SCR 401: Relating to legislative powers over same-sex partner employment benefits and urging the courts to delay action until the legislature has sufficient time to act in the next regular session of the legislature.
00 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 401 01 Relating to legislative powers over same-sex partner employment benefits and urging 02 the courts to delay action until the legislature has sufficient time to act in the next 03 regular session of the legislature. 04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 WHEREAS Governor Frank Murkowski has called the Twenty-Fourth Alaska State 06 Legislature into special session November 13, 2006, to consider the subject of employment- 07 related benefits for same-sex partners of state employees and retirees; and 08 WHEREAS the convening of the special session follows elections that resulted in the 09 selection of a new governor and the establishment of the membership of the Twenty-Fifth 10 Alaska State Legislature; and 11 WHEREAS expansion of employment-related benefits is a critical state policy 12 decision that will result in a need for additional appropriations and that requires legislative 13 action; and 14 WHEREAS the timing of the special session prevents the necessary and desirable 15 involvement of the new governor and legislature in this critical state policy decision and
01 related appropriation; and 02 WHEREAS a belated special session requires a rushed and politicized review of 03 employee benefits without adequate public participation; and 04 WHEREAS the legislature finds that a court's engaging in administrative rulemaking 05 to establish same-sex employment benefits, as done by the Alaska Superior Court, Third 06 Judicial District, in Alaska Civil Liberties Union, et. al., v. State of Alaska, et. al (Case No. 3 07 AN-99-11179CI) is an improper exercise of judicial power; and 08 WHEREAS there are multiple avenues that the legislature may pursue to remedy the 09 constitutional defect that the Alaska Supreme Court has identified in the state employment 10 benefits program, including (1) withdrawal of spousal benefits for all newly hired married 11 state employees; (2) moving away from the issue of sexual orientation altogether and focusing 12 instead on granting benefits to dependents; and (3) adoption of legislation that authorizes 13 regulations along the lines currently proposed by the Department of Administration; and 14 WHEREAS selection of the appropriate remedy to the benefits program requires and 15 deserves the legislature's careful consideration and can be achieved best in the Twenty-Fifth 16 Alaska State Legislature's regular session; and 17 WHEREAS the legislative power of the state is vested in the legislature by art. II, sec. 18 1, Constitution of the State of Alaska; and 19 WHEREAS appropriations must be made by legislative act as provided under art. II, 20 sec. 13, and art. IX, sec. 13, Constitution of the State of Alaska; 21 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature disagrees with the assumption 22 that regulations may be drafted and mandated by the courts; and be it 23 FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislature reserves its authority to make policy 24 decisions and will not surrender that authority to the courts; and be it 25 FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislature reserves its constitutional authority to 26 appropriate state funds and will not surrender that authority to the courts; and be it 27 FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislature reserves its authority and power to enact 28 legislation granting employment benefits to state employees and defining how and to whom 29 those employment benefits may be extended for dependents and employees; and be it 30 FURTHER RESOLVED the Twenty-Fourth Alaska State Legislature respectfully 31 urges the court to honor the constitutional authorities of the legislature and to delay the
01 adoption of regulations until the Twenty-Fifth Alaska State Legislature has had the 02 opportunity to deliberate with due legislative and public process. 03 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the clerks of the Alaska Supreme Court and 04 Alaska Superior Court, Third Judicial District.