Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/22/2022 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 142 SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE ELECTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 142 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+= SB 129 ELECTION PAMPHLET INFORMATION RE: JUDGES TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled to 03/24/22>
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 207 ACCESS TO MARIJUANA CONVICTION RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+= SB 214 LIABILITY: SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 214(STA) Out of Committee
-- Invited Testimony --
+= SJR 20 URGE PASSAGE OF HEARING PROTECTION ACT TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 22, 2022                                                                                         
                           3:33 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Shower, Chair                                                                                                      
Senator Lora Reinbold, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Roger Holland                                                                                                           
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 142                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the sovereignty of state elections."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 142 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 207                                                                                                             
"An Act restricting the release of certain records of                                                                           
convictions; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 214                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to civil liability for censorship of speech by                                                                 
a social media platform."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 214(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 129                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to information on judicial officers provided in                                                                
election pamphlets."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING RESCHEDULED TO 3/24/22                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 20                                                                                                  
Urging the United States Congress to pass the Hearing Protection                                                                
Act.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 142                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE ELECTIONS                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SHOWER                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
05/19/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/19/21       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
02/03/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/03/22       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/22       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/22/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 207                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ACCESS TO MARIJUANA CONVICTION RECORDS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SHOWER                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
02/22/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/22       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/10/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/10/22       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/17/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/17/22       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/17/22       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/22/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 214                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIABILITY: SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) REINBOLD                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
02/22/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/22       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/10/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/10/22       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/17/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/17/22       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/17/22       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/22/22       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CLAIRE GROSS, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Answered  questions and  provided supporting                                                             
information on SB 207.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
NOAH KLINE, Legislative Counsel                                                                                                 
Legal Services                                                                                                                  
Division of Legal and Research Services                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered legal questions during  the hearing                                                             
on SB 214.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SAMANTHA FILLMORE, State Government Relations Manager                                                                           
Heartland Institute, Chicago, Illinois                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony in  support of SB
214.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:33:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MIKE  SHOWER  called the  Senate  State  Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:33  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators  Reinbold,  Kawasaki,  Holland,  and  Chair                                                               
Shower.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
              SB 142-SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE ELECTIONS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 142                                                               
"An Act relating to the sovereignty of state elections."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[This is the second hearing and public testimony was noticed.]                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Speaking  as  sponsor,  Senator Shower  summarized  that  if  the                                                               
federal  government were  to infringe  on  the state's  sovereign                                                               
right to  manage its internal  election affairs, the  state would                                                               
bifurcate the  election process such that  the federal government                                                               
would  have to  administer  federal elections  without using  any                                                               
state resources.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:34:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony  on SB 142; finding none, he                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:35:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO joined the committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI   asked  if  the  state's   membership  in  the                                                               
Electronic Registration Information  Center (ERIC) voter tracking                                                               
system would be affected if  the federal government were to enact                                                               
a measure to require the state to register voters.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   SHOWER   answered  no,   because   ERIC   is  a   private                                                               
organization, not government.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  found no  further  questions  or comments  and  he                                                               
solicited a motion.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:36:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD moved to report  SB 142, work order 32-LS0936\A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:36:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER found no objection and  SB 142 moved from the Senate                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
         SB 207-ACCESS TO MARIJUANA CONVICTION RECORDS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:39:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   SHOWER  reconvened   the   meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration  of SENATE  BILL NO.  207 "An  Act restricting  the                                                               
