Legislature(2007 - 2008)BELTZ 211

02/21/2008 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 232 NAT'L GUARD: COMMAND/ACTIVE SERVICE/PAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 232 Out of Committee
+ HB 15 BOARD OF FISHERIES CONFLICTS OF INTEREST TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 260 STATE OFFICERS COMPENSATION COMMISSION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 21, 2008                                                                                        
                           9:06 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lesil McGuire, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Con Bunde                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 232                                                                                                             
"An  Act authorizing  the governor  to delegate  to the  adjutant                                                               
general the authority to order  the organized militia into active                                                               
state  service and  authorizing  the payment  of Alaska  National                                                               
Guard  called into  active state  service to  fight wildfires  at                                                               
rates  of pay  established  for  certain emergency  fire-fighting                                                               
personnel; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
     MOVED SB 232 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 15(RES)                                                                                                   
"An Act relating to participation  in matters before the Board of                                                               
Fisheries  by members  of  the  board and  to  the definition  of                                                               
'immediate  family  member'  under the  Alaska  Executive  Branch                                                               
Ethics  Act as  that  Act  applies to  members  of  the Board  of                                                               
Fisheries; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 260(STA)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to a  State Officers Compensation Commission and                                                               
establishing  how  legislators,   the  governor,  the  lieutenant                                                               
governor, and  executive department  heads shall  be compensated;                                                               
providing for an effective date  by repealing the effective dates                                                               
of certain  sections of ch. 124,  SLA 1986; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
BILL: SB 232                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NAT'L GUARD: COMMAND/ACTIVE SERVICE/PAY                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/18/08       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/08       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/21/08       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  15                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BOARD OF FISHERIES CONFLICTS OF INTEREST                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) SEATON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/16/07       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/5/07                                                                                
01/16/07       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/07       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/14/07       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/14/07       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/14/07       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/19/07       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/19/07       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/19/07       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/21/07       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/21/07       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/21/07       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/23/07       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/23/07       (H)       Moved CSHB  15(FSH) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/23/07       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/27/07       (H)       FSH RPT CS(FSH) 2DP 3NR 1AM                                                                            
03/27/07       (H)       DP: LEDOUX, SEATON                                                                                     
03/27/07       (H)       NR: JOHNSON, HOLMES, EDGMON                                                                            
03/27/07       (H)       AM: WILSON                                                                                             
05/02/07       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/02/07       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
05/07/07       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/07/07       (H)       Moved CSHB  15(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
05/07/07       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
05/08/07       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) NT 6DP 3NR                                                                             
05/08/07       (H)       DP: SEATON, KOHRING, EDGMON, WILSON,                                                                   
                         ROSES, GATTO                                                                                           
05/08/07       (H)       NR: GUTTENBERG, KAWASAKI, JOHNSON                                                                      
01/23/08       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
01/23/08       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 15(RES)                                                                                  
01/25/08       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/25/08       (S)       STA, RES, FIN                                                                                          
02/21/08       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 260                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATE OFFICERS COMPENSATION COMMISSION                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) DOOGAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
05/15/07       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/15/07       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
01/17/08       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
01/17/08       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/17/08       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/19/08       (H)       STA AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                            
01/19/08       (H)       Moved CSHB 260(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
01/19/08       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/22/08       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 1DP 3NR 2AM                                                                            
01/22/08       (H)       DP: ROSES                                                                                              
01/22/08       (H)       NR: JOHNSON, JOHANSEN, LYNN                                                                            
01/22/08       (H)       AM: COGHILL, DOLL                                                                                      
01/30/08       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
01/30/08       (H)       Moved CSHB 260(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
01/30/08       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
01/31/08       (H)       FIN RPT CS(STA)  2DP 2DNP 4NR 1AM                                                                      
01/31/08       (H)       DP: CRAWFORD, NELSON                                                                                   
01/31/08       (H)       DNP: STOLTZE, KELLY                                                                                    
01/31/08       (H)       NR: GARA, THOMAS, MEYER, CHENAULT                                                                      
01/31/08       (H)       AM: HAWKER                                                                                             
02/08/08       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/08/08       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 260(STA)                                                                                 
02/11/08       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/08       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/21/08       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MCHUGH PIERRE, Legislative Liaison                                                                                              
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA)                                                                              
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 232.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LYNN WILCOCK, Chief                                                                                                             
Fire and Aviation,                                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Fairbanks AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of SB 232.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS MAISCH, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Forestry                                                                                                            
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Fairbanks AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of SB 232.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 15.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CLEM TILLION                                                                                                                    
Homer AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of HB 15.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
RICKY GEASE, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Kenai River Sportfishing Association                                                                                            
Kenai AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke to HB 15.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JERRY MCHUNE                                                                                                                    
United Fishermen of Alaska                                                                                                      
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of HB 15.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE WRIGLEY                                                                                                                   
Alaska Farm Bureau                                                                                                              
Delta Junction AK                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of an amendment to HB 15.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE DOOGAN                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 260.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIM ELTON                                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of HB 260.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LESIL MCGUIRE  called the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at  9:06:07  AM.  Senators  Green,                                                             
Stevens, Bunde,  and McGuire were  present at the call  to order.                                                               
Senator French arrived soon thereafter.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
         SB 232-NAT'L GUARD: COMMAND/ACTIVE SERVICE/PAY                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:06:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of SB 232.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MCHUGH PIERRE,  Legislative Liaison,  Department of  Military and                                                               
Veterans Affairs (DMVA), said SB 232  came about in 2004 when the                                                               
Alaska  National  Guard  was   fighting  Alaska's  extreme  fires                                                               
alongside staff  from the Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR)                                                               
and the Bureau of Land  Management (BLM). There are two different                                                               
pay  rates: one  for emergency  firefighters and  one for  active                                                               
duty guard members.  The guard was making one fourth  to one half                                                               
of what  the others  were making. The  commissioner of  DMVA told                                                               
the DNR  commissioner, and he  said, "We've got the  money, let's                                                               
just  pay them."  But statute  requires the  state to  pay active                                                               
duty rates, and  Section 2 of SB 232 will  change that. Section 1                                                               
"will  allow a  little  more  freedom for  when  there are  other                                                               
events when the governor is not  as available to be reached." Her                                                               
authority can  be delegated to  the commissioner of DMVA,  who is                                                               
also  an  adjutant general  of  the  Alaska National  Guard.  The                                                               
commissioner  would  be  delegated  to  activate  National  Guard                                                               
forces  for whatever  the  governor provides  for,  prior to  the                                                               
situation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked  if changing the statute to  reflect this one                                                               
circumstance will cause a wholesale rate change.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. PIERRE  said the bill  only addresses wildfire  fighting. The                                                               
rates are set by DNR and BLM  and only when the National Guard is                                                               
called to action. It happens  every summer, and guard people know                                                               
that [this pay] is not the  norm. It is an exception for wildfire                                                               
fighting because of its danger.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:09:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN  asked  if  the   National  Guard  gets  the  same                                                               
professional training as other firefighters.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. PIERRE  said they  are only called  for specific  duties that                                                               
they are capable of doing, like crew chief and helicopter pilot.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  said he served as  an army officer. A  person in                                                               
the military doesn't have a  choice when called. Firefighters can                                                               
choose not to work.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. PIERRE said that  is true, but the guard is  the last line of                                                               
defense.  Private  contractors  are called  first.  When  called,                                                               
guard leadership determines what specific job a member will do.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:11:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  said everyone can  agree to equal pay  for equal                                                               
worked,  but he  asked if  the  military gets  benefits that  the                                                               
other firefighters don't, like the use of the "PX."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PIERRE  said  there  are  the  benefits  to  National  Guard                                                               
members, "however,  through this  legislation they'll  be treated                                                               
just  like  any  other  wildfire  fighter  on  the  scene."  This                                                               
includes worker's  compensation and  medical benefits.  When they                                                               
get off of the fire, they will  be treated just like they were in                                                               
the National Guard again.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN  asked if the  department gets compensated  for the                                                               
use of the equipment.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LYNN  WILCOCK, Chief,  Fire and  Aviation,  DNR, Fairbanks,  said                                                               
"They   do  get   compensated  basically   for  their   costs  of                                                               
[indecipherable]  aircraft,  and  that is  primarily  what  we're                                                               
talking about  here is the  National Guard Blackhawks  and making                                                               
sure  that the  pilots  and the  support  personnel that  support                                                               
those   helicopters  receive   equal  pay."   Commissioner  Irwin                                                               
