Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

01/18/2006 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 175(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
2:16:39 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                                  
     Proposing  amendments to the  Constitution of  the State                                                                   
     of Alaska  to correct obsolete references  to the office                                                                   
     of secretary of state by  substituting references to the                                                                   
     office of lieutenant governor.                                                                                             
Representative Hawker MOVED to  ADOPT bill 24-LS0340\A as the                                                                   
version  of the bill  before the  Committee.   Representative                                                                   
Weyhrauch  OBJECTED,  to  ask  what  happened  to  the  House                                                                   
Judiciary version.                                                                                                              
HEATH HILYARD,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE TOM  ANDERSON, SPONSOR,                                                                   
advised that the sponsor requested  that the Committee revert                                                                   
back to the original document, HJR 7, version \A.                                                                               
Representative  Weyhrauch  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.    There                                                                   
being NO further  OBJECTIONS, the "A" version  was before the                                                                   
2:17:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Hilyard explained that in  1970, the Legislature proposed                                                                   
and the voters  approved a series of amendments  to the State                                                                   
Constitution  that  changed  the  name  from  the  office  of                                                                   
"Secretary of State" to the office  of "Lieutenant Governor".                                                                   
At that  time, the drafting attorneys  did not catch  all the                                                                   
references to "Secretary of State".                                                                                             
2:18:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch  asked   why  the  House  Judiciary                                                                   
Committee  version was  not being  considered.   Mr.  Hilyard                                                                   
explained  that in  discussions  with the  Legislative  Legal                                                                   
drafter, Jack  Chenoweth, it was determined that  the gender-                                                                   
neutral language did  not fit with the subject  of the title.                                                                   
In addition,  there was  concern, it  might require  a second                                                                   
constitutional amendment to make  all language gender-neutral                                                                   
throughout the  Constitution.  It  became a concern  that the                                                                   
amendment made in the House Judiciary  Committee would not be                                                                   
2:19:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch  asked  if  the  mistake  was  just                                                                   
discovered.  Mr. Hilyard understood  it resulted     when the                                                                   
reviser,  Jack Chenoweth,  discussed what  could result.   He                                                                   
commented that folks  were aware of it for  sometime, but had                                                                   
never addressed it.                                                                                                             
2:20:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kerttula did not  understand how it  could be                                                                   
considered outside the title with the obsolete references.                                                                      
2:20:47 PM                                                                                                                    
ANNETTE KREITZER,  CHIEF OF STAFF,  OFFICE OF  THE LIEUTENANT                                                                   
GOVERNOR,  noted that  she could  "not shed  light" on  which                                                                   
version  should be  used.   She offered  to answer  Committee                                                                   
questions regarding the fiscal note.                                                                                            
2:21:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kerttula reiterated  concerns why changing the                                                                   
language to gender-neutral would create problems.                                                                               
2:21:22 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Hilyard  understood that those gender-neutral  references                                                                   
were not referring  properly to the Lt. Governor,  but rather                                                                   
the legislator  or the principal  head of the  department, as                                                                   
opposed  to references  of  the Office  of  the Secretary  of                                                                   
State.   He  thought  the  language  might require  a  second                                                                   
constitutional amendment to correct all gender references.                                                                      
2:22:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative    Hawker   stressed    that    constitutional                                                                   
amendments  are a  "big deal".   The  original reference  was                                                                   
overlooked.    He  offered  that   placing  a  constitutional                                                                   
amendment before the people to  correct a typographical error                                                                   
might not rise to the proper degree  of importance.  He asked                                                                   
the consequences of not doing it.                                                                                               
Mr. Hilyard  pointed out it  is a constitutional  concern and                                                                   
of significant  importance.  The  legislators will  have come                                                                   
to that  conclusion and  thought the  determination  could be                                                                   
reflected in each legislators vote.                                                                                             
2:23:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Hawker asked if  the Lt. Governor's office had                                                                   
a position on correcting a typographical  error and making it                                                                   
rise to sufficient import to put on the election ballot.                                                                        
2:24:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Kreitzer  responded that would  be a policy  question; to                                                                   
date,  their office  had not  been  consulted regarding  that                                                                   
issue.   She did not know  which version, noting  that during                                                                   
printing,  there have  been minor  changes  made to  specific                                                                   
words and  punctuation.   That list  of corrections  was made                                                                   
available  to the  Legislative  Affairs Agency  and had  been                                                                   
corrected on  line.  The  State Constitution has  been around                                                                   
for over 30  years.  She did  not think it would  cause harm,                                                                   
but could cause confusion to those outside Alaska.                                                                              
2:26:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker  pointed  out that  the  2001  version                                                                   
before the Committee was not an  accurate copy of the State's                                                                   
Constitution.   Ms. Kreitzer  acknowledged that was  correct.                                                                   
Representative Hawker was appalled.                                                                                             
2:26:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker questioned if  it was legally  correct                                                                   
as amended.   Ms. Kreitzer replied  that it was and  that the                                                                   
version  before the  Committee  contained  references to  the                                                                   
Secretary of State rather than the Lt. Governor.                                                                                
2:27:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch questioned if  the issue  should be                                                                   
"nit picked".   He  thought it was  an organic and  important                                                                   
document and  worried about amending  it.  Co-Chair  Chenault                                                                   
interjected  his thoughts  that the only  time that  document                                                                   
should be  changed is when the  people of the  State indicate                                                                   
it should be.                                                                                                                   
2:28:30 PM                                                                                                                    
JACK  CHENOWETH, (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  ASSISTANT                                                                   
REVISOR,  LEGISLATIVE  LEGAL  COUNSEL,  LEGISLATIVE  LEGAL  &                                                                   
RESEARCH SERVICES, JUNEAU, agreed  with what Ms. Kreitzer had                                                                   
said  and offered  to  answer any  further  questions of  the                                                                   
2:28:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kerttula reiterated  concerns with the lack of                                                                   
the   gender-neutral  language.     She   pointed  out   that                                                                   
"legislator"  was in the  title and that  the title  could be                                                                   
changed.   She noted that it  does refer to the  Lt. Governor                                                                   
as a "he".  Representative Kerttula  asked what it would take                                                                   
to make the Alaska Constitution gender-neutral.                                                                                 
Mr. Chenoweth  thought that it  would be a much  broader bill                                                                   
to make the  language gender neutral.   Legislators proposing                                                                   
a change and then  the people voting on that  change make the                                                                   
process of  amending the  Constitution.  It  would be  a long                                                                   
exercise and constitutional amendment to make the change.                                                                       
2:30:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker agreed  that "fixes"  should be  made.                                                                   
He noted  that he always  believed that "Secretary  of State"                                                                   
was the appropriate designation as opposed to Lt. Governor.                                                                     
2:31:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Hilyard  explained  that the sponsor  had not  considered                                                                   
that.   He thought  could be  a debate  that the  legislature                                                                   
should have at a later date.   Mr. Hilyard suggested that the                                                                   
concern is a broad policy issue.                                                                                                
2:32:31 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Kreitzer  thought that the  Lt. Governor would  enjoy and                                                                   
appreciate such a discussion.                                                                                                   
2:33:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Weyhrauch inquired  who was the Lt. Governor's                                                                   
2:33:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.   Chenoweth   informed   members    that   Bill   Corbus,                                                                   
Commissioner, Department  of Revenue, was the  Lt. Governor's                                                                   
2:33:41 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Hawker referenced  the updated fiscal note and                                                                   
moved  to  adopt  it.   There  being  no  objection,  it  was                                                                   
WHITNEY BREWSTER,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DIRECTOR,                                                                   
DIVISION  OF  ELECTIONS,  offered  to  answer  any  questions                                                                   
regarding the fiscal note.                                                                                                      
2:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Chenault asked  if $1500  dollars  would cover  the                                                                   
costs.   Ms.  Brewster  noted that  if there  was  a need  to                                                                   
increase the ballot size, costs  could increase up to $22,000                                                                   
Co-Chair Chenault asked when the  real number would be known.                                                                   
Ms. Brewster  responded that it  would be clearer by  the end                                                                   
of  the legislative  session as  to  how many  constitutional                                                                   
amendments  would be  shown on the  general election  ballot.                                                                   
Currently,  there  are  two  possible   initiatives  on  that                                                                   
2:36:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Brewster added that it was  unlikely that the State would                                                                   
need to move to  a larger sized note based  on previous years                                                                   
2:36:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Foster MOVED to  REPORT HJR 7 out of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
new fiscal note.                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula clarified  that she  did not  object                                                                   
but  noted  for  the  record   that  the  legislature  should                                                                   
consider an  insertion of gender-neutral  language throughout                                                                   
the Alaska  Constitution.   There being  NO OBJECTION  to the                                                                   
original motion, it was so ordered.                                                                                             
HJR   7  was   reported   out  Committee   with   "individual                                                                   
recommendations" and with a fiscal  note by the Office of the                                                                   
Lieutenant (LT) Governor.                                                                                                       

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