Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

02/08/2005 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        February 8, 2005                                                                                        
                           3:36 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gene Therriault, Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Vice Chair                                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 12                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to the prohibition or  elimination of financial                                                               
relationships  with persons  that conduct  business in  countries                                                               
that support or ignore slavery and trafficking in persons."                                                                     
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 76                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to qualifications  of voters,  requirements and                                                               
procedures  regarding independent  candidates  for President  and                                                               
Vice-President  of  the  United States,  voter  registration  and                                                               
voter registration  records, voter  registration through  a power                                                               
of attorney,  voter registration  using scanned  documents, voter                                                               
residence, precinct  boundary and  polling place  designation and                                                               
modification, recognized  political parties,  voters unaffiliated                                                               
with   a  political   party,  early   voting,  absentee   voting,                                                               
application for absentee ballots through  a power of attorney, or                                                               
by scanned  documents, ballot design, ballot  counting, voting by                                                               
mail,   voting   machines,   vote  tally   systems,   initiative,                                                               
referendum, recall, and definitions  in the Alaska Election Code;                                                               
relating  to  incorporation  elections;   and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  12                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIMIT RELATIONS WITH CERTAIN NATIONS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
01/11/05       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              




01/21/05 (S) STA, JUD 02/08/05 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211 WITNESS REGISTER Ambassador John Miller U.S. State Department Washington, DC POSITION STATEMENT: Gave history and efforts to stop slavery and trafficking of persons Senator Fred Dyson Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 12 Jason Hooley Staff to Senator Dyson Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Explained portions of SB 12 for sponsor Vern Jones Chief Procurement Officer Department of Administration PO Box 110200 Juneau, AK 99811-0200 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on potential impacts of SB 12 Karla Schofield Deputy Director Administrative Services Legislative Affairs Agency Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on potential impacts of SB 12 Laura Glaiser, Director Division of Elections PO Box 110017 Juneau, AK 99811-0017 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 76 LINDA MURPHY, Clerk Kenai Peninsula Borough 144 North Binkley Street Soldotna, AK 99669 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concern about specific sections of SB 76 ACTION NARRATIVE CHAIR GENE THERRIAULT called the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:36:36 PM. Present were Senators Elton, Huggins, Davis and Chair Therriault. SB 12-LIMIT RELATIONS WITH CERTAIN NATIONS CHAIR THERRIAULT announced SB 12 to be up for consideration and invited Senator Dyson to come forward. 3:37:03 PM SENATOR FRED DYSON, primary sponsor, informed members that Ambassador John Miller, who is in charge of trafficking of persons for the State Department, was online and he would like the committee to hear from him first. Ambassador Miller would give a history of the federal efforts to stop human trafficking, but he couldn't render an opinion on the bill. CHAIR THERRIAULT recognized Ambassador Miller and told him that members had copies of "Facts About Human Trafficking." He noted in particular that the second and third pages explain the tier system and which countries fall into each tier. 3:38:46 PM AMBASSADOR JOHN MILLER testified via teleconference and said he was pleased to speak to the trafficking challenge they face around the world and to comment on the impact the federal sanctions have had. 3:39:06 PM The U.S. Government estimates that up to 800,000 men women and children are trafficked across international boarders every year for the purpose of slavery. Because that figure doesn't count domestic slavery, the real figure could be in the millions. Modern slavery takes many forms, but sex slavery is the largest category. Congress and the President want the U.S. to take the lead in addressing the issue as evidenced by the fact that 20 percent of the President's speech at the UN General Assembly more than a year ago was devoted to slavery and what nations can do about it. 3:41:42 PM AMBASSADOR MILLER