recognized it  in 2004.  The guard is  extremely valuable  and is                                                               
used  after all  civilian assets  are  used. They  are also  used                                                               
while waiting for workers to arrive from the Lower 48.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:13:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN said  she was  noting the  DNR budget  "and it  is                                                               
always amazing to read and see  the figures of the set-aside cost                                                               
and then  tack on  the per  hour cost." She  wanted to  make sure                                                               
DMVA was getting "a few bucks for their rental."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILCOCK said  aviation assets are getting  expensive, and the                                                               
guard is paid for their costs.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE asked if the proposed  $35 per hour is what a state                                                               
helicopter pilot would be paid.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILCOCK  said the  emergency firefighter  rates are  based on                                                               
the  federal  government  rate for  similar  jobs,  adjusted  for                                                               
inflation each  year. "That is a  comparable rate for a  pilot if                                                               
we were to hire that person as a pilot for the state of Alaska."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE asked if a private pilot makes more.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILCOCK said he is not  sure because that rate is established                                                               
by the company. But he expects it is more.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE  said fixed-wing pilots  were paid $60 per  hour 15                                                               
years ago, but he is not suggesting a raise for state employees.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:15:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked  what happens if the  guard is firefighting                                                               
and their services are needed elsewhere.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. PIERRE said a priority would remove them from the fire.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:16:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  MAISCH, Director,  Division of  Forestry, DNR,  Fairbanks,                                                               
said the commissioner  of DNR supports equal pay  for equal work,                                                               
and he is enthusiastic about the bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE  said some Alaskans "off  the end of the  road" say                                                               
they  get no  services,  but with  the cost  of  fires in  remote                                                               
areas, "they get a substantial state service."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  moved SB  232  from  committee with  individual                                                               
recommendations  and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There  being  no                                                               
objection, SB 232 passed out of committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
        HB  15-BOARD OF FISHERIES CONFLICTS OF INTEREST                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:17:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced  the consideration of HB  15. [Before the                                                               
committee was CSHB 15(RES).]                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON, Alaska  State Legislature, said HB 15                                                               
expands the ability  of the Board of Fish to  do its job. Current                                                               
law  requires  members to  declare  a  conflict of  interest  and                                                               
recuse  themselves  from discussion  and  voting  if they,  or  a                                                               
member of their family, have  a personal or financial interest in                                                               
a matter.  This prevents them  from using their expertise  on the                                                               
board -- expertise  they were appointed for. The  board has seven                                                               
members. At  least one member is  recused in about 10  percent of                                                               
board  proposals. Current  law  disproportionately affects  rural                                                               
Alaska where fishing may be  the economic mainstay. Any long-term                                                               
resident  of  Bristol  Bay,  for  example,  has  numerous  family                                                               
members   involved  in   fishing.  Currently,   immediate  family                                                               
includes  parents, children,  siblings, grandparents,  aunts, and                                                               
uncles. This expansive  definition means that a  person in Togiak                                                               
with a  fishing relative  in Dillingham  can't even  discuss that                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:20:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  HB  15 changes  the  definition  of                                                               
family  to the  same as  is used  in the  legislature. So  family                                                               
includes a  spouse, domestic partner,  or any child or  parent in                                                               
the home  that is a  dependent. The bill  sunsets in 2011  with a                                                               
required report  to determine if it  had the desired effect  of a                                                               
useful  system  without  conflicts  of interest.  He  provided  a                                                               
comparison  of definition  of family  member  and a  list of  the                                                               
recusals for several different boards.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:22:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  the medical  board has  never had  a                                                               
recusal. A surgeon will vote on  a surgical question. It is being                                                               
applied so differently on other boards  than the Board of Fish. A                                                               
charter vessel  or commercial vessel  is licensed to an  area. In                                                               
Bristol Bay  there may be  1,400 people  with permits, but  it is                                                               
not the entire state. The attorney  general for the Board of Fish                                                               
has determined it very narrowly.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:25:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CLEM TILLION,  Homer, AK, said  he supports the bill  and doesn't                                                               
like the  sunset. When he was  in charge of appointing  the board                                                               
for  Walter Hickel,  he  appointed someone  from  Sand Point  and                                                               
someone from  Naknek - people  on both sides. "They  became great                                                               
friends because they both set  in the hallway, unable to testify,                                                               
and they were the only ones  who knew anything about it." He said                                                               
he has had proposals before the  board that everyone was in favor                                                               
of, but having  a missing board member made it  impossible to get                                                               
the votes  to do  anything. The board  was paralyzed  even though                                                               
they  were unanimous  because people  had  to recuse  themselves.                                                               
"What we did in the legislature is  the right way to do it." Some                                                               
members might  not want  to vote,  so they  stretch the  rules to                                                               
recuse  themselves. That  is a  no  vote, which  isn't good  when                                                               
their constituents wanted a yes vote.  HB 15 is very much needed.                                                               
He said he appears before the board "quite frequently."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RICKY  GEASE,   Executive  Director,  Kenai   River  Sportfishing                                                               
Association, said he supports parts  of the bill, like redefining                                                               
immediate  family.  In  small  communities  the  extended  family                                                               
concept causes  unnecessary recusals.  Page 2,  line 14,  needs a                                                               
definition of  "substantial," and if it  is a dollar amount  or a                                                               
percentage of income. One must  be careful when allowing a person                                                               
with a financial interest to  participate in board deliberations.                                                               
The  Board  of Fish  gets  information  from the  public  through                                                               
testimony  and  committee work.  There  are  various user  groups                                                               
arguing  over proposals,  and  there  are significant  allocative                                                               
decisions with  financial implications. Allowing a  member with a                                                               
financial  interest  to deliberate  gives  that  group an  unfair                                                               
advantage. Other groups may be  left out of the deliberations. If                                                               
this  bill  is passed  with  the  ability  for  a person  with  a                                                               
financial interest to deliberate,  the board appointments will be                                                               
much more  political. There  are more than  seven user  groups in                                                               
the  state, and  all of  the  groups will  want a  member on  the                                                               
seven-person board. That will add a lot of appointment pressure.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:30:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN  asked  if  there   is  a  clear  line  separating                                                               
deliberations from receiving testimony.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  said the board  first receives department  reports, it                                                               
then takes  public testimony, and  then proposals will be  put in                                                               
committees.  Usually  two to  three  board  members will  lead  a                                                               
committee through the different proposals  and go back and give a                                                               
report  on where  the  public  stood. Then  the  board goes  into                                                               
deliberations, and  it is important  what questions are  asked in                                                               
that process. The public is excluded,  so some user groups may be                                                               
represented, and it can be perceived as an unfair advantage.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:32:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN  asked  if  it's  OK  for  conflicted  members  to                                                               
participate in  everything down to  deliberations, and  then they                                                               
should recuse themselves.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  said that  is the  current situation.  If a  person is                                                               
recused,  he or  she  can pose  as  a member  of  the public  and                                                               
provide information and  testify. There might not  be the ability                                                               
for the expertise to be used  in the deliberative process, but it                                                               
can be shared with the board.  But the deliberative mode could be                                                               
used advantageously from a user-group perspective.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN  asked if Mr.  Gease likes the redefinition  of the                                                               
family member.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE said yes, that will  reduce the number of recusals, but                                                               
if there is a direct financial  conflict of interest, it would be                                                               
unfair for  that member  to deliberate and  just be  recused from                                                               
the  vote. Proposals  usually  address  allocations between  user                                                               
groups. User groups will then press for a member on the board.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN  asked if every member  is able to freely  talk and                                                               
contribute prior to deliberations, regardless of conflict.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:35:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GEASE  said  yes,  up   until  the  point  where  the  board                                                               
officially takes up a proposal.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN  asked if  any member  that anticipates  a proposal                                                               
can share all of their information at that time.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  said that  is correct. The  deadline for  proposals is                                                               
usually eight to  twelve months ahead of time.  So when preparing                                                               
for the  board meeting, the  members will  have an idea  of where                                                               
there will  be conflicts  of interest, "and  they have  plenty of                                                               
opportunity to provide their expertise  and input into a proposal                                                               
if they are conflicted out" - just like any citizen.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GREEN asked  if  the board  has  open discussions  after                                                               
deliberations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE said  once the deliberative process  starts, the public                                                               
input  is  limited, unless  a  proposal  was tabled  for  further                                                               
consideration. Very few tabled proposals  are taken up later. The                                                               
public  doesn't have  the  chance to  provide  comments once  the                                                               
board  is  deliberating.  There  may  be  amendments  during  the                                                               
deliberative process, he noted.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:38:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked about  the board  having so  many recusals                                                               
that there are not enough votes to take action.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  said he  has seen  a couple  times where  members were                                                               
conflicted out,  but often the  board will vote  unanimously. The                                                               
closer  votes tend  to be  very  allocative, and  the vote  might                                                               
swing  to reflect  financial connections.  If  a proposal  really                                                               
makes  sense, it  will pass  six or  seven to  zero. He  spoke of                                                               
ethical  problems. This  bill will  still  put the  board in  the                                                               
position  of not  allowing somebody  to vote,  but it  will allow                                                               
someone  with  a  financial interest  to  deliberate  when  other                                                               
members of the public with an interest will not be able to.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:40:13 AM                                                                                                                    
JERRY MCHUNE, United Fishermen of  Alaska, Juneau, said his group                                                               
supports  HB 15  as written.  The bill  has been  around for  ten                                                               
years, and  recusal from  voting was one  of the  compromises. It                                                               
swings both ways  because conflict of interest can  happen in any                                                               
party. "People  sometimes bring it to  the table just to  try and                                                               
conflict people out." There are  only seven board members, and it                                                               
is not  just about Cook Inlet  - board meetings occur  around the                                                               
state. Crab experts have been  conflicted out because they either                                                               
crewed  or  they owned  a  vessel,  so they  had  to  sit in  the                                                               
audience  and not  say  anything.  If a  question  comes up,  the                                                               
member  can't   say  anything.  Everybody   should  be   able  to                                                               
deliberate, and it  is a good compromise. He  supports the family                                                               
definition because he  could have a second cousin  in Bristol Bay                                                               
that he didn't even like, and he would be recused.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MCGUIRE noted  that  Bryce Wrigley  will  speak about  the                                                               
Board of Agriculture and Conservation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:42:25 AM                                                                                                                    
BRYCE  WRIGLEY, Alaska  Farm Bureau,  Delta  Junction, said  that                                                               
when  people  are  selected  to represent  an  area  or  industry                                                               
sector, they  need to participate  in discussions. If there  is a                                                               
conflict  of interest,  it is  the  member's duty  to inform  the                                                               
chair so  the chair can  rule on the ability  to vote. But  it is                                                               
important to  participate in  the discussion.  HB 15  addresses a                                                               
similar  problem on  his board.  When farmers  are on  the board,                                                               
they  have been  kept from  discussion. It  makes him  wonder why                                                               
there is a  board if members can only discuss  things they do not                                                               
know anything  about. He  wants HB  15 to be  amended to  add the                                                               
Board  of Agriculture  and Conservation.  All the  legislators he                                                               
has spoken  to said it  sounds reasonable. He  listed legislators                                                               
he spoke to about the topic.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:45:12 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN moved  Amendment  1,  labeled 25-LS0114\K.2,  Kane                                                               
2/21/08, as follows:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 1, following "the":                                                                                              
     Insert "Board of Agriculture and Conservation and the"                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 2:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "board"                                                                                                           
     Insert "boards"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 3, following "the":                                                                                              
     Insert "Board of Agriculture and Conservation and the"                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 8, following "of the":                                                                                             
     Insert "Board of Agriculture and Conservation and the"                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 9:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "a lay board"                                                                                                       
     Insert "lay boards"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 10:                                                                                                                
     Delete "board" in both places                                                                                              
     Insert "boards" in both places                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 11, following "participation in":                                                                                  
     Insert "certain agricultural programs or in"                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 13:                                                                                                                
     Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                                  
     Insert "new subsections"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 14:                                                                                                                
     Delete "(f)"                                                                                                               
     Insert "(g)"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, following line 6:                                                                                                       
     Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                           
          "(h)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this                                                                     
     chapter,  a  personal  or financial  interest  in  a  matter                                                               
     arising  directly  from involvement  of  the  member of  the                                                               
     Board  of  Agriculture and  Conservation,  or  of the  board                                                               
     member's  immediate family,  and  conducted  under a  lease,                                                               
     permit, installment  contract, or  loan or purchase  of land                                                               
     under  AS 03.10  or under  AS 38.05  does  not disqualify  a                                                               
     member  of the  Board of  Agriculture and  Conservation from                                                               
     deliberating   on  a   matter  before   the  board.   Before                                                               
     deliberating, the member shall  disclose the interest on the                                                               
     record. If  a conflict  is determined  to exist,  the member                                                               
     may not vote on the issue."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 8, following "the":                                                                                              
     Insert "Board of Agriculture and Conservation and the"                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 10, following "the":                                                                                               
     Insert "Board of Agriculture and Conservation or the"                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 16:                                                                                                                
     Delete "AS 39.52.120(f) is"                                                                                                
     Insert "AS 39.52.120(g) and 39.52.120(h) are"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 19, following "RECOMMENDATIONS.":                                                                                  
     Insert "(a)"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 20:                                                                                                                
     Delete "AS 39.52.120(f)"                                                                                                   
