Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

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


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Audio Topic
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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