Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/19/1997 01:30 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE March 19, 1997 1:30 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chair Senator Drue Pearce, Vice-chair Senator Mike Miller Senator Sean Parnell Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 69 "An Act relating to designating flunitrazepam as a schedule IVA controlled substance; and providing for an effective date." MOVED SSHB 69 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 114 "An Act relating to contributions from employee compensation for political purposes; and prohibiting certain kinds of discrimination against employees for political purposes." HEARD AND HELD SENATE BILL NO. 113 "An Act placing the administrative director of the court system in the public employees' retirement system; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10 Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the election and the duties of the attorney general. HEARD AND HELD PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 69 - No previous Senate Committee action. SB 114 - No previous Senate Committee action. SB 113 - No previous Senate Committee action. SJR 10 - See Judiciary minutes dated 2/19/97 and 2/26/97. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Al Vezey Alaska State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 69 George Taft, Director Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory Department of Public Safety 5500 E. Tudor Rd. Anchorage, AK 99507-1221 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 69 Lauree Hugonin Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 130 Seward St., Rm. 501 Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 69 Jayne Andreen Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, AK 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 69 Laura Chase Staff to Senator Taylor Alaska State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified for sponsor of SB 114 Brooke Miles Alaska Public Offices Commission Department of Administration P.O. Box 110222 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0222 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 114 Don Wanie, Director Division of Finance Department of Administration P.O. Box 110204 Juneau, AK 99811-0204 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 114 Tuckerman Babcock Staff to Senator Green Alaska State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified for sponsor of SJR 10 Chris Christensen Staff Counsel Alaska Court System 820 W. 4th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to SB 113 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-23, SIDE A Number 00 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:38 p.m. and announced the presence of Senators Parnell and Ellis. The first order of business before the committee was HB 69. HB 69 ROHYPNOL AS SCHEDULE IV-A DRUG REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY , sponsor of the measure, gave the following overview of the legislation. Flunitrazepam belongs to the Schedule IV class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It came on the market about the time Alaska enacted its Title 11 statutes and did not get incorporated into that title. The drug has shown up on the crime scene during the last two years, and is rapidly becoming the drug of choice for those who wish to commit the heinous crime of date rape. It leaves a victim with no memory of events that occurred shortly after ingestion of the drug for up to two to eight hours and is not detectable by standard urinalysis tests. Flunitrazepam was classified in Schedule IVA because all other benzodiazapines are in that schedule. Number 055 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked what felony classification possession of the drug would fall under. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY answered the controlled substance statutes vary according to how a violation occurs. If a person was caught in possession of less than 25 tablets of flunitrazepam, the offense would be a class A misdemeanor; if more than 25 tablets, a class C felony. If a person attempts to distribute the drug to a minor, the offense would be a class B felony. If the drug is used in the commission of a crime, the offense would be classified as sexual assault in the first degree, an unclassified felony. Number 073 MR. GEORGE TAFT, director of the Scientific Crime Laboratory in Anchorage, testified via teleconference and informed the committee one case involving use of this drug has appeared in Alaska; that case is now pending. The states of Texas and Florida have published numerous articles about the various problems flunitrazepam has created in those states. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked Mr. Taft if this drug is used in any form by the medical profession. MR. TAFT was not aware of any valid medical use, and added it is not approved for use in the United States. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY commented flunitrazepam is used in 64 to 80 countries as a medication for extreme sleep disorders. It is not licensed for manufacture or distribution in the United States. The manufacturer does not intend to get it licensed here because other drugs are prescribed for sleep disorders. However, it is becoming prevalent on the crime scene in the United States because it is readily available in other countries. Number 133 LAUREE HUGONIN , Executive Director of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, testified in support of HB 69 and submitted written testimony to committee members. SENATOR PARNELL asked Ms. Hugonin if she is familiar with cases involving flunitrazepam other than the one case mentioned by Mr. Taft. MS. HUGONIN said she is familiar with the one case and suspects other unreported cases have occurred. JAYNE ANDREEN , Director of the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, stated the Council's