     Insert "AS 39.52.120(g)"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                                
     Delete "AS 39.52.120(f)"                                                                                                   
     Insert "AS 39.52.120(g)"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, following line 24:                                                                                                      
     Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                           
     "(b)  The Department of Natural Resources shall review                                                                     
AS 39.52.120(h), added by sec. 2 of  this Act, and not later than                                                               
January 31,  2011,  submit  a  report  to  the  legislature  that                                                               
compares the  effect of that  subsection on the rate  of recusals                                                               
by  members  of the  Board  of  Agriculture and  Conservation  in                                                               
matters   that  have   come   before  the   board   and  make   a                                                               
recommendation  regarding  whether  the  effective  date  of  the                                                               
repeal of AS 39.52.120(h), made by sec.  7 of this Act, should be                                                               
extended."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:45:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS objected to hear from Representative Seaton.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he doesn't  have an objection  to the                                                               
amendment,  but there  is a  difference "in  these." He  said the                                                               
current  bill  allows   deliberation  by  a  person   who  has  a                                                               
participatory interest,  like a  sportfishing guide license  or a                                                               
commercial fishing license,  but not by a lobbyist  or anyone who                                                               
is paid  to be  at the  board, like an  executive director  of an                                                               
organization. People who  are hired to promote a  user group will                                                               
not be able  to participate in that deliberation.  There is quite                                                               
a   difference  between   participatory  interest   and  lobbying                                                               
interest. The  one situation is  a moral conflict, and  the other                                                               
is serving the  people that hired you.  On page 2, line  2, HB 15                                                               
states  that  the interest  goes  as  far  as permit  or  license                                                               
holders.  He doesn't  see anything  in Amendment  1 that  changes                                                               
that, but he  wanted to point it out. It  was a delicate balance.                                                               
He didn't want a situation  where everyone wanted their executive                                                               
director on the  board so they could bring home  the bacon. HB 15                                                               
doesn't open  the possibility of hired  lobbyists deliberating or                                                               
voting on the board.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:48:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked what that has to do with the amendment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said this  amendment has different language                                                               
pertaining to the  Board of Agriculture, and he  wanted to ensure                                                               
that the same language won't apply to the Board of Fish.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MCGUIRE said  she  will  set the  bill  aside  and get  an                                                               
opinion on Amendment 1.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:49:49 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked how many boards need this change.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GREEN  asked if  the  agriculture  board has  a  similar                                                               
process for reviewing proposals as the Board of Fish.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGLEY  said he was  surprised that  the Board of  Fish knew                                                               
the issues  several months ahead  of time.  That is not  the case                                                               
with his board. His board has  public comment at the beginning of                                                               
the board meeting, and once  deliberations begin, other questions                                                               
come  up. If  someone is  recused, there  is no  good way  to get                                                               
information. He said they could  get out of the deliberative mode                                                               
to discuss that issue and then  go back in, but meetings can last                                                               
all  day,  and  the  on-line  participants  can't  wait  for  the                                                               
possibility to speak  again. The bill will  allow discussion with                                                               
those who  were appointed to represent  an area or a  sector, and                                                               
it allows  the treatment of  the issues once public  testimony is                                                               
closed. But it does allow recusals from voting.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GREEN   asked  if   the  public   can  weigh   in  after                                                               
deliberations begin.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGLEY said no.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN asked who is on  the board from Mr. Wrigley's area,                                                               
Fairbanks, Palmer and Tok.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGLEY  said there  is not  one from  those four  areas. The                                                               
farming seats  are restricted  to those who  have an  interest in                                                               
farming.  Homer and  Kodiak  were represented  in  the past.  Mt.                                                               
McKinley meats members  were not allowed to speak to  it, and yet                                                               
they were  the only people who  knew anything about meat.  If you                                                               
have  an interest  in  a certain  sector,  you're prevented  from                                                               
discussing  that sector.  Consequently  the only  things you  are                                                               
allowed to testify to or discuss  are those things that you don't                                                               
have any knowledge about.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:54:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GREEN noted  that there is no  statewide participation on                                                               
the board. Her district is well represented.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  there   is  a  technical  amendment                                                               
regarding a statutory reference.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE set HB 15 aside.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
         HB 260-STATE OFFICERS COMPENSATION COMMISSION                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration  of HB 260. [Before the                                                               
committee was CSHB 260(STA).]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:54:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE DOOGAN,  Alaska State  Legislature, said  HB                                                               
260 re-establishes  a compensation  commission for  the principle                                                               
officers of  Alaska. There was a  working compensation commission                                                               
in 1979,  and Senator Elton was  a public member. An  attempt was                                                               
