Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/18/1996 01:05 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 359 - APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR BDS & COMM'NS                            
 Number 822                                                                    
 PATRICK LOUNSBURY, Staff to Representative Porter presented                   
 information to the committee regarding HB 359.  He noted that                 
 version (g) of this legislation was a result of the House State               
 Affairs Committee meeting and added that version (k) of this same             
 legislation was before the committee now.                                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if it was appropriate to note that the                  
 difference between these two versions was one word and basically              
 that this change didn't have a substantive effect on the                      
 MR. LOUNSBURY said that this was correct and then referred to page            
 4, line 12 of work draft (k) and specified that the word "each" was           
 introduced to clarify that a governor is not required to present              
 names of persons appointed by a previous governor.  This                      
 essentially takes care of any "lame duck" appointments, which is              
 basically the intent of this bill.  The phrase, "by that governor"            
 was added in as well.                                                         
 Number 920                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked if there was any position              
 from the administration regarding this legislation.                           
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that they had worked with the administration            
 while presenting this legislation to the State Affairs Committee.             
 The administration had some major concerns of the administration              
 which had already been addressed.  The existing minor concerns                
 related to the fact that the legislation requires that forthcoming            
 appointments are due in a shorter period of time than they used to            
 be.  This requires the administration to do more work in a shorter            
 period time.  Chairman Porter noted again that the administration             
 had no substantive concerns regarding this legislation as of this             
 Number 965                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE noted that in the past they've had                   
 problems with individuals slated to serve on boards before they               
 were actually confirmed.                                                      
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked that Mr. Lounsbury be allowed to explain what           
 this legislation does so that they can get a grasp on that first.             
 Number 984                                                                    
 MR. LOUNSBURY stated that this legislation would require the                  
 governor to present to the legislature within 30 days of convening,           
 the names of persons appointed who have previously been unconfirmed           
 and the names of persons to be appointed, for example, an                     
 appointment made after 30 days of the session while the session is            
 still in progress would be presented within five calendar days.               
 This feature, which is basically the main thrust of this                      
 legislation, allows a new governor to appoint new people or                   
 reappoint the interim appointee selected by the previous governor.            
 MR. LOUNSBURY continued outlining the bill by specific sections.              
 Section 1 simply conforms the occupational licensing boards under             
 the purview of this bill and these are boards such as the athletic            
 commission, board of barbers, commercial services, etc.  The next             
 few sections just add on other boards established under this                  
 legislation's jurisdiction.  Section 12 requires that all the                 
 boards conform to a March 1, expiration date of when boards are               
 appointed or reappointed.  This would allow the legislature to deal           
 with this procedure during session.  This would allow the governor            
 to think about these appointments before and after this date.                 
 Section 13 of this legislation conforms the bill to how the prior             
 boards dealt with vacancies and would conform to Section 14 of the            
 bill.  Section 14 is the "heart and soul" of the bill.  Section 14            
 begins on page 4, line 8 and provides that any aspect of a general            
 procedure in this statute can be modified by the legislature for              
 any board or commission and brought under one umbrella.                       
 MR. LOUNSBURY again reiterated that on page 4, line 12, this                  
 language clarifies that the governor is not required to present               
 names of persons appointed by a previous governor and that only a             
 presentment during the session satisfies the presentment                      
 requirement.  He further stated that this section allows the                  
 governor to present to the legislature within 30 days of convening,           
 the names of those people who have not been previously confirmed              
 and the people who have been recently appointed.  The third                   
 sentence of this section provides that an appointment be made after           
 30 days of the session, ("this is all going to happen in the first            
 year of catch up, so we can all come under March 1,") that the                
 appointment made after 30 days of the session while the session is            
 still in progress has to be presented within five calendar days to            
 allow the legislature to act on it.  On page 5, line 26 it provides           
 that the duration of an appointment made during the legislature's             
 interim ends when a new regular session convenes, but this                    
 appointee can be reappointed and presented for the confirmation               
 process.  "So if you catch someone in-between governors this would            
 allow the new governor to accept the prior governor's appointment             
 and would allow this to go through if this new governor chose to do           
 Number 1280                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if he understand that any appointment              
 made in the interim even during a governor's term would then only             
 be a temporary appointment which would have to be reappointed.                
 MR. LOUNSBURY said this would be true and would expire on the first           
 day of session.                                                               
 Number 1299                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked about an individual who had               
 been sitting on a commission for five years and the change has come           
 about, but her name has never been mentioned, would she be                    
 automatically waived into this seat.  If she has not been                     
 reappointed, she has not been removed, but going from one year to             
 the next, does the omission of a name mean an appointment.                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that the only names which have to be offered           
 are new appointments.  If someone is appointed for three years and            
 they are confirmed that first year there is nothing which happens             
 the second or third year.  Chairman Porter noted that Jim Baldwin             
 from the Department of Law was in attendance if anyone had any                
 questions of him and then asked Mr. Baldwin if he had characterized           
 the department's position correctly regarding this legislation.               
 Number 1374                                                                   
 JAMES BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs               
 Section, Department of Law responded that because there were about            
 1,200 offices which they are required to fill, having a significant           
 portion of these coming to an end on a date certain would place a             
 heavy burden on the governor's office to fill these vacancies and             
 he noted the other legal issues which they already discussed in the           
 conjunction with the State Affairs Committee hearing which were               
 really ancillary to the main purpose of the bill.                             
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that fundamentally, what this bill is                  
 seeking to do is to eliminate the mess they had a few years back              
 with an Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC) appointment and             
 the resulting suit is still going on costing everyone a bunch of              
 money.  Basically what this legislation says is that appointments             
 made after session is over, in any event, and especially by a                 
 governor who is leaving office, are not required to be carried                
 forward by the next governor.  The new governor may or may not                
 bring a name forward, but that interim appointments "drop dead" if            
 you will, at the end of the calendar year and may be reappointed by           
 the governor, each governor, not the previous governor.  There is             
 also a provision which would allow that an appointment that wasn't            
 otherwise submitted to the legislature in a timely fashion, that              
 could have been during the session, does not continue so as to                
 close the loop about being able to circumvent the confirmation                
 process altogether.                                                           
 Number 1486                                                                   
 MR. LOUNSBURY added that regarding the heavy work load burden to              
 the governor's office, since the boards are graduated, according to           
 his calculations the worst case scenario would be about 80                    
 appointments required in those specific months for each board                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that bringing these appointments together               
 during the session obviously is so they are confirmed and not                 
 spread out.                                                                   
 Number 1527                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if it would be a reasonable                  
 compromise to make this period 45 days.                                       
 CHAIRMAN PORTER didn't think the concern was necessarily the length           
 of time, but more the fact that all the proposed appointment names            
 would be required all at once.                                                
 Number 1557                                                                   
 MR. BALDWIN did agree with this observation.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN wished to confirm with Mr. Baldwin that            
 he was not opposed to the bill.                                               
 MR. BALDWIN said he would merely repeat the testimony presented in            
 the State Affairs Committee meeting.  The department favors the               
 concept (indisc. - whispering and paper shuffling) and this bill              
 would clear up the legal issues.  This bill would agree with the              
 state's position presently in court, however there are some                   
 problems in the way the bill would operate.  The department is in             
 favor of parts of the bill to clear up the legal entanglements and            
 stated that there are certain elements in the governor's office who           
 are not happy with the bill and he was asked to convey this to                
 Chairman Porter.  Chairman Porter said that he could not                      
 accommodate their concerns regarding the deadline option.  The                
 Department of Law suggested an alternative, but it ran against a              
 bigger issue which had to do with a concern about short term                  
 appointments and how this would be undermined.  He said he was not            
 authorized to say that they support the bill, but the                         
 administration has asked for many changes to this bill and he would           
 estimate that three quarters of these have been addressed.                    
 Number 1695                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 359 (k) as the                
 committees's adopted working version.  There being no objection it            
 was so moved.  Representative Bunde then made a motion to move HB
 359 (k) from the House Judiciary Committee with individual                    
 recommendations and zero fiscal note.  There being no objection it            
 was so moved.                                                                 

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