release of certain  records of convictions; and  providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Speaking  as  sponsor,   Senator  Shower  invited  Representative                                                               
Jonathan  Kreiss-Tomkins'   staff  to  provide  the   answers  to                                                               
questions that were asked during the previous hearing.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:39:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CLAIRE  GROSS,  Staff, Representative  Jonathan  Kreiss-Tompkins,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau,  Alaska, stated  that SB  207                                                               
automatically  removes   from  CourtView  convictions   under  AS                                                               
11.71.060  or a  municipal ordinance  with similar  elements, for                                                               
possession of  less than  one ounce of  a Schedule  VI controlled                                                               
substance; the individual was 21 years  of age or older when they                                                               
committed the  offense; and the  individual was not  convicted of                                                               
any other  criminal charges in  the case.  The Court has  said it                                                               
could  absorb any  cost associated  with  removing these  records                                                               
from  CourtView.  The bill  also  shields  from view  those  same                                                               
convictions when an employer makes  an Any Persons Report request                                                               
for  a background  check  from the  Department  of Public  Safety                                                               
(DPS)  database  called  the  Alaska  Public  Safety  Information                                                               
Network (APSIN).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. GROSS stated  that the DPS fiscal note reflects  the cost for                                                               
the department to research the  criminal history records in APSIN                                                               
to  determine whether  the conviction  qualifies  to be  shielded                                                               
from public  view. DPS proposes  hiring one person for  two years                                                               
to  do  this research.  Defendants  must  request the  department                                                               
determine whether  their conviction qualifies to  be shielded and                                                               
those  requests will  be prioritized,  although all  the criminal                                                               
convictions will eventually be reviewed.  She noted that there is                                                               
also a minor cost associated with the software change for APSIN.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER listed who was available to answer questions.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD recalled that the  Court submitted a fiscal note                                                               
when a similar bill was introduced in a previous legislature.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. GROSS  deferred to Ms. Meade  to discuss how that  bill was a                                                               
little different.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:46:37 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MEADE said  that to  her  knowledge the  Court System  has                                                               
never  attached a  fiscal  note to  similar  bills introduced  in                                                               
prior  years.  When  the  first   bill  similar  to  SB  207  was                                                               
introduced five  or six  years ago, the  Court System's  IT staff                                                               
counted  and  identified the  case  numbers  for those  marijuana                                                               
possession cases  that would  be affected so  that they  could be                                                               
removed from CourtView somewhat  automatically. That list has not                                                               
grown since  the conduct  is now  legal and it  will take  just a                                                               
little work to fully implement the automation.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD mentioned  hypothetical non-marijuana possession                                                               
cases that  might affect a person's  life and asked for  her view                                                               
of having less information available for view on CourtView.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  replied the court does  not have a preference  for how                                                               
the  legislature decides  to  do  this, but  the  Court can  only                                                               
remove the entire  case from CourtView, not just one  charge in a                                                               
case that remains posted.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COSTELLO asked  if she  views the  intent language  in the                                                               
bill as helpful, confusing, or not helpful.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  offered  her  belief that  this  and  prior  sponsors                                                               
believe the  intent language in  Section 1 is helpful  because it                                                               
tells  why   the  legislature  is   removing  these   cases  from                                                               
CourtView. She asked if she  has asking about the intent language                                                               
in Section 5 about prior court records.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:50:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  clarified that  she was uncomfortable  with the                                                               
term "low-level crimes" on page 1.  She said she assumes it would                                                               
not affect the bill if the intent were removed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE said  she agrees with the last statement,  but since it                                                               
is  a policy  call she  would defer  to either  Ms. Gross  or the                                                               
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER said he was flexible,  but the purpose of the intent                                                               
was to inform  people that the bill was  solely about convictions                                                               
in marijuana  crimes for  conduct that is  no longer  illegal. He                                                               
asked Ms. Gross to comment.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:51:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GROSS said the language  provides an explanation for what the                                                               
bill does,  but she  believes the sponsor  of the  companion bill                                                               
would be amenable to removing it  if the committee believes it is                                                               
confusing.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:52:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO said  the first sentence of  the intent language                                                               
achieves the goal and she  would suggest the committee remove the                                                               
second sentence on page 1, lines 8-11.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     By protecting  records of  those low-level  crimes from                                                                    
     certain  types of  criminal history  background checks,                                                                    
     it  is   the  legislature's  intent  to   increase  the                                                                    
     likelihood  that people  convicted  of those  low-level                                                                    
     crimes will become contributing members of society.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  agreed  and  asked   if  she  wanted  to  offer  a                                                               
conceptual amendment.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:53:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO moved Conceptual Amendment 1 to SB 207.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 8-11:                                                                                                        
          Delete entire sentence that begins "By protecting                                                                     
     records..."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER objected to ask  if there were questions or comments                                                               
to the proposed amendment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:54:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  said she could  go either way.  She understands                                                               
what Senator Costello  is saying about low-level  crimes, but she                                                               
found the  intent to help  people become contributing  members of                                                               
society helpful.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:54:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  said the intent  seems to  be covered in  the first                                                               
sentence of the intent language. He read:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     It is the intent of  the legislature to reduce barriers                                                                    
     to  employment for  people who  have been  convicted of                                                                    
     low-level  marijuana possession  crimes  that would  be                                                                    
     legal on January 1, 2023.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:55:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   SHOWER  removed   his  objection;   finding  no   further                                                               
objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 to SB 207 passed.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:55:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked if his  understanding was correct that the                                                               
bill is limited to persons 21  years of age or older because that                                                               
language was in the initiative.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. GROSS  replied the intent was  to limit the scope  to conduct                                                               
that is not a crime  now. Marijuana possession by persons younger                                                               
than age 21 is still a crime in Alaska.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  if anything  other than  cannabis was  a                                                               
Schedule VI A controlled substance.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. GROSS answered no.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER noted  that  she  had used  a  lifeline before  she                                                               
responded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:56:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony  on SB 207; finding none, he                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER held SB 207 for future consideration.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
           SB 214-LIABILITY: SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:57:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO announced  the consideration  of SENATE  BILL NO.                                                               
214 "An Act relating to  civil liability for censorship of speech                                                               
by a social media platform."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He noted that Senator Holland  had an amendment for the committee                                                               
to consider.  He asked the  sponsor for  a high level  summary of                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:58:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LORA  REINBOLD, speaking as  sponsor, stated that  SB 214                                                               
is an  anti-censorship bill that  targets the large  social media                                                               
platforms.  The  bill imposes  penalties  for  shadow banning  or                                                               
otherwise restricting  users within certain parameters.  She read                                                               
the following  paragraph from written testimony  submitted by the                                                               
Hartland Institute:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     As  partisans squabble  and  media apparatchiks  chirp,                                                                    
     the  social media  companies  have  ascended from  mere                                                                    
     stages where players perform  to being the protagonists                                                                    
     and  villains  rolled into  one  driving  force of  the                                                                    
     storyline.   The  result   has   been  near   universal                                                                    
     frustration  with  the  behavior  of  what  has  become                                                                    
     colloquially known as Big Tech.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
She offered  her belief that  the people  need to act  to prevent                                                               
being censored for  posting their opinions on  these social media                                                               
platforms. She  noted that  this is  a new  and evolving  area of                                                               
law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:59:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  asked her to  comment on  the case in  Texas in                                                               
which a  federal judge blocked a  law similar to SB  214, stating                                                               
that  "Social media  platforms have  a First  Amendment right  to                                                               
moderate  content disseminated  on  their  platforms." The  judge                                                               
further  found  that  the  Texas   law  "compelled  social  media                                                               
platforms    to    disseminate   objectionable    content    that                                                               
impermissibly restricts their editorial discretion."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:00:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  replied she cannot  address all cases,  but she                                                               
had provided  the committee with the  Legislative Legal Services'                                                               
memo.  She summarized  the following  from that  legal memo  that                                                               
suggested the sponsor consider the following:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     1.   First Amendment issues. Please be aware that the                                                                    
     draft bill  raises significant  issues under the  United                                                                   
     States Constitution's First  Amendment and art.  I, sec.                                                                   
     5,  of the  Alaska  Constitution. Because  social  media                                                                   
     websites  are   private  entities  and  not   government                                                                   
     actors,  they   are  entitled   to  freedom  of   speech                                                                   
     protections.  Government regulation  of a  social  media                                                                   
     website's speech is therefore held to  the same standard                                                                   
     as  government  regulation  of  a  private  individual's                                                                   
     speech.                                                                                                                    
     The  draft bill  seeks  to  compel speech  and  suppress                                                                   
     fact-checking. The  U.S. Supreme  Court has stated  that                                                                   
     "[t]here is certainly some difference  between compelled                                                                   
     speech  and compelled  silence, but  in  the context  of                                                                   
     protected   speech,    the    difference   is    without                                                                   
     constitutional  significance, for  the  First  Amendment                                                                   
     guarantees  'freedom  of  speech,'  a  term  necessarily                                                                   
     comprising the  decision of  both what to  say and  what                                                                   
     not to say. "l The interplay of  free speech protections                                                                   
     and internet forums such as social media  is an evolving                                                                   
     area of  law. Because the draft  bill requires a  social                                                                   
     media  website  to disseminate  content  with  which  it                                                                   
     disagrees,  and   prohibits  a  website  from   speaking                                                                   
     through fact  checking, a court  may, however, find  the                                                                   
     provisions in the bill unconstitutional.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD noted that the second consideration was about                                                                  
damages. She paraphrased the third suggested consideration about                                                                
jurisdiction. It read as follows:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     3    Jurisdiction. Although  the draft bill provides  an                                                                 
     individual  with a  cause  of  action against  a  social                                                                   
     media website,  it  is not  clear that  an Alaska  court                                                                   
     would have personal  jurisdiction over the social  media                                                                   
     website. As a result, an Alaska court may dismiss a case                                                                   
     brought  under  this   statute  for  lack   of  personal                                                                   
     jurisdiction.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD said  the  fourth  consideration discusses  her                                                               
preference to  place the bill  in AS  45.45 and that  the drafter                                                               
placed  it  in AS  09  because  it regulates  conduct,  prohibits                                                               
harassing behavior,  and imposes  liability for the  conduct. She                                                               
decided not to object to the  placement but said she continues to                                                               
believe there is an argument either  way in this emerging area of                                                               
law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:02:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  asked if the Texas  ruling was under appeal  in the                                                               
Fifth Circuit [Court of Appeals].                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI clarified that it was a district court case.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  asked if the  court discussed whether or  not large                                                               
social media companies would be regulated  by the FCC in the same                                                               
way as newspapers.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI replied  he only  knew that  the Texas  law was                                                               
struck down on  First Amendment grounds. He  acknowledged that he                                                               
didn't know the background.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  asked him  to  forward  that information  for  the                                                               
record because it goes to  the sponsor's statement that there are                                                               
two sides to the matter.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:03:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI read the last  sentence in the Legislative Legal                                                               
Services' memo regarding  First Amendment issues in  the bill and                                                               
opined that  it aligns  with what the  district court  judge said                                                               
about the Texas law.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Because the draft  bill requires a social  media website                                                                   
     to  disseminate content  with  which it  disagrees,  and                                                                   
     prohibits   a  website   from  speaking   through   fact                                                                   
     checking, a court  may, however, find the  provisions in                                                                   
     the bill unconstitutional.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He acknowledged  that his concerns  about First  Amendment rights                                                               
would  be   more  appropriately   considered  in   the  Judiciary                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:04:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD said  she had several other cases to  add to the                                                               
record  in this  or the  next  committee of  referral if  Senator                                                               
Kawasaki  intended to  add  the Texas  district  court case.  She                                                               
stressed the importance of SB 214, stating the following:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     That the  platforms that are  making beaucoup  bucks on                                                                    
     us,  want to  restrict  us  and want  to  shut us  down                                                                    
     without penalty  because they want to  hide behind some                                                                    
     other source  of law.  But yet  when we  try to  ban or                                                                    
     block somebody that we disagree  with, that we think is                                                                    
     false  information, you  know, then  they want  to have                                                                    
     these people come after us.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     So  we're damned  if you  do  and we're  damned if  you                                                                    
     don't. And that's why this  is so doggone important. We                                                                    
     have to  allow the  platform users  to have  some power                                                                    
     here  and  we  can't  let  the big  tech  just  have  a                                                                    
     stranglehold on all sides. It's just not fair.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER said  he'd appreciate receiving all the  data and it                                                               
would be forwarded to the Judiciary Committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  requested his office  post all the  court cases                                                               
it receives to BASIS.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER agreed to do so.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:05:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  the sponsor  if her  last statement  was                                                               
specifically  about   the  case  relating  to   public  officials                                                               
removing  or blocking  critics  [from  Facebook], because  public                                                               
officials are held to a higher standard than the general public.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD  replied  it  depends.  The  Legislative  Legal                                                               
Services  memo states  that media  websites are  private entities                                                               
and as  such are entitled  to freedom of speech  protections. The                                                               
bottom  line is  that  these  are private  platforms  and we  are                                                               
users. She  said she is  in charge of  her Facebook page  but she                                                               
doesn't see it  as official communication. That  is different for                                                               
the  executive branch.  She  said they're  held  to a  completely                                                               
different standard  because they can  enact things on  their own,                                                               
whereas the legislature has to enact something as a body.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  stated that  she was aware  of five  cases that                                                               
make  the  distinction  between   executive  branch  postings  on                                                               
official  sites  and  individual  legislator  postings  on  their                                                               
private sites.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  asked Noah Kline if  he had any thoughts  about the                                                               
court cases that were mentioned.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:08:11 PM                                                                                                                    
NOAH  KLINE, Legislative  Counsel,  Legal  Services, Division  of                                                               
Legal and  Research Services,  Alaska State  Legislature, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, said  he was aware  of the  district court case  in Texas                                                               
that Senator Kawasaki described as  well as a district court case                                                               
in Florida in  the last year. In both cases  the federal district                                                               
courts enjoined legislation similar to  SB 214 on First Amendment                                                               
and potentially other  constitutional grounds. Federal preemption                                                               
questions were raised in those cases as well.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked if either of those cases were moving forward.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. KLINE said he believes the  cases are on appeal, but he could                                                               
not state that for certain. He  reiterated that in both cases the                                                               
courts  found  a  likelihood  of success  on  a  First  Amendment                                                               
challenge.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  if he  was  aware of  anything on  antitrust                                                               
implications on those cases.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KLINE replied he was  not specifically aware of any antitrust                                                               
findings.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  asked if  he was  aware of  any arguments  in these                                                               
cases about bringing large tech  social media companies under FCC                                                               
regulation  as  a  content  manager   as  opposed  to  a  service                                                               
provider.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. KLINE said he  was not aware of any such  cases. He asked the                                                               
chair if  he was referring  to social media companies  as editors                                                               
as opposed to having no impact on what is posted.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER confirmed that was what he was talking about.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. KLINE said  both district court cases he  referred to earlier                                                               
held that social media companies have editorial ability.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:11:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  found no  further questions  and turned  to invited                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:12:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SAMANTHA FILLMORE, State  Government Relations Manager, Heartland                                                               
Institute,  Chicago,  Illinois,  provided  invited  testimony  in                                                               
support  of SB  214. She  stated that  in the  last year  some 35                                                               
states   have  introduced   about   80   pieces  of   legislation                                                               
challenging  the seemingly  unilateral control  big tech  has had                                                               
over  free speech  in  the  de facto  modern  public square.  She                                                               
offered her  perspective that this clearly  shows that censorship                                                               
by social  media platforms  is the minds  of all  legislators and                                                               
their constituents.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. FILLMORE stated that just  three companies control 97 percent                                                               
of  the traffic  on social  media platforms,  so First  Amendment                                                               
rights are at the core of the debate.  SB 214 seeks to find a way                                                               
for these  platforms to  work in  a free  and fair  way, although                                                               
unilateral control  over a stage  based on algorithms  or certain                                                               
points of view is  not slightly fair and it flies  in the face of                                                               
what the First Amendment was designed to protect.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FILLMORE said  these companies  have First  Amendment rights                                                               
and  they claim  to be  an avenue  for free  speech, but  that is                                                               
nothing more than a deceptive  trade practice. She said it's time                                                               
to   stop  talking   about  the   inalienable  rights   of  these                                                               
multinational  companies,  because  the First  Amendment  applies                                                               
differently  to  speakers than  to  those  who host  or  transmit                                                               
speech. "In  other words, while  a government forcing a  group or                                                               
person  to  speak  a  specific  message  causes  First  Amendment                                                               
concerns,  requesting transparency  from  the  terms under  which                                                               
entities  host or  transmit other  speech  is entirely  complicit                                                               
with the Constitution."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FILLMORE cited  the Turner  case  in Texas  where the  court                                                               
upheld must-carry requirements on  cable systems and it premiered                                                               
another  case  that  upheld  requirements  that  privately  owned                                                               
shopping centers allowed free speech  on their premises. She said                                                               
House Bill  20 in Texas  protected Texans against  social media's                                                               
discriminatory  practices  regarding  political  viewpoints,  and                                                               
that  fell  within the  general  rule  of  how courts  have  long                                                               
treated companies  and places  of public  accommodation. However,                                                               
when that law was challenged she  believes the court got it wrong                                                               
when  it  relied  on  an  exception to  the  rule  and  not  what                                                               
generally has been followed for decades.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:15:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked  if either the Texas  or Florida decisions                                                               
were under appeal.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FILLMORE answered  yes;  both were  appealed  and are  going                                                               
through that  process. She added  that Heartland filed  an amicus                                                               
curiae  brief in  the Texas  case in  an effort  to maintain  the                                                               
forward momentum. She expressed hope  that Alaska would exert its                                                               
autonomy such  that something that  occurred in Texas  or Florida                                                               
wouldn't occur in Alaska.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  asked  her  to   comment  on  the  question  about                                                               
potential FCC  regulation of  big tech and  whether an  appeal in                                                               
the Texas case would go to the Fifth Circuit.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. FILLMORE  said she  would follow up  with an  informed answer                                                               
about whether or not an appeal in  the Texas case would go to the                                                               
Fifth Circuit.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  if she  was  aware of  any cases  concerning                                                               
potential FCC regulation of big tech.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FILLMORE explained  that Section  230 of  the Communications                                                               
Decency  Act  governs  the  way  big tech  acts  as  a  platform.                                                               
Initially, Section  230 was intended  to address  publishers such                                                               
as newspapers, television,  radio and other forms  of media. With                                                               
the  advent  of  social  media, tech  companies  claimed  that  a                                                               
posting on their  platforms was not their own  speech because the                                                               
platforms  were   merely  bulletin   boards.  The   argument  was                                                               
successful  and  the   government  essentially  gifted  liability                                                               
protections to these tech companies under Section 230.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FILLMORE said  the reasoning  and the  caveat for  that gift                                                               
from the  federal government was  that these tech  companies were                                                               
not editors  and could  not control what  was on  their platform.                                                               
However, the reality  is that these platforms  have since entered                                                               
into  an editorial  context. Now  many people  argue that  if big                                                               
tech wants to edit content  on these platforms, it should forfeit                                                               
the  gift from  the  federal government.  That  debate is  taking                                                               
place in Congress now.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. FILLMORE  highlighted that subsection  (e)(3) of  Section 230                                                               
allows  for state-based  laws. She  interpreted the  provision as                                                               
the  federal  government's  way to  allow  individual  states  to                                                               
figure  out  this  new method  of  communicating  political  free                                                               
speech.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:20:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER  said   he  was  relying  on  the   fact  that  her                                                               
perspective was broader than just the state of Alaska.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony  on SB 214; finding none, he                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked Senator Holland to offer his amendment.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOLLAND moved  Amendment 1  to  SB 214,  work order  32-                                                               
LS1577\B.1.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                   32-LS0232\B.1                                                                
                                                         Klein                                                                  
                                                        3/19/22                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                          AMENDMENT 1                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     OFFERED IN THE SENATE             BY SENATOR HOLLAND                                                                       
     TO:  SB 214                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 25-28:                                                                                                       
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
               "(6) "religious" means relating to or                                                                            
        manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged                                                                        
        ultimate reality or deity."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLAND  said the only  thing in  the bill that  he found                                                               
problematic was  the definition of religious  because it referred                                                               
to "unproven faith-based assumptions."  He read the definition in                                                               
the above amendment.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked the sponsor to comment.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:22:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD said she was happy with the amendment.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:22:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  asked the  bill  sponsor  if she  worked  with                                                               
Legislative  Legal Services  to come  up with  the definition  of                                                               
"religious" in the bill or if it was a term of art.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD   answered  that  she  first   introduced  this                                                               
legislation in 2019  and she believes a staff member  at the time                                                               
provided direction to Legal Services.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER, in  response  to a  query  from Senator  Reinbold,                                                               
advised that he had released Noah  Kline for the day, although he                                                               
could call him back.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:23:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked Senator Holland  whether the definition he                                                               
proposed for "religious"  appeared elsewhere in statute  or if it                                                               
was a term of art.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:24:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOLLAND said  his intention  with the  amendment was  to                                                               
provide a  definition that 1)  defined "religious"  without using                                                               
the word and 2) seemed appropriate  to the service. He offered to                                                               
follow up with the source.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  read the definition of  "religion" that Black's                                                               
Law  dictionary  uses.  "A  human's   relation  to  divinity,  to                                                               
reverence,  worship,   obedience,  submission  to   mandates  and                                                               
precepts of  supernatural or superior  beings." He said  he would                                                               
be more comfortable  using a definition in this bill  that can be                                                               
found somewhere  in law,  as opposed to  the committee  trying to                                                               
settle on a definition.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLAND offered his perspective  that striking those four                                                               
lines essentially leaves the definition in Webster's.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:26:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLINE advised that he had not heard the question.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked Senator Kawasaki to repeat the question.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:26:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  said his question  was about the  definition of                                                               
"religious" in  bill Section 3 on  page 3, lines 25-28.  He asked                                                               
if that definition  appears somewhere else in statute  or if it's                                                               
a  new definition  specifically for  SB 214.  He noted  there was                                                               
also   an  amendment   that   offered   another  definition   for                                                               
"religious."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:26:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLINE answered  that both the definition in the  bill and the                                                               
definition  in  the  amendment   are  new  definitions  that  are                                                               
specifically limited  to the  proposed new  section of  law, Sec.                                                               
09.68.055.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked how the definition come about.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. KLINE  restated that Legal  Services drafts according  to the                                                               
request it receives, so he would  defer to the sponsor of bill or                                                               
the sponsor  of the  amendment. He  added that  he would  need to                                                               
review  Black's   Law  Dictionary  to   see  if  either   of  the                                                               
definitions were consistent to Black's.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER summarized  that Senator  Reinbold  did not  recall                                                               
which  staff in  her office  may have  offered direction  for the                                                               
definition because it was in 2019.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:28:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOLLAND asked  if a  standard  definition of  "religion"                                                               
would be  applied if the  definition of "religious"  in paragraph                                                               
(6)  were  eliminated  from  the   bill  entirely  and  no  other                                                               
definition was added.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. KLINE answered that if a  court was in the position of trying                                                               
to  interpret  whether or  not  a  specific  type of  speech  was                                                               
religious  speech,   it  would  look  to   other  historic  court                                                               
definitions of religious or the common  usage of the term. If the                                                               
court thought there was ambiguity,  the intent of the legislature                                                               
in adopting this legislation could also come into play.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  said she believes that  Legal Services provided                                                               
the definition in  the bill based on her direction  to define the                                                               
terms "religious"  and "political."  She offered  her perspective                                                               
that  the  definition  for  "religious"   could  be  improved  by                                                               
deleting  the  word   "unproven"  from  page  3,   line  25.  The                                                               
definition would read:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     (6) "religious" means a  set of faith-based assumptions                                                                    
     or   assertions  that   attempt  to   answer  questions                                                                    
     relating   to  how   the   world   was  created,   what                                                                    
     constitutes  right and  wrong  human  action, and  what                                                                    
     happens to humans after death;                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:30:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLAND advised  that the definition in  the amendment is                                                               
from Merriam Webster.  He added that it would  also be acceptable                                                               
to delete  the word "unproven"  from the definition  in paragraph                                                               
(6).                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO asked the sponsor  to consider that deleting the                                                               
definition entirely and  relying on the courts to  use the common                                                               
definition, as  Mr. Kline  said would happen,  might result  in a                                                               
broader, more all-encompassing definition.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:31:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER  pointed  out  that the  sponsor's  intent  was  to                                                               
protect both  religious speech and  political speech so  the term                                                               
should be mentioned, even if it isn't defined.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:32:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD said her preference  was to leave the definition                                                               
in paragraph  (6), but delete  the word "unproven."  She believes                                                               
it encompasses a vast majority of mainstream religion.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  asked Mr. Kline  for the  best path to  capture all                                                               
political speech and  religious speech, and how  the courts might                                                               
look at that.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KLINE said  he wasn't  able to  answer the  question because                                                               
there was nothing  to stop the committee  from defining religious                                                               
speech much  more broadly than  it has historically  been defined                                                               
or defining  political speech more  broadly than it  is currently                                                               
defined by the courts.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  if there  were  any more  questions for  Mr.                                                               
Kline.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:34:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked whether  the definition for "pornographic"                                                               
in paragraph (5)(C) on page 3  came from another area of statute.                                                               
It read:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
        (5) "pornographic" means material that                                                                                  
             (C)   lacks    serious   literary,    artistic,                                                                    
     political, or scientific merit;                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He commented  that it  seems a  little out  of place  to identify                                                               
pornographic material as something that lacks scientific merit.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:34:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLINE  said the  definition may or  may not  be substantially                                                               
similar to a definition used elsewhere  but he would have to look                                                               
through the statutes and at case  law before he could say whether                                                               
or not  that is  a fact. He  restated that his  role is  to draft                                                               
according  to request  and he  can talk  about whether  there are                                                               
legal issues,  what the bill does,  and what the bill  means, but                                                               
how a word is defined is not a choice he makes.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:36:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opined that the  following might help answer come of                                                               
the questions:                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Question: Has the Supreme Court defined religion?                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Answer: Although  it has attempted to  create standards                                                                  
     to  differentiate religious  beliefs  and actions  from                                                                    
     similar  nonreligious beliefs,  the  Supreme Court  has                                                                    
     never  articulated a  formal  definition for  religion.                                                                    
     Given the  diversity of America's  religious experience                                                                    
     since   the   constitution   was  created,   a   single                                                                    
     comprehensive definition has proved elusive.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  disagreed with Senator Kawasaki's  comment that                                                               
defining pornographic  as "material that lacks  scientific merit"                                                               
was out of place, because  it acknowledges such things as anatomy                                                               
in  a  biology   textbook.  However,  she  did   wonder  why  the                                                               
definition included "material without political merit."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KLINE  responded  that  Legislative  Legal  Services  drafts                                                               
according to intent.  He explained the definition  is saying that                                                               
if material  is descriptive  of paragraph  (5)(A), (B),  and (C),                                                               
then it is pornographic.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD expressed satisfaction with the answer.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:38:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER said  the committee will decide what it  wants to do                                                               
with  the amendment  and the  bill but  his belief  is that  this                                                               
matter will ultimately play out in the courts.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:39:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLAND withdrew Amendment 1.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:39:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD suggested  the committee  consider conceptually                                                               
amending the definition of "religious"  by inserting "may" before                                                               
"means" and deleting "unproven" before "faith-based...".                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:40:28 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:41:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  reconvened the meeting  and asked  Senator Reinbold                                                               
to offer the conceptual amendment.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:41:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD moved Conceptual Amendment 1 to SB 214.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 25 following: "(6) religious"                                                                                 
        Delete "means a set of unproven"                                                                                        
        Insert "may mean a set of"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLAND said he found the amendment acceptable.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER removed his objection; finding no further                                                                          
objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 to SB 214 passed.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:43:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD moved to report SB 214, work order 32-LS1577\B                                                                 
as amended, from committee with individual recommendations and                                                                  
attached fiscal note(s).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER found no objection and CSSB 214(STA) was reported                                                                  
from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:43:31 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:47:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER reconvened the meeting. There being no further                                                                     
business  to come  before the  committee, Chair  Shower adjourned                                                               
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee meeting at 4:47 p.m.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
B.1 amendment sen .Holland.pdf SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 214
SB 142 FN.pdf SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 142
SJR 20 FN.pdf SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SJR 20
Legal Memo 2-17-22.pdf SJUD 3/28/2022 1:30:00 PM
SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 214
SB214 32-LS1577-B.PDF SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 214
SB 214 Sponsor Statement 2.28.22.pdf SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 214
suport -2.pdf SSTA 3/22/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 214