said the State Department is addressing the challenge through diplomacy, and by instituting plans for prevention, protection of victims and prosecution. Several years ago the State Department developed a three-tier system to evaluate how governments are addressing human trafficking and the Secretary of State evaluates those efforts in an annual report. Tier 1 governments meet minimum standards to protect victims from traffickers. Tier 2 includes governments that don't meet minimum standards, but that are making significant effort to address trafficking. The Tier 2 Watch List contains the countries that are in danger of dropping into Tier 3, which includes those governments that are not making significant effort. A government classified as Tier 3 is given three months to take steps to increase protection, prevention and prosecution of human trafficking after which the Secretary of State advises the President and discussion ensues as to whether sanctions should be applied by removing certain U.S. aid. 3:44:22 PM Non-compliance sanctions have had a salutary affect as evidenced by the fact that friendly governments took significant steps to address human trafficking after they were classified as Tier 3 in the June 2003 report. This, he said, is an issue that impacts national stability because human trafficking is a major source of revenue for organized crime. 3:45:59 PM 3:46:53 PM AMBASSADOR MILLER reported there were nearly 3,000 global trafficking convictions last year and that over 50 countries have now passed anti-human trafficking of laws. The progress is a result of diplomacy, increased visibility, and the threat of sanctions in the form of reduced aid by the U.S., he concluded. 3:47:35 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked whether committee members had any questions. 3:47:45 PM SENATOR DYSON noted that federal legislation says the U.S. may not impose humanitarian aid or trade sanctions and he questioned why trade sanctions aren't allowed. AMBASSADOR MILLER said he assumes that Congress believes that humanitarian aid and trade aid are so important that those sanctions shouldn't be used. SENATOR DYSON noted the emphasis on domestic organizations that are involved in sex tourism and questioned whether American companies doing business in Tier 3 countries receive similar pressure. AMBASSADOR MILLER said they haven't received pressure, but Congress did pass legislation asking federal agencies to work with the travel industry to warn Americans going abroad of the dangers of sex tourism and to make it clear that conviction on child sex charges brings up to 30 years U.S. prison time. 3:50:46 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT stated that the proposed legislation would place permissible restrictions on the three branches of government and he was curious whether the federal law had the same mechanism. 3:51:12 PM AMBASSADOR MILLER replied the intersection of state and federal law is outside his area of expertise, but Alaska is the first state he knows of to consider legislation addressing the issue of modern day slavery. 3:52:06 PM SENATOR DYSON explained he has also considered whether or not to have this effort apply to the Permanent Fund. Currently, the fund is guided by the Prudent Investor Rule, which calls for careful financial scrutiny but precludes investigation of other criteria. He questioned whether the World Bank or others consider criteria such as human rights when making investments. 3:53:17 PM AMBASSADOR MILLER said that too is outside his area of expertise. 3:53:51 PM SENATOR DYSON thanked Ambassador Miller for his efforts. AMBASSADOR MILLER said he appreciates the interest in the issue. 3:54:46 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT thanked Ambassador Miller and asked Senator Dyson to introduce the bill. SENATOR DYSON noted companion legislation then informed members that Alaska has a larger human trafficking problem than most people would ever imagine. He detailed instances of child sex trafficking to Southeast cruise ship passengers and Asian women held in captivity in the Spenard area to emphasize that this is an ongoing issue and that he is zealously working with Representative Croft to criminalize the sexual tourism industry in Alaska. 3:57:52 PM SENATOR DYSON pointed out that the Legislature could elect to make compliance mandatory and that version \F would include the investment of the Permanent Fund. The Legislature has policy choices and deliberation should be thoughtful. 3:59:17 PM JASON HOOLEY, staff to Senator Dyson, explained the intent of the proposed \F version committee substitute (CS) is to include quasi-governmental corporations such as the Permanent Fund Corporation. However, he was unclear whether the language actually does that. 3:59:51 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked why the sponsor changed the language in Sections 2, 3, and 4 from "prohibiting or eliminating" financial relationships to "restricting" financial relationships. JASON HOOLEY said it was intended to give agencies more flexibility. 4:01:00 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT questioned how the agencies would determine whether suppliers have a financial relationship with a Tier 3 country. SENATOR DYSON replied the State Department would be a good resource for doing that. Also, he understands that Governor Murkowski drafted an Executive Order that accomplishes what the bill talks about. 4:02:14 PM SENATOR DYSON said whenever he's received feedback from international company headquarters, the feedback has always been supportive. The bill would provide a clear policy that would then be easier to implement in the field, he said. He envisions that Alaska agencies would ask companies about their policy to keep employees from becoming involved in exploiting children and to mitigate slavery if they do business in a Tier 3 nation. A process would be established to determine whether or not the companies' word is good on those activities. 4:04:08 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT referred to Section 4 and asked whether the \F version was drafted to include quasi-governmental agencies such as the railroad and AIDEA whereas the original version didn't include them. JASON HOOLEY said yes. 4:04:32 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT called for questions. SENATOR KIM ELTON referenced Section 4 of the \F version and asked how the administration might deal with a major North Slope producer that was interested in participating in the gas pipeline, but also had an interest in a refinery in an oil- producing Tier 3 country. 4:06:25 PM SENATOR DYSON replied there is nothing in the law that precludes doing business with a company doing business in a Tier 3 country. The company would have to certify that they are not exacerbating the problem and that they are doing whatever is in their purview to mitigate the problem. The day may come when the Administration and or we legislators will face the decision. Are we willing to do business with a company or a country that is flagrantly and blatantly trafficking in children and destroying lives? Are we willing to sell our soul to do that? And fortunately for us, our mineral and natural resource wealth is such that it's almost never that there's a single bidder wanting to do business with us. I think we will never face the situation where the utilization of our resources or provision of service won't happen if we turn down doing business with pimps. 4:08:44 PM SENATOR ELTON noted that restricting financial relationships seemed to be the suggested remedy yet the Executive could make a determination that the activities of a company doing business in a Tier 3 country wouldn't necessarily be sanctioned if they weren't exacerbating trafficking. 4:09:35 PM SENATOR DYSON said that's probable, but if the Legislature decides that state investments, including the Permanent Fund, may not include Tier 3 countries, they may have to face decisions about imposing sanctions. He warned that he would withdraw the bill if it were amended beyond trafficking of persons. 4:10:49 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT compared version \A and \F and commented that it's a leap of faith to believe that the regulations won't say, if you're doing business with a Tier 3 country then you're not doing business with the State of Alaska period. You wouldn't necessarily want to deny access to a multi-national corporation that may very well be the best source of employment in the country, he said. SENATOR DYSON agreed. 4:11:54 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked Vern Jones to come forward. VERN JONES, chief procurement officer for the State of Alaska, reported that the administration has worked with the sponsor on this issue for considerable time. Although they don't believe it's practical to cut ties with all U.S. companies that do business in Tier 3 countries, they do believe they could implement procedures to comply with the intent of the legislation. For future contracts they would ask businesses to disclose whether they have locations in or do business in the Tier 3 countries. If they do, the company would be required to submit their policy on human trafficking for evaluation. 4:14:24 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT commented that RFPs [request for proposal] would be modified, but he was curious whether a contract might be terminated if a company were found to be noncompliant. MR. JONES said certainly if the conditions were in place when they did the procurement. The policy would have to be well planned to anticipate those sorts of things. He suggested establishing a policy with some teeth would make sense as long as it was clear up front. 4:15:36 PM SENATOR ELTON asked if awarding contracts to companies that do business in Tier 3 countries might not increase contract challenges. JONES replied, "Anytime you add requirements to a procurement that would have us go and check external conditions, you are increasing the risk of that procurement. You are increasing the availability or the probability that competitors will - if the business is significant enough - try and make a case." That's a cost of doing business. SENATOR ELTON said he wasn't necessarily suggesting that it's bad, but it is a possibility. CHAIR THERRIAULT asked Mr. Jones if the wording in Section 4 of the \F version would include the Railroad and AIDEA in his view. MR. JONES acknowledged he hadn't looked at it from that perspective and he hadn't seen version \F before, but he prefers language that calls for "restricting" rather than "prohibiting and eliminating" relationships. 4:17:52 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT noted that \F version language appears to be preferable and has the additional reference to the investment issue, but he would accept a motion to adopt one version or the other as the working document. 4:18:13 PM SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS motioned to adopt \F Version of SB 12 as the working document. There being no objection, it was so ordered. 4:18:38 PM SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS said he supports the bill, but he knows that unilateral economic sanctions can be problematic. He asked Mr. Jones whether he thought this would actually have consequences. MR. JONES said it's likely that the state doesn't offer enough business and therefore doesn't have the clout to cause a multi national corporation to stop doing business in a Tier 3 country where they are making a profit. However, the sponsor's intent is to highlight the situation so that businesses operating in Tier 3 countries are made aware that the issue is important to Americans and Alaskans specifically. It's a step in the right direction. 4:20:44 PM SENATOR DYSON commented that the elimination of apartheid in South Africa was a slow process and many people struggled with the associated philosophical questions. The development of resources in Alaska is a large prize, he emphasized, and companies that are eager to do business in the state will change practices to ensure that they are able to vie for that prize. Some companies will establish and implement policies so that they can do business in Alaska. It's too early to tell whether it will change other nations, but petroleum companies that are doing business in Alaska often times have large holdings overseas. If they have to develop and implement an acceptable policy to do business in Alaska they will eventually have an affect in the Tier 3 countries where they operate. 4:22:37 PM SENATOR HUGGINS referenced the list of Tier 3 countries and remarked that North Korea traded in weapons systems for the most part and he questioned whether Alaska maintained any trade relationship with the country. MR. JONES admitted he wasn't sure which business relationships Alaska maintains that also operate in North Korea, but the South American countries caught his attention because of the number of highly recognizable companies doing business there. 4:23:23 PM SENATOR ELTON questioned whether legal issues might arise as a consequence of entering a business relationship with a company that does business in a country that falls to Tier 3 when the list is updated. MR. JONES replied there probably would be issues. The question is whether the state would have to go back and get policies from a company with which it already maintained a business relationship. In procurement, such issues are addressed up front, he said. 4:25:18 PM SENATOR DYSON suggested that Mr. Jones would probably address that in the RFP [request for proposal] and make it clear that if the list were to change the state would reserve the right to ask about human slavery policies and practices. MR. JONES replied they would certainly have the proviso in all procurements and could reserve the right to go back. However, the practical question of how you'd know of a tier change in mid contract is another matter. 4:26:20 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT commented he wasn't sure how a company that responded to an RFP would be able to evaluate what a country they do business with might do or not do in the future. SENATOR DYSON replied that is why Ambassador Miller initiated the Tier 2 watch list. Those countries bear watching. 4:27:08 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT referenced Section 4 and asked whether this would apply to lease agreements with major North Slope oil companies because that is certainly a financial arrangement. Since the pro-development and anti-development forces are usually at odds, he questioned whether this provision might help to hold up leases that would otherwise move forward. "Have you spoken to anybody in the administration about how that could be used as a tool against the State of Alaska," he asked. 4:28:32 PM SENATOR DYSON acknowledged he hadn't done that, but it was a good point. He asked the Chair to take no action on the bill that day to provide time for someone from the administration to address the issue and to give the PFD Board the opportunity to speak to Section 4 and its allegiance to the Prudent Investor Rule, which doesn't consider humanitarian or social values. CHAIR THERRIAULT noted there were no further questions for Senator Dyson and asked Karla Schofield to come forward. 4:29:47 PM KARLA SCHOFIELD, Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA), explained that procurement procedures are under the auspices of the Legislative Council so they would adopt procurement policies and procedures as directed. Companies could certify what relationships they might have with various countries and the council chair would likely make the decision whether or not to do business with them. CHAIR THERRIALUT noted that a pencil he used recently came from Vietnam, which caused him to question how far down the line the agency might try to reach with the regulation. MS. SCHOFIELD said she wasn't sure how far down the inquiry would go. She added it's quite easy to get a hold of the Tier 3 list, but it would be a lot of work to try and keep track of who is and is not on other lists. LAA buys a lot of large and small items and it could be quite a chore to keep track of the various and changing business relationships. CHAIR THERRIALUT remarked the pencils certainly are down the line, but LAA would be dealing with an office supply wholesaler instead of the pencil manufacturer. There were no further questions for Ms. Schofield and he noted that someone from the court system might be available at the next hearing. 4:32:56 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked Senator Dyson to explain his reference to "other list of countries" and questioned why you wouldn't want to use the established tier system list. If that system fell out of favor the Legislature could always make a policy call to switch to another known quantity, he said. 4:33:26 PM JASON HOOLEY, staff to Senator Dyson, explained the phrase in question was added in the drafting and not at their request. The drafters thought that the name of the report might change so the phrase was included to indicate that a similar report would be required. CHAIR THERRIALUT suggested making the reference specific to the tier list. The language should make it clear that this is the list to use until the State Department makes a change. SENATOR DYSON said the point was well taken. 4:34:48 PM CHAIR THERRIALUT remarked that it's unclear whether the Tier 3 list is drafted under 22 U.S.C. 7107(b)(1)(C). SENATOR DYSON said they would clarify that. 4:35:11 PM CHAIR THERRIALUT announced that at the prime sponsor's request, he would hold \F version SB 12 in committee. 4:35:11 PM SB 76-ELECTIONS CHAIR THERRIALUT announced SB 76 to be up for consideration and that he didn't intend to move the bill that day. He asked Laura Glaiser to come forward. LAURA GLAISER, Division of Elections director, explained that the notations in the sectional analysis for SB 76 indicate the portions that already received considerable discussion last session. She described many of the changes as housekeeping measures that relate to: voter residency and reference to temporary construction camps; registration; the option to give special power of attorney; the ability to scan a document as an application; transmission by facsimile; and early voting sites. 4:38:34 PM CHAIR THERRIALUT announced that because this was an overview of the bill, members should feel free to pose questions at any time. SENATOR ELTON referenced Section 6 that applies to notification and questioned how you might apply the language change from "a newspaper published in the House district" to "a newspaper available in the House district" in all areas. It makes sense in Juneau, he said, but the residents of Metlakatla and Cordova probably subscribe to different papers. MS. GLAISER said regional supervisors anticipate that and have clerks become familiar with the communities in which they train the poll workers so that they know which paper is likely to reach the most people. SENATOR ELTON asked if the practice would be to publish in both ends of a district if it is as spread out as the Metlakatla to Cordova House District. MS. GLAISER replied regional supervisors make those kinds of decisions. 4:41:55 PM CHAIR THERRIALUT remarked newspapers aren't necessarily published in the same area in which they're circulated. MS. GLAISER said Sections 7, 16, 17, and 18 relate to independent presidential and vice presidential candidates because there were no statutory provisions to deal with those candidates in the last election. The changes treat them as party candidates so the candidate name appears on the ballot. The change in Section 16 places more onus on an independent presidential candidate than there would be on a party candidate, she said, but it's to show a tie to an Alaskan base and validate an Alaska candidacy. MS. GLAISER said from Section 19 on most of the bill relates to initiative, referendum and recall petitions. 4:44:57 PM SENATOR ELTON asked whether the paper backup that was discussed last year meshed with Section 15. MS. GLAISER replied that section relates to standards for voting machines. It says the "Division of Elections will only utilize systems certified by the FEC [Federal Election Commission] and all updates to data management systems must be certified before the state implements the system." 4:46:33 PM MS. GLAISER continued her explanation and said sections 19 and on relate to petitions and recall. They added the requirement for a printed name and birth date when an application for a petition is signed. This will aid data entry when qualifying voters share the same name. 4:47:50 PM SENATOR ELTON said he was curious as to why the additional identifier was restricted to the date of birth. 4:48:26 PM MS. GLAISER replied the date of birth is the only voter identification that is required on an application and all the others identifiers are optional. CHAIR THERRIAULT added everyone knows his or her date of birth, but not everyone memorizes a Social Security or driver's license number. MS. GLAISER said this was a best effort attempt to qualify more people. Lieutenant Governor Leman would also like the date the petition is signed added as a requirement. This information would make it possible to determine whether or not a petition signer was a registered voter at the time of the signing. Currently it's not clear that you're required to be a registered voter when you sign a petition. By statute, petition books may circulate for a year after which the signatures are verified. The division qualifies the signature after the petition book is submitted, but that doesn't mean the signer was a qualified voter at the time he or she signed the petition. As written, SB 76 does not require a date when signing a petition. If that's an important policy change, you might want to consider an amendment, she said. 4:51:44 PM SENATOR ELTON recapped saying: "There is a possibility that there could be a requirement that date of birth is important and if you're going to be old enough to vote at the time the initiative is on the ballot that could be something this committee or another committee of the Legislature could decide to use as a cut-off point or whether they were a registered voter at the time they signed the petition book." MS. GLAISER replied the division believes that if a voter is qualified at the time of data entry, he or she is a qualified voter, but they have no way of determining whether or not that person is qualified when they signed because no date is required when signing. A date column could be added to the petition book if that's what you want, she said. 4:53:24 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked for clarification because graduating seniors are encouraged to register to vote if they would be of age before the election. MS. GLAISER replied an applicant becomes a qualified voter on the day they register, but they can't access a ballot because registration must occur at least 90 days before an election. However, it would be a test if a special election were to occur prior to that 90 days. CHAIR THERRIAULT asked what date you would be a qualified voter if you turned 18 the day before the November election. MS. GLAISER said according to statutory language a person is a qualified voter when the data entry is completed, but their ballot would count only if their birthday fell 90 days prior to the election. 4:55:06 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT questioned whether a 16 year old could sign up because he or she would be qualified to vote two years hence. MS. GLAISER said no. CHAIR THERRIAULT agreed that they wouldn't be able to vote, but he was curious whether they could fill out the application and send it in. MS. GLAISER said it's a question of semantics. "Yes they could send it in; no they would not become a qualified voter." The key is 90 days prior to the election, she said. 4:55:56 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT questioned how that matches with the initiative process. He asked whether a 17 year old could sign an initiative booklet since they can circulate for up to a year. 4:56:20 PM MS. GLAISER replied she wasn't sure, but if a person signed and they were in the database, the signature would qualify. CHAIR THERRIAULT remarked they couldn't be in the database unless they were qualified a maximum of 90 days prior to an election. He asked her to continue. MS. GLAISER agreed then went on to explain that petition circulators are required to sign an affidavit stating that they are at least 18 years of age, an Alaskan resident, and a U.S. citizen. Being a registered voter is not a requirement. They found that in initiatives requirements were different for signers, circulators and sponsors so the division made changes to make the rules the same for initiative, referendum and recall signers. To add continuity, Section 34 requires the printed name and date of birth to be included when signing a recall application and removes the requirement for the additional 100 qualified voter signatures. Also, the three sponsors must provide names, mailing addresses and signatures. Section 37 removes language referring to a "duplicate copy" because none are assigned in a recall petition effort. After that, posting requirements were changed in initiative, referendum and recall petitions. 5:00:15 PM Section 43 defines voters that are not affiliated with a party because there was no statutory provision to do so and Section 44 relates to recognized party status. The division wanted bright lines set for verifying a political party, when it becomes a political group and how it would reaffirm its status as a political party. Section 45 relates to the definition of "re-registration" and "statewide office." Sections 46-48 include recommendations to Title 29 from Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) that works with local elections. 5:04:11 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked whether committee members had any questions. There being none, he asked Linda Murphy whether she had concerns about specific sections of the bill. 5:04:36 PM LINDA MURPHY, Kenai Peninsula Borough clerk, said she was concerned about the sections related to registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot through power of attorney because it might open the door to voter fraud. This state makes it very easy to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot so consider this section carefully before you act on it, she cautioned. CHAIR THERRIAULT informed Ms. Murphy that SB 36 deals with that section but it doesn't include scanning language. They are trying to make it clear that no party or person may position themselves between the ballot applicant and the Division of Elections for processing sensitive personal information. "I wouldn't want to open up a big loophole by allowing it to be done by an affidavit so that section may come out of the bill altogether," he said. MS. MURPHY said she had similar concerns about the section that deals with registration using power of attorney. 5:06:27 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT asked Ms. Glaiser to respond. MS. GLAISER explained that she made a commitment to family members with spouses or children who were stationed overseas unexpectedly. The recommendation was for a special power of attorney that would be specific to voter registration or changing an absentee ballot application. CHAIR THERRIAULT said he wasn't sure why an individual wouldn't have time to address Division of Elections business if they had time to tend to the power of attorney and other paperwork in preparation for leaving. LAURA GLAISER replied she was ready to accept any decision the committee made in that regard. To honor her promise she put the suggestion out for discussion. 5:08:55 PM LINDA MURPHY said she was referring to the initial voter registration and she wouldn't necessarily object to someone correcting a mailing address for a loved one who was overseas. She agreed with Chair Therriault that if a person had the time to fill out paperwork for a power of attorney then they would have time to go online and get a voter registration application and get it to the Division of Elections. SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS said he could understand the reasoning, but it could open Pandora's Box. 5:10:47 PM CHAIR THERRIAULT said the policy balance is to accommodate the few but not open Pandora's Box to the many. Finding no further questions, Chair Therriault encouraged members to read the bill carefully and highlight any questions so they could be addressed in a committee substitute (CS) before the bill was heard again. CHAIR THERRIAULT held SB 76 in committee and adjourned the meeting at 5:11:21 PM.

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