Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2003-03-05 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2003-03-05                     House Journal                      Page 0426
HB 157                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 157 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                       
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             
     "An Act eliminating the Alaska Public Offices Commission;                                      
     transferring campaign, public official, and lobbying financial                                 
     disclosure record-keeping duties to the division of elections;                                 
     relating to reports, summaries, and documents regarding                                        
     campaign, public official, and lobbying financial disclosure;                                  
     providing for enforcement by the Department of Law; making                                     
     conforming statutory amendments; and providing for an effective                                
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Judiciary, and                           
Finance Committees.                                                                                 
Fiscal note(s) forthcoming.                                                                         
The Governor's transmittal letter dated March 5, 2003, follows:                                     
"Dear Speaker Kott:                                                                                 
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                          
transmitting a bill that modifies the duties of the Alaska Public Offices                           
The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) and campaign                                            
finance laws were generally established to accomplish three major                                   
goals: to restrict financial contributions to campaigns, to provide                                 
information to the general public as to who is contributing to whom,                                
and to enforce those laws.  Under the current campaign finance model,                               
the Alaska Public Offices Commission, has ultimately failed in all                                  
three areas. At the core is the Commission's inability to investigate and                           

2003-03-05                     House Journal                      Page 0427
rule on complaints in a timely manner. The collapse of enforcement                                  
and lengthy delays in decisions, sometimes approaching two election                                 
cycles, has undermined the objectives of campaign finance laws.  Due                                
to the lack of timely enforcement, the APOC has become a vehicle                                    
which focuses nearly all media attention on allegations of misconduct                               
and not on the factual reporting of contributions.                                                  
Therefore, with this bill, enforcement of Alaska's campaign finance                                 
laws will be elevated to the Department of Law and the Judiciary. This                              
change will allow legitimate complaints to be processed with just                                   
resolution coming from the Alaska Court System. Raising the bar to                                  
the judiciary should reduce allegations made for political gain and will                            
install confidence in our reporting system.                                                         
Furthermore, this bill mandates electronic reporting. For the past                                  
decade private sector employers, citizens, and some public agencies                                 
have increasingly moved into the technological age. It is now common                                
to use electronic means to pay bills, reserve travel, renew a driver's                              
license or offer up-to-the-minute election results. One of the premier                              
users and innovators of technology is the Division of Elections. With                               
this bill the Division of Elections will now be tasked with collecting                              
the electronic reporting and distributing the information to the public.                            
With this step the public will be able to access election and campaign                              
information from a single source and the state will see a savings                                   
through consolidation and technological efficiencies.                                               
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
                                 Frank H. Murkowski