as was stated at the                                                               
previous hearing.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
With regard to Senator Wagoner's  proposal, she said she respects                                                               
his right to  introduce any legislation dealing with  any area of                                                               
state  law, but  she respectfully  requests he  so in  a separate                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:36:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DREXLER reported  that her  borough saw  a 49.9  percent all                                                               
time high  voter turnout  in 1982 during  a regular  election. At                                                               
issue was  hours of  sale for  alcoholic beverages.  The National                                                               
Voter  Registration   Act  (NVRA)  has  made   it  difficult  for                                                               
municipalities to  get higher turnouts  and this  is particularly                                                               
true for  boroughs with a  transient population such  as military                                                               
bases. The presidential  election is the only  election that it's                                                               
been possible to attain a 60 percent voter turnout.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:38:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THOMAS  WAGONER  told Ms.  Drexler  that  the  municipal                                                               
clerks'  representative should  stop by  his office  because they                                                               
obviously  don't understand  what  his  proposed amendment  would                                                               
have done.  It has nothing  to do with a  60 percent vote  at the                                                               
time of the election, he asserted.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS restated  for  the  record that  the  matter                                                               
before the  committee was SB  14 and  there was no  amendment. He                                                               
asked that discussion be limited to the original bill.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:39:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BONNIE  WILLIAMS identified  herself as  the legislative  liaison                                                               
for the Fairbanks  North Star Borough. She said the  issue was of                                                               
great  concern last  year and  they would  like it  to pass  this                                                               
year. It's straightforward and simple  and assumes that municipal                                                               
assemblies  will have  the best  interest of  their community  in                                                               
mind.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  thanks Ms. Williams for her  comments and for                                                               
the work done by the clerk's office.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:40:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY  WASSERMAN, Alaska  Municipal League  representative, spoke                                                               
in support  of SB 14.  "The bill allows for  public participation                                                               
and  process  while yet  being  mindful  of  the costs  that  are                                                               
incurred with special elections," she said.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS noted there  was no additional  testimony and                                                               
asked for a motion.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:41:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  motioned to move  SB 14 from committee  with two                                                               
attached  fiscal  notes  and  individual  recommendations.  There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 1:41:53 PM.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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