Legislature(2015 - 2016)GRUENBERG 120

04/01/2016 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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02:07:56 PM Start
02:08:46 PM HB236
03:10:13 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
03:19:58 PM HJR29
04:01:08 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:00 p.m. Today --
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
- Alaska Judicial Council
- Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
- Commission on Judicial Conduct
- Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
- Violent Crimes Compensation Board
+= HJR 29 CALL FED. CONSTITUTIONAL CONV:TERM LIMITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
*+ HB 339 MOTOR VEHICLE ARSON TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 236 RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGE TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 236 Out of Committee
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
       HJR 29-CALL FED. CONSTITUTIONAL CONV: TERM LIMITS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:19:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  29,  Requesting  the United  States                                                               
Congress  to  call a  convention  of  the  states to  propose  an                                                               
amendment  to the  Constitution of  the  United States  to set  a                                                               
limit on the  number of terms that  a person may be  elected as a                                                               
member of  the United  States House of  Representatives and  as a                                                               
member of the  United States Senate; and  urging the legislatures                                                               
of the other  49 states to request the United  States Congress to                                                               
call a convention of the states.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:24:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  presented HJR  29  and  advised it  is  a                                                               
resolution  that  makes an  appeal  to  Congress  to call  for  a                                                               
convention for  an amendment  to have term  limits on  the United                                                               
States  Senate   and  United  State  House   of  Representatives.                                                               
Representative Keller referred to  the Constitution of the United                                                               
States, Article V, which read as follows:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The Congress, whenever two thirds  of both houses shall                                                                    
     deem  it necessary,  shall propose  amendments to  this                                                                    
     Constitution,   or,   on   the   application   of   the                                                                    
     legislatures  of  two  thirds of  the  several  states,                                                                    
     shall  call  a  convention  for  proposing  amendments,                                                                    
     which, in  either case, shall  be valid to  all intents                                                                    
     and  purposes,  as  part  of  this  Constitution,  when                                                                    
     ratified by  the legislatures of  three fourths  of the                                                                    
     several  states, or  by  conventions  in three  fourths                                                                    
     thereof, as the  one or the other  mode of ratification                                                                    
     may  be  proposed by  the  Congress;  provided that  no                                                                    
     amendment  which may  be  made prior  to  the year  one                                                                    
     thousand eight  hundred and eight  shall in  any manner                                                                    
     affect  the  first  and fourth  clauses  in  the  ninth                                                                    
     section  of  the  first article;  and  that  no  state,                                                                    
     without  its consent,  shall be  deprived of  its equal                                                                    
     suffrage in the Senate.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  commented that  Article V  is part  of the                                                               
original  Constitution of  the United  States, and  the founders,                                                               
foreseeing a time  there may be a need  for adjustments, included                                                               
Article V, and  provided two ways to make an  amendment to change                                                               
the constitution.   One of the methods is that  the U.S. Congress                                                               
must have  a two-thirds  vote and,  he opined,  that 33  of those                                                               
have been put  forward.  He then referred HJR  29, and advised it                                                               
is the second Article V process  in which to have a convention of                                                               
the states.  Two-thirds of the  states make an application to the                                                               
U.S.  Congress   to  have  a   convention,  Congress   calls  the                                                               
convention,  and three-fourths  of the  states must  ratify.   He                                                               
noted that it  is sometimes forgotten that is a  high bar because                                                               
only 27  of the 33  offered by  Congress were ratified  by three-                                                               
fourths of  the states.   He pointed  to the growing  interest to                                                               
get  two-thirds  of  the  states   to  put  forward  language  to                                                               
Congress, and advised the U.S.  Term Limits group is coordinating                                                               
this effort.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:27:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICK TOMBULETES, Executive Director,  U.S. Term Limits, said that                                                               
U.S. Term Limits is the  only full-time organization dedicated to                                                               
placing term limits  on the U.S. Congress.   He offered testimony                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In  the 1990s  our organization  helped citizens  in 23                                                                    
     states  put term  limits on  their members  of Congress                                                                    
     using  a  ballot  measures,  including  right  here  in                                                                    
     Alaska, and  it passed  in 23 states  at that  point it                                                                    
     was just shy of 50  percent of the entire Congress that                                                                    
     would have  had a term  limit.   And it looked  like it                                                                    
     was going  to be inevitable  that that would  impel the                                                                    
     Congress  itself to  propose  an  amendment that  would                                                                    
     apply to everyone.   But, it was not to  be because the                                                                    
     Supreme  Court stepped  in in  the  decision U.S.  Term                                                                  
     Limits  v. Thornton  of which  our  organization was  a                                                                  
     part,  and ruled  that the  list of  qualifications for                                                                    
     office  to   the  Congress   in  the   Constitution  is                                                                    
     exhaustive.  That the states  cannot utilize the ballot                                                                    
     measure,  state   statutes,  or   state  constitutional                                                                    
     amendments to add  onto it.  So,  while they foreclosed                                                                    
     on that possibility,  I guess you could  say the silver                                                                    
     lining was that  they opened up the  possibility to get                                                                    
     this done  using a constitutional  amendment.   And so,                                                                    
     the  U.S. Constitution  says, as  Representative Keller                                                                    
     mentioned,  that upon  application  from two-thirds  of                                                                    
     the  states,  so  that  would  be  34  at  this  point,                                                                    
     Congress  shall call  a convention  for the  purpose of                                                                    
     proposing  amendments.   And  so,  the convention  that                                                                    
     Alaska would  call for in this  resolution is exclusive                                                                    
     to  the subject  of Congressional  term limits,  and it                                                                    
     would not go  active until 33 other  states have passed                                                                    
     similar or the  same resolution.  So far  my home state                                                                    
     of Florida  was the first  to pass the  resolution back                                                                    
     in February.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Now, we  think that  HJR 29  should be  adopted because                                                                    
     there is a  very real concern that  members of Congress                                                                    
     are removed  from their constituents and  they rely too                                                                    
     heavily  on incumbency  to  deflect  challenges at  the                                                                    
     ballot   box.      And    the   latest   average   from                                                                    
     "RealClearPolitics",   Congress   had  a   13   percent                                                                    
     approval  rating but  a 95  percent re-election  rating                                                                    
     for  the  incumbents.    And   I  think  that  evidence                                                                    
     suggests  that you  have a  broken system.   There  was                                                                    
     also  a  study  done   by  Princeton  and  Northwestern                                                                    
     Universities  in 2014  where they  analyzed over  2,000                                                                    
     public opinion  surveys on almost all  national issues.                                                                    
     And  they   compared  those  public  opinions   to  the                                                                    
     policies  that   became  law  from  Congress   and  the                                                                    
     researchers  concluded  that  the  preferences  of  the                                                                    
     average   American   have   a   meniscal   near   zero,                                                                    
     statistically      non-significant     impact      upon                                                                    
     Congressional  policy.   But when  they looked  at, you                                                                    
     know,  the  perceptions  and  views  of  the  upper  10                                                                    
     percent of  voters in the  country, the ones  that were                                                                    
     funding  the   packs  and   the  re-elections   of  the                                                                    
     Congressmen,  there was  a correlation.    So, I  think                                                                    
     most  people feel  disconnected from  Congress in  this                                                                    
     way, they  feel that their  voices are not  being heard                                                                    
     at the  federal level.   And that's  part of  what term                                                                    
     limits are intended to address.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Congress  was not  intended  to be  a  -- Congress  was                                                                    
     intended to  be citizen legislature whose  members were                                                                    
     very close  to their  constituents and would  come home                                                                    
     to spend time  around them, much in the way  you all do                                                                    
     it here in Alaska.  But,  the mentality was lost as the                                                                    
     population  grew,  the  size   and  the  complexity  of                                                                    
     government grew  and so  did the needs  that it  had to                                                                    
     address.  You know, Alaska  is noted for having a small                                                                    
     state  legislature,   but  in   terms  of   the  actual                                                                    
     representation  ratio and  the size  of the  districts,                                                                    
     you  know  how  powerful  each  individual  voters  and                                                                    
     constituent of yours is, you're  one of the best in the                                                                    
     country.   And when you  compare that to  Congress with                                                                    
     an average  House district size of  700,000 people, you                                                                    
     are looking  at great difficulty in  holding members of                                                                    
     Congress  accountable.     And,  that's   when  special                                                                    
     interests  tend  to step  into  the  vacuum and  really                                                                    
     decide  who  can  get  elected   because  the  cost  of                                                                    
     unseating  a U.S.  House incumbent  is  pegged at  $2.5                                                                    
     million    by    the    Foundation    for    Government                                                                    
     Accountability.   And  so, we  view that  as sort  of a                                                                    
     barrier to entry for the  average person, you know, the                                                                    
     farmer, the school teacher, the  union member who wants                                                                    
     to  get   elected  and  have   their  voice   heard  in                                                                    
     Washington.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     So, term  limits would reduce  those barriers  to entry                                                                    
     and it's important  to note the amendment  is not aimed                                                                    
     at any one member of  Congress, nor is it guaranteed to                                                                    
     affect  the   current  membership.    In   fact,  at  a                                                                    
     convention the delegates that you  all select, and that                                                                    
     the  other  states  select,  would   be  in  charge  of                                                                    
     deciding how  long and what the  appropriate term limit                                                                    
     is, whether  the current members are  grandfathered in,                                                                    
     whether it is prospective  or retro-active.  That's not                                                                    
     something that comes mandated from this resolution.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     And the  most important  thing, I  think, is  that this                                                                    
     would  really honor  the views  of a  vast majority  of                                                                    
     Alaskans.  In  1994 the vote from the  people of Alaska                                                                    
     for Congressional  term limits was 63  percent in favor                                                                    
     of a  statute limiting  Congressional terms  and that's                                                                    
     actually still on the books  today in Title 15, Chapter                                                                    
     30 of Alaska  Statutes.  Of course,  this was nullified                                                                    
     by the Supreme  Court in the Thornton  case, but that's                                                                  
     what left  the door open  to do it  with constitutional                                                                    
     amendments.     And  then,   recent  polling   done  by                                                                    
     McLaughlin &  Associates, which is a  respected polling                                                                    
     firm,  found  that 78  percent  of  Alaskans today  now                                                                    
     support an  Article V Amendment Convention  to put term                                                                    
     limits on Congress.  And  you can slice that every age,                                                                    
     race, gender, party demographic  group, and they're all                                                                    
     equally supportive of it.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     So, you  know, in closing  as the Vice-Chair  said, the                                                                    
     history of Article  V really makes it  the perfect tool                                                                    
     for the  states to  use at  a time like  this.   It was                                                                    
     written into the Constitution  specifically so that the                                                                    
     states  could  bypass  Congress and  obtain  amendments                                                                    
     that might  not be in  Congress's best interests.   And                                                                    
     there's never  been a better  moment for the  states to                                                                    
     take action and kind  of re-establish this balance with                                                                    
     Congress.   Give Congress back  to the  American people                                                                    
     who  are obviously  disillusioned  by the  performance.                                                                    
     So thank you for your time  and I'll be happy to answer                                                                    
     any questions you have.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:34:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked why term  limits were not included in                                                               
the original  Constitution, the provision for  amendment is there                                                               
but no term limits.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  explained that the founding  fathers were divided                                                               
on  the issue  of  term  limits and  obviously  they had  greater                                                               
concerns of  preserving the union  at that point and  making sure                                                               
there was  a new constitution that  could endure.  The  issue did                                                               
come  up and  several of  the founders  were in  favor of  a term                                                               
limit.  He said, it was  Benjamin Franklin who wrote a term limit                                                               
into the  Constitution of Pennsylvania, Thomas  Jefferson was not                                                               
at the Philadelphia  convention but upon seeing it  for the first                                                               
time after coming back from France,  he noted that the absence of                                                               
rotation in office which was a  term limit would end in abuse for                                                               
the U.S. Senate  and for the President of the  United States.  He                                                               
opined that a reason why it  wasn't included was that they didn't                                                               
think  it  would  be  necessary because  the  average  tenure  in                                                               
Congress did not rise above two  terms until the beginning of the                                                               
Twentieth  Century.   There  was  rapid  turnover and  Washington                                                               
D.C., was not so much a place of  profit and power as it is today                                                               
and, he noted, people actually  wanted to leave Washington rather                                                               
than go there.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:36:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether it is  accurate that                                                               
each  state   would  determine  its  own   election  process  for                                                               
delegates attending the convention.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES answered that he was correct.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS asked how  active is an application                                                               
for  a constitutional  convention, how  much time  is the  window                                                               
open to get to the two-thirds of states threshold.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  explained that  if there  is no  termination date                                                               
within the  applying resolution, then it  is indefinitely active.                                                               
It is  recommended that if  an application goes too  long without                                                               
being renewed, it  should be renewed due to the  way the language                                                               
has to  conform to  resolutions coming  from other  states across                                                               
the country.   He added that it could present  a problem for this                                                               
effort  because  at the  end,  while  Congress has  very  limited                                                               
authority   in  this   process,  it   does  decide   whether  the                                                               
applications are on the same subject  and can choose to decline a                                                               
convention on that basis.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  inquired as to whether  there is a                                                               
possible  scenario  that if  every  resolution  from every  state                                                               
calling  for  an  Article  V  Constitutional  Convention  is  not                                                               
verbatim identical that Congress  theoretically could strike down                                                               
or  decline  to  call  the  convention  on  the  basis  of  those                                                               
technical and trivial differentiations.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:38:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  answered that it is  theoretically possible, some                                                               
of the  case law suggests that  the courts would be  empowered to                                                               
step in  and resolve Article  V disputes.   It could step  in and                                                               
compel Congress  to call  the convention if  the court  deems the                                                               
applications are  on the  same subject.   He  offered that  it is                                                               
critically important for the states  not to give Congress excuses                                                               
to deny the  convention, so the greater variation a  state has in                                                               
the  resolution,  the more  likely  Congress  will simply  ignore                                                               
them.    In fact,  he  pointed  out,  there  have been  400  plus                                                               
applications  sent by  the states  to Congress  for an  Article V                                                               
convention, but  it has  still never been  done because  they are                                                               
not  on the  same topic.   He  reiterated that  it is  critically                                                               
important  that they  are similar  in language  which is  part of                                                               
what U.S.  Term Limits does in  going around the country  to work                                                               
with legislatures for that level of conformity.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:39:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to  the  last point  and                                                               
asked how  many states thus far  have called for a  convention on                                                               
this subject, and what is the  closest the United States has come                                                               
to an  Article V convention  on another subject with  the largest                                                               
amount of states.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES responded that Florida  is the only state that has                                                               
passed  the applying  resolution for  this particular  convention                                                               
thus  far.   Although,  he  offered, U.S.  Term  Limits has  only                                                               
recently begun  canvassing the country  to generate  support from                                                               
the grassroots.   Consequently,  in the  current year  session is                                                               
upwards of  ten states that are  considering similar resolutions.                                                               
He turned  to Representative Kreiss-Tomkins' second  question and                                                               
advised  it  was  the  1913  amendment  for  direct  election  of                                                               
senators  in that  they were  one state  short of  the two-thirds                                                               
states  when  Congress  pre-empted  the  states  and  the  Senate                                                               
finally  caved  in  after  years  of  trying  and  proposed  that                                                               
amendment  on its  own.   Historically, Article  V has  worked to                                                               
endeavor  to get  to a  convention but  also to  put pressure  on                                                               
Congress  to propose  amendments it  wouldn't otherwise  propose.                                                               
He commented  that that is  how the  Bill of Rights  was actually                                                               
proposed, with the  threat of a second  convention, James Madison                                                               
promised a Bill of Rights and that threat went away.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:41:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  commented   that  he  finds  this                                                               
process  fascinating  and there  is  merit  to this  because  the                                                               
federal system is  broken.  He remarked  that state legislatures,                                                               
in  a  roundabout way,  have  their  hands  on the  levers  which                                                               
frightens him somewhat but in this  instance he is pleased to see                                                               
it coming through.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:42:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  offered to  Representative Kreiss-Tompkins                                                               
that  Rob  Natelson of  "Conventional  Studies,"  is a  respected                                                               
constitutional   law   attorney   who  prepared   a   fascinating                                                               
"Legislative Compendium" and he would  provide a copy if desired.                                                               
He pointed  out that the  in compendium discusses the  level that                                                               
conventions  have held  as  part  of the  history  of the  United                                                               
States of  America.   It has  only been in  the last  40-60 years                                                               
that conventions have  been diminished and, he  advised, there is                                                               
good case law, good history, and viable policy.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:43:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  pointed to  the  death  of United  States                                                               
Supreme Court Justice  Antonin Scalia and noted  that the framers                                                               
originally  rejected the  idea of  term limits  as part  of their                                                               
original  intent  allows   one  to  change  the   intent  of  the                                                               
constitution by amending it.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES surmised  that Representative  was asking  him to                                                               
affirm his statement.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES  explained  that   the  framers  knew  they  were                                                               
crafting a document they intended to  endure for a long time.  It                                                               
was not  for one particular  period in history, but  hopefully to                                                               
last as long as this Republic  could last.  The framers knew that                                                               
a  constitution   like  ours  needed   an  assessable   means  of                                                               
amendment, and  in reading the  writing of the framers  they were                                                               
open  about  the  fact  that   some  of  their  work  might  need                                                               
correcting and expressed no shame over that fact.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:44:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  turned to Representative  Claman and  asked whether                                                               
he  was  suggesting  that  because the  founders  allowed  for  a                                                               
mechanism for change of the  constitution that that somehow is at                                                               
odds   with    Justice   Scalia's    reading   of    the   strict                                                               
constructionist.   She  opined  that  the strict  constructionist                                                               
would  say that  the constitution  isn't supposed  to be  changed                                                               
through  judicial  interpretation,  but  there  is  a  difference                                                               
between  judicial  interpretation  and  an  actual  amendment  to                                                               
change something.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:45:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  agreed,  and  noted  that  after  reading                                                               
Justice  Scalia's opinion  and places  where he  thought original                                                               
intent had a place, and when  it wasn't convenient it didn't seem                                                               
to  be  part of  his  analysis,  he said.    It  was more  of  an                                                               
observation  to the  extent  one looks  at  the constitution,  he                                                               
noted that one  could easily say that the original  intent was to                                                               
not have term limits, but because ...                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:46:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  expressed that  of course  the original  intent was                                                               
not  to have  term limits,  but  the Constitution  of the  United                                                               
States also allowed for changes through the amendment process.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:46:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  opined that  the  part  about the  states                                                               
making the  call for  Congress was added  after they  changed the                                                               
Article V to include  that.  He could not recall  the name of the                                                               
person insisting.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES offered  that it was George Mason  who insisted on                                                               
this approach, and  Mr. Tombuletes paraphrased Mr.  Mason to say,                                                               
"No amendments  of the  proper kind would  ever be  obtained, you                                                               
know, if only Congress had the sole authority of proposing."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:47:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  commented that  it strikes  him as                                                               
analogous to  the Alaska State Constitution's  safety valve where                                                               
you  have   entrenched  self-interest.     He  referred   to  the                                                               
referendum process  allowed in the Alaska  State Constitution, of                                                               
which there have  been four instances of referenda,  and two were                                                               
successful.    He  pointed  to  the 1980  a  referenda  that  was                                                               
"wildly" successful  was when the  legislature decided  to create                                                               
its own Cadillac  retirement system for legislators.   The people                                                               
of Alaska  were not excited about  that idea and it  was repealed                                                               
by a four  to one margin.   In this case, where  there are people                                                               
in Congress who  have entrenched self-interest, which  is to keep                                                               
their seats  and be  protected by  the overwhelming  and prolific                                                               
power of incumbency.   Just with the direct  election of senators                                                               
and that history  must be fascinating for 100 years  ago and this                                                               
seems like another example, he said.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:48:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX surmised  that  this  makes a  lot  of  sense on  a                                                               
national level  but wondered how  it would affect a  small state,                                                               
such as  Alaska, wherein  the power it  has comes  from seniority                                                               
and if  a person  can only have  a couple of  terms there  is not                                                               
much  seniority.   She  queried  whether Alaska  ends  up on  the                                                               
losing end of this bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES opined  that Alaska does not end up  on the losing                                                               
end of  the deal because  the seniority question cuts  both ways.                                                               
In  that, it  is  advantageous in  the  seniority driven  current                                                               
system  when  a  person  is  a  long  term  member  of  Congress.                                                               
Although,  he pointed  out,  the moment  that  member decides  to                                                               
retire   that   state   is  immediately   at   a   counter-acting                                                               
disadvantage in that  the state has to jump back  to the front of                                                               
the line.  It  depends upon which point you are  on, but it's not                                                               
always a positive  thing for a small state, and  it would be good                                                               
for Alaska  if Congress were  made less about seniority  and more                                                               
about the merits  of the issues because the  arguments Alaska has                                                               
with the federal government are  sound.  He argued that seniority                                                               
should  not be  necessary to  be able  to push  back against  the                                                               
federal  government,  it should  just  be  common sense  for  the                                                               
majority of Congress.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX argued  that if  the bill  abolishes the  seniority                                                               
system  wouldn't there  be  a  tendency for  a  small state  like                                                               
Alaska to  get lost if everyone  from New York, or  everyone from                                                               
California voted  their regional ways  and there would be  no way                                                               
to counter balance that.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES  opined that there is  not much of a  dispute over                                                               
the fact that  most members of Congress under the  status quo are                                                               
voting primarily for their region  and primarily voting for power                                                               
to  be more  concentrated in  Washington  D.C.   He related  that                                                               
under  a  term  limit  system,  with  a  larger  portion  of  the                                                               
citizenry sent to  Washington, there would be  more skepticism to                                                               
Washington being the  solution to every problem.   He was unsure,                                                               
he said,  whether it would  create a  regional bend but  it would                                                               
certainly  create a  bend  in  favor of  the  citizens, which  is                                                               
rather than those of the Washington political climate.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX agreed  that people are voting on  a regional basis,                                                               
but the  seniority system in  which a  member from a  small state                                                               
can rise  up in  seniority and chair  a powerful  committee based                                                               
upon  seniority, that  can be  sometimes used  to counter-balance                                                               
the regionalism.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:51:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOMBULETES asked her to restate the question.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX suggested that even though  people tend to vote on a                                                               
regional basis,  that that can  be countered  by a member  from a                                                               
small  state rising  through  the  seniority system  to  be in  a                                                               
powerful position to counter the regional votes.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES opined  that  is  accurate to  an  extent in  the                                                               
current  system but,  he asked  whether Chair  LeDoux wants  them                                                               
being on  an island  of that  view even if  they have  a powerful                                                               
spot on a  committee.  He questioned whether it  is necessarily a                                                               
good thing  that the rest  of Congress  is not so  sympathetic to                                                               
the  interests  of  an  individual  state  because  the  rest  of                                                               
Congress has become  so rooted in Washington  that every solution                                                               
needs to be  solved in Washington.  He opined  that if there were                                                               
term  limits, the  members  from other  states  even though  they                                                               
would  subscribe  to  a  regionalist  view  which  can  never  be                                                               
disposed of, they would be  more sympathetic to Alaska's position                                                               
as a sovereign with regard to  the federal government.  The other                                                               
states would be more respecting  and deferring to Alaska's rights                                                               
to  control its  own  land and  kind of  push  back against  what                                                               
Washington is doing, he commented.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked what evidence he  has of that.  She questioned                                                               
why, without the power  of a member from a small  state to hold a                                                               
bill or  to otherwise  make members who  are antithetical  to the                                                               
interests  of the  state, other  states would  just decide  to be                                                               
nice.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TOMBULETES  related  his  belief that  if  term  limits  are                                                               
implemented  on Congress  it would  automatically make  elections                                                               
more  competitive   and  level   the  playing  field   for  these                                                               
districts.  There would be a  Congress that is more responsive to                                                               
the needs of the people of Alaska  and to the entire country.  He                                                               
opined  that the  people  of  the country  are  smarter than  the                                                               
permanent political  class in Washington.   Therefore, he pointed                                                               
to the  Princeton and Northwestern  Universities' study  and said                                                               
that the bottom  90 percent of people in the  country do not have                                                               
their public  policy opinions reflected  in Congress at all.   He                                                               
described  that as  greatly  damaging to  the  Republic, and  the                                                               
ideas, the  public would generate if  it was able to  have better                                                               
access to Congress, would be good ideas.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:55:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  referred  to  the  discussion  of                                                               
small states being disenfranchised  through term limits, and said                                                               
there are  two responses:  the U.S. Senate  and small  states are                                                               
already  enfranchised with  proportionate power;  and this  state                                                               
would only be disenfranchised,  when discussing a proportionality                                                               
of power in  Congress, if there is a  correlation between greater                                                               
seniority and  a small state.   He related that while  it is true                                                               
that Don Young has been a  Congressmen for Alaska for many years.                                                               
States  such as  Montana,  Hawaii, or  Maine have  had  a lot  of                                                               
turnover in  Congress and have  had disproportionally  less power                                                               
due   to  their   high   turnover   within  their   congressional                                                               
delegation.    He  said,  on   the  bigger  perspective,  he  was                                                               
uncertain whether  this would  have a  prejudicial effect  on the                                                               
amount of power that small states have in Congress.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:57:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX responded that it might  not have a lot of impact on                                                               
other small states, but it might have on our small state.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN noted  that in theory, if  term limits were                                                               
in effect  it would  benefit states that  were electing  the more                                                               
qualified and skilled people to  start serving in Congress and if                                                               
the states  made a wise choice  of those they picked,  then those                                                               
states with  terms limits  would do better  than those  that gain                                                               
from  seniority.   He pointed  out that  Senator Ted  Stevens was                                                               
effective  early in  his  career  and stayed  that  way for  many                                                               
years, and  with term limits his  power would not have  been able                                                               
to grow.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:00:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony and, after ascertaining no                                                                 
one wised to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX advised her intention is  not to move the bill today                                                               
and asked for committee comments.   She remarked that she has not                                                               
had a session on constitutional  law like this since she finished                                                               
constitutional  law  in  law school  when  dinosaurs  roamed  the                                                               
earth.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[HJR 29 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Adam Trombley - Alaska Bar Association, Board of Governors - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Amy Gurton Mead - Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Gary J. Turner - Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Gerad Godfrey - Violent Crimes Compensation Board - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
H. Conner Thomas - Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Karla Taylor Welch - Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct - Appointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Loretta Bullard - Alaska Judicial Council - Appointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
Robert Sheldon - Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct - Reappointment.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
HJR 29 - Version A.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Supporting Documents - Term Limits Convention.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Supporting Documents - Art V Convention FAQ.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Supporting Documents - Dispelling the Runaway Myth.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 - Written Testimony - Received by 3.24.16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HJR 29
HB 236 - Legislation Ver. A.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Backup Documents - Texas Legislation.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Letters of Opposition - Received by 3-17-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Letters of Support - Received by 3-17-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Equality Texas SB 2065.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
SB2065
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Letter Pamela Lynn 3.25.16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Supporting Document - SB 2065 - Legislation - Texas.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
SB2065
HB 236 - Supporting Document - SB 2065 - Summary - Texas.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
SB2065
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Texas House Passes Pastor Protection Act.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 -Supporting Document- Letter of Support AK Catholic Conference 3-31-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236-FN1-DHSS -4-1-16.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236
HB 236 - Supporting Document - Response to ACLU.pdf HJUD 4/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 236