Legislature(1993 - 1994)
01/21/1993 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.