support of HB 69 for the reasons stated by previous speakers. SENATOR PARNELL moved SSHB 69 from committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. SB 114 EMPLOYEES: POLITICAL CONTRIB & ACTIVITIES LAURA CHASE , legislative staff to Senator Taylor, sponsor of SB 114, gave the following summary of the measure. SB 114 was prepared in response to numerous constituent contacts regarding automatic deductions from paychecks by employers for political purposes. Once the deduction occurs, the employee loses control over which candidates and issues the money is used to support or oppose. SB 114 is written to protect the rights of workers to make annual decisions regarding their involvement in the political process. The reverse check-off process, as it is now known, was recently banned by a Michigan statute, and upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. SB 114 prohibits employers, or labor organizations, from giving salary increases with the intent the increase be donated in support or opposition of a candidate, issue, recall petition, or for similar purposes. The bill prohibits discrimination against an employee who fails to make a contribution intended to influence a political race and requires a public record be kept of all payroll deductions made for disbursal as political contributions. SB 114 also requires annual written authorization by the employee, prior to a deduction for political purposes and requires that employees be informed, at the time of signing, of the anti-discrimination provision that applies. SB 114 will enable employees to continue their employment without feeling intimidated about whether or not they are making contributions. Number 220 SENATOR PEARCE asked what sort of information employee PACs must keep and report under current law. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated it depends primarily upon the amount of the contribution made by the employee. SENATOR ELLIS asked for elaboration on the paperwork requirements proposed in SB 114. MS. CHASE replied the employer or labor organization, making the withholding, must maintain a record of that contribution for three years, and a record of employee consent. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the organizations would create their own forms. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR referred to page 2, line 11, and said the organization could, but APOC would most likely create a uniform form. Number 251 SENATOR ELLIS questioned whether the records would be maintained for three years and then become public. MS. CHASE referred to page 2, paragraph (c), which requires the record be maintained and made available to the public for at least three years after the deduction was made. SENATOR ELLIS asked how many organizations in Alaska would be affected. MS. CHASE did not have that information but offered to provide it at a later date. SENATOR ELLIS noted some of the back-up material is from The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, pertains to teacher unions and compares contributions of Republicans vs. Democrats, and plays up partisanship of donations. He asked if that argument is part of the justification for the bill. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR answered that material demonstrates that the rank and file did not support the decisions being made by their leadership, in the manner in which their contributions were being used. The bill allows rank and file members to make individual choices about how their funds are utilized. Number 284 SENATOR PARNELL noted SB 114 prohibits discrimination against an officer or employee, in the terms or conditions as specified on page 2, and asked whether any penalties or causative action would be available to a complainant. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR answered the remedy would be a suit for wrongful termination, because it becomes discrimination per se, if one can establish that was the basis for termination. SENATOR PARNELL commented the damages would be lost wages. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR agreed, and said he has not set up specific legislative parameters. He thought a violation of that section would subject one to liability under the Civil Rights Act. SENATOR ELLIS asked whether Senator Taylor considered coordinating the reporting requirements in SB 114 with the two-year election cycle. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR replied the state does not account on a two-year basis. Number 307 BROOKE MILES , Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), provided an overview of APOC's position on SB 114. Section 1(a)(1) is in current law so the Commission has no objection to its inclusion. APOC is concerned about Section 2, which prohibits discrimination, because it takes APOC into an area of law outside of campaign finance, and into the complex area of employment discrimination. APOC believes that provision may be better placed under the authority of a different statute, i.e., EEO or human rights. Regarding the 12 month time limit for the employee's consent in Section 1(2)(b), APOC would prefer the language on line 13 be changed to "one calendar year" to be consistent with the campaign disclosure statute. Regarding subsection (c) of Section 1(2), APOC is concerned that requiring information to be made public will have a chilling effect. Under current law, individuals or contributors who donate more than $250 file a disclosure statement independently of candidates and groups. People who donate $100 or less are not disclosed by name, address, occupation, and employer on the reports filed by labor groups, PACs, parties or candidates. SB 114 would create a new area of public information; APOC is concerned this requirement may discourage individuals from participating in the political process. APOC believes it should also keep a copy of the documents required to be kept by the employer since APOC anticipates that enforcement of this requirement will be through the complaint process. Last, APOC would prefer the records be kept for four years rather than three, to be consistent with other recordkeeping requirements under the campaign finance disclosure law. Number 395 SENATOR PARNELL asked if APOC would handle complaints because it has jurisdiction over everything under AS 15.13. MS. MILES said that is correct. SENATOR PARNELL stated APOC typically fines people for violating campaign finance laws and asked whether a complainant would be able to collect back wages under SB 114. MS. MILES replied, under campaign finance reform, a violation of this nature would be subject to a fine of not more than $50 per day. If a complaint filed with APOC is not acted on within 180 days, the complainant could take court action. SENATOR PARNELL asked if one would have to exhaust his/her administrative remedy in front of APOC before going to court, or whether one has a direct action to court. MS. MILES verified one has a direct action to court only after 180 days has elapsed with no action taken by APOC. Number 420 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if that is the rationale in the fiscal note for funding; three additional complaints in election years, and two additional complaints in non-election years. MS. MILES said that is correct and is based on APOC's recent experience with the area of law governing contributions in another's name. APOC estimated three cases would be filed in an election year, of which it would address two and one-half. In the non-election year, APOC would complete the third case, and an additional two complaints filed related to municipal or borough elections. Ms. Miles explained the fiscal note includes funds for contractual work but not for new positions. SENATOR PARNELL asked, if SB 114 passes, whether a complainant could go directly to court. MS. MILES repeated under the new campaign finance disclosure law, a complainant cannot go directly to court, but must first file a complaint with APOC. SENATOR PARNELL asked if APOC has the authority to award back wages. MS. MILES replied it does not. SENATOR PARNELL questioned how appeals are treated by APOC. MS. MILES said the complainant could appeal to Superior Court. SENATOR PARNELL asked if the appeal would include a complete review of the facts. MS. MILES answered that would depend on the nature of the appeal. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted the intent was not to give APOC exclusive jurisdiction over wrongful discharge suits because a peripheral aspect of that suit required a form be filed with APOC, nor was it to prevent a party from bringing a civil suit for 180 days. He noted his desire to get a legal opinion on the ramifications of the reference to AS 15.13 in SB 114. Chair Taylor asked why APOC believes that copies of the written authorization forms should be provided to the PAC receiving the contributions. MS. MILES replied the PAC should be able to verify employee authorizations. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if APOC receives that information now. MS. MILES said APOC does not, but she was not sure whether the PACs do. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked whether a bargaining unit that signs up dues- paying members for deductions in the contract itself, would have to report a cumulative total of those deductions to APOC. MS. MILES responded the group would have to report all of the contributors by name, address, etc., who contribute more than $100. Number 487 DON WANIE , Director of the Division of Finance in the Department o Administration, made the following comments on SB 114. About 10,000 employees are covered under collective bargaining agreements in the state employee workforce. Through the state payroll system, dues deductions are processed for those 10,000 employees. A portion of the dues deductions is used for political purposes and some unions also have PACS for which deductions are allowed. Because a portion of the dues deductions may be taken for political purposes, the Division of Finance would be subject to the annual renewal requirement and to file 10,000 authorization forms in employees' records. AS 39.25.080 specifically sets out what public employee information is public information. Dues deductions are not included in that statute. Placing those deductions in statute will set a precedent and open the way for disclosure of much less desirable information, such as garnishments or levies. He added the division believes any other public employer in the state, such as municipalities and private employers with unionized employees, will be subject to the same reporting requirement. SB 114 will burden employers with an additional paper-generating process. Number 534 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated the paperwork required by SB 114 is a fraction of the paperwork sent out annually to all employees for the retirement program. MR. WANIE asked whether the authorization forms would be renewed each year on the employee's hire date. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted APOC requested the paperwork be renewed on a calendar year basis. MR. WANIE agreed the calendar year time frame would be more manageable. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR moved to change the word "three" to "four" on page 2, line 15, to accommodate APOC's request. There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR moved to amend lines 13 and 14 on page 2 to read, "The written request is valid for no more than one calendar year from the date of signing by the employee." There being no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted. SENATOR PARNELL requested the committee get further information on what rights of action complainants would have, and whether SB 114 should be under the jurisdiction of Title 15. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated he would hold the bill until a legal opinion on those questions is prepared. He asked for further suggestions from the departments on how to implement SB 114 for less cost. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SB 114 would be held in committee until the following week. SJR 10 ELECTION OF ATTORNEY GENERAL TUCKERMAN BABCOCK , staff to Senator Lyda Green, prime sponsor of SJR 10, gave the following testimony. The committee has heard a heartfelt argument against electing an attorney general. The basic theory, addressed by Judge Stewart at a previous hearing, was that the idea of the branches of government is vital to the American republican form of government, and is not under attack by SJR 10. No one questions the need to have an energetic executive. The quote from The Federalist Paper No. 70 by Alexander Hamilton, referenced by Judge Stewart, has little or nothing to do with the question of an elected attorney general. Alexander Hamilton was speaking to the idea of co-equal governors, such as the pro- councils of Rome. At the time of independence, several states had councils of equal governors. There is no specific criticism of electing an attorney general in Federalist No. 70, nor in any of the Federalist papers. With a single exception, the original 13 states today choose to elect their attorneys general. TAPE 97-23, SIDE B Number 580 Mr. Babcock continued. The federal government, designed at the time of the framers of our constitutional order, has mutated. This modern federal government would be unrecognizable for many of the framers. The size, power, or intrusiveness of the federal government today was not imagined by the framers in 1787. The framers of the constitutional convention and James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton, who wrote the Federalist papers to make the case for the adoption of the new Constitution, were motivated by a need to redesign our initial federal government, which had, up to that point, managed under the Articles of Confederation. These Articles had proven to so enfeeble the federal government, reform was essential. Mr. Babcock explained the elected executive at the federal level today is elected by a single ticket and authority is vested in a single officer. That has not proven entirely workable without some legislative amendments, the most significant being that of the office of an independent prosecutor appointed by the attorney general when there is a need to investigate the executive. We have experienced the consequences of the lack of such independence in Alaska's Department of Law. Two examples occurred during the 1980's when a Grand Jury recommended to the Legislature that they consider impeachment of the Governor, and when the possibility of corruption of some companies and officials doing business on the North Slope went largely unaddressed by Alaska's Department of Law. Mr. Babcock noted in Alaska, the Department of Law serves as the only legal counsel to each department, commission, and the Governor. It manages all criminal prosecutions, and advises and holds final authority over all regulations adopted by any agency of the Executive Branch. The attorney general's opinions, even if contradictory to earlier opinions, are the definitive instructions to state officials as to official actions. The attorney general is obligated to enforce the law, which is policy adopted by the legislative branch, but as an at-will political appointee of the Governor, his/her loyalty is not to the law but to the political dictates of the Governor. A key difference between the organization of legal counsel in Alaska and the federal government is that federal departments have their own attorneys for advice and assistance. However, when it comes time for defense in court, or prosecution, the Justice Department gets involved. This issue is not addressed by SJR 10, but is left to be addressed through the budgetary process in the Legislature. According to Mr. Babcock, an elected attorney general in Alaska would not be a co-equal with the Governor. The attorney general would simply be an independent authority whose responsibility would be to sue, defend, and prosecute on behalf of the State. The attorney general would be responsible to the people in an election for the choices made in that regard and the Governor would be responsible for the faithful execution of the laws. Mr. Babcock clarified that what Senator Green seeks to accomplish, with SJR 10, is simply to charge a directly elected official with the primary duty and sole responsibility to act in court on behalf of the State. The attorney general would have that independent authority. The function would be similar to the relationship of police and prosecutors today, except the attorney general would be responsible to the voters. As long as the Governor and attorney general would have to run as a team, it would be in the best interest of the attorney general to cooperate with the executive. Regarding an example provided by Judge Stewart about Governor Hickel's and Attorney General Cole's settlement of outstanding lawsuits with certain oil companies, Mr. Babcock said Judge Stewart feared that kind of unified policy objective would be frustrated by a Governor and an independent attorney general. They did work well together, however when a client wishes to settle, the client does not need the permission of the attorney general to settle. The Governor retains the policy call to make a settlement. The Governor can be a client of the attorney general and the attorney general's freedom consists of deciding whether to pursue the case, but only if there is a question before him. The result is not likely to be a dilution of their energy. In response to Judge Stewart's comment that several former governors liked being able to appoint their attorneys general, Mr. Babcock said what would have been more revealing is the number of elected attorneys general who have argued for appointment by governors. Mr. Babcock noted Judge Stewart was in error regarding the fact that the only direction any state has taken has been to elect their attorneys general. No state that has taken that step has chosen to return to an appointment process. Forty-three states currently elect their attorneys general. Judge Stewart was correct when he said that citizens should not expect an elected attorney general to suddenly start responding to requests from average citizens. The attorney general will remain the chief attorney for the State of Alaska, he just will no longer be an at-will employee of the Governor. Mr. Babcock discussed one theme touched on by Judge Stewart, and a primary theme of Anchorage attorney Herb Berkowitz in a recent article in The Voice of the Times, is that the opinions of the attorney general can be challenged by any citizen in court. Mr. Babcock thought that option may have existed when Alaska first became a State, but now the Department of Law can devote limitless resources defending or enforcing its opinion and most citizens cannot afford to make their point in court. Direct election and influence over who is the attorney general is a serious option. The Governor will still be able to get legal opinions, just as the Legislature does today, however from its legal counsel. When it comes to committing the State of Alaska in court, there will be an attorney general, directly elected and accountable to the people, who make that decision. Mr. Berkowitz's objection to the possibility of posturing by an elected attorney general is legitimate, however sometimes what one person considers posturing is actually responding to the desires of the people one is elected to represent. SJR 10 makes the possibility of posturing to become the next governor an unattractive option. Any attorney general will have to wait through an entire election cycle before being able to run for governor. Those opposed to the election of Alaska's attorney general claim "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." To a considerable degree, it is broken. The on-again, off-again prosecution of cases involving federal-state responsibilities is a prime example. The Attorney General's actions regarding Alaska Public Utilities Commissioner Tim Cook is another example of a system in need of repair, and can only be described as an underhanded manner in which Governor Knowles avoided legislative confirmation. Of all the arguments against electing the attorney general, Mr. Babcock said the worst is that voters are too ignorant to determine the qualifications of their attorney general. If the voters can be trusted to choose the Governor who appoints the attorney general, they can certainly be trusted to choose the attorney general. If SJR 10 is placed before the voters, the arguments will be played out in the election and the voters will decide whether it is better to maintain the current system, or whether an elected attorney general will offer something better. An attorney general, directly responsible to the voters, will focus on better protection from crime for the innocent, prosecution for the accused, and more appropriate punishment for those convicted. An attorney general directly responsible to the voters will have a singular motivation to move with vigor and commitment in challenging federal encroachment on the rights and responsibilities of the State of Alaska. Mr. Babcock concluded by saying no one is suggesting electing cabinet officers, or crippling the Governor's ability to exercise executive powers. SJR 10 gives the people the choice to elect the chief legal officer of the State of Alaska. The power to go to court on behalf of the State is an immense power. After 38 years of Statehood, it is time to give Alaskans a choice to decide whether they want that power exercised by a political at-will employee of the Governor, or by someone directly elected by the people. Number 476 SENATOR PARNELL referred to Mr. Babcock's comment about the Governor being a client of the attorney general and asked in which cases the attorney general would make the call. MR. BABCOCK replied the attorney general would have the sole discretion to go to court on behalf of the State. If the attorney general were in court on behalf of the State and the case involved issues that could be settled, the Governor, as the client, could settle those cases. SENATOR PARNELL asked if getting into court is the attorney general's call, but whether to quit or go forward is the Governor's call. MR. BABCOCK answered the Governor has the authority to settle something like a tax case. If the issue is over the constitutional relationship with the federal government, the Governor would not have the ability to deny the attorney general the ability to continue in court. Number 463 SENATOR PARNELL presumed SJR 10 would greatly enhance the powers of the attorney general in the courtroom. He asked Mr. Babcock to provide a clear delineation of the current powers of the Governor and attorney general. MR. BABCOCK replied his example was specifically related to an issue that arises out of a statutory case regarding tax payments, and in such a case the Governor can negotiate to collect those taxes before ever going to court. When it comes to whether or not the federal and state governments are properly interpreting the relationship of state and federal law, the Governor does not have the authority to stop the attorney general from acting on behalf of the State. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated the first paragraph of the committee substitute addresses the Governor's authority, but the phrase "brought in the name of the state" was deleted. Consequently, the Governor could not bring action in the name of the State. MR. BABCOCK said that is correct. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted subparagraph (c) on the top of page 3 provides that the attorney general may bring necessary and proper actions on behalf of the State. According to that provision, the Governor may wish to bring a cause of action against the federal government, but if the attorney general does not wish to do so, the cause of action will not be brought. If the Governor wishes to dismiss a cause of action brought by the attorney general against the United States, and the attorney general does not wish to dismiss the case, the cause of action would not be dismissed. MR. BABCOCK agreed with Chair Taylor's assessment. MR. BABCOCK noted the proposed committee substitute has not been adopted (version O-LSO361\F). Number 426 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked, in the 43 states that elect their attorneys general, if the Governor has any role in what suits are brought or dismissed, and if so, at what stage. He thought it unlikely everything is left up to the attorneys general, including advice to all departments. MR. BABCOCK said in some of the 43 states only the attorney general can act on behalf of the State. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if, in those states, the attorney general controls the hiring and firing, and the advice given by every attorney who works under him/her for state agencies. MR. BABCOCK replied SJR 10 does not address that aspect; that process would be a policy call for the Legislature to make. Number 406 SENATOR PEARCE asked Mr. Babcock to explain how he envisions the process working. She asked how things would change if the attorney general was elected and decided to renegotiate the Cleary settlement, but the Governor and department heads continued to refuse to comply with the settlement and the Legislature continued to refuse to pay the fines. The attorney general could not hold the Governor and Commissioners in contempt of court so would have no hammer. MR. BABCOCK did not know, but said the attorney general would have a more direct motivation to deal responsibly with the Cleary settlement if elected but he doubted the attorney general would have any more authority to have the Governor or department heads fined or arrested than the court already has. SENATOR PEARCE asked if the Governor could file an amicus brief for either side, depending on whether he/she supports or opposes the attorney general's position. MR. BABCOCK said the Governor could not do so on behalf of the State. The relationship would be similar to that between the Governor and Legislature in federal court. He added the other option is to have multiple entities represent the State, but then no one would represent the State. SENATOR PEARCE expressed concern about taking action on this issue because it is still unclear on how the new system would work. Number 372 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR expressed concern about the "team" concept. He questioned how a team would form up around the attorney general so that each agency and department works in accordance with the attorney general's legal opinions, while the commissioners are directly appointed by the Governor. He questioned who would advise the Governor and noted fiscal notes have been submitted that include funds for a separate cadre of attorneys comparable to the entire attorney general's office. He said although he understands the sponsor's intent to have the Governor and attorney general run together to provide a commonality of philosophy, if the two took different positions on certain issues, they could spend their time thwarting each other's efforts and embarrassing each other. He noted Governor Hickel and Attorney General Cole worked well together, but split over differences in their environmental philosophies. Had Attorney General Cole been elected, many legal hurdles may have been placed before the legislature regarding how it spent Exxon Valdez settlement funds. MR. BABCOCK commented many of the concerns raised by committee members are based on the assumption that constant friction would exist between the Governor and attorney general, yet 43 states elect their attorneys general and function smoothly. This constitutional amendment is structured so that the attorney general would be clearly responsible for taking court action on behalf, or in defense, of the state, but the amount of authority given to the attorney general in advising departments, establishing regulations for program implementation, or giving opinions to the Governor would be up to the Legislature to decide. Number 314 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated the committee's questions are based upon the anxiety of not knowing how other systems work. MR. BABCOCK replied there is no formula used by the 43 states. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he understood every state probably structured their systems a little bit differently, but the committee needs an outline of the basic framework used by different states. MR. BABCOCK remarked Senator Green did not intend to address the mechanics of how the 43 other states actually operate because the Legislature has the discretion to decide on the specifics. He offered to provide an synopsis of other states' structures to committee members. He emphasized the resolution is focussed on whether or not to elect an attorney general. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR repeated the committee needs at least generalized answers as to where the state is heading with this legislation. MR. BABCOCK noted the legislature will have four to six years to prepare for the first election of an attorney general, and any polling of the public has shown 70 to 75 percent of respondents in support of the idea. He repeated there will be four to six years to make the necessary statutory adjustments to accommodate this change before an elected attorney general takes office. Number 274 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked Mr. Babcock how he envisions the team concept operating. MR. BABCOCK replied the attorney general would end up on the ballot in the same way the lieutenant governor does, and voters would vote for one set of executive officials. The only connection between those candidates during the primary election would be voluntary. Senator Green introduced this concept to reduce potential friction on a partisan basis between the attorney general and the Governor. It is not a system used by any of the 43 states that do elect their attorneys general. Some of those candidates are nominated by Convention and then are locked into running as a party in the general election. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the race is partisan in each of those states. MR. BABCOCK corrected himself and said the nomination aspect is purely partisan, the election is not. When nominated, the registered Republicans or Democrats in the Convention nominate the candidate, and then the candidate runs independently in the election. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the candidate runs as a Democrat or Republican. MR. BABCOCK explained the candidate runs as one or the other, but independent of the governor. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented several Alaskan governors and their attorneys general feuded; runing on the same ticket will not ensure a harmonious relationship among those officials. He noted there is a lot of concern at this time among committee members about the impact of this resolution, and he plans to continue to hold hearings on this issue until the committee feels more comfortable. He thanked Mr. Babcock for his presentation. SB 113 PERS FOR COURT SYSTEM ADMIN DIRECTOR CHRIS CHRISTENSEN , General Counsel to the Judicial Branch, stated the Supreme Court is opposed to passage of SB 113. It believes the judicial retirement system is an essential tool for attracting and retaining highly qualified personnel to serve as the administrative director. He pointed out Alaska's placement of the administrative director in the judicial retirement system is not unique; about one-third of the states do so. The American Bar Association (ABA) adopted standards relating to code organization. Those standards provide that retirement benefits should not be less than that of a judge at the intermediate court of appeals. The ABA set their standard because it recognized administrative directors of state court systems require specialized training. Alaska's standard requires the retirement be tied to that of an appellate judge. In Alaska this position was created by Article 4, Section 16 of the Constitution. The Court has adopted Administrative Rule 1 to implement this constitutional mandate which sets out the duties of the administrative director and contains many specific technical court duties. The administrative director heads a branch of government rather than a department and serves the Supreme Court in the same way the chief of staff serves the Governor. He acts as legal advisor to the Court on non-adjudicatory matters, is responsible for the massive volume of Court Rules, advises on the procurement and personnel rules, and serves the same role the attorney general serves to the Executive Branch. In addition, he supervises the accounting department, which collects and accounts for in excess of $7 million in fines and fees annually; distributes restitution to victims; handles a large number of trust accounts; and performs other duties handled by commissioners in the executive branch. This position requires a much greater breadth of experience and a different type of work than what is performed by commissioners in the Executive Branch. The administrative director is not a political position like a commissioner, and requires a specific education and work history. MR. CHRISTENSEN explained the ten-year vesting period required for an administrative director is twice as long as the vesting period for judges and any other PERS or TERS employees. The administrative director must work in that specific position for those ten years to become vested. The Legislature passed the ten year vesting requirement in 1980 because the Supreme Court saw the need for continuity and did not want to hire administrative directors who worked for a few years to pad their resumes and then headed to bigger court systems in other states. Prior to Mr. Snowden's employment, there was a high turnover in administrative directors that was damaging to the Court System. Only one administrative director had served as long as five years. In the eight years prior to Mr. Snowden's appointment, there were five or six different directors, which created the perception that the job was purely political and filled by people without regard to their qualifications. A new Chief Justice professionalized the position in 1973. The Court System is able to plan long term and believes attracting and retaining a competent professional is necessary for the judiciary, and that the judicial retirement system with the ten year vestment requirement is necessary to accomplish that goal. Number 108 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked what happens if an administrative director is fired prior to the ten-year vesting period. MR. CHRISTENSEN replied the director could cash in his/her retirement or convert it to the PERS retirement system, but would not be eligible for judicial retirement. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR affirmed unless the director serves the full ten years, his/her retirement will be based on PERS retirement. He questioned whether the director will "max" out in the retirement system after 15 years, but cannot receive retirement until age 60. MR. CHRISTENSEN said that was correct. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced it was not his intent to move SB 113 at this time. SENATOR PEARCE commented this recommendation was made by Legislative Budget and Audit. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR agreed and added the measure would create a $25,000 savings. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR repeated he had reservations about the legislation at this time. He adjourned the meeting at 3:10 p.m.