Legislature(2013 - 2014)BUTROVICH 205
03/11/2014 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE March 11, 2014 9:02 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Fred Dyson, Chair Senator Cathy Giessel, Vice Chair Senator John Coghill Senator Bill Wielechowski MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Bert Stedman COMMITTEE CALENDAR CONFIRMATION HEARINGS Alaska Police Standards Council Bernice Troglia Alaska State Personnel Board Josie Hickel - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED SENATE BILL NO. 175 "An Act designating the official state bolt-action rifle." - MOVED CSSB 175(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 24 Relating to certain holiday practices at federal Veterans Health Administration facilities. - MOVED CSSJR 24(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 19 Supporting the American Indian Veterans Memorial Initiative to construct an Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian veterans' monument in our nation's capital. - MOVED SJR 19 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 18 Requesting the United States Congress to call a convention of the states to propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office of federal government officials; and urging the legislatures of the other 49 states to request the United States Congress to call a convention of the states. - MOVED SJR 18 OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION BILL: SB 175 SHORT TITLE: OFFICIAL STATE FIREARM SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) HUGGINS 02/14/14 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 02/14/14 (S) STA 03/11/14 (S) STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 BILL: SJR 24 SHORT TITLE: VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION POLICIES SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) HUGGINS 02/14/14 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 02/14/14 (S) STA 03/11/14 (S) STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 BILL: SJR 18 SHORT TITLE: FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON 02/05/14 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 02/05/14 (S) STA 02/27/14 (S) STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 02/27/14 (S) Heard & Held 02/27/14 (S) MINUTE(STA) 03/06/14 (S) STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 03/06/14 (S) Heard & Held 03/06/14 (S) MINUTE(STA) 03/11/14 (S) STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 BILL: SJR 19 SHORT TITLE: NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS' MONUMENT SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WIELECHOWSKI 02/05/14 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 02/05/14 (S) STA 03/11/14 (S) STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 WITNESS REGISTER BERNICE TROGLIO, Council Member-Designee Alaska Police Standards Council Alaska Department of Public Safety Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed questions regarding her appointment to the Alaska Police Standards Council. JOHANNA L. HICKEL, Board Member-Designee Alaska State Personnel Board Department of Administration Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed questions regarding her appointment to the Alaska Workforce Investment Board. ERIC HOLLEN, Staff Senator Huggins Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SB 175. MIKE COONS, representing himself Palmer, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 175. ERIC HOLLEN, Staff Senator Huggins Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SJR 24. KALYSSA MAILE, Staff Senator Wielechowski Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SJR 19. TYLER BELK, Staff Senator Dyson Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SJR 18. MICHAEL FARRIS, Project Head Convention of States Project Austin, Texas POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SJR 18. JENNIE GRIMWOOD, President Eagle Forum-Alaska Cordova, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 18. DAVID EICHLER, representing himself North Pole, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Announced being available for questions. CHARLES KACPROWICZ, National Director Citizen Initiatives Pine, North Carolina POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 18. MIKE COONS, Alaska Director Citizen Initiatives Palmer, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SJR 18 with amendments. ACTION NARRATIVE 9:02:26 AM CHAIR FRED DYSON called the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 9:02 a.m. Present at the call to order were Senators Giessel, Coghill, Wielechowski, and Chair Dyson. 9:02:51 AM CHAIR DYSON reviewed the committee meeting's agenda. ^CONFIRMATION HEARINGS CONFIRMATION HEARINGS Alaska Police Standards Council Alaska State Personnel Board 9:03:35 AM CHAIR DYSON announced that the committee will start with the confirmations in accordance with AS 39.05.080. 9:04:25 AM BERNICE TROGLIO, Council Member-Designee, Alaska Police Standards Council, Alaska Department of Public Safety, Anchorage, Alaska, said she desires to remain on the Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC). She explained her background as a counselor and probation officer, specifically with the sex offender population. She addressed the Department of Corrections' Code of Conduct and noted that her behavior has never been questioned since being hired in 1999. She stated that it is every law enforcement officer's fundamental duty to adhere to the highest degree of ethical behavior and APSC ensure that. She said APSC's mission is to produce and maintain professionals capable of meeting law enforcement standards of performance. She set forth that she would be most humbled to continue to serve on APSC, a council that consistently produces the state's finest law enforcement officers. 9:08:07 AM CHAIR DYSON asked if Ms. Troglio lived in Anchorage. MS. TROGLIO answered yes. CHAIR DYSON remarked that what APSC does is inordinately important. He noted that he used to boast that Alaska had virtually no pattern of "dirty" cops, unnecessary violence, and unethical behavior; he said he is no longer able to say that. He asked Ms. Troglio to explain the case pattern that she has seen come before APSC. MS. TROGLIO replied that the cases that have involved serious unethical behavior. She explained that there has been no pattern, but the cases have been serious and warrant APSC's attention for review. CHAIR DYSON added that APSC can remove law enforcement certification even though there are no criminal charges. He asserted that there is a deep pattern in American culture of "Whatever you do, you don't rat out your buddies." He set forth that the code of silence is probably stronger amongst males than females. He noted a case in Anchorage where he found it difficult to believe that fellow officers did not know what was going on and somebody should have said something over the years. 9:11:06 AM MS. TROGLIO recalled the case that Chair Dyson made reference to. She said every law enforcement officer takes a serious oath and their actions should make a community feel safe. She stated that it is sad when an officer steps out of bounds. She set forth that cases that come before APSC are taken very seriously because APSC is dealing with an individual's livelihood. CHAIR DYSON noted the challenges of dealing with sex offenders and welcomed a future conversation to address rehabilitation. He thanked Ms. Troglio for what she has done professionally and with APSC. 9:14:53 AM JOHANNA L. HICKEL, Board Member-Designee, Alaska State Personnel Board, Personnel and Labor Relations, Department of Administration Anchorage, Alaska, revealed that she has 24 years of experience in human resources and noted her educational and certification background. She said she is currently the Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for the Pebble Partnership. She specified that she is considered as a human resource "generalist," a term that means she has worked in all areas of human resources. She noted her background as a volunteer, a practice that she believes is very important as a citizen and professional. She set forth that it would be an honor to serve and provide her talents to AWIB. 9:18:02 AM SENATOR COGHILL thanked Ms. Hickel and Ms. Troglio for their willingness to volunteer. CHAIR DYSON asked Ms. Hickel what legislators could do that would be helpful for AWIB. MS. HICKEL replied that AWIB needs more input from employers and have a better process for making sure information is provided to the legislators to make effective decisions. CHAIR DYSON said he was impressed with Ms. Troglio's and Ms. Hickel's experience and training. 9:21:29 AM CHAIR DYSON read the following statement: In accordance with Article 3, Section 25 of the Alaska Constitution, AS 39.05.080, the State Affairs Committee reviewed the following and recommends appointments be forwarded to the Joint Session for consideration: Personnel Board, Josie Hickel; Alaska Police Standards Council, Bernice Troglio. This does not reflect the intent of any of the members to vote for or against the confirmation of the individual during further sessions. 9:21:58 AM CHAIR DYSON asked if the committee had a problem with forwarding the aforementioned names. [No objection was noted.] SB 175-OFFICIAL STATE FIREARM 9:22:17 AM CHAIR DYSON announced the consideration of SB 175. 9:22:47 AM ERIC HOLLEN, Staff, Senator Huggins, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, requested that the Legislature consider SB 175 and read a sponsor statement as follows: SB 175 is an act designating the official state Bolt Action Rifle to be the Winchester Pre-1964 Model 70 and its 17 designated calibers. The Pre-1964 Model 70 was considered the rifleman's rifle by Jack O'Connor, famous outdoorsmen, author, and writer for Outdoor Life Magazine. One interesting note, a few of the calibers for the Pre-64 was the .338 Winchester Magnum and the .357 H&H Magnum which were called the "Alaskan." Due to the variations and calibers from the .22 Hornet to .458 Winchester Magnum, the Winchester Pre-64 Model 70 is very popular with outdoorsmen here in Alaska. CHAIR DYSON noted that Winchester ownership changed in 1964 and that was the reason the date was important. He explained that there was the perception that Winchester's quality may have deteriorated under subsequent owners. He asked when production started on the Winchester Model 70. 9:24:21 AM MR. HOLLEN replied that Winchester started production in the 1930s. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI specified that production started in 1936. CHAIR DYSON asked if the .300 Winchester Magnum was listed on the calibers that were available before 1964. MR. HOLLEN explained that the .300 may have fallen under the "wildcat" cartridge category. CHAIR DYSON asked for Mr. Hollen to verify that the .300 Winchester Magnum is on the list of Pre-64 calibers and the bill can be amended in the House. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI noted that there is a .300 Winchester Magnum. 9:26:05 AM CHAIR DYSON offered a conceptual amendment that the .300 Winchester Magnum be included to the list. He specified that on line 15, just after "300 H&H Magnum." He asked if there was objection to the amendment. [No objection noted.] SENATOR COGHILL asked if there would be any special labeling or special commemoration if the Winchester Model 70 was designated as the state's bolt action rifle. MR. HOLLEN replied that the language in the bill is just that the Winchester Model 70 is recognized as the state's bolt action rifle. SENATOR COGHILL asked to clarify that the Winchester Model 70 will go on the list of state recognized things like the state flower. MR. HOLLEN answered yes. SENATOR COGHILL asked if the Winchester Model 70 be posted as pre-1964. MR. HOLLEN answered yes. CHAIR DYSON noted that Mr. Hollen is a very competitive shooter and is involved in national and international competition. MR. HOLLEN replied that he was able to represent his country in London for the 2012 Paralympics. He specified that he shot on the U.S. Team as an international pistol competitor for 10 years. CHAIR DYSON thanked Mr. Hollen for his service. 9:29:08 AM MIKE COONS, representing himself, Palmer, Alaska, said he supports SB 175. He stated that the Pre-64 Winchester Model 70, .30-06 should have been noted in SB 175 as the most versatile model and caliber that has ever been made. SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report SB 175, labeled 28-LS1357\N, as amended from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal zero note. 9:30:45 AM CHAIR DYSON announced that without objection, [CSSB 175(STA) moved out of the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.] 9:30:50 AM CHAIR DYSON declared that the committee will stand at ease. SJR 24-VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION POLICIES 9:32:06 AM CHAIR DYSON announced the consideration of SJR 24. 9:32:28 AM ERIC HOLLEN, Staff, Senator Huggins, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented an overview of SJR 24 as follows: I am here today to request legislators to consider SJR 24, requesting Veterans Affairs to change their policies with regard to First Amendment rights and freedom of religion specifically. SJR 24 basically came to my attention mid-December of 2013. There was an issue regarding veterans not receiving Christmas cards based on language on the front of the cards, specifically "Merry Christmas" or "God bless you;" the cards that have this language were not delivered to the veterans. Dozens of students who attend Grace Academy in Prosper, Texas didn't get a chance to deliver their cards that they had made by hand for the local veterans hospital in Dallas. The cards were the idea of Susan Chapman, the math teacher at Grace Academy; she is married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans' organizations. Specifically with regard to Miss Chapman's issue, a Veteran Administration's (VA) employee told her that her students' cards would not be accepted based on the language's religious tone, proclaiming "Merry Christmas" or the cards that said "God Bless You." MR. HOLLEN continued to point out VA hospital events that ignored the First Amendment and did not allow Christmas caroling and gifts. He summarized that he is requesting the following: That the Alaska State Legislature respectively request the United State Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reconsider the policies that are currently in place that violate the rights of veterans at VA hospitals nationally to ensure our honored veterans receive timely holiday gifts and cards. CHAIR DYSON noted his frustration with the Veterans Administration's policy towards Christmas cards and gifts. He asked Mr. Hollen if he had found any copies of the VA's policy. 9:35:54 AM MR. HOLLEN answered yes. He explained that the VA's policy language can be interpreted on a case by case basis. He noted that handling on a case by case basis led to only four opportunities where Christmas cards and gifts were mishandled. He pointed out that the aforementioned incidents had not occurred in Alaska. He explained that the VA's policy is interpreted by the person in charge. He noted that the backlash was significant and the previously mentioned incidents will not be a major issue again due to the backlash across the United States. He asserted that people were not very happy that veterans did not get their cards, especially after fighting for their country. SENATOR COGHILL stated that he could understand where the VA may have problems if they were required to send out Christmas cards, but to forbid other people from getting Christmas cards flies in the face of the Constitution. He added that regardless of whether an individual is a Christian or not, to send a card to a veteran and have it censored by the VA is unconscionable. He asked if the request from the Legislature to hear back from the United State Secretary of Veterans Affairs will have to specify the means in which the VA replies. 9:38:32 AM MR. HOLLEN answered no. SENATOR COGHILL recommended that language in SJR 24 specifies to either the "presiding officer" or to "each seated legislator." SENATOR DYSON announced that the Chair is open to a conceptual amendment. He suspected that if the reply went to the presiding officer that they would distribute it. SENATOR COGHILL noted being under some presiding officers that did not distribute information. He suggested "Each seated Alaska State Legislator" be inserted. SENATOR GIESSEL suggested that "Provide each member of the Alaska State Legislature with." SENATOR GIESSEL announced that she so moved the conceptual amendment to include "Provide each member of the Alaska State Legislature with." SENATOR COGHILL objected to review where the conceptual amendment goes in SJR 24. SENATOR GIESSEL explained that line 23, "Secretary of Veterans Affairs 'provide each member of the Alaska State Legislature with' copies." SENATOR COGHILL agreed with Senator Giessel's suggested amendment. CHAIR DYSON asked if there was objection to the conceptual amendment. He announced that seeing no objection, the conceptual amendment is accepted. SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report SJR 24, labeled 28-LS1412\A as amended with zero fiscal note and attached individual recommendations. 9:40:11 AM CHAIR DYSON asked if there was an objection. He announced that seeing no objection, CSSJR 24(STA) passes out of the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee. 9:40:17 AM CHAIR DYSON declared that the committee will stand at ease. SJR 19-NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS' MONUMENT 9:41:18 AM CHAIR DYSON called the committee back to order and announced the consideration of SJR 19. 9:41:26 AM KALYSSA MAILE, Staff, Senator Wielechowski, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, said SJR 19 supports the American Indian Veterans' Memorial Initiative (AIVMI) and provided an overview as follows: AIVMI is an effort to secure formal recognition for the generations of Alaska Native and Native American military veterans on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In 1994, Congress first passed the Native American Veterans' Memorial Establishment Act, allowing for the memorial to be built in our nation's capital. Since that time, support for the monument has been growing, prominent native and veterans groups have passed resolutions in support and in December of 2013, Congress unanimously passed HR 2135, reaffirming their support of this. It should be acknowledged that the Three Servicemen's Statue on the Vietnam Memorial goes a long way to honor the diversity of American Veterans, yet none of the three servicemen is representative of Native American people, and having served in every military conflict since the Revolutionary War, American Indians have established a long and distinguished legacy of military service. SJR 19 affirms the Alaska State Legislature's support of Alaska native and Native American veterans and recognizes their great sacrifices for our country. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI noted that there are resolutions in support of AIVMI from the Vietnam Veterans of America, National Congress of American Indians, and Alaska Federation of Natives. SENATOR COGHILL asked if AIVMI's monument placement has been selected from a congressional act. 9:43:16 AM SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI answered no. He explained that the Native Americans have been trying to place a memorial on the Mall for decades. MS. MAILE specified that there are two locations that have been considered: one is on the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial site and the other is outside of the National Museum of the American Indian. She stated that two sites previously noted are acceptable to AIVMI, which is spearheaded by the Seminole Tribe out of Florida. She pointed out that SJR 19 simply supports the Memorial Initiative idea and supports Alaska's native veterans. She added that AIVMI is not funded by Congress. SENATOR COGHILL asked if there is a need for relinquishment of land and would Congress have to act. He inquired if the Alaska Legislature needs to push for the land relinquishment from the District of Columbia. MS. MAILE answered that Congress addressed the land relinquishment in 1994 and 2013. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI remarked that Congress just needs to do it and SJR 19 pushes for the project to commence. He said the initiative is a nationwide effort to get the memorial constructed. He noted that he has spoken with representatives from AIVMI at a recent national conference that requested Alaska to pass a resolution. SENATOR COGHILL summarized that SJR 19 will add Alaska's "Voice to the chorus." He said according to SJR 19, Alaska has 5,500 natives that have served and the Legislature has to speak for them in many ways. 9:45:14 AM CHAIR DYSON remarked that Alaska's aboriginal people have volunteered and served in the highest percentage of anybody in North America. He set forth that the patriotism exhibited by Alaska Natives impresses him and he hopes that legislators will work hard to get a suitable recognition of a monument in Alaska. SENATOR GIESSEL noted that SJR 19 does not robustly call out Alaska's native veterans. She stated that it would be nice to have a line in SJR 19 that calls out the Alaska Territorial Guard. She noted having the honor to hear a Navajo Code Talker speak at a recent conference. CHAIR DYSON mentioned his passion for history and noted that the Japanese in World War II were absolutely befuddled by the Navajo Code Talkers. SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report SJR 19, labeled 28-LS1245\N with zero fiscal note and attached individual recommendations. 9:47:34 AM CHAIR DYSON announced that seeing no objection, SJR 19 passes out of the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee. 9:47:41 AM CHAIR DYSON declared that the committee will stand at ease. SJR 18-FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION 9:48:40 AM CHAIR DYSON announced the consideration of SJR 18. 9:49:39 AM TYLER BELK, Staff, Senator Dyson, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, stated that Michael Farris will testify before the committee. He noted that Mr. Farris is the Project Head for the Convention of States (COS) Project. 9:50:22 AM MICHAEL FARRIS, Project Head, Convention of States (COS) Project, Austin, Texas, explained his background as follows: I am a constitutional attorney. I have argued in the U.S. Supreme Court and the appellate courts of 13 states, including an Article V case that I litigated back in late 1970s that spilled over into the early 1980s concerning Equal Rights Amendment and the extension of time that Congress gave to that amendment. MR. FARRIS explained his COS involvement as follows: I began being involved in this project because I am convinced that Washington, D.C. is broken and will never restrain its own power, the debt is the "tip of the iceberg." Federal spending, federal regulation, the federal mandates that come against the states I believe violate the principals of self-government where the state legislators are ordered to the bidding of Congress other than the bidding of their constituents when federal money is dangled out in front of you in a coercive fashion. Presidents of all parties are legislating through executive orders and through regulatory actions that are not passed in the appropriate fashion under the Constitution. I think that the low ranking of the opinion polls of Congress being in single digits these days is a general assessment of the American public that Washington, D.C. is broken and something needs to be done. The Founders gave us that something in Article V. George Mason insisted that there would be a day where the federal government would overstep its bounds and when that happened, there needed to be a way for the states to unilaterally purpose amendments that the states would then ratify to curtail the power of the federal government and that is what this resolution does. There are other Article V ideas out there that are good ideas, I don't think they go far enough. The balance budget amendment is a good idea, but that controls simply the debt-mechanism, it does not control spending, it does not control many of the other things that I have just addressed. If we think that freedom is going to survive without stopping the structural problems in Washington D.C., I think we are guessing and hoping for our future in a way that is not justified. I think we really need to ensure that we preserve the freedom of this country by taking decisive action for the states to effectively take away the misuse of power for the federal government and return it to the people and to the states. 9:53:17 AM MR. FARRIS addressed arguments against the COS as follows: Most of the arguments that I have seen raised against COS concern the possibility that there would be a convention that would disobey the call and go on to consider other matters. There are so many check and balances into the system that make that, frankly, impossible if we have any kind of semblance of political reality in our assessments; because, at the end of the day, 38 state legislatures have to ratify anything that comes out of a convention. There are three steps of the process, 34 states by simple majority in both houses of the states have to file an application on the same topic. Then at the convention itself, it is one-state-one-vote. The legislators appoint the delegates to the convention and 26 states would have to approve the precise language on any of the topics that are germane under the applications that the states have written. Then the language of the proposed amendments that come out, if 6 amendments come out, just like the Bill of Rights were sent out as a package of 12 and only 10 were ratified by 1791, the states could pick 1-6 of the amendments to ratify, but 38 state legislatures, by a simple majority vote in both houses, would then have to ratify any of the amendments that come forward. So, a lot of checks and balances, a lot of safety in here, but we've got to get started. Georgia was the first state to approve this resolution, last week we've had the Alabama House approve it, and we are moving in a handful of other states, we expect a good number of states next legislative session. My guess is that four or five states, and hopefully one of those will be Alaska, will approve it in this legislative session. We are hoping that that this will be done in two or three legislative terms. ` 9:55:20 AM CHAIR DYSON noted that Mr. Farris mentioned that some number of states have to make application. He asked if SJR 18 is an application. MR. FARRIS answered yes. He stated that SJR 18 is the correct legislative-vehicle to make the application. CHAIR DYSON recalled that over 20 years ago, Alaska's legislature did pass something calling for an Article V Convention. He asked what the time limit was for the state's applications. MR. FARRIS answered that there is not a time limit. He noted that one of the Bill of Rights proposed in 1789 was actually ratified in the 1990s. He pointed out that an application is good in perpetuity unless a legislature puts a time limit or rescinds their application. He explained that there have been over 400 applications in the history of the republic from 49 states. There has never been a COS because there have never been two thirds of the states agreeing on a subject matter. He asserted that either COS will be done in the next few years or it is not going to happen. 9:57:07 AM SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI stated that he could live with SJR 18 if limitations were not set on the resolution and a broad COS was called. He remarked that he did not believe 38 states are going to agree. He asserted that COS should not be limited. He asked that a resolution be passed that said "Requesting the United States Congress to call a Convention of States for the purposes of making changes to the Constitution." He asserted that a broader resolution would get more states onboard. MR. FARRIS replied that Senator Wielechowski's suggestion is theoretically possible, but 34 states would have to purpose a general amending convention. He explained that there are three ways COS can be purposed as follows: 1. General Convention. 2. Topical Convention: the same as what the Convention of States Project is proposing. 3. Amendment Convention: focuses on a particular amendment like a balanced budget. He asserted that there is not the political will to get to 4 states, let alone 38 states for a general convention. He said there is a lot of angst in the country about changing the Bill of Rights and provisions. He set forth that there should be one convention on a limited topic so that everyone can see that the procedures are safe and confidence is built in the process. He stated that the chances of anybody doing a wide open COS are essentially zero. 10:00:53 AM SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI remarked that the reason the COS Project is running into problems was due to the need for a three quarter vote. He set forth that a broader call forces compromises. He said he would like to see a provision overturning Citizens United due to campaign contributions being out of control and special interest groups being out of control. He noted that he will propose amendments on the Senate Floor that are against Citizens United and for equal rights for women. He suggested that narrowing COS makes it more difficult for states to agree. MR. FARRIS answered that he understands Senator Wielechowski's point of view, but noted that if Alaska does something that is idiosyncratic in character by writing up its own things, then Alaska has a moral obligation to go out and organize a process to build the same kind of momentum in 34 states. He pointed out that the current process for COS requires two thirds and not three fourths. He specified that three fourths is required for ratification. He said the amendments Senator Wielechowski suggested would be viewed as effectively a way to kill the process because there is no constituency to build the approach and no one is out organizing for the approach. He set forth that Alaska would effectively pass a resolution that has no force and effect, the end result will do no one any good if amendments are added. He explained that the intent is to do something good by trying to stop the abuse of power in Washington, D.C. He conceded that maybe everything cannot be solved in the initial time around for COS, but some things can be solved. He said something has to be done about debt, spending, and regulation. CHAIR DYSON noted that one of the big pushbacks will often be seen is on the concept of a "Runaway COS." 10:03:58 AM JENNIE GRIMWOOD, President, Eagle Forum-Alaska, Cordova, Alaska, stated that Eagle Forum opposes SJR 18. She noted that SJR 18's objectives are on balanced budgets and term limits. She pointed out that other groups are proposing amendments and the Eagle Forum questioned whether the Constitution should be opened for uncertain change for COS. She pointed out that the possibility for bigger states to control COS. She summarized that any restrictions set on the delegates in advance may violate Article V and claims that COS can be controlled are misleading. 10:06:55 AM SENATOR COGHILL noted his support for SJR 18 due to the need to challenge the federal government. He asked if the imposed checks and balances on COS are sufficient to keep the convention from throwing off the Constitution. MR. GRIMWOOD answered that no one knows because a COS has not been done since the 1700s. SENATOR COGHILL stated that he is less fearful, but noted his respect for the Eagle Forum. He set forth that the lengthy COS process has a steep hill to climb and some pretty good checks are in place. He asked the Eagle Forum to reconsider the checks that have been put into place. 10:09:13 AM DAVID EICHLER, representing himself, North Pole, Alaska, stated that he did not agree with the Eagle Forum's position and was available for questions. 10:10:17 AM CHARLES KACPROWICZ, National Director, Citizen Initiatives, Pine, North Carolina, stated that his organization is an advocate for Article V, single issue amendment conventions. He noted that Citizen Initiatives is working on balanced budget, sovereignty and state rights, and the countermand amendments. He noted that he has been involved in the battle for Article V amendments for 41 years. He addressed the balanced budget amendment and noted that 23 states continue to have active applications. He claimed that the climb for a balanced budget amendment continues to be uphill due to misinformation. He set forth that state delegates sent to COS will act as ambassadors and not free agents with license to do anything they want. He explained that Citizen Initiatives is opposed to the COS Project call for COS because it is too broad with two or three broad sweeping topics. He set forth that Article V is not a Constitutional Convention and its purpose is restrictive for the purpose of proposing amendments. He asserted that state legislatures, under Article V, are sovereign bodies and are in charge as the forth rank of government. He asserted that the state legislatures are the key to seeing the nation turn around. 10:22:18 AM MIKE COONS, Director-Alaska, Citizen Initiatives, Palmer, AK, said he supports the proper use of Article V in the U.S. Constitution. He set forth that SJR 18 is on track, but has many issues. He posed questions should SJR 18 pass as follows: 1. Who is going to write the amendments that come from the subject topics? 2. Will those amendments be written by the Legislature prior to COS? 3. Who is the deliberative body, the Legislature or delegates? 4. Will there be written instructions that make a convention a republican convention with one- state-one-vote? 5. Will the delegates be bound to the Legislature? He noted that previous calls in the nation's history have been single issue amendments. He asserted that issues must be resolved prior to passing SJR 18. He said Citizen Initiatives has calls for specific, single issue amendments that the Legislature would pre-approve with a delegate resolution that would ensure one-state-one-vote, making COS safe, predictable, and ultimately providing for an excellent chance of ratification. 10:25:39 AM CHAIR DYSON announced that public hearing is closed. SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report from committee SJR 18, labeled 28-LS1284\N with zero fiscal note and individual recommendations. CHAIR DYSON asked if there was objection. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI stated that he was not going to object, but noted that he may run some amendments on the Senate Floor. CHAIR DYSON explained that SJR 18 was the exact parallel with the resolution that was going through the House. He stated that his intention was to only begin the process and add Alaska to the queue of the states that were calling for COS. He set forth that the information that he has seen is that there is a significant process where the subject of the call will get narrowed down to something of which there will be 34 states with a careful delineation of what is the scope of COS with limits on selection, responsibilities, and remedies for delegates. 10:27:39 AM CHAIR DYSON announced that seeing no objection, SJR 18 is passed from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee. 10:28:59 AM There being no further business to come before the committee, Chair Dyson adjourned the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee hearing at 10:28 AM.