Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/17/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY


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08:38:16 AM Start
08:38:54 AM Overview Presentation: Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
10:01:41 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Continuation of the 2/15/05 and 2/16/05 TELECONFERENCED
Meetings if Necessary
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 17, 2005                                                                                        
                           8:36 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Continuation of  Overview of the Select  Committee on Legislative                                                               
Ethics (SCLE) - Review of the  SCLE Opinion dated January 7, 2005                                                               
by Ms. Joyce Anderson, Administrator, SCLE.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:38:16 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
French, Huggins  and Chair  Seekins. The  meeting began  where it                                                               
left off yesterday.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 ^Overview Presentation: Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:38:54 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.   JOYCE   ANDERSON,   Administrator,  Select   Committee   on                                                               
Legislative  Ethics (SCLE),  answered  questions about  employees                                                               
who are covered by the Ethics Code.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:39:46 AM                                                                                                                    
Her  research   led  her  to  AS   25.60.990(a)(11),  the  ethics                                                               
definitions  statute.  It  says, "Legislative  employees  do  not                                                               
include individuals who perform  functions that are incidental to                                                               
legislative functions including  security, messenger, maintenance                                                               
and print  shop employees and  other employees designated  by the                                                               
committee."  The   committee  used   that  authority   to  exempt                                                               
employees who are Range 15 and below. It also added tour guides.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:41:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  said the question  of compelling people  to vote                                                               
after  announcing a  conflict of  interest  led him  to ask  some                                                               
different  people  what they  thought.  Their  response was  that                                                               
people would dodge the vote if  given the chance. He asked if she                                                               
agreed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ANDERSON  agreed  with  him.   Barbara  Craver,  SCLE  legal                                                               
counsel,  said that  issue  had always  been  in place.  Advisory                                                               
opinion 04.02 discussed  it saying that it  was the Legislature's                                                               
decision if it wanted it changed.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:43:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT arrived.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:43:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked how the  committee could be structured in the                                                               
future.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:45:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whom AS 24.60.020 applies to.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ANDERSON  answered  that  it   applies  to  current  sitting                                                               
legislators,  staff  and  certain employees  of  the  Legislative                                                               
Affairs Agency.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  that  it   governs  individual  actions  of                                                               
individual legislators  and individual  employees. It  could also                                                               
govern a former legislator.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON agreed and said  allegations must be stated within a                                                               
certain timeframe if a legislator has already left office.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether there  had been a complaint like that                                                               
in the past.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON replied yes - one complaint since June 2001.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he was trying  to figure out what  to correct                                                               
if someone is no longer in the body.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:47:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  whether there is any  indication the statute                                                               
affects the Uniform Rules of the Legislature.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON replied  a recent advisory opinion  said the Uniform                                                               
Rules are under control of the Legislature.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:48:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  said Article  2, Section  12, of  the Constitution                                                               
says the houses of each  legislature shall adopt uniform rules of                                                               
procedure.  "So, the  Legislature's  authority  to adopt  uniform                                                               
rules  comes from  the  Constitution and  not  from statute."  He                                                               
asked if she agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:50:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS noted that Rule  55 says the rules of parliamentary                                                               
practice in Mason's  Manual 2000 govern the Uniform  Rules of the                                                               
Legislature  in all  cases not  covered by  them. He  interpreted                                                               
that  to mean  that there  are  two authorities  under which  the                                                               
Legislature  has  implemented   its  constitutionally  authorized                                                               
powers.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Part  1,  Section  4, says  the  Rules  of  Legislative                                                                    
     Procedure  are derived  from several  sources and  take                                                                    
     precedence  in the  order listed  below. The  principal                                                                    
     sources  are as  follows: a)  constitutional provisions                                                                    
     and  judicial decision  thereof, b)  adopted rules,  3)                                                                    
     custom, usage and  precedence, d) statutory provisions,                                                                    
     e)    adopted    parliamentary   authority    and    f)                                                                    
