Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/19/2004 03:40 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 19, 2004                                                                                        
                           3:40 p.m.                                                                                            
TAPE (S) 04-8                                                                                                                 
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 287                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to review of regulations under the                                                                             
Administrative Procedure Act by the Legislative Affairs Agency;                                                                 
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
     MOVED CSSB 287(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 302                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to the  authority to take  oaths, affirmations,                                                               
and acknowledgments  in the state;  relating to  notaries public;                                                               
relating to  fees for issuing  certificates with the seal  of the                                                               
state affixed; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
     MOVED CSSB 302(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 296                                                                                                             
"An Act requiring an auditable paper trail for electronic voting                                                                
     MOVED SB 296 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 287                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REGULATION REVIEW                                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) THERRIAULT                                                                                               
01/30/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/30/04       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/10/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/10/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/10/04       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/19/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: SB 302                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OATHS; NOTARIES PUBLIC; STATE SEAL                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
02/06/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/06/04       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/19/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: SB 296                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PAPER TRAIL FOR ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) ELLIS                                                                                                    
02/04/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/04/04       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/19/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Dave Stancliff                                                                                                                  
Staff to Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SB 287                                                                             
Annette Kreitzer                                                                                                                
Chief of Staff                                                                                                                  
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke to SB 287 and introduced SB 302                                                                    
Scott Clark                                                                                                                     
Notary Commission Administrator                                                                                                 
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SB 302                                                                             
Johnny Ellis                                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor SB 296                                                                                           
Dana Owens                                                                                                                      
Staff to Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SB 296                                                                             
Laura Glasier                                                                                                                   
Director, Division of Elections                                                                                                 
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SB 296                                                                             
Caren Robinson                                                                                                                  
AK Women's Lobby                                                                                                                
P.O. Box 33702                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99802                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 296                                                                           
Jennifer Rudinger                                                                                                               
Executive Director, ACLU                                                                                                        
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented via teleconference on SB 296                                                                    
Nina Mollett                                                                                                                    
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 296                                                                                       
Don Anderson                                                                                                                    
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified via teleconference in strong                                                                   
support of SB 296                                                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-8, SIDE A                                                                                                             
CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. Present were Senators                                                                   
Stedman, Guess and Chair Gary Stevens.                                                                                          
                    SB 287-REGULATION REVIEW                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SB 287 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
He noted there was a committee substitute (CS) and asked for a                                                                  
motion to adopt it as the working document.                                                                                     
SENATOR BERT  STEDMAN made  a motion to  adopt CSSB  287, version                                                               
23-LS1566\D as  the working document.  There being  no objection,                                                               
it was so ordered.                                                                                                              
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked Mr.  Stancliff to explain the changes in                                                               
the CS  and noted  there was a  revised fiscal  note accompanying                                                               
the CS.                                                                                                                         
DAVE STANCLIFF,  staff to sponsor  Senator Gene  Therriault, said                                                               
the CS addresses  several of the comments expressed  at the prior                                                               
To reduce the fiscal impact  and not involve legislative legal in                                                               
reviews  that   don't  need  their  expertise,   all  boards  and                                                               
commissions were removed  from the review process.  The boards of                                                               
fish and  game were removed in  the CS and they  represent almost                                                               
21  percent  of  all  regulation   proposals  that  the  attorney                                                               
general's  (AG) office  reviews  in a  year.  With that  workload                                                               
reduction, the fiscal note is reduced by about $100,000.                                                                        
Page  2, lines  10-18 addresses  the means  of communication.  He                                                               
explained that the bill requires  a review, but the communication                                                               
between legislative legal and the  AG's office is informal rather                                                               
than in writing unless there is no resolution.                                                                                  
The  third change  is  on  page 2,  lines  19-22  and relates  to                                                               
communication   between  Legislative   Legal  Services   and  the                                                               
Department   of  Law,   the   Administrative  Regulation   Review                                                               
Committee, the Senate President, and  the Speaker of the House of                                                               
Representatives.  For   reasons  of   confidentiality,  documents                                                               
between the  Legislative Legal  Services and  any of  the parties                                                               
named are  to be considered  working documents. He  reported that                                                               
conversations  are ongoing  regarding  changes  suggested by  the                                                               
Department  of Law.  Because those  changes might  further reduce                                                               
the  fiscal  impact, the  sponsor  has  said  he would  make  the                                                               
changes  prior to  the hearing  in  the Finance  Committee if  he                                                               
elects to incorporate them.                                                                                                     
Page 2, lines 23-25 makes it  clear that reviews conducted by the                                                               
Legislative  Legal   Services  will   not  delay   the  adoption,                                                               
amendment, or repeal of a regulation.                                                                                           
On page 1, line  9 states that the Department of  Law will not be                                                               
encumbered with  the task of  copying and providing  documents to                                                               
legislative legal.                                                                                                              
He concluded  his comments by  reemphasizing that the  sponsor is                                                               
still working  with the Department  of Law  and he is  aware that                                                               
many  of their  suggestions  are designed  to  reduce the  fiscal                                                               
CHAIR GARY STEVENS thanked Mr.  Stancliff and noted that although                                                               
this was  the second time  the committee  had heard the  bill, it                                                               
would be helpful for him to  recap the purpose of the legislation                                                               
and what it is attempting to accomplish.                                                                                        
MR.STANCLIFF  explained  that the  legislation  is  based on  the                                                               
premise  that the  Executive Branch,  through  the Department  of                                                               
Law,  provides a  good balance  regarding their  perspective into                                                               
the  legislative system.  But  the same  level  of oversight  and                                                               
involvement ceases  during the interim when  regulations begin to                                                               
In  comparison,   the  Minnesota  Legislative   Branch  co-writes                                                               
regulation  with   the  Executive   Branch  while   the  Colorado                                                               
Legislature conducts an  annual review of regulations.  SB 278 is                                                               
an effort  to raise  the quality and  standard of  regulations to                                                               
comport  with  what  the  Legislature  intended  in  statute.  To                                                               
accomplish  this   end,  the  Legislative  Branch   would  review                                                               
regulations before the public comment  period. This, he asserted,                                                               
is nothing  more than a  quality review by the  legislative legal                                                               
SENATOR  BERT  STEDMAN  remarked this  would  require  additional                                                               
state  hiring, but  the  fiscal note  indicates  there isn't  any                                                               
physical  space available  in the  legislative  legal office.  He                                                               
asked for  a comment on  increasing efficiency  versus increasing                                                               
state overhead.                                                                                                                 
MR. STANCLIFF replied that is  a concern, but incorporating other                                                               
suggestions  from the  Department of  Law may  reduce the  fiscal                                                               
note to the point that finding  new space for the new hires won't                                                               
be an issue. With regard to  cost, he suggested that, "Just as in                                                               
a business,  an investment sometimes  up front translates  into a                                                               
great  savings  on  down  the line."  He  acknowledged  that  the                                                               
Finance  Committee  might insist  that  existing  space be  found                                                               
before they agree to move the bill.                                                                                             
SENATOR   GRETCHEN  GUESS   questioned   excluding  all   boards,                                                               
commissions,  councils or  other public  corporations. She  noted                                                               
the Board  of Fish  and the  Board of  Education are  both boards                                                               
within  a department  and she  was curious  how that  would work.                                                               
Because  the   Board  of   Education  approves   regulations  the                                                               
Department of Education makes,  she questioned whether regulation                                                               
such as  the implementation  of the  high school  qualifying exam                                                               
would be excluded.                                                                                                              
MR.  STANCLIFF replied  if  the regulation  or  proposed rule  is                                                               
generated from  a board  or commission, it  would be  exempt from                                                               
this rule regardless  of whether or not it is  part of an agency.                                                               
He reported  this broad-brush  application was  a policy  call to                                                               
reduce cost.  It is  agency driven  regulations promulgated  as a                                                               
matter of agency policy that  have been problematic, he asserted.                                                               
Further,  board  and  commission  members take  their  jobs  very                                                               
seriously  and they  usually have  an assistant  attorney general                                                               
assigned to work with them.                                                                                                     
SENATOR GUESS maintained  the writing is too broad  and she would                                                               
like the committee  to consider that and have  Mr. Stancliff take                                                               
that  assertion  back to  the  sponsor.  She didn't  believe  any                                                               
comments  in the  previous hearing  suggested that  all education                                                               
regulations be excluded  from the bill, but that  is what appears                                                               
to have  happened. The Board of  Fish and the Board  of Education                                                               
are   very  different   and  she   asked  that   be  taken   into                                                               
She then asked  if councils and public  corporations included the                                                               
Alaska Railroad  Corporation, Alaska Housing  Finance Corporation                                                               
(AHFC), and Permanent Fund Corporation.                                                                                         
MR. STANCLIFF  agreed and said those  political subdivisions that                                                               
have  been  created   over  the  years  and   exempted  from  the                                                               
Administrative Procedure  Act (APA) are excluded  from the review                                                               
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  if  the  Council  on  Sexual  Assault  and                                                               
Domestic Violence would be an example of a council.                                                                             
MR. STANCLIFF  said yes,  he thought the  drafter, Tam  Cook, was                                                               
trying  to  separate  any quasi-regulatory  body  that  had  been                                                               
created from the "hard agency" regulatory provisions.                                                                           
SENATOR GUESS  expressed concern about the  three extra positions                                                               
and asked  him to  elaborate on  the "savings  down the  road" he                                                               
referred to earlier. She reviewed  the fiscal note and said, "For                                                               
the  record, when  it gets  to Senate  Finance -  10 months  of a                                                               
legal secretary seems interesting..."                                                                                           
MR. STANCLIFF  said there  has been some  discussion of  how this                                                               
might be funded.  He pointed to the chart that  shows some of the                                                               
ways that agencies  are financially affected when  the AG reviews                                                               
them. He  contended that the  direct savings would  probably come                                                               
from having  a better process.  When people know their  work will                                                               
be reviewed, they do a better job.                                                                                              
The indirect  savings, he  asserted, are  enormous. "The  cost of                                                               
one  poorly written,  wrongfully constructed  regulation, applied                                                               
at the  wrong time, that  causes litigation is  unbelievable." He                                                               
called this a "better government provision."                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  observed that  legislative legal  works less                                                               
than full time during the interim  and he wondered if there might                                                               
not be a way to use them more fully.                                                                                            
MR. STANCLIFF thought  there was room for  further negotiation in                                                               
the interest of making the bill more fiscally palatable.                                                                        
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  if there  were  other  questions  or                                                               
SENATOR  GUESS made  a final  comment  regarding eliminating  all                                                               
boards,  commissions,  councils,  and  public  corporations.  She                                                               
advised, "You  might want to go  for what you think  is right and                                                               
see if we can negotiate  somewhere around that because I'm pretty                                                               
concerned about it."                                                                                                            
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced Senator  John Cowdery had joined the                                                               
ANNETTE KREITZER, chief of staff  to Lt. Governor Leman, answered                                                               
Senator  Guess's question  about  boards  and commissions  saying                                                               
there  is  nothing in  the  public  process that  would  preclude                                                               
Legislative Legal from reviewing  boards and commissions. As they                                                               
look at  amending the  bill, they  would keep  that in  mind, she                                                               
For the record  she stated that Lt. Governor Leman  and his staff                                                               
would continue to work with the sponsor as the bill moves along.                                                                
SENATOR GUESS said  she appreciates the comment and  she sees the                                                               
purpose of  the bill,  but her  worry is that  if all  boards and                                                               
commissions are  taken off  the table  that won't  change because                                                               
people are busy.                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS announced he would  like to move the  bill on                                                               
to the Finance Committee.                                                                                                       
SENATOR COWDERY made a motion to  move CSSB 287, \D version, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                              
           SB 302-OATHS; NOTARIES PUBLIC; STATE SEAL                                                                        
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  announced SB 302 to be  up for consideration.                                                               
He invited Annette Kreitzer to come forward.                                                                                    
ANNETTE  KREITZER, chief  of staff  to Lt.  Governor Leman,  said                                                               
Scott  Clark  was joining  her.  The  reason  for the  bill,  she                                                               
explained,  is  the notary  statutes  have  seen little  updating                                                               
since about 1961. She noted  member's had a sectional analysis, a                                                               
page  of frequently  asked questions,  and a  page comparing  the                                                               
current and proposed notary statute policy issues.                                                                              
Although  she was  happy to  answer any  questions, she  said she                                                               
would just highlight  the sectional analysis. She  noted that she                                                               
and others  in the office  were surprised  to learn that  the lt.                                                               
governor  and  the presiding  officers  of  both bodies  must  be                                                               
notaries to  be able  to administer  the oath  of office  so that                                                               
change is addressed in section 1.                                                                                               
Section 5 increases  the fee for a notary  certificate from $2.00                                                               
to $5.00.  Section 6 relates  to the two categories  of notaries.                                                               
The notary  public without  limitation has a  four year  term and                                                               
may charge fees for service.  The limited governmental notary may                                                               
conduct only official  government business, the term  is the same                                                               
as the length  of government employment, and they  may not charge                                                               
a  fee.  A  notary  public  may hold  both  types  of  commission                                                               
Section 7 changes qualifications. The  age was lowered from 19 to                                                               
18;  the notary  must be  an Alaska  resident and  reside in  the                                                               
U.S.; and he  or she may not  be a convicted felon or  have had a                                                               
commission revoked.                                                                                                             
MS.  KREITZER  reported that  the  remaining  sections relate  to                                                               
changing antiquated language. Section  13 is the repealer section                                                               
and  for   the  most   part  the   repeals  are   rewritten  then                                                               
reincorporated elsewhere in the bill.                                                                                           
CHAIR GARY STEVENS noted that is on page 14 of the bill.                                                                        
Section  14   relates  to  applicability  and   sets  forth  that                                                               
commissions continue in  effect until the term  of office expires                                                               
or if the  commissioned is a felon; bonds,  seals and liabilities                                                               
in effect continue through the  term of office; all notaries must                                                               
follow the notary procedures encompassed  in the legislation; and                                                               
when commissions expire, application  for new commissions will be                                                               
under AS 44.50.031.                                                                                                             
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for  verification that a convicted felon                                                               
would lose his or her commission.                                                                                               
MS. KREITZER said that's correct.                                                                                               
SENATOR COWDERY  asked if notaries  could charge fees  because he                                                               
notices that in the post office they may not charge fees.                                                                       
MS.   KREITZER  replied   limited  governmental   notaries  doing                                                               
government business  may not charge  fees while  private notaries                                                               
may charge fees, but the latter  must develop and adhere to a fee                                                               
schedule. Referring to the postmaster,  she pointed to a proposed                                                               
amendment  in  the  packets  and  explained  that  they  recently                                                               
discovered  that  Alaska  law  has  been  inconsistent  with  the                                                               
federal law.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  if there  is any  regulation on  how much                                                               
could be charged.                                                                                                               
SCOTT  CLARK,  notary   commission  administrator,  advised  that                                                               
notaries are free to develop their own fee schedule.                                                                            
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked  Ms. Kreitzer  to  stay for  potential                                                               
questions then  asked Mr. Clark  if he  would care to  comment on                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
MR. CLARK  wasn't close enough to  the microphone to pick  up his                                                               
SENATOR STEDMAN  contended the question  about the  fee structure                                                               
had merit.  He noted  that many businesses  offer the  service to                                                               
their  customers and  the notaries  he has  worked with  over the                                                               
years  have  been  proud  to  be a  notary  and  take  their  job                                                               
He  asked if  there  is data  on how  many  convicted felons  are                                                               
MR. CLARK replied  there is no current restriction  so they don't                                                               
track  that  information.  Nonetheless, he  wouldn't  expect  the                                                               
number to be very high.                                                                                                         
SENATOR STEDMAN noted  that a great deal  of responsibility comes                                                               
with a  notary commission  and asked for  an explanation  for why                                                               
the age was reduced.                                                                                                            
MR.  CLARK admitted  he wasn't  working in  his current  capacity                                                               
when  the original  notary bill  passed, but  he surmised  it had                                                               
something to do  with the drinking age. He continued  to say that                                                               
all states  but Alaska  and Nebraska have  established 18  as the                                                               
minimum  age for  a notary.  He expressed  full agreement  that a                                                               
notary  work  is  an  important  service  that  should  be  taken                                                               
seriously.  On  the other  hand,  many  entry-level positions  in                                                               
banks tend to go to younger  people. Yesterday he received a call                                                               
from a bank that  was trying to hire an 18 year  old. Part of the                                                               
job  description was  to perform  notary services  and they  were                                                               
uncertain  about  the  age  limit. That  person  might  not  have                                                               
qualified for the  job because they weren't eligible  to become a                                                               
notary for another six months.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  STEDMAN then  asked for  an explanation  of current  and                                                               
proposed authority regarding revocations and extensions.                                                                        
MS.  KREITZER  replied  the current  process  for  revocation  is                                                               
through the  Administrative Procedure  Act (APA).  If there  is a                                                               
complaint  against a  notary, the  governor must  find a  hearing                                                               
officer  to  process  the  complaint.  The  hearing  officer  can                                                               
continue  or revoke  a notary  commission, but  the lt.  governor                                                               
lacks that authority.                                                                                                           
In  the course  of their  review, they  evaluated the  process in                                                               
Washington, Oregon  and Texas and  took an amalgam.  As proposed,                                                               
the lt. governor would have  the authority to evaluate complaints                                                               
for  merit  and  then  take  action  ranging  from  conducting  a                                                               
disciplinary hearing up to revoking a commission.                                                                               
SENATOR STEDMAN asked how many commissions have been revoked.                                                                   
MR. CLARK answered he was not aware of any.                                                                                     
MS.  KREITZER gave  the following  background. One  of the  first                                                               
things she did as  chief of staff was to look at  the jobs in the                                                               
lt. governor's  office to  determine whether or  not there  was a                                                               
better  way to  do things.  With regard  to notaries,  they found                                                               
that the test  they give is not mandatory. Although  they want to                                                               
continue that,  they would  like to move  to an  educational, web                                                               
based, model to better serve the 12,000 notaries in the state.                                                                  
Even  though there  haven't been  a large  number of  complaints,                                                               
they have determined that the  disciplinary section is important.                                                               
Since Lt. Governor  Leman has been in office, she  knows of three                                                               
instances in which notaries pushed the line of propriety.                                                                       
SENATOR  STEDMAN  commented  that  most people  are  honest,  but                                                               
occasionally an unscrupulous person  will modify the signature on                                                               
a notarized  document. He knew  that notaries usually keep  a log                                                               
for  their   own  protection  and   he  was  curious   about  the                                                               
requirements for keeping a log.                                                                                                 
MS. KREITZER replied  that is a policy point  they discussed, but                                                               
because they  don't have the  staff to ensure that  notaries keep                                                               
logs, they just make the strong recommendation that one is kept.                                                                
MR.  CLARK   confirmed  that  the  office   has  always  strongly                                                               
recommended that a  log is kept and they intend  to continue that                                                               
recommendation.  It's  important to  the  public  to be  able  to                                                               
follow  up on  a  notarized  signature and  because  a notary  is                                                               
liable  for every  action  he  or she  takes  as  a notary,  it's                                                               
important for their protection as  well. An accurate detailed log                                                               
is the  only proof a notary  has to show that  they have complied                                                               
with the law.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  GRETCHEN GUESS  referred to  page 3,  line 27  and asked                                                               
what qualifications  are associated with limited  notaries, other                                                               
than being a state, municipal  or federal employees. She observed                                                               
it wasn't  clear whether or  not the qualifications in  section 7                                                               
covered both public and limited notaries.                                                                                       
MS.   KREITZER   replied   both   commissions   have   the   same                                                               
SENATOR GUESS  asked if the  drafter said that is  clear, because                                                               
it doesn't explicitly say that.                                                                                                 
MS. KREITZER gave a nod.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  GUESS   asked  about  the   process  for   revoking  the                                                               
commission if a notary subsequently becomes a felon.                                                                            
CHAIR GARY STEVENS noted she was referring to page 4, line 6.                                                                   
MS.  KREITZER  replied  that  because  they  don't  collect  such                                                               
information, someone  would first  have to  file a  complaint and                                                               
then the  process on  page 11  would be set  into place.  The lt.                                                               
governor would  hear the complaint  and since  felony convictions                                                               
are a  matter of public  record, determining the validity  of the                                                               
complaint would be a simple matter.                                                                                             
SENATOR GUESS  asked if  there is  a reapplication  process after                                                               
four  years at  which  time  the office  might  check for  felony                                                               
MS.  KREITZER  said they  decided  they  didn't want  to  disrupt                                                               
current  commissions so  the only  way someone  would lose  their                                                               
commission  would be  if a  valid complaint  were filed.  The new                                                               
requirements become  effective when  a term  ends and  the notary                                                               
SENATOR GUESS  clarified she  was asking about  cases in  which a                                                               
notary became a felon after they had received a commission.                                                                     
MS. KREITZER said it would be the same complaint driven process.                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked for  verification that no one  had ever                                                               
lost their commission because of a felony conviction.                                                                           
MR. CLARK said  he has received complaints from  the public about                                                               
notaries  supposedly being  felons, but  because they  don't have                                                               
the  authority  to  investigate   or  discipline  notaries,  they                                                               
haven't followed up on the allegations.                                                                                         
SENATOR  GUESS noted  she didn't  see any  mention in  the fiscal                                                               
note, but she  wondered if the lt. governor's  office would begin                                                               
to conduct background checks.                                                                                                   
MS. KREITZER stated they wouldn't  run checks. Applicants will be                                                               
taken at their word.                                                                                                            
SENATOR COWDERY asked if signature  verification is the only duty                                                               
a notary  performs or  is there also  a requirement  to determine                                                               
whether or not the document is valid as well.                                                                                   
MR. CLARK  replied notaries verify  signatures and  are empowered                                                               
to give oaths.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked  him to  clarify that  the  job is  to                                                               
verify that the signer is who they  say they are and not to prove                                                               
the document in any way.                                                                                                        
MR. CLARK  said that is exactly  correct. "A notary serves  as an                                                               
impartial third party  witness to the signer of  a document. They                                                               
verify the identity  of the signer and they witness  the act. The                                                               
act has  to take  place in  front of  the notary  - at  least the                                                               
notarization..."  Notaries   take  an  oath  swearing   that  the                                                               
information they  gave on their  application is full  and correct                                                               
and giving oaths is another common act for a notary.                                                                            
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced a  proposed amendment was before the                                                               
SENATOR  COWDERY  made  a  motion to  adopt  amendment  number  1                                                               
Page 10, line 10:                                                                                                               
     Delete "a $5 name change fee"                                                                                              
     Insert "the fee under AS 44.19.024"                                                                                        
Page 14, line 11:                                                                                                               
     Insert: "44.50.180(c),"                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked Ms. Kreitzer to explain the amendment.                                                                 
MS. KREITZER  said after the  bill was drafted she  realized that                                                               
the $5 name change fee was  confusing because it appeared that it                                                               
was  different  than   the  $5  fee  for   certificate  under  AS                                                               
The  second  change  is  related  to  charging  fees  for  notary                                                               
services.  It   repeals  AS  44.50.180(c)   because  it   is  the                                                               
inconsistency she mentioned between Alaska law and federal law.                                                                 
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  if   there  were  any  questions  or                                                               
objections to adopting amendment number  one and there were none.                                                               
He asked for a motion to move the bill.                                                                                         
SENATOR  COWDERY motioned  to pass  CSSB 302(STA)  from committee                                                               
with the accompanying  fiscal note. There being  no objection, it                                                               
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
TAPE 04-8, SIDE B                                                                                                             
4:25 pm                                                                                                                       
        SB 296-PAPER TRAIL FOR ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE                                                                    
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SB 296 to be up for consideration                                                                  
and asked Senator Ellis to introduce the bill.                                                                                  
SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS, Senate District L representative and                                                                      
sponsor of SB 296, stated:                                                                                                      
     In the wake of the  2000 federal election, and with the                                                                    
     impetus of  the federal  Help America Vote  Act (HAVA),                                                                    
     states across  the nation are replacing  punch card and                                                                    
     paper   ballots   with   computerized   vote   casting,                                                                    
     tabulation and reporting.  Alaska has successfully used                                                                    
     the Acu-Vote system of  optically scanned ballots since                                                                    
     1998. New  direct recording equipment (DRE)  machines -                                                                    
     also known as touch -screen  - are scheduled to be used                                                                    
     for the first time in 2004.                                                                                                
     In fact, the  Division of Elections here  in Alaska has                                                                    
     purchased  100 of  these  touch-screen voting  machines                                                                    
     and will  deploy them  across the  state for  the first                                                                    
     time in the primary election this fall.                                                                                    
     I would ask,  Mr. Chairman, to just imagine  that it is                                                                    
     Election Day 2004. You enter  your polling place and go                                                                    
     to cast  your vote on  a brand new  touch-screen voting                                                                    
     machine. The  screen says your  vote has  been counted.                                                                    
     As you  exit the  voting booth,  however, you  begin to                                                                    
     wonder. How do I know  if the machine actually recorded                                                                    
     my vote? The fact is, you don't.                                                                                           
     The problem  is simple;  a touch-screen  voting machine                                                                    
     records your  vote in the  memory of the  machine where                                                                    
     you can't  see it. How do  you know that your  vote for                                                                    
     candidate A wasn't recorded as  a vote for candidate B?                                                                    
     You don't.                                                                                                                 
     In this  first election it  will be blind  and disabled                                                                    
     Alaskans who will have that  question. In the future it                                                                    
     could be  all Alaskans  who choose to  go to  the polls                                                                    
     who would have  to ask those questions. But  there is a                                                                    
     way to prevent that.                                                                                                       
     I note  Mr. Chairman  that computer experts  across the                                                                    
     country  have  warned  of numerous  problems  with  the                                                                    
     direct  recording equipment  machines.  In fact,  there                                                                    
     are a  number of horror  stories in your  bill packets.                                                                    
     As counties  and state  governments use  these machines                                                                    
     in their  elections, there  have been  very significant                                                                    
     The  answer to  this is  really simple  - an  auditable                                                                    
     paper trail for  these machines. The good  news is that                                                                    
     we can  use federal funds.  We don't have to  use state                                                                    
     funds.  Federal funds  are  available  to modify  these                                                                    
     machines and the technology is  there and improving all                                                                    
     the  time to  make  sure there  is  an auditable  paper                                                                    
     Citizen  trust is  the bedrock  of  democracy. Only  an                                                                    
     accurate count can assure  voters that elections result                                                                    
     in  the  true reflection  of  their  will. Requiring  a                                                                    
     voter verified  paper trail  will assure  Alaskans that                                                                    
     no  matter what  technology is  adopted in  the future,                                                                    
     their  elections will  be transparent  and their  votes                                                                    
     counted accurately.                                                                                                        
SENATOR JOHN  COWDERY asked if each  voter could go back  and see                                                               
how they voted.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  ELLIS   replied  the  Acu-Vote  system   has  been  used                                                               
successfully for several years. The  voter marks their ballot and                                                               
places it  in the machine. The  voter is able to  verify how they                                                               
marked their ballot.  If there is a question or  challenge to the                                                               
election, there  is a  paper trail  for a  recount. With  the DRE                                                               
machines  and  without  a statutorily  required  auditable  paper                                                               
trail, a recount or challenge is  dependent on the memory that is                                                               
on a computer  chip. Because hacking is  not uncommon, challenges                                                               
and  recounts  are  difficult. Auditable  paper  trails  are  the                                                               
solution and the wave of the future, he said.                                                                                   
"We have one  of the best election staffs and  sets of volunteers                                                               
of any state. We rank at the  very top in all of these objective,                                                               
non-partisan analyses..."  However, there  have been a  number of                                                               
close and hard fought elections in  the state as well as a number                                                               
of  challenges   and  recounts.  A  verifiable   paper  trail  is                                                               
important for the future.                                                                                                       
CHAIR GARY STEVENS remarked it  is extremely important to be able                                                               
to trust  election results.  He noted he  has read  about systems                                                               
that give voters  a paper receipt. He questioned  the validity of                                                               
the  secret  ballot if  people  are  able  to leave  the  polling                                                               
station with a paper showing how they voted.                                                                                    
DANA  OWENS,   staff  to  Senator  Ellis,   explained  that  most                                                               
companies  that are  working on  this technology  are working  on                                                               
systems where the voter wouldn't  actually hold the verification.                                                               
They  would view  the  ballot  through a  window  and verify  the                                                               
accuracy before  the ballot is  deposited into a  different place                                                               
than where the electronic vote is recorded.                                                                                     
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  said, "A paper trail means there  really is a                                                               
piece of paper..."                                                                                                              
SENATOR  ELLIS  said  the  100  machines  that  the  Division  of                                                               
Elections has  already purchased were  the result of  a unanimous                                                               
bi-partisan vote to help the blind and disabled vote in private.                                                                
The federal Help  America Vote Act is a result  of the debacle in                                                               
Florida  in  the  last  presidential  election  and  the  federal                                                               
government has  made money available  for states to  update their                                                               
systems. Although he  has gotten the impression  that the federal                                                               
government won't  require an auditable  paper trail  it's logical                                                               
to move  in that  direction. SB 296  requirements would  begin in                                                               
2006 to  give the Division  of Elections  the time to  secure the                                                               
needed technology and work out the system.                                                                                      
SENATOR BERT  STEDMAN asked  how many  disabled voters  reside in                                                               
SENATOR ELLIS said he didn't have that information.                                                                             
SENATOR STEDMAN asked when the federal requirements begin.                                                                      
MR. OWEN replied January 1, 2006.                                                                                               
SENATOR ELLIS  said Alaska is ahead  of the curve, but  those 100                                                               
new machines won't have an auditable paper trail.                                                                               
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS recalled testimony  from last session  when a                                                               
blind man said he  had to go into the voting  booth with his wife                                                               
and he  humorously stated that he  was never sure that  she voted                                                               
the right  way. He asked Senator  Stedman how secure he  would be                                                               
in that situation.                                                                                                              
SENATOR STEDMAN  chuckled and  admitted there  are times  when he                                                               
wouldn't be very secure.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  ELLIS commented  that a  lot of  married couples  cancel                                                               
each other.                                                                                                                     
LAURA  GLAISER, director,  Division  of  Elections, said  Senator                                                               
Ellis covered  much of her  testimony so she would  rather answer                                                               
questions and make sure everyone understood the process.                                                                        
She  explained that  the current  election system  is not  on the                                                               
Internet  and is  quite  secure. The  memory  is transmitted  via                                                               
modem,  but to  hack  the line  the hacker  would  have to  "know                                                               
exactly  which phone  that the  precinct would  use, which  phone                                                               
number was  used, which phone  number they were dialing  into and                                                               
hit that 3 to 5 seconds when that information is transmitted."                                                                  
For many years Alaska has  had an exemplary bipartisan review and                                                               
that would  continue. A bipartisan  board tests the  memory cards                                                               
and  zeroes them  out then  runs a  test ballot  to make  sure it                                                               
always runs  the same  and to  ensure that  a Trojan  Horse isn't                                                               
placed in the machine.                                                                                                          
The  division  does  not  oppose   SB  296,  she  said,  but  the                                                               
modifications have  yet to  receive certification.  They selected                                                               
the new  touch-screen system because  it has been  certified. She                                                               
said  the 2006  implementation date  is a  gracious accommodation                                                               
and  would coincide  with the  federal implementation  date. This                                                               
bill would allow  the division to implement  the 100 touch-screen                                                               
At some point she said  she would like clarification because they                                                               
didn't plan to limit the use  of the 100 touch-screen machines to                                                               
only those voters  who are blind, disabled  or visually impaired.                                                               
If a legislative policy maker wanted  to limit that use, she said                                                               
they would understand.                                                                                                          
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked if the machine was a Braille machine.                                                                  
MS.  GLAISER  replied  the Acu-Vote  touch-screen  system  has  a                                                               
touchpad that blind  people are accustomed to using.  There is an                                                               
audio unit  that walks  the voter through  the ballot  and allows                                                               
selection with the touchpad.                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked about  whether the voter  receives some                                                               
sort of confirmation that they voted in a certain way.                                                                          
MS.  GLAISER  said  the  new machines  meet  federal  law,  which                                                               
requires an audit  trail. Although there is a  paper tape inside,                                                               
the  voter  can't see  it  and  that is  the  issue  that SB  296                                                               
SENATOR  STEDMAN commented  that he  appreciates the  movement to                                                               
make it easier for the  visually impaired to fully participate in                                                               
the democratic system.                                                                                                          
CAREN  ROBINSON,  representative  of the  Alaska  Woman's  Lobby,                                                               
     This  bill  is critical  to  ensure  the faith  in  our                                                                    
     elections. Around  the nation, the faith  is being lost                                                                    
     due  to  the  controversy  surrounding  computer  based                                                                    
     Unless we maintain our ability  to recount the ballots,                                                                    
     by  hand, when  resolves are  questioned, we  can never                                                                    
     know  whether  our  elections  are  honest  or  rigged,                                                                    
     whether equipment was accurate or failed.                                                                                  
     The Alaska Women's Lobby believes  that nothing is more                                                                    
     important to  the advancement of  women in  society but                                                                    
     their vote be accurately counted.                                                                                          
She encouraged support for the legislation.                                                                                     
SENATOR COWDERY  asked for an  explanation of the  revised fiscal                                                               
MS. GLAISER  explained that the  original fiscal note  showed 446                                                               
precincts and after the revision  in the Interior, there are only                                                               
441 precincts.                                                                                                                  
JENNIFER RUDINGER, executive director  of the ACLU, testified via                                                               
teleconference to say  that this is a very  complicated issue and                                                               
she looks forward to learning more about the new technology.                                                                    
"The integrity  of the voting  process is ... fundamental  to the                                                               
operation of our  democracy," she said. A major  component of the                                                               
process is  voting technology  that is  honest and  accurate. She                                                               
urged members  to remain ever  vigilant about new  technology and                                                               
strive to  deliver a  system that  maximizes the  likelihood that                                                               
the voters'  intent is recorded.  The system should be  as simple                                                               
as possible  yet the technology  must be sophisticated  enough to                                                               
ensure confidence that it cannot be  rigged to thwart the will of                                                               
the electorate.                                                                                                                 
Touch-screen voting systems  certainly offer potential advantages                                                               
including  ease  of  use,  accessibility  to  the  disabled,  and                                                               
adaptability to  different languages.  That being  said, computer                                                               
experts are uncertain about the  overall security and reliability                                                               
of  this  system.  The  ACLU  Board  of  Directors  is  currently                                                               
debating  this issue  and will  have specific  recommendations in                                                               
approximately three weeks.                                                                                                      
"In terms of  SB 296, voter verified paper ballots  are a step in                                                               
the   direction  of   where   we  need   to   go  toward   public                                                               
accountability....  but it's  not the  end of  the inquiry,"  she                                                               
concluded. The  board would  have specific  recommendations after                                                               
March 15 and  looks forward to working with  Senator Ellis, other                                                               
legislators, and the Division of Elections on this issue.                                                                       
CHAIR GARY STEVENS thanked Ms.  Rudinger and cautioned her not to                                                               
dawdle as  the legislative clock  was ticking and that  it's more                                                               
productive  to be  a part  of  the legislative  process before  a                                                               
decision is made.                                                                                                               
MS. RUDINGER agreed and said they  are working to learn about the                                                               
new  technology. She  appreciated the  opportunity to  go on  the                                                               
record to say  they like the direction SB 296  is moving and they                                                               
will formulate their recommendations shortly.                                                                                   
NINA MOLLETT  testified that  she has  been following  this issue                                                               
since November  2000. Although she  believes that Alaska  has had                                                               
the best voting system in the  country, she is concerned now that                                                               
the 100 touch-screen voting machines  have been purchased because                                                               
she  doesn't  trust  the  company that  makes  the  machines  and                                                               
develops the  software. She suggested  there are  other solutions                                                               
being developed for HAVA.                                                                                                       
DON ANDERSON  testified via teleconference  and reported he  is a                                                               
former member of  the State Election Review Board and  has been a                                                               
computer  programmer for  39 years.  He expressed  strong support                                                               
for SB  296 and urged  members to pass  the bill before  the next                                                               
He recommended:                                                                                                                 
    · Providing a statistical audit selection of certain                                                                        
      machines. Those machines would have their paper ballots                                                                   
      removed and counted by a bipartisan committee and compared                                                                
      with the electronic results.                                                                                              
    · Limit touch-screen machine use to the disabled - even                                                                     
      though they have a paper trail - to minimize their impact                                                                 
      until substantially more is known about how auditable they                                                                
 On a personal note and as a staunch Republican, he said he                                                                     
 would like to see some Republican legislators sign on as                                                                       
 SENATOR ELLIS cheerfully said, "That's the best witnesses I've                                                                 
 ever heard. I don't know the guy; I'm so glad he showed up."                                                                   
 SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS made a motion to move SB 296 from                                                                       
 committee with individual recommendations and attached revised                                                                 
 fiscal note. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                      
 There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                  
 Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 5:00 pm.                                                                           

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