Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/21/1993 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HJR 1:  USE OF INITIATIVE TO AMEND CONSTITUTION                              
                                                                               
  Number 306                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HJR 1 and explained its                     
  similarities to HJR 8.                                                       
                                                                               
     HJR 1: Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the                    
            State of Alaska authorizing the use of the                         
            initiative to amend the Constitution of the State                  
            of Alaska by approval of two-thirds of the votes                   
            cast on the proposed amendment.                                    
                                                                               
     HJR 8: Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the                    
            State of Alaska authorizing the use of the                         
            initiative to amend the Constitution of the State                  
            of Alaska                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 320                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN, Prime Sponsor of HJR 1, made                          
  references to the Alaska Blue Book and Reaching for a Star                   
  by Joe Becket, as well as the National Conference of State                   
  Legislatures (NCSL) report on states that have the                           
  initiative.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 424                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY spoke on the length of time the initiative                    
  process has been in effect for these states.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 426                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN discussed the history of the                           
  initiative process.  He stated that the cost of a convention                 
  to change the Constitution had raised a problem for the                      
  public.  Such cost was blown out of proportion, he believed,                 
  and stated that the American Bar supported the initiative                    
  process due to it being a successful element of democracy.                   
                                                                               
  Number 479                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE HARLEY OLBERG supported the initiative                        
  process.  He said he doesn't fear the people.  His main                      
  concern was how the initiative could impact the Permanent                    
  Fund.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 489                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE FRAN ULMER said that, with the initiative                     
  process, the public could vote a large check to themselves                   
  and dissolve the Permanent Fund.  She noted the huge                         
  turnover in population and a get rich quick, take what you                   
  can attitude that could take advantage of the initiative                     
  process.  She objected to HJR 1 for this reason.                             
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG supported HJR 1 in principle yet was                   
  concerned about how it might impact the Permanent Fund.                      
                                                                               
  Number 514                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN stated that the topic of raiding the                   
  Permanent Fund was only used to try to put a damper on HJR
  1.  The Capitol move was another issue used, he added, and                   
  explained the difficulty for voters to utilize the                           
  initiative process.  He believed a democracy gave power back                 
  to the people.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 567                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY clarified HJR 1 called for two-thirds of                      
  voters and HJR 8 was a simple majority.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 586                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN challenged Representative Ulmer                        
  regarding her statement that the Anchorage population                        
  controlled the rest of the state.  He stated that a super                    
  majority of two-thirds was not necessary.  It should be a                    
  rule of simple majority, he added.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 634                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated the facts of a transient                         
  Anchorage population was second hand from the Division of                    
  Elections and that she would try to get the information in                   
  writing.  She shared her concern that the State Constitution                 
  must withstand time and that allowing a change in the                        
  Constitution by the initiative process enabled a majority to                 
  control the structure.                                                       
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-3, SIDE B                                                            
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if there was any information the                        
  committee wanted to request.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 015                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked for a list of the states that                     
  have an initiative process to amend their Constitution.                      
                                                                               
  Number 024                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated that he thought the information could                  
  be found in the Alaska Blue Book which would show the forms                  
  of government in the various states.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 032                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN offered to get the list from the NCSL.                 
  He stated the Legislature was failing to change the                          
  Constitution when needed, and that the Constitution was a                    
  contract of the people.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 091                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT stated that since 1787 the                          
  initiative process had come a long way; people were not                      
  ignorant; and, that the public should have freedom to                        
  utilize the initiative process.  Political science through                   
  the education process had raised the level of governmental                   
  education and understanding.  He believed this question was                  
  not based on the intelligence level of the public, but that                  
  the real question was if fifty percent or two-thirds should                  
  be used for deciding voter involvement in the initiative                     
  process.  He stated the government would not be more                         
  dominated by interest groups because of this process, and he                 
  wanted to let people take part.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 132                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN stated two-thirds was too heavy a                      
  number and discussed why.                                                    
                                                                               
  There being no further discussion on HJR 1, CHAIRMAN VEZEY                   
  RECESSED the meeting at 8:51 a.m.                                            
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY RECONVENED the meeting at 9:01 a.m.                           

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