     parliamentary law.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Further, he  said, Paragraph  4 says  whenever there  is conflict                                                               
between  rules  from these  sources,  the  rule from  the  source                                                               
listed  earlier prevails  over  the rules  of  the source  listed                                                               
later.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:53:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS said  there may be a provision that  is contrary to                                                               
the  Legislature's adopted  rules and  contrary to  custom, usage                                                               
and precedence that  could put the committee in  a position where                                                               
it  felt  it  had  to  examine  something  that  is  in  a  lower                                                               
hierarchical position  in authority  than the  ones above  it. "I                                                               
don't want  to have that kind  of a conflict arise,  because it's                                                               
not  good  for anybody."  He  wondered  if something  in  statute                                                               
conflicted with the Uniform Rules.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:55:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANDERSON added  in the beginning, the  committee was required                                                               
to propose open meeting guidelines  by statute and they contained                                                               
the notice requirements.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:57:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if two members  of the Senate asked  for the                                                               
advisory opinion.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON replied yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether they  brought the question as a point                                                               
of order to the body before they came to the SCLE.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON replied  that she didn't know.  Senators Hoffman and                                                               
Olson requested the opinion.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Senator Therriault  if  he remembered  that                                                               
question being brought as a point of order.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT replied no.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:59:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked whether she  reviewed the Uniform  Rules and                                                               
Mason's  Manual  for  legislative procedure  in  preparation.  He                                                               
wanted to  know whether custom  was considered as a  higher level                                                               
of consideration than the statute.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON  replied once  the information  was put  together, a                                                               
copy was sent  to legal counsel (Barbara Craver)  who drafted the                                                               
opinion.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he  saw both opinions  that she  drafted, one                                                               
that  was refused  and  the  other that  she  prepared after  the                                                               
committee told her what it wanted.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANDERSON agreed that there were two different opinions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:01:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked  whether  the  opinions  were  in  the                                                               
committee packets.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BRIAN  HOVE, staff  to Senator Seekins,  said he  printed the                                                               
opinions off the SCLE website.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked since there  were two drafts,  if there                                                               
were  instructions to  change the  legal  interpretation for  the                                                               
last one.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ANDERSON  responded the  committee  just  felt the  advisory                                                               
opinion should be redrafted.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  whether the  committee  discussed  Mason's                                                               
Manual.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:02:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ANDERSON replied  she thought  it  came up,  but she  didn't                                                               
remember the discussion about it.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked whether she had a tape of the meeting.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ANDERSON replied  yes.  They  are recorded  and  are in  the                                                               
archives. She has copies of the  minutes except for the January 7                                                               
meeting, which weren't finished yet.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:03:08 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  recapped there  seems to  be the  suggestion that                                                               
the SCLE failed  to consider that custom and usage  would trump a                                                               
statute and  that the  committee was  in error  for relying  on a                                                               
statute when it should have relied on custom.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:03:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS indicated that is  correct, but wanted to frame the                                                               
question  differently  and referred  the  committee  to page  22,                                                               
Section 13, of Mason's Manual.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:04:19 AM Recess 9:08:20 AM                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  noted he  was  trying  to determine  whether  the                                                               
Legislature had put the SCLE  in the untenable position of trying                                                               
to  determine  something  over  which it  has  no  authority  and                                                               
whether the  statutes need to  clarify what the authority  is. He                                                               
referenced Rule 3 on page 22 of Mason's Manual that says:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     3. The  power of  a house  of Legislature  to determine                                                                    
     its  rules and  proceedings is  a continuous  power. It                                                                    
     can always  be exercised by  the house and  is absolute                                                                    
     and beyond  the challenge  of any  body or  tribunal if                                                                    
     the rule  does not ignore constitutional  restraints or                                                                    
     violate fundamental rights.                                                                                                
     4.  A legislative  house cannot  tie its  own hands  by                                                                    
     establishing  unchangeable  rules.  It  may  adopt  and                                                                    
     change procedure at  any time and with  no other notice                                                                    
     than the rules may require.                                                                                                
     5.  Rules of  procedure  passed by  one legislature  or                                                                    
     statutory provisions governing  the legislative process                                                                    
     are not binding on a subsequent legislature.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He skipped to rule 7.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     7. Rules of procedure are  always within the control of                                                                    
     the majority of a deliberative  body and may be changed                                                                    
     at any time by a majority vote.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said   these  rules  lead  him   to  believe  the                                                               
Legislature has the absolute authority  to control its own rules.                                                               
No one  can challenge them and  that even a statute,  such as the                                                               
                                         rd                                                                                     
Open Meetings Act,  established by the 23   Legislature would not                                                               
                      thth                                                                                                      
be binding  on the  24   Legislature unless  the 24   Legislature                                                               
were  to  adopt those  provisions  in  its Uniform  Rules.  "That                                                               
appears to be the constitutional provision that I see."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:11:56 AM                                                                                                                    
He read section 14, Rule 3,  which says, "The purpose of rules is                                                               
to aid  a body to  perform its  duties more efficiently  and with                                                               
fairness to its members."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:12:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  questioned  if   the  courts  couldn't  review  a                                                               
violation of  the rule, how  could it be  subject to review  by a                                                               
citizen's committee. Section 51 on page 47 says:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     1. A public body cannot  delegate its powers, duties or                                                                    
     responsibilities   to  any   other  person   or  groups                                                                    
     including a committee of its own members.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     2. Where  duties or responsibilities  are imposed  on a                                                                    
     public  body as  on  a state  legislate,  that body  is                                                                    
     bound  to exercise  those  duties and  responsibilities                                                                    
     and  cannot  divest itself  of  them  by delegation  to                                                                    
     others.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He  interpreted  that to  mean  that  the Legislature  could  not                                                               
divest itself  of that  responsibility or  delegate it  to others                                                               
according to rules it adopted.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     It appears to me that the  statute and the rules are in                                                                    
     conflict.  And  under  such   case,  because  it's  our                                                                    
     mandate under  the constitution to establish  rules, we                                                                    
     can't do what  we've done or asked you to  do. I may be                                                                    
     wrong, but I'm trying to get squared away.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:13:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANDERSON said she thought he said:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Unless the  open meeting statute is  adopted every year                                                                    
     by the Legislature under the  Uniform Rules, it doesn't                                                                    
     apply. Is that what you said, Mr. Chair?                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     It appears to  me that if the proper  procedure for the                                                                    
     senators  who filed  the question  with  you under  the                                                                    
     rules would  have been to  raise a point of  order with                                                                    
     the body, which at that  the time, the president of the                                                                    
     senate, Senator  Therriault, would have made  a ruling.                                                                    
     And if  the body did  not unanimously agree  with that,                                                                    
     the  body  would vote.  If  a  majority voted  for  his                                                                    
     ruling, then  it would  be a precedent  just like  in a                                                                    
     court of  law. If  the body voted  down his  ruling, he                                                                    
     could attempt again.  But a ruling would  still have to                                                                    
     be made somewhere on the point  of order. So, to take a                                                                    
     matter that is controlled  by the Uniform Rules outside                                                                    
     of  the   body  and  delegate  the   responsibility  to                                                                    
     interpret  the   Uniform  Rules  there,   is  something                                                                    
     according to the Uniform Rules we cannot do.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:16:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT responded  that a lot of this  has been argued                                                               
before in  the courts  and they  have said  the Legislature  is a                                                               
pure democracy and with a vote  of 50% plus one, it dictates whom                                                               
they can run  its business. "That has been litigated  all the way                                                               
up to the Supreme Court."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  quoted from page  58 of "Alaska's  Constitution: A                                                               
citizens'  Guide  -  Fourth  Edition,"   a  state  Supreme  Court                                                               
decision regarding Malone versus Meekins,  650, p2nd, 351, 1982 -                                                               
the  legislative coupe  in 1981  to  replace the  Speaker of  the                                                               
House. The charge was that it violated the Joint Rules. It says:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We  can  think of  few  actions,  which would  be  more                                                                    
     intrusive  into  the  legislative process  than  for  a                                                                    
     court to  function as a  sort of  super parliamentarian                                                                    
     to  decide  the  varied  and often  obscure  points  of                                                                    
     parliamentary law,  which may  be raised in  the course                                                                    
     of  a legislative  day. Thus,  even though  the Uniform                                                                    
     Rules may have been  violated, such violation is solely                                                                    
     the business of the Legislature  and does not give rise                                                                    
     to a justifiable claim.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS reasoned,  "If  the State  Supreme  Court says  we                                                               
can't intervene  in the Uniform Rules,  how can we expect  that a                                                               
citizens' committee could do that? That's my dilemma."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:19:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT explained  that  the courts  have upheld  the                                                               
separation   of  powers.   A  pure   democracy  resides   in  its                                                               
legislative body.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS agreed  and said that concept is  repeated over and                                                               
over again in Mason's Manual.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:20:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked  if he is trying to make  the point that the                                                               
SCLE is  without power to stand  in judgment of acts  that happen                                                               
inside  the   building,  in   general,  (following   the  chair's                                                               
analysis)  or  is this  in  reference  to the  specific  advisory                                                               
opinion,  04.03. He  asked  if  the chair's  thrust  is that  the                                                               
structure of  the SCLE needs  to be redone through  amendments to                                                               
the  Uniform Rules  or that  the opinion  is invalid,  because it                                                               
looked at a statute when it  should have looked at custom or some                                                               
other rule.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:21:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  replied that  his intent  was to  try to  come out                                                               
with  a final  product that  eliminates potential  constitutional                                                               
conflicts  and puts  yardsticks where  measurement is  needed. He                                                               
thought  the ethics  statutes control  individual behavior  under                                                               
certain circumstances.  However, the  Ethics Committee  never had                                                               
the power  to rule  on parliamentary  procedure within  the body,                                                               
because that can't  be delegated according to  the Uniform Rules.                                                               
Secondly,  guidelines  that  weren't adopted  under  the  Uniform                                                               
Rules would never have authority.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:23:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  disagreed with the  opinion on several  points. He                                                               
didn't  think  the  notice  requirements  in  the  Uniform  Rules                                                               
required notice of  the subject matter of a bill,  but rather the                                                               
subject matter of the meeting.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The subject matter  of the meeting has  by usage always                                                                    
     been bills  previously heard or considered  or heard or                                                                    
     introduced or  whatever. That has  been the  usage that                                                                    
     has been  established by  the Legislature,  which would                                                                    
     then become  part of  the Uniform Rules  and only  by a                                                                    
     vote or  by raising of a  point of order with  a ruling                                                                    
     to establish  a precedent or  by a vote of  the members                                                                    
     would  that  rule  be changed....  It's  a  complicated                                                                    
     situation, but it's one that  needs to be squared away.                                                                    
     I think  probably in my  opinion, based on what  I read                                                                    
     in the  Uniform Rules, they  have no authority  to even                                                                    
     review the  Uniform Rules. So, therefore,  I don't want                                                                    
     to get into the substance  of the opinion; I just think                                                                    
     that  we could  not  give them  that  authority ever  -                                                                    
     according to the Uniform Rules.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:25:01 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH offered a slightly different analysis.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     We began  20 minutes  ago with Section  13, page  22 of                                                                    
     Mason's and Rule 3... and the rule reads that:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          The power of the  house of the Legislature to                                                                         
          determine  its  rules  of  proceedings  is  a                                                                         
          continuous power and  can always be exercised                                                                         
          by the  house and is absolute  and beyond the                                                                         
          challenge  of any  body  or  tribunal if  the                                                                         
          rule    does   not    ignore   constitutional                                                                         
          restraints or violate fundamental rights.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Analyzing  the  04.03  opinion,  his  view is  that  one  of  the                                                               
fundamental rights at stake here is  due process of law. It's one                                                               
of those things that pervade  everything. Everyone is entitled to                                                               
it. It boils down to two simple ideas.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Due process of  law means notice and  opportunity to be                                                                    
     heard.... And from  what I heard in  Finance, there was                                                                    
     no  due process  of  law.  That bill  came  up under  a                                                                    
     format that allowed  no citizen to know  that was going                                                                    
     to be taken up. And  that was the fundamental issue. If                                                                    
     the bill  had been listed by  number - if the  bill had                                                                    
     been  listed  by  title  - case  closed.  And  you  can                                                                    
     properly  say  that  each citizen  who  wanted  to  pay                                                                    
     attention would  know that  bill is  going to  be heard                                                                    
     and  there was  probably  a moment  when  they said  is                                                                    
     there any more  testimony on this and  that citizen had                                                                    
     the opportunity to weigh in.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     So,  it seems  very  simple  to be  able  to avoid  the                                                                    
     problem  in 04.03  and that's  just to  list the  bills                                                                    
     you're going to hear in a committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:27:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked why he didn't  raise that as a point of order                                                               
and allow  the body  to vote  on it.  He further  refuted Senator                                                               
French's view  that the public didn't  have a chance to  weigh in                                                               
at the  Finance meeting saying  that the whole day  was dedicated                                                               
to the education  budget and that the Bill  Action Status Inquiry                                                               
System (BASIS) is available to everyone all the time.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:29:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT agreed and added  that the methodology used by                                                               
the  committee  on that  day  has  been  used  for a  long  time.                                                               
Specific  notice  wasn't  given,   but  he  personally  told  the                                                               
minority  and majority  leaders the  previous day  that education                                                               
funding was coming up the next day.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:30:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he thought that  an improper usage by  a body                                                               
that  isn't challenged  by that  body becomes  a Uniform  Rule of                                                               
that legislature.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:33:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS said he was surprised  by how clear the rules are                                                               
laid out.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:34:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he  wanted to know  if more  clarification is                                                               
needed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:35:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ANDERSON said  there  are differing  opinions  and she  also                                                               
thought clarification was needed.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:37:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. CONNOR THOMAS,  Chairman, SCLE, said the  committee felt that                                                               
Section (d)  gives it authority  to interpret the rule.  He asked                                                               
for  a legal  opinion about  that. He  suggested the  legislature                                                               
consider another  sentence saying  the SCLE  has no  authority to                                                               
interpret the Uniform Rules.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  him if he was referring the  opinion A or B.                                                               
Opinion  A states  that there  was no  violation, because  it was                                                               
concerning an  area under legislative control.  His understanding                                                               
of  the minutes  is that  the  committee had  Ms. Craver  prepare                                                               
another opinion showing there was a violation.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMAS  replied  the  committee   asked  for  two  different                                                               
opinions.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Although we  did ask her  whether or not  the committee                                                                    
     had  the authority  to make  an  interpretation of  the                                                                    
     Uniform Rules  - in  this case  whether or  not subject                                                                    
     matter and  jurisdiction included actual notice  of the                                                                    
     bill. Her opinion was that we  did. That's why I say if                                                                    
     your  intent  is to  cut  that  off, and  then  another                                                                    
     sentence may do that."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  reiterated that it  was his interpretation  of the                                                               
minutes that  the committee  asked her  for another  opinion that                                                               
stated that.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMAS replied  that the  committee  asked her  specifically                                                               
whether it had the authority to interpret the Uniform Rules.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:40:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT said they needed  to ask Tam Cook, Legislative                                                               
Legal, to see if this is  a correct interpretation. He also asked                                                               
for  a copy  of the  two legal  opinions, a  copy of  the written                                                               
minutes and a copy of the tape.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:42:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS read  from a portion of SCLE  minutes that, "Member                                                               
Walker  asked  for  clarification  of Rule  23A,  which  requires                                                               
subject matter notice for bills." It says:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     'Written notice  of the time, place  and subject matter                                                                    
     of  all   meetings  of  standing,  special   and  joint                                                                    
     committees  during  a week  shall  be....'  Is there  a                                                                    
     difference in  your opinion between the  subject matter                                                                    
     of a meeting and subject matter of a bill?                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMAS replied yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:43:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked where Mr.  Walker got his  interpretation of                                                               
Rule 23A  to be  the subject  matter of a  bill from  the subject                                                               
matter of a meeting.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMAS  said he  couldn't  speak  for  Mr. Walker,  but  the                                                               
committee felt that  the subject matter of the  meeting was broad                                                               
enough to  include the  subject matter  of the  bill. It  was the                                                               
general consensus  of the committee  in this instance  that there                                                               
should have  been some notice  regarding what the  subject matter                                                               
of the bill was in order to comply with rule 23A.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if the committee looked at usage.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMAS replied that it  didn't discuss usage, because it felt                                                               
that  if something  was  used wrong  historically,  that was  not                                                               
justification for doing it that way.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if it  looked at Mason's Manual,  Section 4,                                                               
Rule 2, that says usage has precedence over statute.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMAS couldn't recall.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:44:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked if  the adopted  rule takes  precedent over                                                               
custom.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:45:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  replied that  it does and  if there's  a question,                                                               
the adopted rules say to look at Mason's Manual.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH responded,  "If the rule is clear,  you don't need                                                               
custom."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS retorted, "Obviously, the rule is not very clear."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:45:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT looked up Rule 23(A).                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:46:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  stated that  the  Uniform  Rules say  that  usage                                                               
becomes the  uniform rule  unless it's  objected to  and everyone                                                               
has to know that.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:47:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked if that was clear to Senator French.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH replied he disagrees with the chair.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:49:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   remarked  that  every  Legislature   is  an                                                               
independent body.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:50:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS emphasized a point of  order could be raised by any                                                               
legislator for anyone who has a question.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:56:53 AM                                                                                                                    
He went on  to the disclosure section - 24.60.040  and 050 - that                                                               
referenced no particular time for filing.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ANDERSON said  she  would  like to  look  at the  disclosure                                                               
section, as well.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:58:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH said it seems to  him that the chair is suggesting                                                               
that a legislator must raise a  point of order to the floor about                                                               
a practice he or she  finds objectionable prior to referring that                                                               
matter to  the SCLE.  Or did  he feel it  could only  be resolved                                                               
inside the body  through the decision on that point  of order and                                                               
that's not appealable.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS responded  he  believed the  only  place an  issue                                                               
having  to  do with  legislative  procedure  can be  resolved  is                                                               
within the body and that is covered in the Uniform Rules.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  reasoned  the  SCLE  has  no  jurisdiction  over                                                               
subject matter in the Legislature's doings.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  that is how he would interpret  the rules and                                                               
that  the  legislature could  change  its  rules anytime  with  a                                                               
majority vote.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked  if he thought the statutes  that do pertain                                                               
to  the SCLE  must be  reauthorized by  each Legislature  because                                                               
they somehow bind each session.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS replied yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH pressed  on, "And  unless they  are reauthorized,                                                               
they're null."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS continued, "Unless they  become part of the Uniform                                                               
Rules,  they  have  no  control  over  legislative  procedure  if                                                               
there's anything  higher on the  hierarchy list that  would trump                                                               
it."                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  this  has   been  a  very  interesting  and                                                               
important  discussion. There  being no  further business  to come                                                               
before the committee, he adjourned the meeting at 10:01:41 AM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects