Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

02/19/2015 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SJR 3 CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
*+ SJR 7 NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS' MONUMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved SJR 7 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 19, 2015                                                                                        
                           9:02 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bill Stoltze, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                                                                                   
Proposing amendments to  the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
to  increase  the number  of  members  on the  judicial  council;                                                               
relating to  the initial  terms of new  members appointed  to the                                                               
judicial council; and relating to  the confirmation of members of                                                               
the judicial council.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                                   
Supporting the construction by American Indian Veterans                                                                         
Memorial, Inc., of an Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native                                                                
Hawaiian veterans' monument in the nation's capital.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SJR 7 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SJR 3                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) KELLY                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/21/15       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/15                                                                                
01/21/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/15       (S)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/19/15       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SJR 7                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS' MONUMENT                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
01/21/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/15       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
02/19/15       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SJR 3.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER SHADDUCK, Staff                                                                                                         
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information related to SJR 3.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KALYSSA MAILE, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Wielechowski                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARCELLO QUINTO, President                                                                                                      
Alaska Native Brotherhood                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM MARTIN, Past-President                                                                                                  
Alaska Native Brotherhood                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM SHAKELY, Commander                                                                                                      
Southeast Alaska Native Veterans                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DAVID STEPHEN BOWERS, representing himself                                                                                      
Hollywood, Florida                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
RIC DAVIDGE, Director                                                                                                           
Legislative Affairs                                                                                                             
Vietnam Vets of America                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARY BROWN, representing herself                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 7.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:02:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BILL  STOLTZE called  the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:02  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were Senators  Wielechowski, Coghill,  Huggins, and  Chair                                                               
Stoltze. He said SJR 3 and SJR 7 would be heard.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
        SJR 3-CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:02:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced the consideration of SJR 3.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PETE KELLY,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor  of SJR 3,                                                               
related that  the resolution  has been in  process for  two years                                                               
and there has been a lot of discussion on it.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked for an explanation of the bill.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY proclaimed that there  is a problem with the Alaska                                                               
Constitution  regarding  the way  members  are  selected for  the                                                               
Judicial  Council.   Currently,  the  Judicial   Council  selects                                                               
nominees  that  are forwarded  to  the  Governor  and acts  as  a                                                               
gatekeeper  for the  third branch  of Alaska's  government. There                                                               
are  problems   in  that  the  Constitution   requires  that  the                                                               
selection is made with  consideration for regional representation                                                               
and there are  only six members on the  Council. The Constitution                                                               
also requires three of the members to be attorneys.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked how the attorneys are selected.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY explained that they  are selected by the Alaska Bar                                                               
Association,  not  by  the  people,   the  legislature,  nor  the                                                               
Governor. He said  the individuals on the Bar are  sincere and do                                                               
their  homework, but  there is  no  input from  the public.  Most                                                               
attorneys  come from  large cities,  not rural  Alaska, therefore                                                               
the representation is limited.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He  related that  there  are  also three  public  members on  the                                                               
Council. Over time, only two  public members have come from rural                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:08:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY  detailed that the  other problem with  the Council                                                               
is that  with a  six-person Council, ties  are possible,  and the                                                               
tie breaker is the Chief Justice  of the Alaska Supreme Court. He                                                               
said the names are forwarded  to the Governor for selection, with                                                               
most ties going in favor of  the attorneys. He called choosing to                                                               
not forward a  name on to the Governor  disturbing and aggressive                                                               
gatekeeping. He provided an example.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:13:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY  read  from  Vic   Fischer's  book  regarding  the                                                               
Missouri Plan,  saying that the  selection process  withdraws the                                                               
control of  the Judicial Branch  away from the people  and places                                                               
it under  an organized  Bar. He  continued to  say that  no state                                                               
constitution has  gone so far  in placing a branch  of government                                                               
beyond  the  reach of  Democratic  controls.  He noted  that  the                                                               
Constitutional  Convention  members  were  warned  by  their  own                                                               
consultants when they  were examining the Missouri  Plan in order                                                               
to create  a Judicial  Branch. He  concluded that  attorneys have                                                               
created their own judicial system and  are able to control it via                                                               
tie votes being decided by the Chief Justice.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:15:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY  stated  that  another  problem  is  there  is  no                                                               
confirmation  hearing  process.  He  termed  Alaska  an  "elitist                                                               
state" in this  matter. A third problem is that  the provision in                                                               
the   State   Constitution   regarding  representation   is   not                                                               
attainable. The  Chief Justice  is also put  in a  predicament of                                                               
voting for the next potential Supreme Court member.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:18:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY stressed that all  other Boards must go through the                                                               
confirmation process,  but the  Judicial Council  regulates their                                                               
own organization. He summarized that  SJR 3 adds three additional                                                               
public members,  requires confirmation,  and removes  the Supreme                                                               
Court Justice from having to vote when there are ties.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:20:39 AM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  SHADDUCK,  Staff,  Senator   Pete  Kelly,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  information related  to SJR 3.  She noted                                                               
on page 2, line 2, of  the resolution it states that the Judicial                                                               
Council shall  act by a majority  vote of the quorum  of at least                                                               
seven members  and according  to the rules  which it  adopts. She                                                               
explained that,  currently, four  out of the  six members  make a                                                               
quorum. The  resolution sets  the quorum at  seven to  allow both                                                               
attorneys and public members to have a say.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE  said he has  invited members of the  Supreme Court                                                               
to testify.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:23:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE held SJR 3 in committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE joined the committee meeting.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:23:58 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
            SJR 7-NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS' MONUMENT                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:24:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE called  the meeting  back to  order. He  announced                                                               
that SJR 7 was before the committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:25:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BILL WIELECHOWSKI,  sponsor of  SJR 7,  stated that  the                                                               
resolution  was  based on  an  idea  from the  Vietnam  Veterans'                                                               
Conference  to  hold a  nation-wide  effort  to get  an  American                                                               
Indian Veterans'  Memorial in  the nation's  capital. He  said he                                                               
sponsored a  similar resolution several  years ago, but  time ran                                                               
out.  It is  an effort  to recognize  the tremendous  efforts and                                                               
legacy of  Native Americans and  Native Alaskans. He  noted there                                                               
is no cost associated with the resolution.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:26:45 AM                                                                                                                    
KALYSSA   MAILE,  Staff,   Senator  Wielechowski,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, provided  an overview of  SJR 7. She  explained that                                                               
construction of  a Native American Veterans'  Memorial would give                                                               
formal recognition  for generations  of Native veterans  who have                                                               
not been recognized in the  nation's capital. In 1994, the Native                                                               
American Veteran  Memorial Establishment  Act allowed  a memorial                                                               
to  be  built.  Since  then,  support for  a  memorial  has  been                                                               
growing, and in  December of 2013, an amended version  of the Act                                                               
was passed.  The memorial will  be paid for by  private donations                                                               
from  a  variety  of  organizations.   She  concluded  that  this                                                               
resolution  expresses support  for  an  American Indian  Veterans                                                               
Memorial, which would recognize  Native Americans who have served                                                               
in the military.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:28:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked if other states have similar resolutions.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MAILE replied that Alaska would  be the first state to pass a                                                               
resolution and Florida is working on a draft of one.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that there  is an American  Indian display                                                               
near the  Mall in Washington,  D.C. He asked if  the organization                                                               
that sponsored that  display is connected to  the American Indian                                                               
Veterans' Memorial project.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MAILE  said yes.  The  organization  has been  working  with                                                               
Vietnam Veterans'  Fund for the  memorial to be located  near the                                                               
Vietnam Memorial.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:30:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  if other  states  had introduced  similar                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MAILE answered not yet.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE thought there was a WWII Native American statue.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS said that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE commented that it was inclusive of all Americans.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS noted  that Alaska is lucky that  it has veterans                                                               
in Congress. He asked if they had been contacted.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:31:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MAILE answered  that the  project  has all  the approval  it                                                               
needs to go forward and is currently in the fundraising stage.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  announced  that   he  would  be  happy  to                                                               
continue to work with the Congressional delegation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:32:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS noted that Senator  Sullivan is in town today and                                                               
he would speak with him about this effort.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STOLTZE  opined  that  Southeast  Alaska  communities  and                                                               
families  have paid  a higher  price  per capita  related to  the                                                               
armed services.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:33:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MARCELLO QUINTO, President,  Alaska Native Brotherhood, testified                                                               
in support of SJR  7. He said he proudly served  in the U.S. Navy                                                               
for four years. He stated it  is time that Alaska Native veterans                                                               
are recognized for their service in many wars.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:36:03 AM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM  MARTIN,   Past-President,  Alaska   Native  Brotherhood,                                                               
testified  in support  of SJR  7. He  said they  are pleased  and                                                               
honored  that Native  Americans  are being  recognized for  their                                                               
long history of  service in the military. He  concluded that they                                                               
served in  order to protect  their families. He noted  that their                                                               
tribal organization  will be writing  a resolution in  support of                                                               
SJR 7. He pointed  out that a member of the  Iwo Jima Memorial is                                                               
a  Native American  and he  shared information  about the  Native                                                               
Code Talkers. He described the pride for those who served.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:40:48 AM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM  SHAKELY, Commander,  Southeast  Alaska Native  Veterans,                                                               
testified in support of SJR 7.  He said they organized in 1995 in                                                               
order to help veterans who  were not receiving their benefits. He                                                               
told a  story related  to designing the  Code Talker  medal. Five                                                               
Code Talkers are from Southeast Alaska.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:42:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE requested the names of the Code Talkers.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHAKELY  said they  are  Mark  Jacobs, Jr.,  Harvey  Jacobs,                                                               
George Lewis, Jeff David, and Richard Bean.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE said it would be appropriate to honor them.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHAKELY  thanked the  legislature for  its support  of Native                                                               
Alaska veterans.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:45:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE noted  former Representative  Bill Thomas  is very                                                               
supportive of recognizing veterans.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:45:41 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS shared war stories  about Native Alaskans serving                                                               
their country with pride.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:48:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SHAKELY told  a story about a soldier from  Hoonah who became                                                               
a sniper in WWII.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:49:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID STEPHEN BOWERS, representing  himself, testified in support                                                               
of SJR 7.  He related that he  is a Seminole Indian  and he works                                                               
for the tribe. He said he  has been working on this project since                                                               
2010.  He related  how the  initiative began.  In 2013,  Congress                                                               
approved a  statue to  be placed outside  the National  Museum of                                                               
the  American Indian  and the  fundraising would  be done  by the                                                               
museum. He described his efforts  to gather information, promote,                                                               
and fund the education center to be located underground.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:58:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE thanked Mr. Bowers.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS thanked Mr. Bowers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:00:48 AM                                                                                                                   
RIC  DAVIDGE,  Director,  Legislative Affairs,  Vietnam  Vets  of                                                               
America,  testified in  support of  SJR  7. He  recalled when  he                                                               
worked as  the National Chair  of Government Affairs  for Vietnam                                                               
Veterans of  America. The  proposal was brought  up as  a concern                                                               
for the  lack of representation  of Native veterans.  Since then,                                                               
there has  been a lot of  work done. He discovered  that American                                                               
Natives   were  over-represented   in  war   conflicts  with   no                                                               
recognition of that  service. He said he is  delighted to support                                                               
SJR 7.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:02:52 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STOLTZE thanked Mr. Davidge.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:03:29 AM                                                                                                                   
MARY BROWN, representing herself, testified  in support of SJR 7.                                                               
She noted  she is Tlingit and  daughter of a Coast  Guard member,                                                               
sister of a Marine,  and the proud mother of a  son who served in                                                               
Desert  Storm. She  said  she feels  strongly  about sharing  her                                                               
feelings regarding this resolution.  She shared her experience as                                                               
a  mother of  one  who  served and  testified  in  favor of  this                                                               
monument. She said she would like to see a monument in Alaska.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE closed public testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:09:14 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI moved to report SJR 7 from committee with                                                                  
individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note. There                                                                 
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:09:42 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Stoltze adjourned the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                                       
Committee hearing at 10:09 a.m.                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR3 ver A.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Fiscal Note OOG-DOE 2-13-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Fiscal Note JUD-AJC 2-13-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - AJC BYLAWS.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - CC Proceedings pp 683-696 Day 35.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Exerpt from Victor Fischer's Book.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Historical Roster of AJC Members.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Judicial Selection Map.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Stephen Ware White Paper.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Supporting Documents - Citizen's Guide to Constitution - Judicial Article IV.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR7 ver A.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR7 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR7 Fiscal Note LEG-SESS 2-16-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR7 Supporting Documents - Resolutions.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 7
SJR3 - FY14 Case Filings Pie Chart - Provided by Courts 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 - Alaska Judicial Council Vote Stats - provided by Courts 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 - AFN Resolution Opposing - Provided by Courts.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Opposition Document - Letter ANCSA Regional Association 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 SSTA Emails of Opposition 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Support Document - Letter John Harmon 2.18.15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Support Document - Letter Robert B Flint 2-19-15.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 Alaska Judicial Council Stats (pie charts) - Provided by AJC 2-19-15 -.pdf SSTA 2/19/2015 9:00:00 AM
SJR 3