Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/03/1999 01:40 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                                                                        
                    March 3, 1999                                                                                               
                      1:40 p.m.                                                                                                 
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                                                                  
Senator Dave Donley                                                                                                             
Senator John Torgerson                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman                                                                                             
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 5                                                                                        
"An Act relating to the crime of misprision of felony."                                                                         
     -MOVED CSSB 5(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                        
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 9                                                                                                   
Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska                                                                 
relating to ways and means bills.                                                                                               
     -MOVED SJR 9 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                
SB 5 - See Judiciary Committee minutes dated 2-3-99 and 2-24-99.                                                                
SJR 9 - No previous action to report.                                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
Mr. Jim Baldwin                                                                                                                 
Assistant Attorney General                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0300                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 9                                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-15, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 001                                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to                                                                 
order at 1:40 and announced SB 5 would be the first order of                                                                    
                  SB 5 - MISPRISION OF FELONY                                                                                   
SENATOR TORGERSON moved the adoption of the work draft (version N                                                               
dated 2-24). Without objection, the work draft was adopted.                                                                     
SENATOR DONLEY said he had reviewed the work draft and it appears                                                               
to be what the committee asked for.                                                                                             
Number 015                                                                                                                      
SENATOR TORGERSON moved CSSB 5(JUD) out of committee with                                                                       
individual recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered.                                                               
             SJR  9-CONST. AM: WAYS AND MEANS BILLS                                                                             
SENATOR DONLEY, introduced the bill. He said Alaska's Constitution                                                              
has a single-subject rule which limits bills to one topic and                                                                   
applies to all legislation except a revisor's bill or an                                                                        
appropriations bill. SJR 9 would add another exception to the                                                                   
single-subject rule: ways and means bills necessary to implement                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY stated that budgetary changes require statutory                                                                  
changes and, at the end of the session, statutory changes need to                                                               
be made quickly to complement budget changes. Under SJR 9, all the                                                              
statutory changes needed to implement a budget act could be rolled                                                              
into one bill. SENATOR DONLEY pointed out that SJR 9 limits the                                                                 
exemption to the single-subject rule to bills which are necessary                                                               
to implement the budget.                                                                                                        
SENATOR DONLEY commented that SJR 9 will be an important tool as                                                                
spending is reduced. Where individual proposals to reduce spending                                                              
may meet with opposition, under SJR 9, the ways and means bill                                                                  
could be a majority decision, like the budget. According to SENATOR                                                             
DONLEY, "Instead of everybody trading votes to protect their own                                                                
constituency, you might have to trade votes to make sure that                                                                   
things got reduced and people would actually share the pain because                                                             
you'd have to reach consensus on the thing before the thing could                                                               
Number 105                                                                                                                      
SENATOR TORGERSON asked if a ways and means bill is subject to a                                                                
veto. SENATOR DONLEY replied it is and said "Only, it would only be                                                             
a two-thirds [vote required to override a veto] because it's a                                                                  
SENATOR TORGERSON asked why SJR 9 amends the special session                                                                    
section of the constitution. SENATOR DONLEY replied it allows a                                                                 
Legislature in special session dealing with a budget issue to deal                                                              
with a ways and means bill also.                                                                                                
Number 132                                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said SJR 9 provides a tool which will allow the                                                                 
Legislature to include some specific intent language along with an                                                              
appropriations bill to ensure that the will of the Legislature is                                                               
SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the language on page two "determined by                                                              
the Legislature" is really necessary. SENATOR DONLEY explained this                                                             
language guides a court's interpretation of "what is necessary to                                                               
implement the budget" and will allow the court to defer to the                                                                  
intent of the Legislature.                                                                                                      
SENATOR TORGERSON asked if SJR 9 would stop the governor from                                                                   
introducing a ways and means bill. SENATOR DONLEY replied it would                                                              
Number 172                                                                                                                      
MR. JIM BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, testified SJR 9                                                                    
contains several vaguely defined terms, including "ways" and                                                                    
"means." MR. BALDWIN explained the Ways and Means Committee of the                                                              
U.S. Congress deals primarily with taxation. He suggested the usage                                                             
of "ways and means" in SJR 9 is appropriate if SJR 9 is intended to                                                             
allow the Legislature enact different types of taxes. However, MR.                                                              
BALDWIN inferred from the sponsor's statement, "what you really                                                                 
intend to do is to be able to avoid the effects of the single-                                                                  
subject rule." SENATOR DONLEY replied the bill could do both.                                                                   
MR. BALDWIN claimed the effect of SJR 9 would be to undercut the                                                                
single-subject rule which was created to prevent "logrolling" - the                                                             
inclusion of an unpopular measure with a popular measure to ensure                                                              
MR. BALDWIN said due to the breadth of appropriation bills, a ways                                                              
and means bill could cover almost any topic. If the Legislature                                                                 
does not value the principle of the single-subject rule, the rule                                                               
"would be no more," according to MR. BALDWIN. The single-subject                                                                
rule preserves the separate jurisdiction of committees other than                                                               
the finance committee. From the executive perspective, a ways and                                                               
means bill should require the same number of votes for a veto                                                                   
override as the appropriations bill it implements. SENATOR DONLEY                                                               
disagreed, saying the governor has the power to line item veto an                                                               
appropriations bill.                                                                                                            
MR. BALDWIN suggested, "Aren't you really taking away powers of the                                                             
governor - you're really upsetting that balance here with this."                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY again disagreed, saying the governor can veto this                                                               
bill as well and, if there are two-thirds of the Legislature who                                                                
oppose that, the veto can be overridden.                                                                                        
MR. BALDWIN said the governor can reduce or strike an item in an                                                                
appropriations bill because it is a multi-subject bill. He argued                                                               
in favor of including a requirement for the same number of votes to                                                             
override a ways and means bill as required for an appropriations                                                                
bill. "If you  are going to extend this power to yourselves, why                                                                
not also extend the like, a similar check, on that power to keep                                                                
things in balance."                                                                                                             
MR. BALDWIN noted there is a Supreme Court case pending concerning                                                              
veto overrides. He proposed this resolution would add to the                                                                    
subject matter that could be covered in a special session, and open                                                             
the Legislature to pressure to address several subjects. "One of                                                                
the beauties of having a special session is that the Legislature                                                                
can focus on one particular area, one particular subject that has                                                               
been left over." CHAIRMAN TAYLOR assured MR. BALDWIN, "The beauty                                                               
is in the eye of the beholder."                                                                                                 
Number 286                                                                                                                      
MR. BALDWIN reminded CHAIRMAN TAYLOR the Legislature has called                                                                 
itself into special session and limited itself to one topic to                                                                  
protect from "be(ing) eaten alive by the various special interests                                                              
out there who had an agenda." CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he understood                                                                
the point: "The Legislature could find itself in the shoes of a                                                                 
runaway grand jury, basically, calling themselves back into town                                                                
and then having everybody show up with a different agenda item they                                                             
want to take up."                                                                                                               
SENATOR TORGERSON said the Legislature may, at some point, need "to                                                             
adopt something to change an appropriation to make it work."                                                                    
MR. BALDWIN said the Legislature also has the power to call itself                                                              
into a special session with an unlimited agenda.                                                                                
Number 315                                                                                                                      
SENATOR DONLEY asked MR. BALDWIN to suggest any changes to the                                                                  
language on page 2 to improve the bill. He said the intent of SJR
9 is not to throw the door wide open to any subject, but limit it                                                               
to those necessary to implement appropriations. MR. BALDWIN replied                                                             
he would be glad to, but asked for time to work on this. SENATOR                                                                
DONLEY said he would appreciate it.                                                                                             
Number 337                                                                                                                      
SENATOR TORGERSON moved SJR 9 from committee with individual                                                                    
recommendations. Without objection, SJR 9 moved from committee with                                                             
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
With no further business to come before the committee, CHAIRMAN                                                                 
TAYLOR adjourned at 2:02 p.m.                                                                                                   

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