Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/27/1993 04:20 PM RLS
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RULES COMMITTEE April 27, 1993 4:20 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator George Jacko, Chairman Senator Steve Rieger, Vice Chairman Senator Rick Halford Senator Suzanne Little MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Fred Zharoff COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 81(FIN) am "An Act relating to the longevity bonus program." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 254(JUD) am(ct rule fld) "An Act relating to open meetings of governmental bodies." HOUSE BILL NO. 148 "An Act exempting the University of Alaska from the administrative adjudication provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 81 - No previous action to record. HB 254 - See Judiciary minutes dated 4/21/93 & 4/22/93. HB 148 - See HESS minutes dated 4/16/93. See State Affairs minutes dated 4/21/93. See Resources minutes dated 4/21/93. WITNESS REGISTER Commissioner Nancy Usera Department of Administration P.O. Box 110200 Juneau, AK 99811-0200 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information in support of HB 81 Chris Christensen, Legal Counsel Alaska Court System 303 K St. Anchorage, AK 99501-2084 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information in support of HB 254 Caren Robinson Alaka League of Women Voters P.O. Box 33702 Juneau, AK 99803 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 254 John McKay Alaska Newspaper Association Anchorage, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 254 Kent Swisher Alaska Municipal League 217 Second St., Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 254 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-6, SIDE A Number 001 The Senate Rules Committee was called to order by Chairman Jacko at 4:20 p.m. CHAIRMAN JACKO opened the public hearing on CSHB 81(FIN) am (PHASE OUT LONGEVITY BONUS). He directed attention to a draft SCS CSHB 81(RLS). Number 012 SENATOR RIEGER moved that SCS CSHB 81(RLS) be adopted for discussion purposes. SENATOR LITTLE objected, stating that she believes doing away with the longevity bonus program at this time is an impractical move and she doesn't see any advantages to the legislation. Number 035 COMMISSIONER USERA, Department of Administration, said there is an advantage to the private annuity proposal because it provides an incentive for people to invest their dividend, inasmuch as the department believes that it could be a tax advantage treatment. The initial ruling from the IRS is that because they would not have constructive receipt of that check, they could direct it into an IRA or into a privately selected annuity account and, therefore, not have to pay tax on it. Number 080 SENATOR HALFORD directed attention to page 2, line 26, and the figure of $225. It was agreed by the committee that the amount was a drafting error and should be changed to $250. Senator Halford moved that on page 2, line 26, delete "$225" and insert "$250." Hearing no objection, the motion carried. It was also noted that the draft SCS still contained the House language of a two-year phase out at $150 for the first year and $100 for the second year rather than the Governor's language of a three-year phase out at $200, $150, $100. Senator Halford moved that Section 2 of SCS CSHB 81(RLS) be replaced with Section 1 contained in CSSB 58(FIN). Hearing no objection, the motion carried. Commissioner Usera pointed out that some renumbering would be required in other sections of the bill because an extra year has been added. It was agreed that those were technical changes that could be made by the drafter. Number 155 SENATOR RIEGER moved that SCS CSHB 81(RLS), as amended, be adopted. SENATOR LITTLE objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Halford, Rieger and Jacko voted "Yea," and Senator Little voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion carried. Number 188 SENATOR RIEGER moved that SCS CSHB 81(RLS) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR LITTLE objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Halford, Riger and Jacko voted "Yea," and Senator Little voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion carried. SENATOR RIEGER moved and asked unanimous consent that SCS CSHB 81(RLS) be approved for calendaring at the Chair's discretion. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 215 CHAIRMAN JACKO opened the public hearing on CSHB 254(JUD) am(ct rl fld) (OPEN MEETING ACT) and directed attention to a draft SCS CSHB 254 (RLS). SENATOR HALFORD moved that SCS CSHB 254(RLS) be adopted for discussion purposes. SENATOR LITTLE objected. CHAIRMAN JACKO requested that Mr. Christensen outline the differences in the Senate and the House versions of the bill. CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Legal Counsel, Judicial Branch, explained that at the present time, the Open Meeting Act does not cover the Judicial Branch. Inadvertently, the Judicial Branch was added to the list of covered entities in the Senate Judiciary Committee. An amendment was submitted by Senator Taylor, which is incorporated into the Rules SCS, to amend the definition of "public entity" to provide that it does not include the Judicial Branch. Number 240 SENATOR LITTLE removed her objection to the adoption of SCS CSHB 254(RLS). Hearing no further objection, the Chair stated SCS CSHB 254(RLS) was adopted. Number 245 CHAIRMAN JACKO clarified that except for the one change to amend the definition of "public entity", the Rules SCS was essentially the Senate Judiciary version of the bill. Number 255 CAREN ROBINSON, representing the Alaska League of Women Voters, voiced their strong opposition to CSHB 254(JUD). The League believes it is an unnecessarily broad and dangerous attempt to clarify the current Alaska Open Meeting Act. The League urges the legislature to work with them during the interim to generate citizen involvements through a positive process and to design a measure that protects the public interest while meeting the legitimate concerns of the public officials. Number 290 JOHN MCKAY, representing the Alaska Newspaper Association, said the House version of the legislation really only dealt with one thing, and that was the question of what is a meeting. The question came about because a judge in Fairbanks said that two people talking to each other would constitute a meeting. That decision is being appealed to the State Supreme Court, and Mr. McKay suggested that it is possible that before the next legislative session there will be an answer from the Supreme Court that may resolve that question. He also suggested that the legislature might work with the League or with a task force of any group of people during the interim. Mr. McKay said the newspaper association agrees that it is fair to say that the law should be clarified. Further, they agree that two people on a governing body, except in unusual circumstances, should be able to talk to each other and that it not be construed as a meeting under the Act. They would prefer that it be three or more people, however, several people have proposed a majority of a quorum and they believe that would be an acceptable compromise. Number 366 KENT SWISHER, representing the Alaska Municipal League, stated the legislation introduced by Senator Taylor is exactly and precisely what the League has been seeking, and neither of the two House bills do that. Mr. Swisher said the League prefers a quorum, but if there were a desire on the part of the legislature to move the quorum standard to some lesser level, then they would suggest that there be a division in terms of the size of the governing body. Number 400 SENATOR LITTLE asked if it was the League's intention that action could be taken in executive session once the item to be discussed in that executive session was announced. KENT SWISHER acknowledged that it was. He said they have to be able to tell the lawyer what they want. Number 420 Discussion then turned to the language in paragraphs 5 & 6 on page 3 of SCS CSHB 254(RLS) which relates to subjects that may be considered in an executive session. It was suggested that the language was expanding it beyond the original intent and that it was not needed. TAPE 93-6, SIDE B Number 038 SENATOR HALFORD moved that on page 3, lines, 2 - 4, delete paragraphs 5 & 6; and on page 2, line 20, after the words "executive session" add "except to give direction to an attorney or labor negotiator." Number 085 The committee next discussed the language on page 2, lines 4 & 5, and the difference between "shall" and "may" on materials that are to be considered at a meeting that is being teleconferenced. SENATOR LITTLE moved the following amendment on page 2, lines 4 & 5: "Materials to be considered at the meeting shall be made available at teleconference locations unless not reasonably practical. " SENATOR JACKO objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Little and Rieger voted "Yea" and Senator Jacko and Halford voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion failed. Number 250 The committee discussed the bracketed language on page 2, lines 5 - 8, which provides that the public may know the vote of each person entitled to vote. Concern was expressed that removal of the language would allow secret votes. SENATOR HALFORD moved that on page 2, lines 5 - 8, the bracketed material be reinserted. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. Number 340 Discussion then turned to the definition of "meeting" on page 5, lines 8 - 10. SENATOR RIEGER moved that page 5, lines 8 - 10, insert "a majority of a quorum of." SENATOR JACKO objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Little and Rieger voted "Yea" and Senators Jacko and Halford voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion failed. SENATOR LITTLE moved that on page 5, line 8, delete the word "prearranged." SENATOR JACKO objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Little and Rieger voted "Yea" and Senators Jacko and Halford voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion failed. Number 400 The Chair asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR HALFORD moved that SCS CSHB 254(RLS) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations and that it be approved for calendaring at the Chair's discretion. SENATOR LITTLE objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Rieger, Halford, and Jacko voted "Yea" and Senator Little voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion carried. Number 435 The final order of business to come before the committee was HB 148 (EXEMPT U OF AK FROM APA PROCEDURES). SENATOR RIEGER moved and asked unanimous consent that HB 148 be approved for calendaring at the Chair's discretion. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 5:40 p.m.