Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/17/1999 01:12 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HJR  3 - CONST. AM: WILDLIFE INITIATIVES                                                                                        
HJR  7 - CONST. AM: INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM PETITIONS                                                                             
HJR 25 - CONST. AM: FISH & WILDLIFE INITIATIVES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT announced the next order of business is HJR 3,                                                                    
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska                                                               
relating to initiatives regarding natural resources belonging to                                                                
the state; HJR 7, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the                                                             
State of Alaska relating to initiative and referendum petitions;                                                                
and HJR 25, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State                                                             
of Alaska relating to a petition for an initiative or referendum                                                                
regarding fish or wildlife.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT called on Cory Winchell, staff to Representative Pete                                                             
Kott, to present a cross-analysis of the three resolutions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0604                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CORY WINCHELL, Administrative Assistant to Representative Pete                                                                  
Kott, Alaska State Legislature, noted he is an attorney in the                                                                  
state of Washington and technically he is not a counsel in this                                                                 
jurisdiction.  Nevertheless, HJR 3 pertains to only natural                                                                     
resources and requires a two-thirds voter approval to be enacted.                                                               
HJR 7 pertains to all initiative issues and requires that 10                                                                    
percent of the votes cast in the previous election must come from                                                               
30 house districts.  HJR 25 pertains only to fish and wildlife                                                                  
resources and requires that 10 percent of the votes cast in the                                                                 
previous election come from 40 house districts.  For HJR 7 and HJR
25 there is no change to passing an initiative; they still require                                                              
50 percent plus 1.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0699                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Winchell whether HJR 3 deals with an                                                                    
initiative once it is on the ballot while HJR 7 and HJR 25 deal                                                                 
with how it gets to the ballot.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL replied correct.  HJR 3 looks for voter approval.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0742                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated 10 percent of those who voted in the                                                                
preceding general election in each house district is about 500 to                                                               
600 signatures per district.  That is not insurmountable.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT stated at the last election there were 227,156 total                                                              
ballots cast.  Not all of the those were for house members, but 10                                                              
percent of those who voted in the preceding general election would                                                              
be needed to get on the ballot.  Two of the resolutions require                                                                 
that number, but it has to be spread around the districts.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL reiterated that HJR 3 doesn't make any change to the                                                               
10 percent requirement, but once an initiative is on the ballot, it                                                             
requires two-thirds of the votes cast to be adopted.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT indicated HJR 7 and HJR 25 still require 50 percent                                                               
plus 1 of the votes cast to be adopted.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0819                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES referred to HJR 7 and asked whether one                                                                    
signature in each of the districts in enough or does there have to                                                              
be a certain amount in each district.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL replied there has to be at least 10 percent of the                                                                 
ballots cast in 30 districts while still meeting the initial 10                                                                 
percent threshold.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT called on Representative Con Bunde, sponsor of HJR 3,                                                             
to come before the committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0857                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, Alaska State Legislature, stated HJR 3                                                                
would raise the bar at the end of the initiative process.  Alaska                                                               
is a resource dependent state with past oil paying for 85 percent                                                               
of the cost of government.  He strongly believes that resources                                                                 
should be managed by trained professionals and ideally politics                                                                 
should be kept out.  In other states where the legislature has set                                                              
fish and game limits and seasons, it gets politicized.  He said,                                                                
"We have hired some well-compensated experts who have studied                                                                   
resource management and we really are foolish not to defer to their                                                             
judgement."  Legislators get to hear their judgement via the                                                                    
legislative process; but, unfortunately, the general public is not                                                              
often privy to their judgement through the initiative process.  He                                                              
has chosen to limit his resolution to natural resources because                                                                 
they are so critical to the state.  He doesn't intend to preclude                                                               
or limit the public process in any way.  In fact, he thinks the                                                                 
resolution elevates the public's ability to be involved in the                                                                  
initiative process.  Others might argue that other areas are                                                                    
important, such as civil rights, but that's not his role to discuss                                                             
at this point.  He has confidence in the voters and wants to keep                                                               
their access open, but the influence of the media on behavior is                                                                
considerable.  He cited the Superbowl as an example where                                                                       
commercials were sold for millions of dollars because the people                                                                
who purchase the exposures understand the incredible impact on                                                                  
public perception and the media.  The vast majority of Alaskans                                                                 
have access to televisions, Internet, radios and are susceptible to                                                             
influence by the media.  He is also very aware of the rural-urban                                                               
split, another reason for introducing the resolution.  One-half of                                                              
the population lives in Anchorage and conceivably an initiative                                                                 
could be passed with virtually the support of one city, therefore,                                                              
raising the bar to two-thirds requires a broader participation                                                                  
statewide.  According to other states that have raised the                                                                      
requirements of participation in the initiative process, the                                                                    
courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have said that it is not                                                              
constitutional.  He thinks and according to testimony from Tam Cook                                                             
from Legislative Legal Counsel, HJR 3 meets the requirements of the                                                             
Alaska Supreme Court.  He has no guess as to what the U.S. Supreme                                                              
Court would say, however.  The resolution simply elevates the need                                                              
to educate voters.  Past folks who have worked on initiatives have                                                              
admitted to exaggeration, distortion and deception to encourage                                                                 
voters to sign.  He said, "I think by requiring a higher level of                                                               
acceptance in the public, a higher level of pass, that we                                                                       
can't--we're less likely to have folks who will go to a momentary                                                               
majority to...  Without stepping on anyone's toes, I would point at                                                             
the last gubernatorial election as to how some folks could under                                                                
influence a great deal of money perhaps come to a momentary                                                                     
conclusion that they later regretted or changes their opinion on."                                                              
The resolution will require more factual information and fewer of                                                               
these feel-good, quick distortion kinds of arguments.  He noted                                                                 
that some states have been negatively affected by "ballot box                                                                   
biology."  He asked the committee members to consider whether 50                                                                
percent plus 1 of the voters makes a very definitive decision about                                                             
commercial fishing, hunting, specific means or methods of hunting,                                                              
oil issues, timber, mining, etc.  Is that truly a reflection of the                                                             
will of the people when 49.9 percent of the people might be opposed                                                             
to it?  Is this indeed an opportunity to disenfranchise a large                                                                 
portion of the voters?  Now, most issues do not pass with that                                                                  
close of a margin, but it is a possibility.  He stressed that he is                                                             
not trying to exclude the public in the initiative process, but by                                                              
raising the bar he encourages public participation.  He said,                                                                   
"Certainly, if I support an issue and I need to know I get--need to                                                             
get two-thirds of the voters to support this issue, I agree to work                                                             
even harder and more diligent.  And, of course if I oppose the                                                                  
issue, I may work very hard because I realize I do have an                                                                      
opportunity of stopping it.  So I think it cuts both ways."  In                                                                 
reference to those who don't want the current system changed, an                                                                
initiative would have to be approved by the present system.  If                                                                 
those who oppose it have a high level of confidence in the current                                                              
system, then they have no reason to fear this resolution.  The                                                                  
public will ultimately decide.  In conclusion, he thinks the bar                                                                
should be raised for something as important as the allocation of                                                                
natural resources.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1400                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Representative Bunde what percentage of                                                              
initiatives pass with a two-thirds vote versus a simple majority.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied he doesn't know of any natural                                                                     
resource initiative that has passed with a two-thirds vote.  That                                                               
might have been because only 50 percent was needed, however.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1436                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Representative Bunde whether there                                                               
is a definition of what applies to natural resources.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied at the state constitutional convention                                                             
"natural resources" was discussed as those resources found in their                                                             
natural state.  It might be something that the courts end up                                                                    
deciding.  For the record, his definition of natural resources is                                                               
those resources that are found in a natural state:  land, water,                                                                
animals and fish.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1516                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT referred to a list of initiatives and asked                                                                
Representative Bunde which of the initiatives would he classify as                                                              
natural resources.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE cited the Disposal of State Lands, and                                                                     
Personal Consumption of Fish and Game initiatives as examples.  He                                                              
noted that this will not affect the subsistence proposal.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Representative Bunde whether the                                                                     
Claiming State Ownership of Federal Land initiative would be                                                                    
classified as natural resources.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied it sounds a little ambiguous.  He                                                                  
further cited Relating to Same Day Airborne Hunting of Certain                                                                  
Animals, Relating to Trapping Wolves with Snares, and Repeal of                                                                 
Limited Entry as examples of natural resource initiatives.  In                                                                  
spite of the importance of natural resources to Alaska, there have                                                              
been a minimal number of natural resource initiatives addressing                                                                
management and allocation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1648                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted the only initiatives that would have                                                                 
been affected since statehood are Relating to Same Day Airborne                                                                 
Hunting of Certain Animals and Disposal of State Lands.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated it still would not have guaranteed                                                                  
failure or passage of either one of those initiatives because the                                                               
ground rules would have been different.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1711                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Representative Bunde whether this                                                                 
should be part of a constitutional convention.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied, according to a four-prong test from                                                               
the Alaska Supreme Court, this meets the criteria for an                                                                        
initiative.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT called on Representative Bill Williams, sponsor of                                                                
HJR 7, to come before the committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1767                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS, Alaska State Legislature, explained                                                               
he introduced HJR 7 to ensure that there is statewide support                                                                   
before putting an initiative before the voters, particularly                                                                    
because population dispersements allow sponsors to get the required                                                             
signatures from one region or community.  He is concerned that the                                                              
whole of Alaska will suffer with a limited perspective of an                                                                    
initiative on a ballot.  House Joint Resolution 7 ensures that                                                                  
people from Saxman to Barrow are able to have input.  He noted in                                                               
1998 there were only 48 signatures from Ketchikan for the Relating                                                              
to Trapping Wolves With Snares initiative, 28 for the Relating to                                                               
Requiring a Term Limits Pledge for Candidates initiative, 34 for                                                                
the Relating to Allowing Medical Use of Marijuana initiative, 24                                                                
for the Relating to Requiring Government to Use English initiative,                                                             
and 31 for the Relating to Prohibiting Billboards initiative.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1930                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT stated requiring 10 percent to come from various                                                                  
districts would give greater representation.  Given that there are                                                              
initiatives that should pass and those that shouldn't pass, he                                                                  
asked Representative Williams what would be the public reaction on                                                              
an initiative for legislative term limits, for example.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied he doesn't know how to answer that                                                              
question.  He noted that the initiative article was put in the                                                                  
constitution when there wasn't any telecommunications like today -                                                              
faxes, telephones, etc. - and most of the population was in                                                                     
Southeast.  This resolution wouldn't make it more difficult; he is                                                              
just trying to get a broad statewide perspective.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2120                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted it would be more difficult in the sense that                                                                
someone from New York couldn't stand outside the Anchorage                                                                      
International Airport to collect signatures.  It would require                                                                  
going to the various districts.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2142                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE commented that he doesn't see any competition                                                              
between the three approaches or whether one would preclude the                                                                  
other.  He also doesn't see a problem with all three going through                                                              
the process so that the public has a choice.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2199                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Representative Williams whether the 10 percent                                                              
required from the individual house districts would come from the                                                                
total votes cast or the total votes cast for the house member in a                                                              
particular district.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied it would come from the house                                                                    
district.  There would have to be a total of 10 percent of the                                                                  
votes cast throughout the state and 10 percent from each house                                                                  
district.  For example, in Ketchikan about 6,300 votes were cast,                                                               
therefore, 630 signatures would be needed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Representative Williams whether the 6,300                                                                   
figure was votes cast for the house member or total votes cast.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied total votes cast.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted there is a difference between the total votes                                                               
cast for the state versus the total votes cast for the house                                                                    
members.  In 1998, 227,156 votes were cast statewide, and 199,000                                                               
votes were cast for house members.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS suggested asking the Division of Elections.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2353                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Representative Williams how long is                                                              
allowed to gather signatures for an initiative petition.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied probably one to two years.  It took                                                             
two years to get the Relating to Requiring a Term Limits Pledge for                                                             
Candidates initiative on the ballot.  He suggested asking the                                                                   
Division of Elections for specifics.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI likes the idea of getting support from all                                                             
areas of the sate, but she is concerned that a tight window might                                                               
cause it to be difficult, especially because many of the                                                                        
initiatives are grassroots efforts.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS noted there were signatures from every                                                                  
district for the Relating to Trapping Wolves With Snares                                                                        
initiative.  He doesn't think a time limit would hurt.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2482                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT referred to the 1998 initiatives...                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-14, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT continued.  None of the 1998 initiatives would                                                             
have been approved under Representative Williams' resolution.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that is correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Representative Williams whether any of                                                               
the initiatives since statehood would have been approved.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS suggested asking the Division of Elections.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT stated he doubts seriously that one would have been                                                               
approved.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0130                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Representative Williams whether there                                                             
is any state that allows an electronic filing.  She is concerned                                                                
about the 11 house districts that can't be reached except by plane.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied he doesn't know and hasn't looked                                                               
into it.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that most of those districts have telephones                                                                
and somebody could phone out there and organize a signature                                                                     
collector.  It should be looked at since this is the electronic                                                                 
age.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0188                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS noted that many people go to malls,                                                                     
basketball games, airports, or any other place that people gather                                                               
to collect signatures.  It is so much easier to go to those places                                                              
then to go to Saxman, for example.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT called on Representative Scott Ogan, sponsor of HJR
25, to come before the committee.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT announced there is a proposed committee substitute                                                                
for HJR 25 and called for a motion to adopt it.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0302                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to adopt proposed committee                                                                  
substitute for HJR 25 (1-LS0575\D, Utermohle, 3/17/99).  There                                                                  
being no objection, it was so adopted.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0339                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN, Alaska State Legislature, stated the                                                                 
proposed committee substitute is the result of testimony from                                                                   
David Kelleyhouse of the Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC).  The                                                                     
approach of simply relying on the authority of Article VIII,                                                                    
section 2 of the state constitution made a lot of sense to him.                                                                 
It's clear that the legislature has the authority to manage the                                                                 
natural resources.  He has always felt that management of fish and                                                              
wildlife issues from the ballot box is bad public policy.  The                                                                  
proposed committee substitute would place a restriction on putting                                                              
fish and wildlife initiatives on the ballot thereby eliminating                                                                 
contentious fights and outside interests.  For example, the Alaska                                                              
Outdoor Council raised a quarter of a million dollars last year to                                                              
fight the Relating to Trapping Wolves With Snares initiative.  He                                                               
noted that HJR 25 has the support of the AOC, several Native                                                                    
organizations, rural residents and users of the resources.  He                                                                  
believes it would mitigate a legal challenge because of the                                                                     
authority granted to the legislature in Article VIII, section 2 of                                                              
the state constitution.  It is not a revision of the constitution;                                                              
it is an honest approach.  According to the minutes of the                                                                      
constitutional convention, it appears that there was a lot of                                                                   
discussion on making sure that the initiative process was available                                                             
to the people because of the rural folks who had a hard time                                                                    
getting to the capital.  But, it can be argued that Alaska is                                                                   
different now.  While the capital is not as accessible, it's                                                                    
certainly far more accessible than when the constitution was first                                                              
crafted, there is electronic media and teleconferencing now                                                                     
enabling the people to testify.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0695                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Representative Ogan what is the common                                                               
goal of all three joint resolutions.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied the common goal is to simply raise the                                                              
standard of what initiatives get to a ballot.  House Joint                                                                      
Resolution 25 takes a different course by simply recognizing the                                                                
authority of the legislature given to it by the constitution.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0732                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Representative Ogan whether he reads                                                                 
Article VIII, section 2 of the state constitution as saying it's                                                                
the legislature's job and not others.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied it says, "The legislature shall provide                                                             
for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural                                                               
resources belonging to the State,...".                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted it could be read as a description of how                                                             
it is done for the maximum benefit of the people.  He reads it as                                                               
a limitation on how it can be used, that it must be used for the                                                                
maximum benefit of the people.  Representative Ogan reads it as a                                                               
delegation of the sole authority in the natural resource area.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN believes it is a delegation of authority and                                                                
with that authority the legislature "does it" for the maximum                                                                   
benefit of the people.  He would argue managing fish and wildlife                                                               
by the ballot box doesn't always take into consideration the                                                                    
maximum benefit of all the people.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Representative Ogan whether letting the                                                              
people "do it" violates Article VIII, section 2 of the state                                                                    
constitution.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied yes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0838                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Representative Ogan whether requiring                                                                
all 40 house districts to have 10 percent would stifle any future                                                               
petitions.  He wondered whether that would allow one or two                                                                     
districts the prerogative to veto the will of the majority of the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied it is not an issue now that the                                                                     
proposed committee substitute has been adopted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted the proposed committee substitute would not                                                                 
change any of the processes involved.  It would require the same 10                                                             
percent to get an initiative to the ballot and the same 50 percent                                                              
plus 1 to approve it.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0916                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Representative Ogan whether after the                                                             
amendment there wouldn't be an initiative process concerning                                                                    
resource issues and those would be left to the legislature.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied it would eliminate the possibility of                                                               
a fish and wildlife initiative of ever being put on a ballot.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Representative Ogan whether he has                                                                
had the chance to ask Legislative Legal Counsel's opinion since                                                                 
this is such a broad, sweeping change to the constitution.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied Article XI, section 7 of the state                                                                  
constitution already restricts certain items to be defined by an                                                                
initiative.  The resolution simply adds a category to that.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1015                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she would like to see what Legislative                                                             
Legal Counsel thinks about it.  Taking the right to vote off the                                                                
table completely seems like a broad enough change to require going                                                              
back to a constitutional convention.  She would defer to                                                                        
Legislative Legal Counsel's opinion, however.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT opened the meeting up to the teleconference network.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1111                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DAVID G. KELLEYHOUSE, Representative, Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC),                                                             
testified in Juneau in support of CSHJR 25(JUD).  He commended                                                                  
Representatives Bunde, Williams and Ogan for their resolutions.  He                                                             
was involved with the Coalition For the Alaskan Way of Life during                                                              
the last election.  Alaska is turning into an urban state, and it's                                                             
possible for outside groups such as Friends of the Animals                                                                      
Foundation to target through electronic media and piecemeal this                                                                
state's way of life disadvantaging rural people, hunters and                                                                    
fishers.  The AOC believes that Article VIII of the state                                                                       
constitution is unique and the legislature has done a fine job                                                                  
managing the natural resources over the last four decades.  It has                                                              
been very responsible in managing and delegating resources to the                                                               
Board of Fisheries and Board of Game.  The AOC prefers a more                                                                   
straightforward approach in recognizing fish and game as public                                                                 
trust resources that are best managed by the current process - the                                                              
legislature, boards and Department of Fish and Game.  He referred                                                               
to a communication from the Friends of Animals Foundation                                                                       
indicating that since they lost at the last election they will keep                                                             
coming back until they get what they want.  It is just a matter of                                                              
time before the Alaskan way of life comes to an end.  The AOC can't                                                             
generate the amount of resistance that it did last year every other                                                             
year.  It just about bled it dry.  The Friends of the Animals                                                                   
Foundation will prevail.  They have multi-millions of dollars to                                                                
work with and they have already said that they are aiming at                                                                    
Alaska.  He reiterated the AOC would urge for a straightforward                                                                 
approach.  If the legislature were to put this amendment on the                                                                 
ballot, it could run one more campaign with Native and other                                                                    
outdoor organizations.  He urged the committee members to pass                                                                  
CSHJR 25(JUD).  The other resolutions wouldn't harm the AOC in                                                                  
anyway; it just believes that HJR 25 is very honest.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1342                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LAURA SKAER, Executive Director, North West Mining Association,                                                                 
testified via teleconference from Washington in support of HJR 3.                                                               
The association is a 104 year old trade association representing                                                                
the hard rock mining industry throughout the Western United States                                                              
with about 200 members in Alaska, as well as members throughout the                                                             
U.S. and Canada.  It is the largest mining association in the U.S.                                                              
The association supports HJR 3 based on the experience of two                                                                   
initiatives in Montana in 1996.  One was denominated as a clear                                                                 
water initiative, but the language didn't amend any of the state's                                                              
clean water laws.  It amended the state's metal mining Act that                                                                 
would have imposed standards to ban any future metal mining                                                                     
operations.  If it had passed all municipal water systems would                                                                 
have failed the new standard, except one.  It took a tremendous                                                                 
effort from the mining industry to educate the people to turn the                                                               
support around.  Another initiative purported to protect                                                                        
individuals from corporate money unfairly tilting the ballot box.                                                               
Interestingly, 60 percent of the money to support it came from                                                                  
outside the state of Montana even though it was championed as an                                                                
individual rights initiative.  It passed by a 52 to 48 percent                                                                  
margin.  As a result, the same group that pushed the water quality                                                              
initiative came back and narrowed the focus to ban the use of                                                                   
cyanide chemicals in open pit gold and silver mines.  The members                                                               
promoting the initiative were quoted several time as saying that                                                                
cyanide really isn't the issue, but it gets the voters' attention.                                                              
The real purpose was to stop large scale metal mining.  And,                                                                    
because of the ban on corporate participation, the mining industry                                                              
was essentially muzzled.  That ban was reversed in court and the                                                                
mining industry was able to close the gap on public opinion in a                                                                
short time.  As a result, an industry that has been a simple part                                                               
of Montana's heritage and development has been banned by a 52 to 48                                                             
percent of the vote in a tainted election.  The organization                                                                    
supporting the initiative has announced that it intends to take its                                                             
experience to other Western mining states.  The counties now in                                                                 
Montana are realizing that their source of revenue will be depleted                                                             
and eventually devastated.  More importantly, while the signatures                                                              
were being pushed, the mining industry begin to realize it didn't                                                               
want to invest in the state, especially since it only takes 50.1                                                                
percent of the voters to ban it in the future.  It needs more                                                                   
security for its investments.  In conclusion, she announced that                                                                
she has visited Alaska and several of its mining industries and                                                                 
believes that HJR 3 is an excellent way to ensure Alaska's natural                                                              
resources are managed by Alaskans, not outside influences and                                                                   
groups.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1820                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Ms. Skaer how many times she has been                                                             
in Alaska and for a total of how many days.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SKAER replied 3 times for a total of 11 days.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Ms. Skaer whether she has ever been                                                               
to Juneau.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SKAER replied no.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated she doesn't know the human death                                                                 
toll from cyanide, but in Juneau there have been fish killed.  She                                                              
asked Ms. Skaer to clarify that there have been deaths from other                                                               
species.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. SKAER replied she is aware that there have been some cyanide                                                                
spills that have resulted in damage to aquatic resources.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1892                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOLLY CARROLL testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in                                                                    
opposition to HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.  This process is going to                                                                
lock out a lot of Alaskans from their only check on the                                                                         
legislature.  As Representative Ogan said, the legislature does                                                                 
have the power over the resources.  It also has two additional                                                                  
checks:  to amendment any ballot initiative and to repeal within                                                                
two years any ballot initiative.  That's plenty of power.  In                                                                   
addition, ballot initiatives are already very expensive and driving                                                             
up the cost won't help the rural populations.  As a result,                                                                     
initiative groups will have to enlist the help of outside                                                                       
organizations to be able to afford an effort when outside                                                                       
organizations don't vote on the final ballot.  In reference to                                                                  
media campaigns that have mislead the public, it is true for both                                                               
sides of an issue.  The resolutions won't clarify that.  They will                                                              
only take the public out of the process.  In conclusion, she                                                                    
reiterated all three of the bills damage the process and lock                                                                   
Alaskans out of the initiative process when it is the only check on                                                             
the legislature.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2055                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JIM LEVINE testified via teleconference from Homer in opposition to                                                             
HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.  He took time off work today in order to                                                               
testify because he feels very strongly about the initiative process                                                             
that the Founding Fathers provided in the Alaska Constitution.  The                                                             
resolutions will effectively eliminate the initiative process for                                                               
the voice of the average Alaskan.  In the 40 years since statehood                                                              
less than 30 initiatives have been placed on the ballot and less                                                                
than 20 have actually passed into law.  The process is already                                                                  
difficult enough and to make it more difficult would allow groups                                                               
from outside to get an initiative on the ballot effectively                                                                     
shutting out both rural and urban citizens.  He personally believes                                                             
in the value of the state government process, but fewer and fewer                                                               
citizens agree.  More and more people feel disenfranchised                                                                      
believing that government doesn't represent their ideals, and that                                                              
it is a waste of time to even try.  Making the initiative process                                                               
an impossible goal would disenfranchise even more citizens.  He                                                                 
doesn't agree with all the initiatives that have been circulated or                                                             
voted on, but he does believe in the right of citizens to petition                                                              
their government.  He said, "If you believe in government by the                                                                
people for the people, these bills are stopping the heart of 'by                                                                
the people'.  Please don't allow any of these bill to go forward."                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2149                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT added that the three propositions require the                                                                     
existing system for any of them to be adopted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2170                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BOB GREEN, President, Alaska Frontiers Trapper Association,                                                                     
testified via teleconference from Mat-Su in support of HJR 25.  The                                                             
association is concerned that large, urban areas influence                                                                      
legislation restricting game management when the majority of the                                                                
areas aren't able to respond.  The law would benefit the state as                                                               
a whole.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2234                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DOUG YATES, Representative, Alaskans For Common Ground, testified                                                               
via teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HJR 3, HJR 7 and                                                             
HJR 25.  They show a lack of trust of Alaska's citizens.  He asked,                                                             
why would the Republican leadership work to make it more difficult                                                              
for citizens to petition its government?  Why would Republicans                                                                 
make it more difficult for citizens to participate in public                                                                    
decisions?  There are already mechanisms within the law that allow                                                              
the legislature to deal with legitimate problems with initiative or                                                             
referendum created legislation.  It appears that the Republican                                                                 
leadership fears its citizens, and wishes to remove the mechanism                                                               
that promote inclusive political action.  A free and open                                                                       
government should not need to create more obstacles for a                                                                       
responsive government.  These resolutions are an affront to all                                                                 
Alaskans.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2298                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE noted that none of the resolutions are coming                                                              
from the Majority leadership.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2327                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MIKE YOURKOWSKI testified via teleconference from Homer in                                                                      
opposition to HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.  It is easy for legislators                                                              
to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, but virtually                                                                  
impossible for the citizens of Alaska.  The resolutions are coming                                                              
from a limited perspective and the cure is worse than the disease.                                                              
As a city councilman, he loves getting input from his constituents                                                              
and pays close attention to them.  The resolutions will make the                                                                
low voter turnout worse because they will disenfranchise a large                                                                
portion of the population.  In regards to HJR 25, the existing                                                                  
restrictions are to maintain the separation of powers between the                                                               
branches of government, not to restrict the issues.  Restricting                                                                
issues opens the doors up to special interests and deprives the                                                                 
citizens of their power.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted the theory behind HJR 3 is to bring out                                                                     
additional voters who would have otherwise stayed home.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2437                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE KECK (PH) testified via teleconference from Anchorage on                                                                
HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.  She has been very involved in the                                                                     
signature gathering phase of the initiative process.  She has                                                                   
coordinated both paid and volunteer signatures.  Changing the rules                                                             
for initiatives is tinkering with an important part of the public                                                               
process.  Ballot access should not be limited by making the                                                                     
signature requirements harder.  It's the same as putting more                                                                   
restrictions on who can run for office.  An issue is really fought                                                              
during the campaign phase, not the signature phase, and making it                                                               
harder effects everybody in the state.  It will take it right out                                                               
of the hands of Alaskan citizens and make it accessible to outside                                                              
interests.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-14, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KECK (PH) continued.  In addition, a popular place to get                                                                   
signatures was in post offices, but due to a national ruling that                                                               
is not possible now.  She is concerned about several of the                                                                     
districts because even the private sector that owns the malls and                                                               
stores are preventing people from petitioning there as well.  In                                                                
addition, going door-to-door to get signatures like candidates                                                                  
would require going to about 60,000 to 70,000 doors in order to get                                                             
10 percent.  That is not realistic.  The best way to defeat an                                                                  
initiative is in the campaign, not by eliminating signatures.                                                                   
There is already a safety valve in place because the legislature                                                                
can change an initiative after two years.  In conclusion,                                                                       
regardless of the issue she likes to err on the side of keeping the                                                             
current public system in place which gives everyone an equal                                                                    
opportunity to put something on the ballot.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0069                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT reiterated that only one of the resolutions really                                                                
change the way signatures are collected.  It is more difficult                                                                  
after giving to take it back after two years.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0089                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DICK BISHOP testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support                                                              
of CSHJR 25(JUD).  He appreciates the legislature's attention to                                                                
the initiative process.  It is a process that has great public                                                                  
appeal, but subject to great abuse.  He prefers the committee                                                                   
substitute to HJR 25.  It really addresses the problem by removing                                                              
spurious initiatives that are hoisted upon the people.  At a recent                                                             
annual meeting of the Alaska Outdoor Council, the plurality of the                                                              
members voted in favor of similar language that Representative Ogan                                                             
submitted.  It gets to the issue.  A current fad with fish and game                                                             
management is an end-run on the public, legislative and board                                                                   
processes with an initiative.  He said, "If you have an (indisc.)                                                               
to appeal and have enough money to buy enough 30 second sound                                                                   
bites, you have a darn good chance of winning because there is no                                                               
law requiring truth in advertising and whoever can buy the most 30                                                              
second sound bites on an initiative campaign or on a political                                                                  
campaign, I suppose for that matter, has a very good chance of                                                                  
winning."  It was obvious in the last couple of elections, the                                                                  
initiatives relating to game management were not very                                                                           
straightforward.  There was a great deal of misleading and                                                                      
inflammatory imagery that exploited the well-meaning, but mostly                                                                
uninformed general public.  There is no way the initiative process                                                              
is effective in managing a common resource property - fish and                                                                  
wildlife.  The framers of the state constitution took great pains                                                               
to provide the basis for sound management and since then the                                                                    
legislatures have worked over the years to build on that                                                                        
foundation.  He strongly urged the legislature to pass CSHJR
25(JUD) to prevent spending thousands of dollars and hours fending                                                              
off initiatives that are anti-hunting, -management, -trapping, and                                                              
-fishing every two years.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0252                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROD ARNO, President, Alaska Outdoor Council, testified via                                                                      
teleconference from Mat-Su in support of CSHJR 25(JUD).  Fish and                                                               
game management is both an art and science.  There is a public and                                                              
board process, and the Department of Fish and Game gets its                                                                     
authority from the Administrative Procedure Act.  The public                                                                    
process would not be hampered one bit with the passage of HJR 25.                                                               
The two recent wildlife initiatives are the types of activities                                                                 
that special interest groups are able to argue artfully before the                                                              
public without having the science behind the argument.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0371                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE WILSON (PH) testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                                                             
opposition to HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.  They are inherently                                                                     
unconstitutional.  They are an attack on the public initiative                                                                  
process and bad public policy.  If the initiative requirements are                                                              
changed then the requirements for constitutional amendments should                                                              
also be changed.  For example, the same-sex marriage amendment that                                                             
just passed should also have gotten 10 percent of the voters in all                                                             
30 districts.  Why should the public process be limited when the                                                                
legislative ballot process for ballot measures would remain the                                                                 
same?  The discussion should be on how to manage campaign financing                                                             
once an initiative reaches a ballot, not reform of the initiative                                                               
process.  She disagrees with the idea of electronic media because                                                               
the one-on-one contact with the public is the best part of the                                                                  
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0492                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that the resolutions are proactive, not                                                                     
retroactive.  They would not affect the results of initiatives that                                                             
have already passed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0510                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ERIC HOLLAND testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in                                                                     
opposition to HJR 3.  His daughter likes to change the rules in the                                                             
middle of a game, especially when it isn't going well for her.                                                                  
Similarly, last session some of the legislators wanted to change                                                                
the constitutional rules for reapportionment because they feared                                                                
Tony Knowles would get reelected.  Now, Representative Bunde and                                                                
others want to make it necessary for the two-thirds Majority to                                                                 
adopt an initiative regarding natural resources.  Are they afraid                                                               
of the majority of Alaskans?  Are they trying to lock up control of                                                             
the economy?  There are valid reasons for the development of                                                                    
Alaska's natural resources and there are valid reasons for their                                                                
conservations.  He believes that some of the recent initiatives                                                                 
have been extreme, but stacking the deck against the right for the                                                              
people to decide for themselves is a violation of the principles of                                                             
a democratic government.  Don't the legislators trust Alaskans to                                                               
vote for an Alaskan way of life? he asked.  Fight fair and square                                                               
- 50/50.  In 1996, the people banned same day airborne wolf control                                                             
and now SB 74 repeals it two years and one week later.  There is                                                                
already the power to redress an initiative through the public                                                                   
process.  In reference to Representative Bunde's comments on                                                                    
trained professionals, the Division of Forestry will not listen to                                                              
trained fish and game personnel and insists on logging in sensitive                                                             
salmon spawning areas.  In addition, the argument for blasting                                                                  
Anchorage is not very valid.  Are we going to make the election of                                                              
the governor with a two-thirds majority to avoid Anchorage                                                                      
governors?  Distortion occurs everywhere so there needs to be a                                                                 
level playing field.  Money is generally on the side of                                                                         
pro-development and the biggest money to blanket the airways is                                                                 
through commercials.  In addition, it is funny that the woman from                                                              
Washington who testified earlier blasted outside influence.  In                                                                 
reference to Representative Ogan's comment about the legislature's                                                              
right to manage public resources, the maximum benefit of the people                                                             
is debatable.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0690                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KENNY BARBER testified via teleconference from Mat-Su in support of                                                             
HJR 25.  The system works the way it is set right now.  As a member                                                             
of an advisory committee, he spends a lot of time listening to the                                                              
public and going to the Board of Game meetings.  Everybody has the                                                              
same opportunity to speak and the same amount of time.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0747                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KATIE KURELLO (PH) testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                                                               
opposition to HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.  Having worked on the                                                                    
billboard initiative, she feels like she is speaking for the                                                                    
hundreds of Alaskans that she talked to during the campaign who                                                                 
constantly thanked her for giving them the opportunity to vote on                                                               
the issue.  The signature process is working to give people the                                                                 
right to vote.  It is not about the actual issue or campaign.  It                                                               
is already very difficult to get an initiative on the ballot, and                                                               
the billboard initiative clearly demonstrates the need for this                                                                 
process because of the disparity between the vote of the people and                                                             
the legislation passed by the legislature.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0814                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BYRON HALEY, President, Chitina Dipnetters Association, testified                                                               
via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of CSHJR 25(JUD).  He                                                              
is against wildlife management by ballot initiatives.  The                                                                      
management of the state's fish and wildlife should be done by the                                                               
boards and Department of Fish and Game with legislative oversight.                                                              
The public has input with the boards to change regulations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0864                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DICK BURLEY, Representative, Interior Wildlife Association,                                                                     
testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of CSHJR
25(JUD).  Having served on the Board of Game and having been                                                                    
involved with local advisory committees, he believes that there is                                                              
an adequate process in place for people to implement changes to                                                                 
fish and game regulations.  The people also have the ability to                                                                 
petition the board, if they want to make changes.  It is                                                                        
frustrating being a board member when people through an initiative                                                              
process work on motions and votes using false information and                                                                   
distortions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0960                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOEL BENNETT, Co-sponsor, Wolf Management Reform Coalition                                                                      
(Proposition 3), testified in Juneau on HJR 3, HJR 7 and HJR 25.                                                                
In response to Representative Bunde's comments, he is having a hard                                                             
time understanding how raising the bar to a two-thirds majority                                                                 
will produce a higher degree of fact-finding in the initiative                                                                  
process.  The degree of fact-finding has to do with the nature of                                                               
the campaign and the work that goes into it.  The coalition                                                                     
realized an effective campaign would have to be waged in various                                                                
geographical regions of the state in order to have the support of                                                               
the people in those regions.  He has sympathy for Representative                                                                
Williams' concerns, but 10 percent is an unreasonable number of                                                                 
signatures to have to gather in rural areas.  The coalition would                                                               
have had to have gotten 1,000 signatures in District 39 to ensure                                                               
400 signature, the 10 percent required in HJR 7.  Those efforts in                                                              
the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta area would have been sp expensive, time                                                               
and cost prohibitive that it would have been a great burden.  A                                                                 
higher percentage may be a reasonable course to follow, but it                                                                  
should be discussed by a large number of people like a                                                                          
constitutional convention for many minds to look at the pros and                                                                
cons.  Representative Ogan, he believes, is trying to accomplish                                                                
something that he didn't agree with.  He called it sour grapes.  He                                                             
doesn't like Proposition 3, he doesn't like that statute, and he                                                                
clearly wants to engineer something that would prohibit fish and                                                                
game matters to be taken up by initiative again.  It is foul and                                                                
the people will see through it.  A subject matter can't be singled                                                              
out.  There has to be a level playing field.  It seems like the                                                                 
worst case of discrimination.  The state supreme court was clear                                                                
when it said that the legislature does not have the sole authority                                                              
because of the initiative article in the constitution.  That                                                                    
article enumerates what's prohibited, and by implication anything                                                               
that is not on the list is permitted.  In response to the                                                                       
distortion issue, both sides wage campaigns using media to the most                                                             
effective way possible.  It also happens in campaigns for elected                                                               
officials and legislators.  There is simply no way to control that,                                                             
except to trust the people to sift through and take what is valid                                                               
and accurate and discard what is not.  The ultimate test is in the                                                              
voting booth when a voter is presented with the clear language of                                                               
an initiative, as well as the impartial wording from the attorney                                                               
general in the Official Election Pamphlet.  The public is                                                                       
sophisticated enough to understand what is and what isn't                                                                       
distortion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1300                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Bennett whether there is a percentage that                                                              
would be acceptable.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT replied, based on his experience in District 39, even                                                               
1 percent or 2 percent is quite a chore.  It means that one cannot                                                              
stand on the street in Anchorage and hope that enough people walk                                                               
by from District 39, but actually travel out to the district.                                                                   
Certainly, anything above 5 percent is a true burden on the public.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1397                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated he can understand how it would be                                                                   
difficult to get a representative sample from 30 house districts,                                                               
but there is no requirement for the signature gathers who cluster                                                               
around the metropolitan areas to be citizens.  They get anywhere                                                                
from $1 to $5 a signature.  As a result, there are a significant                                                                
number of initiatives that get to the ballot, but fail because the                                                              
people either don't really know what they're signing or they aren't                                                             
representative of the state's attitude.  He understands trying to                                                               
reduce the time and money spent on these types of efforts, and                                                                  
asked Mr. Bennett whether he has any suggestions.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT replied the issue of paid signature gathering is a                                                                  
legitimate one.  In the case of Proposition 3, there were a                                                                     
percentage of both, and he didn't feel that it was weighted towards                                                             
the paid signature portion so that it was unfair.  Attention could                                                              
be paid to that issue, however.  Sometimes that period of time is                                                               
short and during the most severe time of the year that without                                                                  
assistance and volunteers, regular Alaskans just simply can't get                                                               
the number of signatures required.  It is a difficult question.  It                                                             
is one that is appropriate for a larger forum.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1552                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated part of the reason for these types of                                                               
resolutions is to make it more difficult to get signatures,                                                                     
especially for controversial petitions.  A hurdle might do away                                                                 
with some and increase the percentage of those that pass.  There                                                                
seems to be an awful lot of petitions that just don't make it.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT reiterated 10 percent is way too high based on his                                                                  
experience.  In addition, there isn't much guidance from the                                                                    
constitutional convention for establishing 10 percent, perhaps it                                                               
should go to a larger forum.  It is a serious matter; it affects                                                                
basic rights.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1674                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES referred to his comment of needing 400                                                                     
signatures to get 10 percent in District 39, and asked Mr. Bennett                                                              
whether a ration of 10 to 1 is used for getting signatures or would                                                             
that just be the case for outlying areas.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT replied, if 400 signatures are needed, it would be                                                                  
foolish to submit less than 700.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked Mr. Bennett what number of signatures is                                                             
achievable with 5 percent or 3 percent or 4 percent.  There are                                                                 
approximately 25 urban districts and 15 rural districts and the                                                                 
resolution calls for 30 of the 40 districts.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT replied, considering the efforts of Proposition 3,                                                                  
there wouldn't have been a problem getting a lower percentage of                                                                
signatures in 30 districts.  Proposition 3 prided itself on the                                                                 
widespread support it got in both rural and urban areas.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES noted she understands that widespread support                                                              
because there was already a rule against it.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT said, "What--what was against the law was shooting from                                                             
a plane.  The Airborne Hunting Act has prohibited that since the                                                                
70's.  Some of the people have testified today suggest that we                                                                  
distorted the campaign and tried to lead people to think that was                                                               
legal and that's all we were prohibiting and that's pretty                                                                      
outrageous to us because most people knew that you couldn't shot                                                                
from a plane for a long time in Alaska.  So--I mean what we                                                                     
prohibited was exactly what we said we would prohibit which is the                                                              
use of airplanes the same day, unless it was a biological                                                                       
emergency."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT further stated that 2 percent of the 30 districts                                                                   
wouldn't be an unreasonable burden, but 5 percent to 10 percent is                                                              
elevating the process way beyond what it is now in terms of the                                                                 
amount of money and people it takes.  The initiative process is                                                                 
hard, and for that reason he believes that there won't be an array                                                              
of fish and wildlife initiatives in the future.  There might be one                                                             
or two more subjects that come up, but by and large the Alaskan                                                                 
public does not want to affect the nuts and bolts of game                                                                       
management by initiatives.  They are more than happy to let the                                                                 
board take that onerous, time-consuming and difficult job.  But,                                                                
there are a few sensitive subjects that reach the larger public.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1980                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Bennett whether he knows when the                                                                       
signatures have to be turned in.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT replied for Proposition 3 they were gathered in                                                                     
July/August and had to be turned in that fall.  It was a short                                                                  
amount of time given weather conditions in some parts of Alaska.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2079                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated there is a year to collect                                                                       
signatures from the date the booklets are circulated.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT called on Gail Fenumiai from the Division of                                                                      
Elections.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2140                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GAIL FENUMIAI, Election Program Specialist, Division of Elections,                                                              
Central Office, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, stated the                                                                   
statute allows for a one-year signature gathering period from the                                                               
date the petition booklets are available to the initiative                                                                      
committee.  The majority of initiative committees gear up in the                                                                
fall of an odd numbered year which means a petition has to be filed                                                             
prior to the convening of the legislative session in an even                                                                    
numbered year for it to appear on the general election ballot.  The                                                             
majority of the initiatives that appeared on the 1996 ballot had                                                                
the majority of their work done in the fall of 1995.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT stated it has to be turned in during the even year to                                                             
get on the ballot.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI said correct.  In order to appear on the general                                                                   
election ballot an initiative committee would need to file a                                                                    
petition prior to the legislative session convening in January.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2240                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted a group could apply in October as long as it                                                                
can collect the signatures in time to file it before the                                                                        
legislature convened.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI replied that is possible, but the application has to                                                               
be reviewed by the attorney general's office and the division has                                                               
to verify at least 100 qualified signatures.  Once that has                                                                     
happened, booklets are prepared and given to the committee.  If                                                                 
that committee waited until October, it is not likely that it would                                                             
be able to get the signatures by the convening of the legislative                                                               
session.  In addition, last year Senator Sharp sponsored a bill                                                                 
eliminating the supplementary petition period that a lot of the                                                                 
groups have relied on in past years.  In other words, once an                                                                   
initiative petition has been filed, there isn't an extra 30 days to                                                             
gather signatures if short.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2331                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Ms. Fenumiai asked whether a group could                                                             
continue to collect signatures as long as it got them in before the                                                             
convening of the legislative session in even numbered years.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI replied they could continue if they have submitted                                                                 
their petition prior to the one year deadline.  If, on its face                                                                 
when a petition is filed, there are not enough signatures, a group                                                              
has time to get more signatures, if it's within its one-year time                                                               
frame.  If, on its face when a petition is filed, it looks like                                                                 
there are sufficient signatures, but the division later verifies                                                                
that there aren't, a group doesn't get an extra period of time.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2399                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Ms. Fenumiai whether she knows how                                                                
many initiatives have tried but didn't get the number of signatures                                                             
required.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI replied she doesn't have that information with her,                                                                
but she can make it available to the committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2485                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Ms. Fenumiai whether the resolutions                                                                 
affect referendums as well.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-15, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI stated she's not sure.  Referendums and recalls                                                                    
generally have the same process, but are covered under a different                                                              
section in Title 15.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Ms. Fenumiai whether there has been a                                                                
referendum recently.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI replied no.  There have been some filed in years past.                                                             
She can provide that historical data to the committee as well.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0091                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT closed the meeting to public testimony and called on                                                              
Mr. Winchell to discuss the Pullen v. Ulmer case.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0109                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL stated in Pullen v. Ulmer an organization known as                                                                 
F.I.S.H. (Fairness in Salmon Harvest) tried to file an initiative                                                               
to allocate 5 percent of the total projected statewide salmon                                                                   
harvest to the sport fishery.  When it got to the ballot, the                                                                   
United Fisherman of Alaska asked that it be adjoined.  The court                                                                
grappled with the idea of allocation and whether or not it can be                                                               
done by referendum.  The court referred to Article XI, section 7 of                                                             
the state constitution which says, "The initiative shall not be                                                                 
used to dedicate revenues, make or repeal appropriations,..."; and,                                                             
Thomas v. Rosen (1977) where the Alaska Supreme Court endorsed a                                                                
definition of appropriation as, "...setting aside from public                                                                   
revenue of certain sums of money for specific objects in such a                                                                 
manner that the executive officer of the government are authorized                                                              
to use that money and no more for that object and no other...".                                                                 
Thomas v. Bailey extended that definition to land.  The court found                                                             
that the F.I.S.H. initiative constituted an appropriation because                                                               
it was allocating 5 percent of a natural resource.  He noted a lot                                                              
of the initiates that the committee has been discussing might fall                                                              
into this purview.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0307                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that the case came to his attention late this                                                               
morning.  He thought it would be interesting to the committee                                                                   
members to at least hear what was uncovered on the surface.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0332                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated the case is very relevant.  As he reads                                                             
it, an allocation of fish and wildlife is an appropriation thereby                                                              
barred from the initiative process.  The debate really focuses HJR
25 to things that concern fish and wildlife, but are not allocation                                                             
issues.  The F.I.S.H. initiative was sold as a management deal, but                                                             
if it says this much to this group in order to use...                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0405                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL interjected and stated the F.I.S.H. group tried to                                                                 
raise the argument that it was a legal fiction, a misnomer, that it                                                             
really wasn't an asset.  The court said otherwise and invoked a lot                                                             
of articles from the state constitution to justify it as well as                                                                
other case law.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0482                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT indicated that all three resolutions will be held                                                                 
over for further research in light of the case law brought up                                                                   
towards the end of the meeting.  It is relevant to all three                                                                    
resolutions.  The percentage issue also needs to be looked at in                                                                
terms of how it restricts the public from participating in the                                                                  
process.                                                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects