Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/22/1996 03:32 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS February 22, 1996 3:32 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Bert Sharp, Chairman Senator Randy Phillips, Vice-Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Dave Donley MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 266 "An Act relating to the Creamer's Field Goose Classic." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 58(RES) "An Act establishing the Chickaloon Flats Critical Habitat Area." HOUSE BILL NO. 90 am "An Act changing the date that the legislature convenes in the years following a gubernatorial election; changing the date that the term of a member of the legislature begins in the years following a gubernatorial election." SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 22 Proposing amendments to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature relating to the hours for convening and adjourning from daily sessions; and providing for an effective date. SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 24 Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the transmittal of bills after passage, enactment of bills without the governor's signature, to vetoes, and to consideration by the legislature of vetoed bills. PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 266 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/13/96. HB 58 - No previous senate committee action. HB 90 - No previous senate committee action. SCR 22 - No previous senate committee action. SJR 24 - See State Affairs minutes dated 1/16/96. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Con Bunde State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-4843 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 58 Jonathan Sperber, Aide Representative Bettye Davis State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-3875 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 90 Senator Dave Donley State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-3892 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of SCR 22 & SJR 24 James Baldwin, Assistant Attorney General Governmental Affairs Section, Civil Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300, Juneau, AK 99811-0300¶(907)465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SJR 24 ACTION NARRATIVE SSTA - 2/22/96 SB 266 CREAMER'S FIELD GOOSE CLASSIC TAPE 96-14, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN SHARP called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at 3:32 p.m. and brought up SB 266 as the first order of business before the committee. Chairman Sharp passed the gavel to the Vice- Chairman. SENATOR SHARP made a motion to discharge SB 266 from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations and with accompanying zero fiscal note. VICE-CHAIRMAN RANDY PHILLIPS, hearing no objection, stated SB 266 was discharged from the Senate State Affairs Committee. The vice- chairman turned the gavel back over to the chairman. SSTA - 2/22/96 HB 58 CHICKALOON FLATS CRITICAL HABITAT AREA SENATOR SHARP brought up HB 58 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called the first witness. Number 027 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, prime sponsor of HB 58, relayed information contained in the sponsor's statement. The purpose of HB 58 is to assure adequate habitat for waterfowl. A great number of ducks and geese congregate at Chickaloon Flats in their spring and fall migrations. It is a staging and resting area, as well as a significant nesting area. This legislation would strike a balance between the need to preserve the habitat for birds and other wildlife, and the possible need to explore or use the natural resources in the area. It carefully delineates the options for accessing the area for outdoor recreation and traditional activities: hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, those sorts of things. Number 060 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Representative Bunde how many acres are in the area. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responded, 22,000 acres. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked how many acres in the state are listed as critical habitat. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied he is not sure. There is a critical habitat area in Redoubt Bay of 200,000 acres. There is a critical habitat area at Fox River Flats; he doesn't have that acreage, but it is a relatively small area. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked Representative Bunde if he's had a chance to review the proposed committee substitute. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responded he has, and he supports the committee substitute. Number 087 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked how Representative Navarre, in whose district is Chickaloon Flats, feels about HB 58. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE thinks he recalls that Representative Navarre is supportive of HB 58. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS noted that Representative Navarre recommended "Do Pass" on the House Finance Committee report for HB 58. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Representative Bunde if Senator Salo supports HB 58. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responded he has not discussed the issue with Senator Salo. Number 115 CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that the proposed committee substitute has guarantee language which was used previously in Minto Flats Game Refuge legislation. That language has worked really well in ensuring public access. The department has not had any problem working with that language, and have said that they are very comfortable with that language. Number 145 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS made a motion to adopt the Senate State Affairs committee substitute for HB 58. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated the committee substitute had been adopted. He asked if there were any amendments to the committee substitute. Hearing none, the chairman asked the pleasure of the committee. Number 170 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS made a motion to discharge HB 58 from committee. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted the department indicated that if the committee substitute moved out as is, there would be a zero fiscal note. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS moved to also discharge the accompanying zero fiscal note. Number 175 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated that HB 58 with accompanying zero fiscal note was discharged from the Senate State Affairs Committee. SSTA - 2/22/96 HB 90 CONVENING LEGISLATURE AFTER GOV ELECTION Number 180 SENATOR SHARP brought up HB 90 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called the first witness. Number 185 JONATHAN SPERBER, Aide to Representative Bettye Davis, prime sponsor of HB 90, stated that HB 90 would shift the beginning date of legislative sessions following gubernatorial elections by one day, in order to avoid having the opening day of the legislative session fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Mr. Sperber read the sponsor's statement. Number 200 MR. SPERBER stated that the administration believes HB 90 will minimally impact legislative business. In addition, the bill would result in some minor cost savings. Certain employees would not have to be paid overtime by working on the holiday. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked who that would be. MR. SPERBER responded that would be support staff in the executive branch. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS doesn't understand. SENATOR DONLEY thinks that would be people in the executive branch who stick around because the legislature is here, people who would normally have a holiday. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if we want them around. SENATOR DONLEY responded it is not up to us whether they're around. It's up to the executive branch. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked why the executive branch can't make that determination themselves. And actually, what can we do here on the first day, realistically. MR. SPERBER responded it is his understanding that it is a day of special importance by virtue of its being the first day of the legislative session. Even if only for ceremonial purposes, legislative staff and legislators would expect to be present. By simply shifting the first day of session to the following Tuesday, those legislators and staff would have the opportunity to pay full respect to Dr. King. Admittedly, any possible savings that might be realized here are extremely small. The fiscal note from OMB lists savings of $5,833.00 for FY99. Number 245 SENATOR LEMAN has a concern with a comment in the sponsor's statement that "hundreds of legislative staff would be impacted". That's probably what we need to deal with, more than changing the day. MR. SPERBER responded that Representative Davis has the belief that all legislators, as well as their staff, would want to be able to fully honor and celebrate Dr. King on this holiday, by being able to attend other events. He knows that Representative Davis has expressed her frustration in the past about not being able to attend certain other events honoring Dr. King, because of legislative scheduling conflicts. SENATOR LEMAN understands that. CHAIRMAN SHARP commented he can also see savings for all legislative staff of at least one day, because you would bring them on one day later. SENATOR LEMAN suggests that, instead of just moving the day one day, somehow we could get the first day, Monday, to still count as a day, so we wouldn't then just shift the whole session by one day. He also asked why the bill specifies "the third Tuesday", rather than specifying "the Tuesday following the third Monday". MR. SPERBER does not think there would be any difference. He thinks the net affect would be the same. SENATOR LEMAN stated that is not necessarily so. [If the month of January begins on a Tuesday, then the third Tuesday would follow the second Monday, and not the third Monday.] It is noted that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on the third Monday in January. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated he likes Senator Leman's idea of having that day still count towards the session limit. SENATOR DONLEY doesn't think that could be done, because the 120 day provision is set into the constitution. Actually, there is a starting time in the constitution, but it states "unless otherwise provided by statute". He thinks it would be pretty difficult to utilize Senator Leman's idea without amending the constitution. SENATOR LEMAN thinks that every once in a while, the schedule would be thrown off in such a way that the legislature would actually start four days prior to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked Senator Leman if he wishes to propose an amendment to HB 90. SENATOR LEMAN asked Mr. Sperber if he would have any objection to that. MR. SPERBER replied he does not believe that Representative Davis would have any objection. Her primary concern is to not have a conflict between a holiday and a legislative session. Number 320 SENATOR LEMAN thinks that would be a better way to define it. He offered an amendment to HB 90. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that basically on page 1, line 8, the wording would be changed at the end of the sentence to "on the Tuesday following the third Monday". SENATOR LEMAN said, either that, or "on the day following the third Monday". Obviously it would be a Tuesday. Whichever way the drafters- CHAIRMAN SHARP noted there would also have to be the same change on page 2, line 1. SENATOR LEMAN replied that is correct. Number 345 CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there were objections to the amendment. Hearing none, the chairman stated the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR DONLEY made a motion to discharge HB 90 and accompanying fiscal notes with individual recommendations from committee. Number 355 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, ordered HB 90 released from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. SSTA - 2/22/96 SCR 22 UNIFORM RULES/HOURS OF DAILY SESSION SENATOR SHARP brought up SCR 22 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called Senator Donley to testify. Number 360 SENATOR DONLEY, prime sponsor of SCR 22, relayed information contained in the sponsor's statement. SCR 22 specifies that the legislature will not conduct business on the floor past 9:00 p.m., nor would it do so before 8:00 a.m. Senator Donley does not feel it is in the public's interest for the legislature to work into the wee hours. The only concern he's heard raised regarding SCR 22 is that it may be necessary to close off the session at some time. He acknowledges that, and wouldn't mind a conceptual amendment exempting the last several days of session. He would like feedback from committee members regarding what an appropriate time span would be. He is open to suggestions. SENATOR LEMAN commented he especially likes the morning limitation. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if this wouldn't require a 2/3 vote. SENATOR DONLEY responded that a concurrent resolution that amends the uniform rules requires 2/3 of each body. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS added that if both houses meet as a joint body, then it is a simple majority: 31 votes. SENATOR DONLEY doesn't know if that's ever been done. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS replied that was done in 1981. He stated he would be interested in removing the time limitations during the last five days of session. He thinks that would be a reasonable amount of time. Number 390 CHAIRMAN SHARP asked how that would be addressed in the resolution. SENATOR DONLEY replied that the language could simply specify, "prior to the 115th day of the session...". SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked other committee members if they think five days is a workable amount of time not to have the rule. SENATOR LEMAN replied he is not sure it would even be needed then, other than perhaps the last day of session. CHAIRMAN SHARP commented that sometimes the delay action works pretty good on caucuses and so forth. You can waste a lot of time up to 9:00 p.m. when the last days' crunch comes. He thinks there needs to be more leeway than one or two days. SENATOR DONLEY stated he would like to see a consensus, because he would like to see SCR 22 pass. He thinks any limitation is a good step forward. Five days is a good step forward from where we are now. Sometimes we go into two or three weeks of late-night meetings. Frankly, it's debilitating on your health. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that last year, we got into some late-night floor sessions only halfway through. SENATOR DONLEY thinks there is very little you could do at 9:00 p.m. that you couldn't come back and do at 8:00 a.m. the next day. Number 415 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated the committee is looking at a conceptual amendment on line 13. "Prior to the 115th day of a regular session a house shall adjourn." SENATOR LEMAN stated that "prior to the 115th day" would give them six days. If you want five days, it would be "prior to the 116th day". CHAIRMAN SHARP replied, ok, 116th day. [There being no further comment on the amendment, it seems to be general consensus that it was adopted, though there was no motion.] [The actual language in the Senate State Affairs committee substitute is, "This subsection does not apply during a regular session after the one hundred and fifteenth day of that session." So the last six days of a regular session are exempt from that subsection.] SENATOR LEMAN asked if they wanted any limitation put on the final days. CHAIRMAN SHARP said, "Just let 'er roll." SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked what do you do during daylight savings time. SENATOR DONLEY replied that happens at 2:00 a.m. in the morning, so it won't affect SCR 22. SENATOR LEMAN asked if five minutes is enough of a warning. SENATOR DONLEY thinks that's enough time. Number 435 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS suggested giving a ten-minute warning, since that's the same amount of warning we have before session. SENATOR DONLEY replied that's fine with him. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted there was a conceptual amendment on line 15 to change 8:55 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. [There is no comment on the amendment. There seems to be general consensus that it was adopted, though there was no motion.] CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there were any other comments or proposed amendments. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if State Affairs was the only committee of referral. SENATOR DONLEY thinks so. He thinks having the last five days unrestricted should alleviate a lot of concerns regarding flexibility at the end of session. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked the pleasure of the committee. Number 450 SENATOR DONLEY made a motion to discharge SCR 22 from committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated SCR 22 was released from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. SSTA - 2/22/96 SJR 24 CHANGE TIMING OF VETO OVERRIDE Number 453 SENATOR SHARP brought up SJR 24 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called Senator Donley to testify. Number 455 SENATOR DONLEY, prime sponsor of SJR 24, stated they tried to incorporate the recommendations of the committee in a sponsor substitute for SJR 24, which is in the members' packets. At Senator Leman's request, he restored the "excluding Sundays" language throughout the timing sections of the bill, consistent with the present constitutional provisions. It was clarified that a subsequent legislature couldn't consider vetoed legislation of a prior legislature. The section regarding shortening the time frame in which the governor acts on bills following the adjournment of the legislature has been deleted. He thinks those are all the changes made to the legislation. Number 470 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if Section 4 was removed. SENATOR DONLEY responded that section was completely removed. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if this proposed constitutional amendment is put on the ballot, how will the public understand it? SENATOR DONLEY stated it will be difficult for them to understand it. Hopefully, people will read the voters' guide. He finds it hard to believe there would be much opposition to it, since it really corrects some empty areas in the constitution, as far as the transmittal of bills. The only area in which there may be some concern would be changing the way special sessions are called. At the same time, it seems like a reasonable method of polling members. Senator Phillips is right though: people may just see a lot of language and become confused or concerned with that much language and just vote "no". SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated that was his concern: that people would vote "no" because it's complicated. Number 500 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated he is concerned regarding the seven-day time period at the end of the session. With the massive amount of legislation that comes out of both bodies at the end of session-- this says, if it doesn't return within 48 hours, excluding Sundays, that they'll duplicate it and send it over. SENATOR DONLEY remembered that the committee asked him to check into that with the clerk's office. He stated that he has talked to the clerks, and they said that at no time they can remember have they ever not been able to transmit a bill within 24 hours. They have the capability of doing it. Now there have been times where they haven't been transmitted, but it hasn't been because the clerks couldn't do it. They said that, basically, even at the end of session they can move legislation in 45 minutes. They said they've never failed to get a bill over within 24 hours for any technical reason; it's always been because of a political reason. SENATOR LEMAN asked, they said that? SENATOR DONLEY replied yes. SENATOR LEMAN asked who said that. SENATOR DONLEY replied that what they said was they've never not been able to do it within 24 hours. And most of the time they say they can do it in 45 minutes, even at the end of the session. They're all ready to go, when the bill is passed. The only problem is if there are floor amendments, that slows them down a little bit. Number 520 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated it is his understanding that the procedure is that when a bill has made final passage, it is engrossed, and then enrolled. Another problem is that sometimes the president or the speaker is not in town to sign legislation. If that was the case, would the legislation automatically move up without their signatures, under SJR 24? SENATOR DONLEY replied that is correct. He does not know how else to address the problem of someone intentionally not moving legislation along. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated they have seen that happen for 30 and 40 days at a time. He is concerned that the security of final review by legal services not be breached though. He is also concerned with putting the clerks and the secretaries in the political situation of having to move bills without them being signed off by the presiding officers. SENATOR DONLEY stated the 24 hour provision is the shortest time frame that has to be dealt with. That is for returning the legislation to the body of origin. SENATOR DONLEY made a motion to adopt the committee substitute. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated the committee substitute was adopted. CHAIRMAN SHARP commented he hasn't had anyone step forward and say it's not do-able. This resolution still goes to the Judiciary and Finance Committees. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked Mr. Baldwin to comment on SJR 24. He asked Mr. Baldwin if his concerns have been addressed in the committee substitute. Number 565 JAMES BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs Section, Civil Division, Department of Law, stated he has a couple of comments, and they probably can be resolved in later committees. He thinks there is some new language concerning calling sessions to take up vetoes. He is particularly looking at the language that begins on page 2, line 29, which specifies that a joint session must be called before the legislature adjourns. He wondered if a provision like this could be used to extend the session, because once the legislature is in extra-special session there is no limitation on what they can take up. He sees the same problem in subsection (b) on page 3. So he thinks the implications should be thought out: not only may you be bringing on a special session for overrides, but you could be getting into other areas. SENATOR DONLEY replied to the last point, that he is not scared of the legislature in session. He understands why the executive branch would be. TAPE 96-14, SIDE B Number 590 SENATOR DONLEY stated that if there is business to do at that time, he thinks they should do it. So that doesn't concern him. The reason it doesn't concern him is that they would have to be violating the constitution in the first place not to hold the joint session. So to use this legislation to violate the 121 day session limit, they would have to break the constitution to get to that point. Unless Mr. Baldwin is going to presume that people are going to willy-nilly violate the constitution, then it shouldn't be a problem. MR. BALDWIN stated he agrees with Senator Donley that the first point he made is kind of remote. But the second one isn't. He has seen situations where legislators did not want a special session called, just as much as the executive. He asked that the consequences of not limiting the subject matter of a special session be considered. Once you're in special session, you can take up any matter. One way to take care of that would be to limit what you could do at a special session. Number 572 SENATOR DONLEY stated the reason it is drafted the way it is, is that if we start to qualify on what we're holding the special session, we'll never be able to reach a consensus. That is why it is phrased in a simple "yes" or "no". CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there are any questions for Mr. Baldwin. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Mr. Baldwin if he is going to write a little thing in the election pamphlet against SJR 24. MR. BALDWIN responded he works for the Division of Elections, and they couldn't ever do that. But there are plenty of public- spirited citizens willing to come forward to comment on legislation. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated he still has concerns over the length of time for getting legislation to legal services and back again. He would like to extend that 7 days to 14, excluding Sundays. SENATOR DONLEY commented he would have no problem with that. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated that in his conversations with legal services, they thought 10 days would probably do it, but 14 days would be very safe. Number 560 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated that if the sponsor does not have a problem with that, he would like to make a motion that on page 2, line 1 change "7 days" to "14 days" and add "excluding Sundays". SENATOR DONLEY stated he would agree with that. CHAIRMAN SHARP made a motion to adopt that amendment. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection stated the amendment had been adopted. SENATOR DONLEY commented that he would really welcome other suggestions from members of the committee. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked how he's going to market SJR 24. SENATOR DONLEY replied he hoped that they could talk to newspaper editorial boards and other things like that and convince them that it is really a good government proposal. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated that one suggestion might be to have something in the election pamphlet explaining SJR 24. SENATOR DONLEY replied that the voter's guide has been pretty flexible. You could probably do that in the pro statement in the voter's guide. Number 530 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated another point that was brought up by staff was that to protect the Senate Secretary and Chief Clerk there should be language for verifying contact. The chairman suggested language specifying that legislators shall contact the Chief Clerk and the Senate Secretary in written form. SENATOR DONLEY stated that they could just insert "in written form". CHAIRMAN SHARP stated that language would be inserted after "indicated" on page 3, line 4. SENATOR DONLEY stated what might happen, if SJR 24 passes this session, that it would be alright if just the first section made it on the ballot this year, if the legislation was focused down to just that section. Number 490 SENATOR DONLEY made a motion to discharge SJR 24 from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN SHARP added, "As amended, with small fiscal note." Hearing no objection, stated SJR 24 was released from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN SHARP adjourned the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting at 4:30 p.m.