Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/24/2015 08:30 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Change --
-- Public Testimony --
+= SJR 3 CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved SJR 3 Out of Committee
*+ SB 75 PFD CONTRIBUTIONS TO TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 75 Out of Committee
*+ HB 35 MARCH 27: GREAT ALASKA EARTHQUAKE DAY TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
+= SB 22 MOTOR VEHICLE REG. TAX: COLLECTION COSTS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                         March 24, 2015                                                                                         
                            8:45 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bill Stoltze, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 75                                                                                                              
"An  Act allowing  federally  recognized tribal  governments  to                                                                
receive contributions from permanent fund dividends."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 75 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
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.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SJR 3 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 35(STA)                                                                                 
"AN  ACT  ESTABLISHING MARCH  27  AS GREAT  ALASKA  GOOD  FRIDAY                                                                
EARTHQUAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 22                                                                                                              
"AN  ACT  ESTABLISHING MARCH  27  AS GREAT  ALASKA  GOOD  FRIDAY                                                                
EARTHQUAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 75                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: PFD CONTRIBUTIONS TO TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEVENS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
03/16/15       (S)      READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                         
03/16/15       (S)      STA, FIN                                                                                                
03/24/15       (S)      STA AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                            
02/19/15       (S)      Heard & Held                                                                                            
02/19/15       (S)      MINUTE(STA)                                                                                             
03/24/15       (S)      STA AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: SB 75 sponsor.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DOUG LETCH, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Stevens                                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SB 75.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MELISSA BORTON, Tribal Administrator                                                                                            
Native Village of Afognak                                                                                                       
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 75.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JERRY BURNETT, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Alaska Department of Revenue                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed fiscal note questions for SB 75.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER SHADDUCK, Staff                                                                                                         
Senator Kelly                                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of SJR 3.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: SJR 3 sponsor.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TOM WAGNER, representing himself                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KENNETH FISHER, representing himself                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SJR 3.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DAVID LANDRY, representing himself                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARK ANDREWS, representing himself                                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARGARET SIMONIAN, representing herself                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALISON ARIANS, representing herself                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GRANT CALLOW, representing himself                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SJR 3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE DIPIETRO, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Judicial Council                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Explained the Judicial Council's procedures                                                               
for judicial selection.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel                                                                                                    
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SJR 3.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:45:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BILL STOLTZE  called the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                              
Committee meeting to order at  8:45 a.m. Present at the call  to                                                                
order were Senators McGuire, Huggins, and Chair Stoltze.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          SB 75-PFD CONTRIBUTIONS TO TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:46:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that  the first order of  business would                                                                
be SB 75.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:46:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARY STEVENS, Alaska State  Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                                
sponsor of SB 75 sponsor, provided an overview as follows:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     SB  75 is  legislation  that  attempts to  expand  the                                                                     
     popular Permanent  Fund  Dividend's "Pick.Click.Give."                                                                     
     program. The idea  is to include  federally recognized                                                                     
     tribal governments and  it also subjects  those tribal                                                                     
     governments to those same rules, same regulations that                                                                     
     apply  to  all  other  entities,  $250  enrollment  is                                                                     
     currently applied to each of those participants.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:47:06 AM                                                                                                                    
DOUG   LETCH,  Staff,   Senator  Gary   Stevens,  Alaska   State                                                                
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, reiterated  that SB 75 is  straight                                                                
forward legislation  that would  add tribal  governments to  the                                                                
list    of    eligible    recipients.    He    explained    that                                                                
"Pick.Click.Give." was currently  reserved for 501(c)  nonprofit                                                                
organizations. He detailed that while tribes are  considered tax                                                                
exempt organizations that are eligible to receive tax deductible                                                                
donations under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7871 and are                                                                
listed in Revenue Procedure 2008-55, the tribes do not  meet the                                                                
current designation to participate in "Pick.Click.Give." without                                                                
a change in statute.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He  explained  that  SB 75  would  impact  potentially  the  229                                                                
federally recognized tribes in Alaska,  organizations that offer                                                                
a variety of  services to tribal members and residents of  their                                                                
villages. He  noted that the  tribes are  often the largest  and                                                                
many times  the sole  service providers in  villages that  offer                                                                
services  and  activities designed  for  the  benefit  of  their                                                                
community.  He detailed  that  activities are  generally  geared                                                                
towards youth development, low income families, the elderly, and                                                                
victims of violence. He said having the ability to be  listed in                                                                
Pick-Click-Give would make it easier for tribes to  access local                                                                
contributions  and   could  help  the   public  understand   the                                                                
importance of the tribal programs.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He noted  that one of  the benefits from  the "Pick.Click.Give."                                                                
program  is  that  people make  donations  before  seeing  their                                                                
Permanent Fund  Dividend (PFD)  check. He opined  that making  a                                                                
donation is easier  when applying for a  PFD where the money  is                                                                
not missed on the other end. He said when the "Pick.Click.Give."                                                                
bill  was enacted  in 2008,  the program  has  made millions  of                                                                
dollars available to  eligible organizations over the years.  He                                                                
pointed out  that  $2.8 million  from some  27,000 Alaskans  was                                                                
donated the previous year. He said the Department of Revenue has                                                                
projected  that approximately  $3  million will  be  donated  to                                                                
eligible organizations  through the  "Pick.Click.Give." and  the                                                                
PFD  program  later   this  year.  He  summarized  that   tribal                                                                
governments would like the opportunity to participate as well.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:47:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee meeting.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:49:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  explained that the  idea came  from the  native                                                                
village of Afognak and noted their letter of support submission.                                                                
He  noted  that  a  letter of  support  was  received  from  the                                                                
Chickaloon Village  Traditional Council. He  added that  several                                                                
other tribal governments are expected to support the bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE stated that  he would like to have  the Department                                                                
of Revenue's position on the record prior to sending the bill on                                                                
its way.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  replied that  he  understood  Chair  Stoltze's                                                                
request.  He  said  Mr. Burnett,  Deputy  Commissioner  for  the                                                                
Department of Revenue, will be available later in the meeting.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STOLTZE said  the bill  will be  held  until Mr.  Burnett                                                                
addresses the committee.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:52:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MELISSA BORTON, Tribal Administrator, Native Village of Afognak,                                                                
Kodiak, Alaska, explained the village's support for the bill  as                                                                
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     We are one of  ten federally recognized tribes located                                                                     
     on the  island. My  tribe, like many  other tribes  in                                                                     
     Alaska, hosts several different youth  activities that                                                                     
     we  fundraise  for  annually.  In  addition  to  youth                                                                     
     activities, we  also provide social  service programs,                                                                     
     tutoring programs,  language revitalization  programs,                                                                     
     substance   abuse   prevention,    domestic   violence                                                                     
     prevention, and  child  abuse  and neglect  prevention                                                                     
     programs.  All  of our  tribe's  programs  are  geared                                                                     
     toward  the  betterment  of  our   community  and  the                                                                     
     development of our  youth; sometimes that  is specific                                                                     
     to  our tribal  members  and  sometimes it's  for  the                                                                     
     greater community, it's not always geared  towards our                                                                     
     tribal  members.   We  regularly  get   asked  if   we                                                                     
     participate in the  "Pick.Click.Give." program because                                                                     
     Alaska residents are  now appreciating how easy it  is                                                                     
     to  give portions  of their  PFD towards  non-profits.                                                                     
     However,  as   you  know,   the  current   legislation                                                                     
     restricts  our  eligibility.  Tribes  under  IRS  Code                                                                     
     Section 7871  are afforded the  same rights as  states                                                                     
     and are  eligible to accept  charitable contributions.                                                                     
     However, because we  aren't a  501(c)(3) organization,                                                                     
     this  often times  limits  our  ability to  apply  for                                                                     
     certain  foundation   grants  and   also  limits   our                                                                     
     fundraising  through  certain  crowdfunding  websites.                                                                     
     Tribes having  the ability  to be  listed as  eligible                                                                     
     organizations under  "Pick.Click.Give." would give  us                                                                     
     another avenue  to  fund our  various programs,  bring                                                                     
     awareness to the  greater Alaskan community about  the                                                                     
     importance of tribal programs,  and further strengthen                                                                     
     the  relationship between  the  state  government  and                                                                     
     Alaska tribes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. BORTON  summarized that  the Native Village  of Afognak  had                                                                
discussions with the Rasmuson Foundation as well as  a scheduled                                                                
meeting with the Alaska Federation of Natives to solicit support                                                                
for the bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if  contributions  to  a  federally                                                                
recognized tribe are tax deductible.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. BORTON answered  yes. She noted that donations are  accepted                                                                
from  private  and  corporate contributors.  She  said  she  has                                                                
verified with the  Internal Revenue Service's tribal liaison  in                                                                
Anchorage that contributions to a federally recognized tribe are                                                                
tax deductible.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:55:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE closed  public testimony  and announced  that  he                                                                
would set SB 75 aside until  the Department of Revenue testifies                                                                
to get their position on record.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
         SJR 3-CONST. AM: MEMBERSHIP OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:56:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that  the next order of  business before                                                                
the committee is SJR 3.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:56:37 AM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER   SHADDUCK,   Staff,   Senator   Kelly,   Alaska   State                                                                
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, stated that SJR 3 has 3 main goals:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
  1. Create the possibility of better regional representation on                                                                
     the Alaska Judicial Council.                                                                                               
  2. Protect the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court from                                                                 
     a conflict of interest or even the perception of a conflict                                                                
     of  interest  in  the  selection  of  his  or   her  future                                                                
     colleagues or  allies  in certain  issues that  might  come                                                                
     before them.                                                                                                               
  3. Make attorney members of the Judicial Council minimally                                                                    
     accountable to the people by requiring legislative                                                                         
     confirmation, just like every other regulatory or quasi-                                                                   
     judicial board or commission.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked if Senator Kelly wanted to add anything.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:57:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PETE  KELLY, Alaska  State Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska,                                                                
SJR 3 sponsor, replied no.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STOLTZE announced  that  the  committee will  go  through                                                                
public testimony and see  what the will of the committee is.  He                                                                
noted that Senator  McGuire is anxious to  continue deliberation                                                                
for the resolution in the Judiciary Committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE asked Senator  Kelly if SJR 3 differed from  the                                                                
previous year's version.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY answered that SJR 3 was the same as the resolution                                                                
introduced the previous year.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUURE asked if there had been any changes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHADDUCK  explained  that  during  the  previous  year,  an                                                                
amendment was added  during the committee process that  required                                                                
attorney members to be confirmed.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KELLY  specified  that   the  House  version  had   the                                                                
confirmation requirement.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:58:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE  announced that  the committee  would take  public                                                                
testimony on SJR 3.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:59:01 AM                                                                                                                    
TOM WAGNER, representing himself, Juneau, Alaska, stated that he                                                                
was a  lawyer and has practiced law  in Alaska for 34 years.  He                                                                
proclaimed that  Alaska's system of  judicial selection was  not                                                                
broken and did not  need to be fixed. He said  Alaska's judicial                                                                
selection system is one  of the best systems in the  country and                                                                
SJR 3  would weaken the  system. He specified  that SJR 3  would                                                                
cause harm as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
  · Increasing the Judicial Council's size from six to nine people                                                              
     would cause difficult interaction to do business, be less                                                                  
     efficient, and increase expenses.                                                                                          
  · Create a perception that lawyers would dominate the process and                                                             
     non-lawyers would be overrun. Lawyers are just like other                                                                  
     Alaskans.                                                                                                                  
  · Politicize the judicial selection process during the Judicial                                                               
     Council's nomination process.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. WAGNER stated that the Judicial Council's nomination process                                                                
was meant to  be non-partisan where the  applicants' credentials                                                                
are evaluated in a non-political type of way. He summarized that                                                                
the  second part  of the  judicial selection  process where  the                                                                
governor makes a selection was political and  governors know how                                                                
to do politics.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:02:38 AM                                                                                                                    
KENNETH FISHER, representing himself, Juneau,  Alaska, announced                                                                
that he  was representing no  other organization. He stated  his                                                                
support for SJR 3.  He disclosed that he serves on the Board  of                                                                
Regents  of the  University  of  Alaska. He  remarked  that  his                                                                
perspective  was  from   someone  who  serves  on  a   similarly                                                                
constituted board or committee. He pointed out that the Board of                                                                
Regents and the  Judicial Council are one  of the few boards  or                                                                
committees identified in Alaska's constitution.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He detailed  that he was  appointed to the  Board of Regents  in                                                                
2009. He remarked that SJR 3, if  approved, would add numbers to                                                                
the Judicial Council by increasing the number to 10. He said SJR                                                                
3  would ensure greater  geographical representation across  the                                                                
state  in   addition  to  producing   better  and  more   robust                                                                
deliberations.  He   stated  that  contrary   to  the   previous                                                                
testimony, more  people will  improve a  body's discussions  and                                                                
deliberations. He  noted that  the 11  regents on  the Board  of                                                                
Regents ensures robust exchanges on many policy issues.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He said the main reason for his support was his  belief that SJR                                                                
3  would  provide a  better  structure for  good  government  by                                                                
incorporating a  greater level  of accountability into  Alaska's                                                                
judicial process.  He opined  that the Judicial  Council was  an                                                                
unelected   and    unaccountable   organization   which    makes                                                                
appointments  for the  majority  of  the council  if  the  Chief                                                                
Justice is a member  in good standing. He added that  Alaska Bar                                                                
Association members  from outside  of Alaska  are impacting  the                                                                
state's decision by having  a role in the selection  process and                                                                
not the legislature.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISHER summarized as follows:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Society should  do what our  founders did by  building                                                                     
     structures  in   our  founding  documents  that   hold                                                                     
     accountable with check  and balances.  The legislature                                                                     
     should  have  the  authority   and  responsibility  to                                                                     
     confirm Judicial Council appointments so that Alaskans                                                                     
     can hold somebody accountable for those decisions.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:05:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if  Mr.  Fisher's comments  are  on                                                                
behalf of the University of Alaska.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISHER  answered no. He  noted that  his comments where  his                                                                
own.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked to  confirm that Mr. Fisher works  as                                                                
the senior representative for the  U.S. Environmental Protection                                                                
Agency (EPA) in Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISHER answered yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if Mr. Fisher believes that the EPA's                                                                
actions in the State of Alaska are constitutional.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISHER replied that presumptively so, but added that he  was                                                                
not at the meeting to speak about EPA policy.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  noted that Mr.  Fisher spoke  a lot  about                                                                
violating the  constitution. He asked Mr.  Fisher if he  thought                                                                
what the EPA is doing in Alaska is constitutional.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FISHER  inquired  when  he  had   mentioned  violating  the                                                                
constitution.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  pointed out that  Mr. Fisher talked  about                                                                
trying to establish a better constitutional balance.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISHER replied yes, regarding better  accountability and the                                                                
legislature should have a role.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asserted that the committee is not trying to run a                                                                
tribunal. He pointed out that he has some  problems with the way                                                                
the court system runs things.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  remarked that he  has a right  to ask  the                                                                
witness a question.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STOLTZE stated  the he  thinks  Senator Wielechowski  was                                                                
going beyond the bounds.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   WIELECHOWSKI  specified   that  Mr.   Fisher   brought                                                                
constitutionality into play  when he talked  about what was  and                                                                
what was not  constitutional. He reiterated that he has a  right                                                                
to ask the question.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:07:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that the committee will stand at ease.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:07:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE called  the committee back to  order. He asked  if                                                                
Mr. Fisher had any other comments to make.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. FISHER stated that he thanked Senator Huggins for  a comment                                                                
he made prior to the committee meeting.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS thanked Mr. Fisher.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:08:23 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID LANDRY, representing himself, Anchorage, Alaska, announced                                                                
that  he opposes  SJR  3. He  revealed  that he  was  a  general                                                                
contractor in Anchorage  and has been  in business for about  30                                                                
years. He said one of his concerns about SJR 3  is the dismissal                                                                
of  professional knowledge  that attorneys  bring to  the  table                                                                
during  a judicial  selection process.  He  remarked that  as  a                                                                
contractor, when  the time comes to  replace a  subcontractor or                                                                
vendor,  his first  order  of business  is  to talk  with  other                                                                
contractors to get their  assessments of who does good work.  He                                                                
said  he seeks  the  opinion of  knowledgeable professionals  in                                                                
order to  inform and make his  decisions. He set forth that  the                                                                
Judicial  Council's current  makeup  and balance  makes  use  of                                                                
professional experience  in a  similar way. He  stated that  the                                                                
Judicial Council  was currently in good  balance. He noted  that                                                                
most cases that  come before a judge have attorneys  on opposing                                                                
sides  of an  issue or  lawsuit. He  said  even though  opposite                                                                
outcomes are often  sought, attorneys share in the benefit  from                                                                
competent and fair judges.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. LANDRY  opined that the underlining assumption  of SJR 3  is                                                                
that fellow Alaskans and the Alaska  Bar Association are getting                                                                
together to pull  an ideological fast-one on everyone else  does                                                                
not make sense. He said Alaska Bar  Association members are just                                                                
as diverse as any other group of Alaskans.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He set forth  that attorney members of the Judicial  Council are                                                                
the crux  of the  merit-based selection system.  He opined  that                                                                
attorney members are in a unique position to know which judicial                                                                
candidates are up to  the task of running fair  and professional                                                                
courts. He said  regarding an attorney confirmation, giving  the                                                                
legislature the ability to cherry-pick which attorneys are to be                                                                
allowed or disallowed  on the Judicial Council  injects politics                                                                
into the most  merit orientated part of the  merit-based system.                                                                
He remarked that proponents of  legislative confirmation seek to                                                                
inject political considerations into the one crucial part of the                                                                
process that  does not  come under  the political influence.  He                                                                
stated  that he  does not  see confirmation  being a  pro  forma                                                                
process if SJR 3 passes, but rather a political screening.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He stated that his bottom line as a business person is that fair                                                                
courts are  good for business. He  declared that he was  already                                                                
receiving what he sought  from the Alaska Court System. He  said                                                                
what  the state's  founders intended has  largely  come to  pass                                                                
where a judiciary is free of  scandal and political cronyism. He                                                                
summarized  that SJR  3  puts  fair and  professionally  handled                                                                
courts into jeopardy.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:11:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE  pointed out that Mr.  Landry stated his  belief                                                                
that all three provisions of the bill would inject cronyism into                                                                
the process.  She asked Mr.  Landry if  he believed that  adding                                                                
average Alaskan citizens would qualify for his statement.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. LANDRY answered that he does not have  a problem with adding                                                                
average  Alaskans  who   are  attorneys  or   non-attorneys.  He                                                                
specified that  he does not  want judicial  selection to have  a                                                                
super-majority of political appointees as  called for in SJR  3.                                                                
He remarked that  he would not have  a problem with the  balance                                                                
remaining the  same with additional  members. He specified  that                                                                
adding a super-majority of  gubernatorial appointments is court-                                                                
packing. He  said he wants  to go into  a court with  confidence                                                                
that  a  smart, knowledgeable,  and  fair judge  was  running  a                                                                
courtroom that could handle complicated business law  issues. He                                                                
remarked that a courtroom with a judge that is a political crony                                                                
is not going to work and is not good for business.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:13:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MARK ANDREWS, representing himself, Fairbanks, Alaska, disclosed                                                                
that  he is  a  candidate for  the  Bar Association's  Board  of                                                                
Governors.  He explained  that Alaska  has  what is  called  the                                                                
Missouri Plan,  a  plan that  started in  Missouri in  1940  and                                                                
remains in  effect in Missouri after  75 years. When the  Alaska                                                                
Constitutional Convention considered the Missouri Plan, the plan                                                                
was considered  to be  the best  idea of the  time for  judicial                                                                
selection.  He  said  currently there  are  34  states  and  the                                                                
District of  Columbia using the Missouri Plan  as the model  for                                                                
some  or  all  of  the judicial  vacancies.  He  noted  that  he                                                                
concurred  with  Mr.  Wagner that  Alaska's  judicial  selection                                                                
system was not  broke. He detailed that the  Judiciary Council's                                                                
process  is a  way  to balance  the  separations of  powers.  He                                                                
conceded that there  is politics in  the system, but added  that                                                                
the best way to get politics out of the system would be  to look                                                                
at the results of the system. He said Alaska should be  proud of                                                                
the  quality of  its judiciary  system produced  by the  current                                                                
system. He summarized that that Alaska's judiciary is competent,                                                                
free of corruption, and does not need fixing.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:15:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MARGARET  SIMONIAN,  representing  herself,  Anchorage,  Alaska,                                                                
noted that she has been an Anchorage based attorney for 15 years                                                                
in addition  to being a  mom and  lifelong Alaska resident.  She                                                                
declared  her  opposition  to   SJR  3.  She  remarked  that   a                                                                
fundamental  misunderstanding exists  regarding what  goes  into                                                                
bars, deliberations and  votes, both for the  Judicial Council's                                                                
attorney members and for candidates for  judicial positions. She                                                                
stated that  she has strong political  views, but her views  are                                                                
not  the things  that inform  how she  rates a  candidate for  a                                                                
judicial position in  any way.  She said how  fair, hardworking,                                                                
intelligent, and  careful judges are  directs her  life and  all                                                                
lawyers' lives  every day  in very  specific ways;  that is  why                                                                
lawyers are in the best position to judge other lawyers who hope                                                                
to go to that level of their careers.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:20:33 AM                                                                                                                    
ALISON  ARIANS,  representing herself,  Anchorage,  Alaska,  she                                                                
stated that  she was born and  raised in Alaska  and is a  small                                                                
business owner in Anchorage of the "Rise and  Shine Bakery." She                                                                
noted  that she  is  not an  attorney.  She read  the  following                                                                
statement:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     As a small business owner,  I appreciate efficiency, a                                                                     
     limited bureaucracy, and  expert advice. I agree  with                                                                     
     the way  our Judicial Council  works now; adding  more                                                                     
     people to  the group will  add significant expense  to                                                                     
     the travel budget of this  group. I'm comfortable with                                                                     
     asking  people  with law  degrees  to  evaluate  their                                                                     
     peers, the combination seems efficient the way  it is.                                                                     
     I respect the Chief Justice's opinion if necessary for                                                                     
     him or her  to vote, to  know whether a judge is  well                                                                     
     qualified for a job. Also, I think the citizen members                                                                     
     on the  group deserve a  little more credit for  being                                                                     
     able to make  good recommendations to their  group and                                                                     
     to back them up; it's only been 16  times out of 1,149                                                                     
     votes when the  Chief Justice sided with  the attorney                                                                     
     group against the  public members and  it looks to  me                                                                     
     like the group  worked very well, since 99  percent of                                                                     
     the time,  that's not happening.  For several years  I                                                                     
     volunteered as a  court appointed special  advocate, I                                                                     
     acted as volunteer guardian ad litem  for children and                                                                     
     that is  the  only experience  I have  in  front of  a                                                                     
     judge, I  was impressed by the  caliber of our  judges                                                                     
     then and  want to  retain that kind  of high  quality.                                                                     
     It's important to me that  the judges making decisions                                                                     
     about the  future  of our  citizens  are evaluated  by                                                                     
     their merit, not  by their political leanings. When  I                                                                     
     vote for the  judges, I want to  be able to  know that                                                                     
     the judges I vote for are well qualified and I believe                                                                     
     that the  Judicial Council as  it stands is  effective                                                                     
     and efficient.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:22:35 AM                                                                                                                    
GRANT CALLOW, representing himself, Anchorage, Alaska, explained                                                                
that he  is an attorney that  has been in practice in  Anchorage                                                                
for 37  years. He  noted that during  the past 25  years he  has                                                                
represented the State of  Alaska as a member of the  Uniform Law                                                                
Commission. He stated his  opposition of SJR3. He  revealed that                                                                
his father  was a Supreme Court  justice in Wisconsin and  noted                                                                
that Wisconsin has an  elected system for judges. He noted  that                                                                
his father is  against Wisconsin's system due  to politicization                                                                
and  he is  working  with other  Supreme  Court justices  for  a                                                                
constitutional change  that is  more in line  with the  Alaska's                                                                
constitution. He questioned a previous comment that SJR 3  would                                                                
increase attorney accountability. He  asserted that SJR 3  would                                                                
do   the   opposite   where   politicization   leads   to   less                                                                
accountability.  He  summarized that  SJR  3  would  be  a  step                                                                
backwards in terms of having a fair and impartial judiciary.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:26:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE  asked if anyone  else would  like to testify.  He                                                                
announced that hearing requests, public record was closed.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:27:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MCGUIRE moved  that the  committee move  SJR 3  out  of                                                                
committee with  individual recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                                
notes on to the Judiciary Committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE announced that his objection was removed and asked                                                                
if any  other committee members  objected. He noted  that SJR  3                                                                
would  be  more  thoroughly  vetted  in   the  Senate  Judiciary                                                                
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  announced his objection and  asked if  the                                                                
committee would hear from the Alaska Judicial Council.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE pointed out that  he just asked if there were  any                                                                
more people and nobody stepped forward.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  noted  that  a  representative  from  the                                                                
Judicial Council was  in the room  and asked that the  committee                                                                
hear from them.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:29:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE stated that he was not going to  beg the Judiciary                                                                
Council to come up and noted that he asked  if there was anybody                                                                
here to testify.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI reiterated that he would like to  hear from                                                                
the Judicial Council.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE replied that he did not see  anyone jumping up. He                                                                
remarked that the  court system has  been very arrogant and  not                                                                
wanting to testify.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI announced his objection to  Chair Stoltze's                                                                
comment.  He stated  that Chair  Stoltze's characterization  was                                                                
completely inappropriate. He added that calling the court system                                                                
arrogant was completely inappropriate.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STOLTZE replied  that the  court  system has  refused  to                                                                
engage in  any  individual discourse and  had previously  stated                                                                
that their  role was  not to interact  with the legislature.  He                                                                
announced that Senator Wielechowski's objection has  been noted.                                                                
He  asked that the  advocate for  the Judicial  Council to  come                                                                
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:30:02 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:30:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STOLTZE called the committee back to order.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE DIPIETRO,  Executive Director, Alaska Judicial  Council,                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska, explained the Judicial Council as follows:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
  · Consists of six members.                                                                                                    
  ·  All attorney members were born and raised in Alaska or were                                                                
     long time attorney members.                                                                                                
  ·  Procedures  for  judicial  selection  are  among  the  most                                                                
     transparent in the country.                                                                                                
  ·  Judicial  selection applications  are 20  pages  and  list:                                                                
     education experience, work experience, credit reports, and                                                                 
     criminal history checks.                                                                                                   
  ·  Applicants' non-confidential information is  posted on  the                                                                
     Judiciary Council's website for public review.                                                                             
  ·  Information from the  public is continuously solicited  via                                                                
     phones calls, letters, and website e-mails.                                                                                
  ·  Alaska  Bar  Association  members  are  surveyed  to   rate                                                                
     applicants   on   specific   qualities:    legal   ability,                                                                
     temperament,  integrity,  fairness,   and  suitability   of                                                                
     experience. Survey  results  are  posted on  the  Judiciary                                                                
     Council's website.                                                                                                         
  ·  Questionnaires are submitted  to people who have  litigated                                                                
     against applicants on specific cases.                                                                                      
  · Interviews are scheduled with all applicants.                                                                               
  ·  Public hearings are held in the location of the  vacancy in                                                                
    order to hear public testimony on what types of qualities                                                                   
        sought in a judge and the challenges faced by the                                                                       
     community.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:32:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  DIPIETRO   summarized  the  Judicial   Council's  judiciary                                                                
selection process as follows:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
  ·  The  Judicial Council  votes  in  public. 19  of  38  other                                                                
     judicial selection commissions do not vote in public.                                                                      
  ·  Applicants'  names  and  biographies  are  posted  on   the                                                                
       Judicial Council's website. Only 14 other judicial                                                                       
     selection committees post applicants' information.                                                                         
  ·  Focus is placed  on the candidates' qualifications. Due  to                                                                
   the council's focus on qualifications, members have a high                                                                   
   rate of agreement about nomination decisions, approximately                                                                  
     81 percent of the time.                                                                                                    
  ·  Votes on an applicant are unanimous or almost unanimous due                                                                
     to the focus on applicant qualifications.                                                                                  
  ·  The Chief Justice rarely  votes. In the past 30 years,  the                                                                
     Chief Justice has only voted 6 percent of the time.                                                                        
  ·  Over the  past 30 years, attorney/non-attorney splits  have                                                                
     only occurred 16 times out of 11,049 votes.                                                                                
  ·  Chief Justices have sent more than one  applicant's name to                                                                
     the Governor 75 percent of the time.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:34:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MCGUIRE asked  to  confirm  that Ms.  DiPietro  is  the                                                                
Executive Director for the Judicial Council.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. DIPIETRO answered correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE asked if the Judicial Council is taking a formal                                                                
position on SJR 3.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. DIPIETRO replied that  the Judicial Council has not taken  a                                                                
formal  position and  specified that  she  is at  the  committee                                                                
meeting to provide information.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  noted  that  she  appreciated  Ms.  DiPietro's                                                                
response that  the Judicial  Council has  remained neutral.  She                                                                
asked  Ms.  DiPietro if  the  legislature made  changes  to  the                                                                
Judicial  Council if  she would  service  the additional  public                                                                
members in a professional manner.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. DIPIETRO answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STOLTZE added  that the  people  would ultimately  decide                                                                
whether or not to change the  Judicial Council. He asserted that                                                                
the Judicial Council  does get involved in politics and  pointed                                                                
out situations  relating to  advertising, discussions about  the                                                                
content  of web  pages,  election  pages on  another  bill,  and                                                                
removing parties.  He asked  if the  Judicial Council should  be                                                                
more  agnostic  and   just  put  the  ratings  down  without   a                                                                
recommendation for or against.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DIPIETRO replied that  the  statutes simply  says that  the                                                                
Judicial Council may make a recommendation on retention and  the                                                                
council  has historically  made  recommendations to  assist  the                                                                
voters, which the voters can take or leave.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE responded that given that the  recommendation is a                                                                
statutory authority,  maybe the legislature should  look at  the                                                                
statute in order to keep the council pure  and agnostic in order                                                                
to keep the council out of politics.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:37:12 AM                                                                                                                    
NANCY MEADE,  General Counsel,  Alaska Court System,  Anchorage,                                                                
Alaska, said  she is representing the  Court System. She  stated                                                                
that the Alaska Court  System (ACS) is opposed to SJR 3  because                                                                
fundamentally ACS  depends  on the  Judicial Council  to  screen                                                                
applicants in order  to provide good  judges. She said the  ACS'                                                                
core mission is to  provide a fair and just forum for  people to                                                                
have their disputes adjudicated by the best possible judges. She                                                                
provided reasons  to  support her  claim to  retain the  current                                                                
system as follows:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
  · The Court System has a strong bench because the Judicial                                                                    
     Council has done a good job in naming the most qualified                                                                   
     applicants.                                                                                                                
  · The Court System does not have a bench that is marred by                                                                    
     kickbacks and scandals.                                                                                                    
  · The Judicial Council's process is non-partisan.                                                                             
  · There have not been any problems with lawyer members on the                                                                 
     Judicial Council.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE pointed out that the governor's selection process from                                                                
the  candidates deemed  qualified  by the  Judicial  Council  is                                                                
appropriately political. She remarked that the  Judicial Council                                                                
has reached consensus approximately  96 percent of the time  and                                                                
is not  split or  marked by factions.  She asserted that  having                                                                
partisan considerations earlier in the candidate process has the                                                                
potential to  provide names  that are not  necessarily the  best                                                                
qualified.  She pointed  out  that  candidates selected  by  the                                                                
Judicial  Council  come   from  every  end  of   the  political,                                                                
educational, and social spectrum. She noted that most cases that                                                                
come before  the court for  resolution have nothing  to do  with                                                                
politics.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She summarized that the  Court System believes that there is  no                                                                
need to amend the constitution. She  cautioned that problems may                                                                
be  created  where   considerations  are  added  that  are   not                                                                
appropriate for the selection and retention of judges.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:41:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE pointed out that the  decision regarding changes                                                                
to the Judicial Council will go to the voters. She asked  why it                                                                
is appropriate for  the Judicial Council's public members to  be                                                                
subject to legislative  hearings and confirmations, but not  the                                                                
attorney  members. She  inquired why  the resolution's  proposed                                                                
changes would politicize a  process any more than it already  is                                                                
politicized. She pointed  out that the Judicial  Council's three                                                                
public  members  are  fully  vetted   throughout  the  committee                                                                
process. She added that  there is nothing in SJR 3  that changes                                                                
the fact that  the Judicial Council will continue to select  the                                                                
names that will  go forward to the governor. She  specified that                                                                
the SJR  3 would  change the  Judicial Council's composition  of                                                                
those who get to make selection. She questioned how SJR  3 would                                                                
corrupt the Judicial  Council. She queried why the Court  System                                                                
was resistant  to trying a  different way  when only three  more                                                                
public Alaskans  are added to  the Judicial Council. She  opined                                                                
that having attorneys go through a  public hearing process would                                                                
actually be more public and transparent.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:44:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE replied  that  adding three  members would  make  the                                                                
Judicial Council imbalanced where six governor appointees are of                                                                
a  similar  mind  of  the  governor.  She   cautioned  that  the                                                                
governor's appointees could vote as  a block to ensure that  the                                                                
governor's views  dictate name selection  rather than on  merit.                                                                
She added  that having attorney  members go through  legislative                                                                
confirmation  would  lead to  political  questions  rather  than                                                                
caring about getting the best judges. She  maintained that focus                                                                
should be  based on the judicial  applicants' merits and not  on                                                                
politics.  She  summarized that  the  proposed  change  has  the                                                                
potential to change things in a very negative way  as opposed to                                                                
leaving the emphasis on merit.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE noted that she had made a motion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:48:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI objected to moving SJR 3 out of committee                                                                  
and stated the following:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Our constitution is  one of the best  constitutions in                                                                     
     the United States; it was developed over 50  years ago                                                                     
     when we learned from  all of the mistakes from  all of                                                                     
     the  other states.  Amending the  constitution is  not                                                                     
     something you take  lightly, it is something that  you                                                                     
     do  when   something  is  seriously  broken.  Is   our                                                                     
     constitution broken in regards to how  we pick judges?                                                                     
     No, the facts are very clear on that  and you can look                                                                     
     at the  documents that  we have been  provided by  the                                                                     
     court  system.  There have  been  1,149  votes  as  of                                                                     
     January 22, 2015 that the  Judicial Council has taken,                                                                     
     1,149 votes;  of those  1,149 votes,  there have  been                                                                     
     exactly 16  ties, 16 ties  out of 1,149  votes between                                                                     
     attorneys and  public  members,  and where  the  Chief                                                                     
     Justice  had to  vote  to  decide whether  or  not  to                                                                     
     forward a name on to the  governor for appointment, of                                                                     
     those 16 votes,  the Chief Justice voted 9  times. So,                                                                     
     we are dealing with  9 times in a 30 year  history out                                                                     
     of  1,149  votes  when  you've  had  a  split  between                                                                     
     attorneys  and  the  public  members,  and  the  Chief                                                                     
     Justice  didn't  forward  it  on.  In   the  Judiciary                                                                     
     Committee, we're going to those 9 times, because every                                                                     
     single one  of them there  was a  good reason why  the                                                                     
     name  wasn't forwarded  on;  for example,  there  were                                                                     
     times  when  the people  who  were  applying  for  the                                                                     
     judgeship were rated unsatisfactory. Should  that name                                                                     
     be forwarded  on? Well, the  public members said  yes,                                                                     
     but the Chief  Justice wisely said no. In  other cases                                                                     
     there were incidences where the names put forward were                                                                     
     not as qualified as the other  members, yet the public                                                                     
     members agreed to  put them forward. Should that  name                                                                     
     be  forwarded on?  Clearly  no,  we are  going  to  go                                                                     
     through each one of those  in the Judiciary Committee,                                                                     
     this is  going to politicize  the judiciary, which  is                                                                     
     one of the best in the nation, and  we don't need more                                                                     
     politics  in  the   Judiciary.  Mr.  Chairman,  I   am                                                                     
     maintaining my objection.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked that a roll call vote be taken.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken. Senator Huggins, McGuire, and Chair                                                                 
Stoltze voted in favor of moving SJR 3 from committee; Senator                                                                  
Wielechowski voted against it. Therefore, SJR 3 moved from                                                                      
committee by a vote of 3 to 1.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:50:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STOLTZE  moved  to  report  SJR  3  from  committee  with                                                                
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). He added                                                                
that the Senate Judiciary Committee will delve more  deeply into                                                                
SJR 3.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS commented as follows:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I  hope  we  all  appreciate  that  there's  no  elite                                                                     
     fraternities that are appropriate for any place  in us                                                                     
     getting  to where  we  need  to  be when  we  look  at                                                                     
     opinions. So, for  myself as a  guy from a rural  area                                                                     
     called Mat-Su,  I feel  perfectly comfortable that  my                                                                     
     constituents will be celebrating the fact that  we are                                                                     
     having a  conversation about this  and looking at  how                                                                     
     common, everyday citizens who are  pretty good people,                                                                     
     they are good  fishermen, they are good  hunters, they                                                                     
     are artists, and they pay a few taxes once in a while,                                                                     
     and oh by  the way, they will standup and  be counted.                                                                     
     So,  in that  respect,  I  am  not looking  for  elite                                                                     
     fraternities of people.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if the committee was re-debating the                                                                 
issue because SJR 3 had moved out of committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS replied that he was explaining his vote.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STOLTZE asked Senator Huggins if he had summary comments.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS summarized as follows:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     As I said earlier, for  my constituents, explaining my                                                                     
     vote, is that I don't support elite fraternities and I                                                                     
     know that my good friends and neighbors would like for                                                                     
     us  to  have  this  conversation  so   that  they  can                                                                     
     understand  the  dynamics, and  ever  how  the  debate                                                                     
     finishes, and  the dust  settles on  it, that's  okay;                                                                     
     but, we should not be beyond  question about how we've                                                                     
     done things and how we do things.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:53:05 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          SB 75-PFD CONTRIBUTIONS TO TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:54:48 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR HUGGINS  called  the  committee back  to  order  and                                                                
announced that SB 75 was back before the committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:55:29 AM                                                                                                                    
DOUG LETCH,  Staff, Senator  Stevens, Alaska State  Legislature,                                                                
Juneau, Alaska, stated that  Mr. Barnett from the  Department of                                                                
Revenue was present to answer questions that to be  entered into                                                                
the record.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JERRY  BURNETT,   Deputy  Commissioner,  Alaska  Department   of                                                                
Revenue, Juneau, Alaska.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LETCH  explained that  Chair  Stoltze wanted  to  hear  the                                                                
department's  position  on  SB   75.  He  said  there  was   the                                                                
indeterminate fiscal note, which explained that the new entrants                                                                
to the program  would pay the $250  fee and be subjected to  the                                                                
same terms as the current participants.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS  pointed out that particular emphasis was  on                                                                
the fiscal note.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BURNETT explained that  the fiscal  note was  indeterminate                                                                
because  the Department  of Revenue  has no  idea how  many  new                                                                
entities may come into the program. He specified that there will                                                                
be some  costs associated with the  bill, but each entrant  will                                                                
pay a set $250 fee with 7 percent of  the pledges withheld for a                                                                
management contract. He stated that who the department is taking                                                                
pledges on behalf of does not matter.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:57:01 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS asked  Mr. Burnet to restate what the  fiscal                                                                
note impact will be.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BURNETT  answered that  depending  on  the  number  of  new                                                                
entities,  each entrant  would  pay  a  $250 fee.  He  said  the                                                                
department will potentially have some additional costs depending                                                                
on  how  many entrants  there  are,  but the  fiscal  impact  is                                                                
covered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  HUGGINS  asked  hundreds,  thousands,  or  tens  of                                                                
thousands.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURNETT answered that the department is  looking at probably                                                                
low thousands of dollars; but,  it would be paid for by the  new                                                                
entrants. He added that each year there are different numbers of                                                                
participants   in   the   "Pick.Click.Give."   program   because                                                                
charitable organizations can come and go. He summarized that the                                                                
new entrants would just be handled the same as  any other entity                                                                
that is covered in the program.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  HUGGINS  asked if  Mr.  Letch  had  any  additional                                                                
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. LETCH thanked the Native Village of Afognak for bringing the                                                                
idea forward.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE thanked the bill sponsors for bringing  the bill                                                                
forward. She commented  that she has personal  experience seeing                                                                
small community tribes providing social services and educational                                                                
services. She  opined that  small community tribes  are more  in                                                                
touch  with community.  She added  that  the donations  are  tax                                                                
deductible.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE moved  to  report  SB 75  from  committee  with                                                                
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:58:58 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS announced that seeing no objection, SB 75  is                                                                
reported from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:59:06 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business to  come before the  committee,                                                                
Senator  Huggins adjourned  the  Senate State  Affairs  Standing                                                                
Committee hearing at 9:59 a.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR3 Opposition Document - Letter AFL-CIO 3-9-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 SSTA Emails of Opposition 3-22-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 SSTA Emails of Support 3-22-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SJR 3
SB75 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 75
SB75 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 75
SB75 Support Document - Letter Chickaloon Village Traditional Counci 3-23-15l.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 75
SB75 Support Document - Letter Native Village of Afognak 3-23-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 75
SB75 Fiscal Note DOR-PFD 3-23-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 75
SJR3 SSTA Emails and Faxes of Opposition 3-23-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SJR 3
SB22 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Sectional Analysis.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Fiscal Note DOA-DMV 2-4-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Sponsor's Additional Questions to DMV.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - Analysis of DMV Responses by Dan Moore.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - Commission Agents Cost to DMV (sponsor).pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - DMV Data Summary (sponsor).pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - DMV PCN Info (sponsor).pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - DMV-MVRT Information.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - DMV-MVRT Leasing Costs (sponsor).pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - Letter MOA Daniel Moore 2-2-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
SB22 Supporting Document - Municipality of Anchorage Supplemental Info SB 22.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 22
HB35 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Explaination of Changes in HSTA.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Fiscal Note DOA-DGS 1-30-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Supporting Document - Facts and Figures.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Supporting Document - Letter AK SHSC 2-4-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Supporting Document - Letter Anchorage Mayor Sullivan 2-2-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Supporting Document - Letter Chuck Volanti 1-26-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Supporting Document - Letter PCI Armand Feliciano 2-2-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB35 Supporting Document - Letter Valdez Mayor Weaver 1-27-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 Ver W.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 35
SJR3 Opposition Document - Email Bud Carpeneti 3-24-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SJR 3
SJR3 SSTA Emails of Opposition 3-24-15.pdf SSTA 3/24/2015 8:30:00 AM
SJR 3