Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/23/1999 01:45 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SJR 8 - FAIR AND ACCURATE CENSUS                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT announced the first order of business is SJR 8,                                                                   
Relating to the 2000 decennial United States census and to the                                                                  
development of redistricting data for use by the state in                                                                       
legislative redistricting.                                                                                                      
Number 0060                                                                                                                     
MARK HODGINS, Legislative Assistant to Senator Jerry Ward, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, came before the committee to present the sponsor                                                             
statement.  This resolution urges Congress and the Bureau of the                                                                
Census to conduct the 2000 decennial census consistent with the                                                                 
ruling of Department of Commerce v. United States House and the                                                                 
Constitution of the United States.  The bureau plans on using                                                                   
random sampling techniques, or other statistical methods, instead                                                               
of an actual enumeration.  A random sampling technique or other                                                                 
statistical method could raise serious issues of vote dilution and                                                              
violate "one-person, one-vote" legal protections.  An analogy is                                                                
flying over an area to count moose then extrapolating that number                                                               
to the entire state.  An even better analogy is counting a few fish                                                             
then deciding that the Kenai River is over or under escapement and                                                              
curtailing the various industries.  He noted that a random sampling                                                             
technique or other statistical method could create problems with                                                                
the way the state House and Senate lines are drawn.  Therefore, it                                                              
is very important that there is an accurate count.                                                                              
Number 0197                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Hodgins whether there is any                                                                  
legislation pending before Congress for this resolution to be used                                                              
for testimony and/or backup.                                                                                                    
MR. HODGINS replied Congress has some sway with the Bureau of the                                                               
Census.  The resolution simply asks that P.L. 94-171 data be used                                                               
only if it is done with an actual nose count.  He doesn't believe                                                               
that there is any legislation going through Congress that would                                                                 
impact this resolution.                                                                                                         
Number 0273                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Hodgins whether there is any indication                                                                 
that the Bureau of the Census plans on not being consistent with                                                                
the ruling.                                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS replied the Bureau of the Census depends largely on the                                                             
administration of each state in the formulation of what is called                                                               
a "book" - the vehicle to decide how each state is to be counted.                                                               
Senator Ward feels that the best count is an actual nose count.                                                                 
There is always a small amount of statistical count within the                                                                  
census because everybody can't be counted, and every state, borough                                                             
or municipality has the ability to challenge the count for their                                                                
area.  In researching this issue, the problem is that the military                                                              
is counted in their home state, and the homeless and other                                                                      
itinerants are assigned a place.  This causes quite a bit of                                                                    
problem and litigation throughout the state.                                                                                    
Number 0406                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, according to his understanding, that                                                                 
currently the number the state gets from the Bureau of the Census                                                               
in determining representation to the U.S. House of Representatives                                                              
will be an enumeration.  He asked Mr. Hodgins whether he has heard                                                              
of anything indicating that will not be the case.                                                                               
MR. HODGINS replied the emphasis of the resolution is to make sure                                                              
that the Bureau of the Census uses the enumeration count rather                                                                 
than a statistical sampling.  He reiterated there are times when                                                                
the bureau uses both because it cannot count everybody.  Senator                                                                
Ward wants to make sure that is held to a minimum.                                                                              
Number 0496                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Mr. Hodgins whether he has heard of                                                                  
anything indicating that the bureau is going to deviate and give a                                                              
statistical count instead of an actual head count.  According to                                                                
his understanding, in determining the number of representatives for                                                             
each state, the actual count will be used, and what the states use                                                              
is up to each state.                                                                                                            
MR. HODGINS replied no.  He has not heard otherwise.                                                                            
Number 0569                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Mr. Hodgins to explain the intent of                                                              
the following "whereas" clause:                                                                                                 
     "WHEREAS the Alaska State Legislature believes that a                                                                      
     person, once enumerated, should never be omitted from                                                                      
     census figures provided to states for purposes of                                                                          
     redistricting; and"                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA wondered about a person who dies or moves.                                                              
Number 0597                                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS replied he's not sure whether the definition of a                                                                   
person is "alive" in that "whereas" clause.  He is assuming that                                                                
once a person passes on that person would no longer be a person.                                                                
The idea for this clause is that once a person is counted that                                                                  
person cannot be used for a statistical count for drawing up a                                                                  
district line within the state.                                                                                                 
Number 0642                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated, maybe, it should be worded, "should                                                             
never be part of a sample..."  It looks like a person could never                                                               
move to another state.                                                                                                          
Number 0657                                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS said the census is a snapshot of where people are at a                                                              
given time.  If a person is counted in one place, that person                                                                   
cannot be counted in another place, which is what the "whereas"                                                                 
clause is referring to.                                                                                                         
Number 0673                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said her experience is that, if a person dies                                                              
or moves when the count is made, the count stays part of the                                                                    
enumeration process.                                                                                                            
Number 0714                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said she agrees that the language is less                                                              
than clear and suggested looking at it.  She thinks the language,                                                               
"once enumerated we don't go the statistical route," says what                                                                  
everybody is in agreement on.                                                                                                   
Number 0751                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she is not sure that the "whereas" clause                                                             
is needed at all.                                                                                                               
Number 0765                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN suggested the following language:                                                                          
     "once enumerated, should not be submitted to statistical                                                                   
Number 0776                                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS stated the purpose of the "whereas" clause is, drawing                                                              
on an analogy, that once an application is submitted for a                                                                      
permanent fund dividend and the person applying dies, it still goes                                                             
toward that person's estate.  However, this is an actual count on                                                               
a given day of the population of the United States, which is how                                                                
the lines are drawn.  If somebody dies or is born the next day,                                                                 
that somebody is not counted and cannot be removed from the count.                                                              
The idea is to get a static figure to be used for district lines                                                                
and federal funding.  He thinks it should stay within the body of                                                               
the resolution.                                                                                                                 
Number 0879                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she understands the argument, but it                                                                  
doesn't say what it's intended to say.  In accordance with her                                                                  
understanding of the census process, it doesn't mean if a person                                                                
dies or moves away.  It means that once a person is counted in an                                                               
enumeration that person shouldn't be counted in any other                                                                       
calculation, which is being said in several other ways in the                                                                   
resolution.  She's not sure whether it needs to be said again.                                                                  
Number 0935                                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS said the gist of the "whereas" clause is saying, once                                                               
the count has been made, the figures should not be changed.                                                                     
Number 0950                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN KOTT questioned Mr. Hodgins as to whether that is not how                                                              
it is done currently.                                                                                                           
MR. HODGINS replied it is a long and involved process.  He noted                                                                
that municipalities and communities can protest the count to adjust                                                             
their numbers.  It is to a city's advantage, in general, to have as                                                             
many of its citizens counted as accurately as possible because of                                                               
Number 0987                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN offered [as an amendment] to strike the                                                                    
language - "never be omitted from census figures provided to                                                                    
states" - and insert the language - "not be involved in a                                                                       
statistical sampling procedure" - on page 2, line 20 [Amendment 1].                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA wondered whether it would be better to say                                                              
"sampling or other statistical methodologies" in order to be                                                                    
consistent with other language in the resolution.  In addition,                                                                 
once the word "never" is used...                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN interjected and stated that his amendment                                                                  
would take the word "never" out.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN further stated that Representative Kerttula                                                                
brings up an interesting point and suggested the following                                                                      
     "should not be involved in sampling or other statistical                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES questioned whether it should say "involved" or                                                             
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER replied it should say counted.                                                                             
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that Representative James' question is a                                                                    
friendly amendment to Representative Green's suggestion.                                                                        
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether there is any objection to the                                                                       
amendment, as amended.  There being none, it was so adopted.                                                                    
Number 1138                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Hodgins whether there was any indication                                                                
from the Senate of including a copy of the resolution to the head                                                               
of the Bureau of the Census [a conceptual amendment].                                                                           
MR. HODGINS replied he thinks that would be an appropriate                                                                      
CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that since this resolution directs attention to                                                             
the bureau, they ought to have it firsthand.  He further noted that                                                             
the correct title will be obtained.                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether there is any objection to the                                                                       
conceptual amendment.  There being none, it was so adopted.                                                                     
Number 1236                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN KOTT closed the meeting to public testimony.                                                                           
Number 1240                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to move SJR 8, as amended, from                                                              
the committee with individual recommendations and the attached                                                                  
fiscal note(s).  There being no objection, HCS SJR 8(JUD) was so                                                                
moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                              

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