Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/15/2013 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved SSSB 49 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 15, 2013                                                                                         
                           1:36 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Coghill, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Donald Olson                                                                                                            
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lesil McGuire, Vice Chair                                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 9                                                                                                   
Proposing amendments to  the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
relating to state aid for education.                                                                                            
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 49                                                                                       
"An Act  defining 'medically necessary abortion'  for purposes of                                                               
making payments under the state Medicaid program."                                                                              
     - MOVED SSSB 49 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                           
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 69(JUD)                                                                                 
"An  Act exempting  certain  firearms,  firearm accessories,  and                                                               
ammunition  in  this  state from  federal  regulation;  declaring                                                               
certain   federal  statutes,   regulations,  rules,   and  orders                                                               
unconstitutional under the Constitution of  the United States and                                                               
unenforceable  in this  state; providing  criminal penalties  for                                                               
federal officials  who enforce  or attempt  to enforce  a federal                                                               
statute, regulation,  rule, or order regulating  certain firearms                                                               
and  firearm accessories  in  this state;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  49                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MEDICAID PAYMENT FOR ABORTIONS; TERMS                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
02/11/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/13       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/15/13       (S)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS                                                                
02/15/13       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/27/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/27/13       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/27/13       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/04/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/04/13       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/04/13       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/05/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/05/13       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/05/13       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/11/13       (S)       JUD AT 5:00 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/11/13       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/11/13       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/13/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/13/13       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/13/13       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/15/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
BILL: SJR  9                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONST. AM: EDUCATION FUNDING                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DUNLEAVY                                                                                                 
02/13/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/13       (S)       EDC, JUD                                                                                               
02/15/13       (S)       EDC REFERRAL REMOVED                                                                                   
02/15/13       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
02/15/13       (S)       UPHOLD CHANGE TO REFERRALS Y11 N4 E4 A1                                                                
03/13/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/13/13       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/15/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
BILL: HB  69                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXEMPT FIREARMS FROM FEDERAL REGULATION                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) CHENAULT                                                                                          
01/16/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/13       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
01/18/13       (H)       BILL REPRINTED 1/17/13                                                                                 
02/08/13       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/08/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/08/13       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/18/13       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/18/13       (H)       Moved CSHB  69(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/18/13       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/20/13       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) NT  6DP 1NR                                                                            
02/20/13       (H)       DP: MILLETT, PRUITT, LYNN, FOSTER,                                                                     
                         LEDOUX, KELLER                                                                                         
02/20/13       (H)       NR: GRUENBERG                                                                                          
02/27/13       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/27/13       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 69(JUD)                                                                                  
02/28/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/13       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/15/13       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SENATOR MIKE DUNLEAVY                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SJR 9.                                                                                         
DEENA PARAMO PhD., Superintendent                                                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:                                                                                                           
MICHAEL JOHNSON PhD., Superintendent                                                                                            
Copper River School District                                                                                                    
Glennallen, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 9.                                                                            
ELLEN VAROSI, representing herself                                                                                              
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 9.                                                                            
JOHN O'DAY, representing himself                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 9.                                                                            
PATRICK SHIER, representing himself                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 9.                                                                            
MARK ROSEBERRY, President                                                                                                       
North Slope Borough Education Association (NSBEA) and                                                                           
Barrow, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concern with SJR 9.                                                                             
JOSEPH SEBASTIAN, representing himself                                                                                          
Kupreanof, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SJR 9.                                                                         
MARY GRAHM, representing herself                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SJR 9.                                                                         
TINA BERNOSIA, representing herself                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SJR 9.                                                                         