made  to reestablish  a similar  commission in  1986, but  it was                                                               
dependent upon  a constitutional amendment that  never passed. HB                                                               
260 has a  repeal of that inactive commission.  The bill provides                                                               
for five members with three  public members, all appointed by the                                                               
governor. No member  will have served in any of  the offices that                                                               
the  commission will  consider for  compensation in  the previous                                                               
four   years.  It   will  be   staffed  by   the  Department   of                                                               
Administration, and  the fiscal  note is  $7,500. It  will report                                                               
every  two years.  Recommendations  by the  commission will  take                                                               
effect unless specifically rejected  by the legislature. It would                                                               
require an  appropriation so the  legislature will get  two looks                                                               
at  "this  provision."  There  are   about  20  such  commissions                                                               
throughout the country.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:57:48 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BUNDE asked  if this would be like Congress  where if the                                                               
legislature fails to vote no, the raise is automatic.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN said no, because of the appropriation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE  said Congress  automatically gets  a raise  if the                                                               
commission  recommends it  so they  can say,  "the devil  made me                                                               
take this money."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:58:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE said there is the  overt rejection, but there is an                                                               
appropriation requirement. People wanted  to move the capital and                                                               
because of the  FRANK initiative "and other things,"  it ended up                                                               
being  "the   lack  of  an   appropriation  that  ended   up  not                                                               
solidifying  parts  of  that."  If  the  intent  is  to  have  an                                                               
effective  system   of  compensating   lawmakers  based   on  the                                                               
recommendations  of this  commission,  "I  have wondered  whether                                                               
having the step of appropriating it might be the death of it."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN said  it could, but he couldn't  find a way                                                               
to remove the legislative power of appropriation from the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE said to go upstairs to get some ideas.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN   said  the   legislature  does   have  to                                                               
appropriate the money. He has  tried to remove the legislature as                                                               
much  as possible  because he  believes rational  decision-making                                                               
comes from citizens without anything "on the table."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE said to get  citizen participation the money has to                                                               
come out of the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:00:51 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR KIM ELTON, Alaska State  Legislature, said he is not here                                                               
in the capacity of  a senator, but he will speak  to 30 years ago                                                               
when  he served  on  a  salary commission.  The  impetus for  the                                                               
commission was a successful initiative  that repealed an act that                                                               
raised  salaries  for legislators  and  created  a very  generous                                                               
retirement  system.  Commission  members were  appointed  by  the                                                               
governor. He  doesn't remember if  there were  qualifications for                                                               
serving. HB  260 does have one  condition. All of the  members on                                                               
the old commission were from the  private sector and did not hold                                                               
a  state  or  municipal  job.   One  problem  was  its  scope  of                                                               
authority;  it reviewed  the salaries  of  all elected  officials                                                               
from governor, judges, and down  to division directors. It wasn't                                                               
that burdensome on  the commission, but it created  issues in the                                                               
legislative branch  when recommendations  were made.  "There were                                                               
so  many   different  recommendations   …  that  it   created  an                                                               
opportunity  for  so  many legislators  who  disagreed  with  one                                                               
element to be displeased with the recommendation."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:04:55 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON said  the commission was abandoned  and attempts to                                                               
resurrect  one have  not been  successful. He  thinks the  notion                                                               
behind a salary commission makes  sense, and this narrower one is                                                               
better than the previous commission.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:05:47 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR STEVENS asked  if a fair salary would have  had an impact                                                               
on the ethical lapses that have occurred "in this building."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON said  yes, but  he  can't quantify  the extent.  A                                                               
greater impact will  be on the demographics of the  body, and not                                                               
on its ethics. Most members are  old white guys who have paid off                                                               
their  homes. It  is difficult  for a  younger person  with house                                                               
payments and  kids at home  to leave their profession  and serve.                                                               
This  is his  personal philosophy.  The salary  of an  ethically-                                                               
challenged person  might not  matter. But  he hopes  that [higher                                                               
salaries] will change the demographics of both bodies.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  the bill is overdue. HB 260  doesn't say how                                                               
often the commission  will meet. He wants the  commission to look                                                               
at whether the  state really has a citizen's  legislature or not.                                                               
"We want to think  we have that," but he can only  think of a few                                                               
members who are able  to hold on to their jobs. It  is hard to do                                                               
something else while working at  the legislature, and members end                                                               
up becoming a professional legislator over time.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:09:09 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON  said it  is an important  question, and  there are                                                               
entities that could help answer  that. The National Conference on                                                               
State Legislatures  rates Alaska  as trending toward  a full-time                                                               
legislature.  The commission  could get  that information  easily                                                               
without listening to legislators.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   BUNDE  asked   if  Representative   Doogan  sees   this                                                               
commission  recommending a  full-time legislature.  The part-time                                                               
one was established by the  constitution. "There seems to be some                                                               
inconsistency between  the fervor  for a  90-day session  and the                                                               
willingness of the public to support a full-time legislature."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:11:42 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN said  it is  a difficult  question because                                                               
Alaska has a  citizen legislature but they  are all professionals                                                               
since they get  paid to legislate. The question is  if it is full                                                               
time or part time, which is  quantifiable. The days and hours can                                                               
be measured.  It is his  hope that  the commission would  look at                                                               
the indicators of  what is actually happening versus  a theory of                                                               
what is happening, and make a recommendation based on that.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE asked about long-term  per diem for people who live                                                               
in Juneau. If  flies in the face of the  definition. Another term                                                               
may be more appropriate.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:13:54 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE DOOGAN said it is difficult to explain his long-                                                                 
term per diem,  whereby he gets paid when at  home. He recommends                                                               
not  calling it  something that  nobody else  in the  world would                                                               
call it. The IRS won't call it per diem, because it is taxed.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BUNDE  said he  suspects  that  long-term per  diem  was                                                               
coined when there was smoke and mirrors. It is indeed a stipend.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:15:59 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  GREEN wondered  if it  was coined  for "out-of-towners."                                                               
When  she  heads into  a  town  for  a meeting,  it's  different.                                                               
Senator Stevens flies. Her previous  district could take her from                                                               
Eureka to Talkeetna.  A woman needs to take someone  with her, so                                                               
she has  to buy extra  meals, and that  isn't easy to  claim. "It                                                               
wasn't  designed  for urban  legislators  as  much as  …  out-of-                                                               
towners."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE said "You face  this dilemma where you actually are                                                               
working and most  people who claim long-term per  diem will spend                                                               
the whole day  working on legislative stuff, and so  if you don't                                                               
take it, then  what do you do?"  If it is taken,  it is difficult                                                               
to  explain.  "We all  know  it's  compensation for  what  you're                                                               
doing,  but  the  name  ends   up  being  odd."  She  wants  this                                                               
discussion to  be used by  the commission. Travel for  people who                                                               
live  outside the  highway system  creates some  disparities. She                                                               
said  the   legislators  with  retirements  think   this  job  is                                                               
something to  do later  in life and  shouldn't be  paid full-time                                                               
salaries. She chairs and vice-chairs  a nationwide group, and she                                                               
does it to put Alaska in  a good light. She brings information to                                                               
Alaska. She  loves her  job, and  she doesn't know  how to  do it                                                               
part  time. Voices  of people  in their  earning years  should be                                                               
heard in this  building. Gender comes into play,  and she thought                                                               
of an option of allowing the choice to be a part-time or full-                                                                  
time lawmaker. Some may want  full-time legislators, and some may                                                               
not. She said to start calling  a spade a spade. "We're not being                                                               
really direct  about the amount  of work that's done,  what we're                                                               
paid for it, and how that ought to work."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:20:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN  said  his  age-group (60  years  old)  is                                                               
vastly  overrepresented.   Everyone  was  happily   surprised  at                                                               
Alaska's  participation  in  the [recent  national  presidential]                                                               
caucuses, and that  happened because they felt they  could make a                                                               
difference. He said if more  people could do their public service                                                               
without having to abandon their  private lives, there may be more                                                               
options come election time.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE said  no one believes that being  a lawmaker should                                                               
be lucrative. It  is public service, but should there  be a basic                                                               
salary to pay bills?                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS said he likes  the idea of a citizen legislature,                                                               
but  he works  almost  everyday.  It is  not  full  time, but  it                                                               
certainly isn't part-time work.  The difference between a citizen                                                               
and professional legislature is how much a person gets paid.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:24:21 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BUNDE  said the  public often  sees the  legislature like                                                               
the fire department  that is on call when someone  has a problem.                                                               
That dichotomy will be difficult  to change. Citizens only want a                                                               
full-time legislator when they need  one. It is constitutional to                                                               
be a part-time body. This commission will be educational.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DOOGAN  said a  person  called  him when  he  was                                                               
running for election  and asked why he wasn't in  his office when                                                               
he  dropped  by. Representative  Doogan  told  him that  his  job                                                               
wasn't full  time. The  man responded:  "I don't  want you  to be                                                               
there full time, just when I come to see you."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE held HB 260 in committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair McGuire adjourned the meeting at 10:26:55 AM.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects