Legislature(1995 - 1996)

10/16/1995 09:00 AM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HJR 2 - UNICAMERAL LEGISLATURE/SESSION LIMIT                                
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN:  ....in committee when we reconvene in              
 Juneau.  Ya, there will be fiscal notes.  That will be addressed.             
 REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS:  I (indisc.) discussion.                         
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER:  Representative Finkelstein.                           
 Number 004                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I                
 don't -- I think it's completely appropriate to put in the fiscal             
 note for some sort of a new location or, you know, rebuilding and             
 things.  It is theoretically possible to fit 60 people into that              
 room with a little bit of reconfiguration (indisc.).  We probably             
 wouldn't want to really teleconference with our own body -- I mean,           
 I think when the public makes its decision of the cost of this is             
 going to be a relatively slight factor.  I just don't think -- if             
 you're for a unicameral legislature -- if you're for a shorter                
 session, the cost of a one-time reconfiguration, while significant,           
 is much less than the money saved from, you know, having one body.            
 I mean, it's a comedy the way our budget is now.  The House and               
 Senate budgets are identical every year.  They have 20 members, we            
 have 40.  You know, the system doesn't encourage control of                   
 spending.  Basically -- and if they spend less and manage to save             
 some money, all they've done is make the case for a reduction next            
 year, so it never occurs.  I - we've probably never seen as bad a             
 system as the way that particular budget has been configured.                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  What is their response to that?  They have the              
 same amount of constituents.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN:  Ya, it should be a little bit higher.            
 They certainly have as much travel as all 40 of (indisc.-laughter)            
 as 20 members.  But whether -- ya, but whether it's -- I just think           
 we ought to be real straightforward on that one piece of it and put           
 in some appropriate expense because I think the public won't mind.            
 Number 022                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  Well, we have not given this consideration - a              
 lot of consideration which obviously it needs.  My first thought              
 was just the opposite - I don't think we would want to try to shove           
 60 people into the House.  I don't think...                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS:  It wouldn't work.                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  I don't think it would fit.  So, there would have           
 to be some other consideration and how that would work, I don't               
 know.  It might be that we'd have to take another floor and you               
 know, move offices off the fourth floor or something back to the              
 court house and put a whole big one floor room or something like              
 that.  In any event, there's an awful lot of thought that needs to            
 go into that and that one was just an idea for something we could             
 do.  Representative Bunde.                                                    
 Number 031                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE:  You know the notion that you'd actually            
 have a gallery where people could attend the session.                         
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  Ya.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE:  The -- with 60 member districts, have you              
 looked into - have you speculated how large would a district be now           
 in comparison to what we have now?                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN:  It effectively - numerically, would be half            
 as big as the current House - current House district.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN:  It would be two-thirds.                          
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN:  Two-thirds, okay.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE:  Two-thirds.  Ya, it wouldn't be half.  Two-            
 thirds, so you're talking about or perhaps 6,000 registered voters            
 per district - something like that?                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN:  Probably, in that range.                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE:  Ya, and so as we mentioned earlier....                 
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN:  Ten thousand total.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE:  It's conceivable that you could then reach             
 that many people on a personal level -- within sound bite level.              
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  There would still be some difficulties in the               
 rural areas....                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE:  In the -- well....                                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  They would be reduced by a third (indisc.).                 
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE:  Ya, though I think the personal contact is             
 even more important perhaps in the rural areas than....                       
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  We - we have some - some input from                         
 Representative Toohey's office.                                               
 Number 042                                                                    
 STATE LEGISLATURE:  You've actually -- Representative Davis'                  
 question got to the heart of it, but I just noticed looking at the            
 fiscal note from the LAA, it didn't incorporate any of the savings            
 from going to one body and as Representative Green had mentioned,             
 that was -- I didn't know that Nebraska's motivation had been                 
 depression or public financing.  But you figure with pages and                
 photocopiers and just everything, I think, you know, as -- as scary           
 as the initial capital costs of building a new chamber on the                 
 fourth floor or whatever you would do would be the long running               
 operating savings are gonna to make this a very beneficial fiscal             
 effect in the long run and I know Representative Toohey would -               
 would want to know just how much money it was going to save down              
 the road and that's why I wanted to mention that.  So, she would              
 look forward to seeing something from LAA that reflected those                
 costs as well, I'm sure.                                                      
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  The savings -- the additional savings and the               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN:  Yes....                                                
 Number 052                                                                    
 ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE:  Mr. Chairman, I just...                            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  Jeff.                                                       
 MR. LOGAN:  I want to bring to the member's attention that one                
 fiscal note that we do have from LAA calculates $1.1 million a year           
 savings.  The experience in Nebraska was the first year they went             
 to be a unicameral system, they cut their total operating expenses            
 in half.                                                                      
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  Did they reduce the number of people they have              
 MR. LOGAN:  They did reduce the total number...                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN:  I don't know the number, but they did reduce           
 MR. LOGAN:  Slightly, ya.                                                     
 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:  Excuse me, Mr. Chairman.  That's the number            
 of employees, not the number of legislators.                                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  (Indisc.) number of elected legislators.                    
 MR. LOGAN:  Their ballot question allowed the legislature to set              
 their level between 30 and 50 members and they started out with 43.           
 Right now, they're at 49.  Another point, Mr. Chairman that I might           
 bring up that no one else has but we'll be considering this, is the           
 drafters, just this morning after talking several times with                  
 Representative Green and them on this, is they think maybe an odd             
 number -- the Bradner bill in 1975 had 59 -- either an odd number             
 or allow the Lieutenant Governor to break ties because with 60,               
 there's - you know - one body there.  So that will be something               
 we'll be looking at and bring back to the committee, if there's a             
 need for that - session hearing.                                              
 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:  Anybody who's in Alaska (indisc.) odd                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER:  At least we digress too far.  If there is nothing           
 further, for the information of the committee, we do have the                 
 second bill up for consideration at 1:30 so we'll have time to                
 repair to our offices and get our acts together and go have lunch             
 and see you at 1:30 p.m.                                                      
 TAPE 95-60, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER called the meeting back to order at 1:45 p.m.  He             
 announced that members present were Representatives Finkelstein,              
 Porter, Green, Bunde and B. Davis.                                            

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