CONNIE WINGREN, representing herself                                                                                            
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 9.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE CHENAULT                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 69.                                                                                         
JORDAN SHILLING, Staff                                                                                                          
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed the changes between the Senate CS                                                                
and HB 69.                                                                                                                      
TOM WRIGHT, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided supporting information for HB 69 on                                                              
behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:36:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JOHN   COGHILL  called   the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:36  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators  Dyson, Wielechowski,  and  Chair  Coghill.                                                               
Senator Olson arrived during the course of the meeting.                                                                         
              SJR  9-CONST. AM: EDUCATION FUNDING                                                                           
1:37:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of SJR 9, noting that                                                                 
this was the first hearing.                                                                                                     
1:38:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MIKE DUNLEAVY, sponsor of SJR 9, introduced SJR 9,                                                                      
reading the sponsor statement into the record as follows:                                                                       
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     Senate Joint Resolution 9, if  passed by both bodies of                                                                    
     the  legislature,  places  a  constitutional  amendment                                                                    
     before the voters  in the general election  in the fall                                                                    
     of 2014. This ballot  proposal provides voters a change                                                                    
     to amend  the Alaska Constitution  to allow the  use of                                                                    
     public money  for the benefit  of all  Alaskans seeking                                                                    
     educational/training   aid,   regardless   of   whether                                                                    
     individuals enroll in public or private institutions.                                                                      
     Currently the Alaska Constitution  prohibits the use of                                                                    
     public  funds for  the direct  benefit  of any  private                                                                    
     educational  institution.  The courts  have  determined                                                                    
     that this ban extends to  state funds being allotted to                                                                    
     individual  Alaskans who  choose  to  attend a  private                                                                    
     school. Meanwhile an increasing  number of Alaskans are                                                                    
     questioning the constitutionality  of the long-standing                                                                    
     practice of  giving educational  scholarships/grants to                                                                    
     adults  for  educational  and training  purposes  while                                                                    
     denying children the same funding opportunities.                                                                           
     Passage  of  SJR  9  clarifies   the  question  on  the                                                                    
     constitutionality  of  current  educational  practices.                                                                    
     More than  that, the ballot question  allows the voters                                                                    
     to   decide  whether   to  maintain   or  abolish   the                                                                    
     restrictions  on  the use  of  public  dollars for  the                                                                    
     education  of  children. SJR  9  gives  the voters  the                                                                    
     power to decide what is  right for them, their families                                                                    
     and the State of Alaska.                                                                                                   
     It is important to note  that even with the adoption of                                                                    
     this constitutional amendment by  a majority of voters,                                                                    
     the   legislature  still   needs  to   have  a   robust                                                                    
     discussion on  how to  go forward.  These deliberations                                                                    
     will  occur before  any  Alaskan  child receives  state                                                                    
     funds to attend a  private educational institution. The                                                                    
     passage of SJR 9 allows these discussions to begin.                                                                        
1:41:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  reviewed  the   contents  of  the  packet  and                                                               
delivered a PowerPoint to further  explain SJR 9. He relayed that                                                               
the issue is  that the state constitution  prohibits public funds                                                               
going to private or religious  educational service providers, yet                                                               
public/private  partnerships  have  expanded  tremendously  since                                                               
1965 to  meet the needs  of a diverse population.  However, these                                                               
partnerships and  associated practices  could be construed  to be                                                               
unconstitutional.  This  can be  settled  by  the courts  or  the                                                               
people can  vote to  change their constitution  to align  it with                                                               
Alaska practices.                                                                                                               
If SJR 9  passes, Alaskans will be given the  opportunity to vote                                                               
on  whether  or  not  to  revise  the  Alaska  Constitution.  The                                                               
language,  "No money  shall be  paid  from public  funds for  the                                                               
direct  benefit of  any religious  or  other private  educational                                                               
institution."  would  be  removed  from art.  VII,  sec.  1.  The                                                               
language "however, nothing in this  section shall prevent payment                                                               
from public funds for the  direct educational benefit of students                                                               
as provided by law." would be added to art. IX, sec. 6.                                                                         
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY explained  that if  SJR 9  is passed  by a  2/3                                                               
majority of  each body, the  proposition will appear on  the 2014                                                               
general election ballot.                                                                                                        
A review  of the history  of Alaska  education from 1867  to 1905                                                               
shows a dual federal/territorial system  of education starting in                                                               
1900, more  or less until  1965. The territorial  system included                                                               
local school districts in incorporated  towns; the federal system                                                               
of  schools   was  outside  incorporated  towns,   primarily  for                                                               
Natives. An historical listing of  Alaska school models includes:                                                               
borough/city   schools,    family   homeschools,   correspondence                                                               
schools,  faith-based schools,  mission schools,  private schools                                                               
and state-operated BIA boarding schools.                                                                                        
The Alaska  Department of Education and  Early Development (DEED)                                                               
currently  oversees a  variety of  educational delivery  systems,                                                               
including  correspondence  and  charter schools.  Many  of  these                                                               
children are  educated to public standards  but don't necessarily                                                               
go  to neighborhood  schools. Correspondence/homeschool  students                                                               
have an  Individual Learning  Plan (ILP)  and their  education is                                                               
often  supplemented by  both for-profit  and private  educational                                                               
service  providers   (ESP).  The   question  is  how   far  these                                                               
partnerships can go before someone  files a lawsuit claiming that                                                               
public monies are being expended for private education.                                                                         
He questioned whether the following were constitutional:                                                                        
   · Can a 15-year old student use public education funds to                                                                    
     purchase    courses   through    an   allotment,    voucher,                                                               
     scholarship, or tuition process from a public university to                                                                
     support his/her educational plan?                                                                                          
   · Can a 15-year old student use public education funds to                                                                    
     purchase    courses   through    an   allotment,    voucher,                                                               
     scholarship, or tuition process from a private religious                                                                   
   · Can a 19-year old purchase course work from a university                                                                   
   · Can a 12-year old student purchase a distance-delivered                                                                    
     course in math from a national online educational service                                                                  
     provider to support his/her public education learning plan?                                                                
   · Can the same 12-year old student purchase a Latin course                                                                   
     from a private religious school to support his/her public                                                                  
     education learning plan?                                                                                                   
SENATOR DUNLEAVY stated  that the answer in each of  the cases is                                                               
yes, no, and maybe, depending  on the individual's philosophy and                                                               
view of what the constitutional language means.                                                                                 
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY displayed  a list  of private,  for-profit, and                                                               
faith-based  educational  service  providers in  the  state  that                                                               
partner  with public  education.  [The list  included A+  In-Home                                                               
Tutoring, Alaska Center for the  Martial Arts, Alaska Engineering                                                               
Academies,  Alaska  Learning  Labs,  Alaska  Pacific  University,                                                               
Brain Hurricane, LLC, Challenger  Learning Center of Alaska, Math                                                               
Savvy  Institute, Northern  Industrial Training,  Sylvan Learning                                                               
Center,  Southeast Alaska  guide  Association,  and Turning  Leaf                                                               
Literacy Center.]                                                                                                               
1:46:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON joined the committee.                                                                                             
SENATOR DUNLEAVY relayed that the  Charter School Act that passed                                                               
in 1995  initially allowed for  30 schools. It  brought thousands                                                               
of students  back into  the public  educational system,  just not                                                               
into the public schools. The  first statewide homeschool program,                                                               
Interior  Distance Education  of Alaska  (IDEA), started  in 1997                                                               
and  helped people  to look  at education  differently. The  kids                                                               
weren't chits to serve the  schools, the schools were supposed to                                                               
serve  the kids.  Since the  advent of  that program,  many other                                                               
schools have sprung up to meet the needs of Alaskans.                                                                           
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  said his  goal  in  introducing  SJR 9  is  to                                                               
enshrine  what  is  currently being  done  in  public  education.                                                               
Homeschool parents  and others  will testify  that they  want the                                                               
latitude  to  pursue  the  goals  in  the  stated  public  school                                                               
He acknowledged  that for  some the focus  has been  on vouchers,                                                               
but SJR  9 doesn't necessarily have  to end in a  voucher system.                                                               
Others have  focused on the  potential loss of public  funding to                                                               
the educational  system, but that's  a separate issue.  Some have                                                               
focused on  private or  religious schools,  but he  would caution                                                               
against giving  private or religious  schools money.  However, he                                                               
sees nothing  wrong with  a child  taking a  Latin course  from a                                                               
Catholic school  as part of his/her  ILP. The concept is  to give                                                               
the student the  ability to purchase educational  services from a                                                               
SENATOR DUNLEAVY admitted  that he favors vouchers  through a tax                                                               
credit concept.  He also favors expanding  the public educational                                                               
system  to include  as  many  Alaskans as  possible.  He said  he                                                               
believes  that  the   people  of  Alaska  should   be  given  the                                                               
opportunity to vote  on whether they want to  change the language                                                               
in their constitution regarding education funding.                                                                              
2:00:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DYSON recalled  that other states have  language in their                                                               
constitutions  that  is  similar  to the  failed  federal  Blaine                                                               
Amendment, and the  courts have found it did  permit public funds                                                               
to flow through the students to private institutions.                                                                           
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY said  the difference  is that  the language  in                                                               
other state constitutions refers to  public monies being used for                                                               
direct and  indirect benefit of  private or  religious education,                                                               
and the Alaska Constitution does not use the term "indirect."                                                                   
SENATOR   DYSON   offered   his   understanding   that   Alaska's                                                               
constitutional delegates chose not to  put the term "indirect" in                                                               
the constitution.                                                                                                               
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said that was his understanding, too.                                                                          
SENATOR  DYSON  said he  also  understood  that  it was  a  court                                                               
decision  that precluded  Alaska  from  using the  interpretation                                                               
that money could flow ultimately to a private institution.                                                                      
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY responded  that there  have been  several court                                                               
decisions and he believes the  interpretation is open to too much                                                               
SENATOR  DYSON  summarized  that   the  language  in  the  Alaska                                                               
Constitution  needs  clarification because  private  institutions                                                               
that  are using  public money  to accomplish  a public  education                                                               
objective are in jeopardy of being sued.                                                                                        
SENATOR DYSON said that was his belief.                                                                                         
2:05:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  promised that  he  would  not shortchange  public                                                               
testimony, although everyone would not be heard today.                                                                          
SENATOR  OLSON  asked  how this  legislation  would  address  the                                                               
current high dropout rates.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  replied that  the  discussion  of how  to  use                                                               
private/public  partnerships to  address education  problems will                                                               
come after  SJR 9 passes and  the people of Alaska  have voted on                                                               
the language in their constitution.                                                                                             
SENATOR COGHILL  observed that the  proposed language in  art. IX                                                               
is intended to follow the student.                                                                                              
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  agreed  and  noted his  intention  to  file  a                                                               
companion bill that clarifies that concept.                                                                                     
2:08:34 PM                                                                                                                    
DEENA  PARAMO  PhD., Superintendent,  Matanuska-Susitna  (Mat-Su)                                                               
Borough School District, said she  has been an educator in Alaska                                                               
for 22  years. The district  serves 17,500 students in  45 unique                                                               
and  diverse schools  that have  unique and  diverse programs  to                                                               
serve the Mat-Su Valley community.  She said she was not speaking                                                               
to  the political  aspect  of SJR  9  or as  a  historian on  the                                                               
constitution.  She  was testifying  to  share  that Mat-Su  is  a                                                               
successful school district that meets  the needs of the community                                                               
through innovation,  public school choice, and  customer service.                                                               
Mat-Su is diverse  with small, one-room school  houses that serve                                                               
children K-12 in one community  and five large comprehensive high                                                               
schools that serve as neighborhood  schools in another community.                                                               
Mat-Su  has special  mission schools  that focus  on science  and                                                               
engineering,  six   charter  schools,   a  renowned   career  and                                                               
technical  high  school, and  16  large  elementary schools  that                                                               
serve over 400  students each. In addition, Mat-Su  has a central                                                               
school  serving over  1,400  homeschool  students throughout  the                                                               
Equally important  to the diverse school  buildings and settings,                                                               
are the  school programs. She  related that she  has standardized                                                               
the  rigor  of  the  educational  programs,  and  has  challenged                                                               
schools  to customize  their individual  programs  to meet  their                                                               
students'  needs. Mat-Su  offers a  wide variety  of choices  for                                                               
students   and  families   to  prepare   the  youths   for  their                                                               
multifaceted future, she said.                                                                                                  
DR. PARAMO  said the  educational choices  offered by  the Mat-Su                                                               
Borough School District provide  evidence of the strong community                                                               
commitment to  education that  ties private  and public  goals in                                                               
the state.  Children today  are born into  a world  of ubiquitous                                                               
choice and  opportunity, and Mat-Su  has chosen to focus  on what                                                               
is necessary to prepare students  for their world. The success of                                                               
the  district  is defined  by  the  students' subsequent  success                                                               
finding  jobs,  earning  livable  wages,  and  caring  for  their                                                               
families.  Outcomes  are  measures  through a  post  high  school                                                               
survey that is commissioned by a third party.                                                                                   
To ensure it remains competitive  and provides the best education                                                               
possible,  the Mat-Su  district  partners with  other public  and                                                               
private  entities  in  the  Valley,  state,  and  nation.  Mat-Su                                                               
students  are  offered  Cisco   technology  training,  flux  core                                                               
welding, and  high quality online  learning for  core curriculum,                                                               
because  this  is  what  the   students  will  face  in  college.                                                               
Curriculum  training for  teachers is  through the  National Math                                                               
and  Science Initiative,  and other  professionals provide  music                                                               
and sports training. Private industry  directs the program at the                                                               
career  and technical  high  school.  Private partnerships  allow                                                               
students  to  engage  in authentic  learning  and  national  best                                                               
practices  and curriculum  help  students prepare  for what  they                                                               
will encounter after high school.                                                                                               
DR. PARAMO said  the empirical evidence hasn't  shown vouchers to                                                               
be the  downfall of public education  or the panacea but  she did                                                               
know  that   the  Mat-Su  Borough  School   District  meets  more                                                               
students'  needs,  desires,  and   dreams  than  ever  before  by                                                               
embracing innovation, choice, and customer service.                                                                             
CHAIR COGHILL asked Dr. Paramo to submit her written testimony.                                                                 
2:15:36 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
2:16:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  JOHNSON, Superintendent,  Copper River  School District,                                                               
asked the committee  to allow Alaskans the  opportunity to debate                                                               
and vote on the constitutional  amendment proposed by SJR 9. This                                                               
important education issue  is worthy of a  vigorous public debate                                                               
and will lead  to conversations about other  topics important for                                                               
the future of the state's education performance.                                                                                
2:17:34 PM                                                                                                                    
ELLEN VAROSI,  representing herself,  said she favors  choice and                                                               
hopes  SJR 9  leads to  school vouchers,  because vouchers  yield                                                               
choice,  choice   yields  competition,  and   competition  yields                                                               
success.  She said  that  vouchers will  have  minimal impact  on                                                               
public  school   funding.  Rather,   they  will   relieve  school                                                               
districts of students that don't  fit the public school model and                                                               
fail to thrive. She cited  the December 2010 McKinsey report that                                                               
shows that  the more the  U.S. has  spent on education  the worse                                                               
the outcome has  been, and the Program  for International Student                                                               
Assessment (PISA)  studies that show that  U.S. 15-year-olds rank                                                               
poorly internationally  in reading,  math, and science.  Don't be                                                               
afraid of change or choice  or competition, and, above all, don't                                                               
be afraid of vouchers, she said.                                                                                                
2:19:12 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN O'DAY, representing himself, testified  in support of SJR 9,                                                               
the proposal to amend  art. VII, sec. 1, and art.  IX, sec 6. The                                                               
time has come for this  discussion because 60 percent of incoming                                                               
University of Alaska students  desperately need remedial classes.                                                               
He stated support for vouchers and what they can accomplish.                                                                    
2:21:11 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICK SHIER,  representing himself,  testified that SJR  9 will                                                               
give  voters  an  opportunity   at  self-determination  and  will                                                               
clarify  existing  practice.  He   related  that  throughout  his                                                               
children's  varied   schooling  careers,   administrators  raised                                                               
significant  questions  about  issues  that  SJR  9  will  solve.                                                               
Alaskans   will  also   be  better   equipped  to   continue  the                                                               
conversations  already  underway   regarding  their  expectations                                                               
under art VII.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  COGHILL stated  that the  committee  would accept  written                                                               
2:22:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK   ROSEBERRY,  President,   North  Slope   Borough  Education                                                               
Association (NSBEA)  and teacher at  Barrow High School,  said he                                                               
supports choice but  he looks at it from a  rural perspective. He                                                               
questioned how  rural school districts can  maintain an education                                                               
system, hiring  teachers and support  staff and  securing housing                                                               
without knowing  if they have  the student population  to support                                                               
the system. He asked how it  helps the education system in Alaska                                                               
if a  group separates from the  public school to form  a separate                                                               
school that shuts down a few years later.                                                                                       
2:24:26 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSEPH  SEBASTIAN,  representing   himself,  said  that  Alaska's                                                               
public education system is the  backbone of its efforts to create                                                               
worthy citizens  capable of  leading the  state into  the future,                                                               
and SJR 9 will deplete the system  of funds when it is already in                                                               
need of more funding, not less.  He related that his two children                                                               
were  homeschooled  in  grades   1-6  in  the  excellent,  state-                                                               
sponsored  correspondence school  program  that was  inexplicably                                                               
discontinued  by former  Governor Frank  Murkowski, and  replaced                                                               
with little  or nothing. His children  subsequently attended high                                                               
school  in Petersburg,  which he  believes  it may  be a  leading                                                               
example of school  systems in the state. He  opined that Alaska's                                                               
public  school  system needs  to  be  reinforced, not  dismantled                                                               
piecemeal through efforts such as this resolution.                                                                              
2:26:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY GRAHM, representing herself, said  she doesn't believe it is                                                               
time to put this issue to a  popular vote. She trusts the work of                                                               
the constitutional delegates  and wants to see  the public school                                                               
system  succeed. She  predicted that  if  this issue  comes to  a                                                               
vote, the  voices that  will be  heard the  loudest are  the ones                                                               
that  support  vouchers. In  this  time  of Citizens  United  and                                                               
unlimited spending  on issues, this  discussion will not  be held                                                               
by  Alaskans, because  this  legislation is  part  of a  national                                                               
agenda  to allow  the diversion  of public  funds to  private and                                                               
religious schools.  She said  she finds it  hard to  believe that                                                               
education for profit  will lead to Alaska's  education goals. She                                                               
recalled  other attempts  to amend  the Alaska  Constitution that                                                               
were wasteful of  both time and money. Alaska has  the ability to                                                               
provide lots  of choices in  its educational system,  without SJR                                                               
2:28:37 PM                                                                                                                    
TINA  BERNOSIA,  representing  herself, said  she  is  testifying                                                               
against  SJR 9  as a  school counselor  and mother  of twins  who                                                               
attend public  school in  Anchorage. She  believes in  the public                                                               
school system and  would suggest spending a day in  the system to                                                               
see what great things are  happening. She offered her belief that                                                               
Alaska would  be among  the best if  its public  education system                                                               
were fully funded.  Concentrate on all of  Alaska's children, and                                                               
do not create a system of have and have not, she said.                                                                          
2:29:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CONNIE WINGREN, Principal, Holy  Name Catholic School, Ketchikan,                                                               
Alaska, stated that  parents should have the right  to decide how                                                               
they would  like their  children to  be taught,  and SJR  9 gives                                                               
them  that  choice.  Furthermore,  it  will  provide  educational                                                               
diversity in the state.                                                                                                         
2:31:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL said public testimony  would continue in subsequent                                                               
meetings. He held SJR 9 in committee.                                                                                           
          SB  49-MEDICAID PAYMENT FOR ABORTIONS; TERMS                                                                      
2:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced  the consideration of SB  49, relating to                                                               
Medicaid  funding   for  abortions.  [SSSB  49   was  before  the                                                               
committee.]  He noted  that there  had been  extensive discussion                                                               
and debate on the legislation.  Finding no further discussion, he                                                               
solicited a motion.                                                                                                             
2:33:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON moved  to  report [SSSB]  49  from committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                         
CHAIR COGHILL asked if there was objection.                                                                                     
2:33:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said  he was not going to  support the bill,                                                               
but  wouldn't object  to it  moving  because he  could count  the                                                               
votes. However,  he wanted  to state a  few important  things for                                                               
the record.                                                                                                                     
He  said  he  commends  the  intent to  decrease  the  number  of                                                               
abortions, but he  didn't believe the bill was  necessary at this                                                               
time.  During   the  last  hearing,   the  commissioner   of  the                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services (DHSS)  testified that                                                               
the department spent considerable time  and heard from nearly 500                                                               
people  to come  to  resolution  on how  to  deal with  medically                                                               
necessary on the issue of abortions.  To that end, DHSS put a new                                                               
regulation  in place  that requires  doctors to  certify that  an                                                               
abortion is medically necessary in  order to get funding from the                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI pointed out  that the Parnell Administration                                                               
had  the ability  to define  the term  but instead  chose to  use                                                               
certification  from the  doctor. He  said he  believes that  DHSS                                                               
chose  to  do  it  that way  to  avoid  constitutional  problems.                                                               
Providing   a    definition   the   way   the    bill   does   is                                                               
unconstitutional. Over  the years the  court has  repeatedly said                                                               
that women  who seek  an abortion  cannot be  treated differently                                                               
than  women  who  seek   childbirth.  Treating  them  differently                                                               
creates an equal protection issue.                                                                                              
He predicted that  if SB 49 passes, the litigation  costs will be                                                               
high  and the  court will  ultimately find  that it  violates the                                                               
constitution. He  suggested that the  better course of  action is                                                               
to give  the new DHSS regulation  time to work. He  noted that it                                                               
is a constitutional regulation, whereas SB 49 is not.                                                                           
2:36:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL clarified that the  regulation says [the state will                                                               
pay for]  medically necessary abortions  and the problem  is that                                                               
there  is no  definition for  what  is elective.  With regard  to                                                               
constitutionality,   he   said   he    believes   the   bill   is                                                               
constitutional  because it  is  based on  a  standard of  neutral                                                               
criteria. He said he understands  that Planned Parenthood intends                                                               
to challenge the  legislation should it pass, but  he believes it                                                               
brings clarity.                                                                                                                 
2:37:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  found no  further comments  and no  objection, and                                                               
announced  that  [SSSB]  49  moves   from  the  Senate  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
2:37:53 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
         HB  69-EXEMPT FIREARMS FROM FEDERAL REGULATION                                                                     
2:39:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   COGHILL  reconvened   the  meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of HB  69. He moved to bring the  work draft Senate                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)  for CSHB  69,  labeled  28-LS2090\R,                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
SENATOR DYSON objected [for discussion purposes].                                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL acknowledged that the  sponsor may or may not agree                                                               
with the proposed Senate CS.                                                                                                    
2:40:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE  CHENAULT, sponsor  of HB 69,  introduced the                                                               
bill  speaking  to  the following  sponsor  statement:  [Original                                                               
punctuation provided.]                                                                                                          
     The intent  of House  Bill 69 is  an effort  to protect                                                                    
     Alaskans'  rights to  keep and  bear arms  protected by                                                                    
     both  the U.S.  and Alaska  Constitutions. In  light of                                                                    
     the  President's   executive  orders   and  legislative                                                                    
     proposals,  it is  important  that  Alaska protect  not                                                                    
     only  our Second  Amendment rights  but also  asserting                                                                    
     citizens'  and  states'  rights  guaranteed  under  the                                                                    
     Ninth and Tenth Amendment.                                                                                                 
     The   legislation  was   drafted  in   anticipation  of                                                                    
     President   Obama's    executive   orders    based   on                                                                    
     recommendations of  a work group led  by Vice President                                                                    
     Biden. This group was charged  with developing a set of                                                                    
     concrete  policy proposals  for reducing  gun violence.                                                                    
     These  proposals were  the basis  for the  Presidential                                                                    
     Executive  [memoranda] that  were announced  on January                                                                    
     16,  2013.  The  plan combines  executive  actions  and                                                                    
     calls  for legislative  action  that  "would help  keep                                                                    
     guns  out of  the wrong  hands, ban  assault and  high-                                                                    
     capacity  magazines,   make  our  schools   safer,  and                                                                    
     increase  access to  mental health  services." Although                                                                    
     the executive  orders did not  carry the force  of law,                                                                    
     the  recommendations calling  for Congressional  action                                                                    
     could affect Second Amendment rights  and the rights of                                                                    
     states as well.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  CHENAULT  highlighted  that  HB  69,  before  the                                                               
proposed Senate  CS, adds  the phrase,  "possession of  a firearm                                                               
within  the  state"   to  current  statute.  It   also  adds  new                                                               
subsections that  say that any  federal actions to  restrict guns                                                               
or ammunition  ownership taken after  the effective date  of this                                                               
bill are unenforceable in the state.                                                                                            
CHAIR COGHILL thanked the sponsor  for proposing the bill and the                                                               
clarification of executive memoranda versus executive order.                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON relayed  that  his research  found  that the  only                                                               
difference between  an executive  order and  executive memorandum                                                               
is that one declaration goes into the congressional record.                                                                     
CHAIR  COGHILL read  the  new  subsection (g)  in  Section 5  and                                                               
suggested  it might  be more  workable than  the original  felony                                                               
language. He  asked the sponsor  if he had reviewed  the language                                                               
in the proposed Senate CS.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  CHENAULT said  he  hadn't had  an opportunity  to                                                               
look  in  depth at  the  proposed  language,  but his  staff  had                                                               
communicated potential concerns.                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL said  his intention was to adopt the  Senate CS and                                                               
consider amendments  next week. He  asked Mr. Shilling  to review                                                               
the changes  proposed in the  Senate CS,  particularly subsection                                                               
2:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
JORDAN  SHILLING, staff  to Senator  Coghill, explained  that the                                                               
Senate  CS inserts  a new  Section 2  that prohibits  the use  of                                                               
state  funds for  the purpose  of implementing  or aiding  in the                                                               
implementation of a  federal action that infringes  on a person's                                                               
Second  Amendment right  or  due process  right.  Section 2  also                                                               
contains  definitions  for  the   terms  "asset"  and  "state  or                                                               
municipal agency."                                                                                                              
2:46:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked what  the provision in  paragraph (A)                                                               
on page  3 would encompass  regarding infringement on  a person's                                                               
Second Amendment right.                                                                                                         
MR.  SHILLING offered  his understanding  that  there are  recent                                                               
U.S. Supreme  Court cases  that define the  limits of  a person's                                                               
right to bear arms. He added  that the Alaska Supreme Court would                                                               
probably make a determination as well.                                                                                          
CHAIR COGHILL  suggested the committee ponder  that question over                                                               
the weekend and review the specific  language in Section 1 of the                                                               
version that passed the House.                                                                                                  
SENATOR DYSON asked if the definition  of "asset" on page 3, line                                                               
12, includes personnel.                                                                                                         
MR.  SHILLING  responded  that employees  are  addressed  in  the                                                               
definition of state or municipal agency on page 3, line 20.                                                                     
2:49:29 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM WRIGHT, staff to Representative  Mike Chenault, prime sponsor                                                               
of HB  69, added that  the language in  subsection (f) on  page 4                                                               
applies to this bill. It reads as follows:                                                                                      
     (f)  A  federal  statute, regulation,  rule,  or  order                                                                    
     adopted, enacted,  or otherwise  effective on  or after                                                                    
     the  effective date  of this  Act  is unenforceable  in                                                                    
     this state by  an official, agent, or  employee of this                                                                    
     state,  a municipality,  or the  federal government  if                                                                    
     the  federal   statute,  regulation,  rule,   or  order                                                                    
     attempts to                                                                                                                
          (1) ban or restrict ownership of a semiautomatic                                                                      
     firearm or a magazine of a firearm; or                                                                                     
          (2) require a firearm, magazine, or other firearm                                                                     
     accessory to be registered.                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  observed that that goes  to Senator Wielechowski's                                                               
question about paragraph (A) on page 3.                                                                                         
SENATOR DYSON commented  that he recalls times  when state public                                                               
safety officers  refused to cooperate with  what federal agencies                                                               
were doing in the state, so this wasn't breaking new ground.                                                                    
MR. WRIGHT  said he found four  or five instances of  sheriffs in                                                               
other states  who said  they wouldn't  enforce a  certain federal                                                               
CHAIR  COGHILL  asked  if  this discussion  was  similar  to  the                                                               
Arizona   immigration  policy   that  the   U.S.  Supreme   Court                                                               
MR.  WRIGHT  said he  didn't  believe  so  because the  bill  was                                                               
specific to the  Second Amendment. He said  it's a constitutional                                                               
question involving  states' rights,  but it's also  legitimate to                                                               
ask  when the  federal government  will start  enforcing laws  it                                                               
imposed, like for marijuana.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL   commented  that   the  state   surrenders  Tenth                                                               
Amendment  rights by  taking funds  from  the federal  government                                                               
under  conditions,  but  HB  69   speaks  to  fundamental  rights                                                               
outlined in the  constitution. He opined that the  state has good                                                               
standing. After all, the states  formed the nation, not the other                                                               
way around.                                                                                                                     
MR.  WRIGHT  noted that  the  findings  in  Section  1 of  HB  69                                                               
specifically allude  to art. I,  sec. 19, of the  Constitution of                                                               
the State of  Alaska, the Tenth Amendment of  the Constitution of                                                               
the United  States, and the  Ninth Amendment of  the Constitution                                                               
of  the United  States.  The  courts will  decide  whether it  is                                                               
defensible or not.                                                                                                              
CHAIR COGHILL  added that version R  says this is the  policy and                                                               
the state  will use its  assets to  thwart federal action  to the                                                               
contrary. He  asked, because of  the constitutional  question, if                                                               
there was original jurisdiction.                                                                                                
MR. WRIGHT replied he didn't have an answer.                                                                                    
2:53:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  asked  if  deleting  the  felony  language  would                                                               
potentially erode support for the bill.                                                                                         
MR. WRIGHT  said he didn't  believe so, although  many supporters                                                               
subscribed  to a  class  C felony.  He noted  that  the bill  was                                                               
modeled on Wyoming law that  has class A misdemeanor language. He                                                               
opined that the SCS was a  little more enforceable than the House                                                               
version that  tries to have a  trooper arrest a federal  agent or                                                               
employee [for trying to enforce a federal law].                                                                                 
2:55:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DYSON removed his objection  and version R was before the                                                               
2:56:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced he would hold HB 69 in committee.                                                                       
2:56:39 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Coghill  adjourned the Senate Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                               
meeting at 2:56 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1 - SJR 9 Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
2 - SJR 9 Quick Reference.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
3 - Leg Legal March 8 Memo.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
4 - Leg Legal March 4 Memo.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
5 - Amendments to the Constitution.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
6 - Alaska Performance Scholarship Data.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
7 - AlaskaAdvantage Education Grant.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
8 - Select Grants to Ed Programs Facilities Training.pdf SJUD 3/13/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
9 - Supplemental Education Service Providers.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
10 - Mat-Su SES and Home School Vendors.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
11 - Komer 2013 House testimony.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
16 - Blaine Amendment.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
17 - Fiscal Note.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Power point Presentation.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/18/2013 1:30:00 PM
Gun-Violence-Reduction-Executive-Actions.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 69
HB 69 Leg Legal #1.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 69
HB 69 Leg Legal #2.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 69
HB069CS(JUD)-DOC-OC-02-14-13.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 69
HB069-DPS-DET-02-05-13.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 69
HB069-LAW-CRIM-02-01-13.pdf SJUD 3/15/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 69