Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/07/1995 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HSTA - 02/07/95                                                               
 SJR  7 - OPPOSING FEDERAL MANDATES ON STATES                                
 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR read the following sponsor statement on SJR 7:           
 Senate Joint Resolution 7 is virtually identical to                          
 resolutions already passed in Colorado, Hawaii, Missouri,                     
 California, Pennsylvania and Michigan.  Separate resolutions                  
 have been passed by the Senate and House in Illinois, by the                  
 House in Oklahoma and Louisiana and by the Senate in Kentucky.                
 The resolution has been introduced in 12 other states and has                
 sponsors in an additional 20 states.                                          
 SJR 7 is representative of what has become a national                        
 movement, started in the West, to reassert the sovereignty of                 
 the people and the individual states under the Tenth                          
 The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States                 
 is brief and to the point.  It reads: "The powers not                         
 delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor                       
 prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States,                   
 respectively, or to the people."                                              
 Passage of SJR 7 will send a strong, clear message to the                    
 Congress that Alaska is ready to claim her rights under the                   
 Tenth Amendment.  Those rights include the power to choose                    
 whether or not to implement mandates imposed on the states by                 
 a Congress, which fails to recognize the intent of the                        
 Founding Fathers in limiting the powers of the central                        
 Past Legislatures have protested individual mandates in                      
 numerous resolutions, without result.  Passage of SJR 7 will                  
 strengthen the resolve of those members of Congress currently                 
 working to end the tyranny of unfunded and unconstitutional                   
 There will be those who argue that SJR 7 has no force of law                 
 because it is only a resolution.  State Senator Charles Duke,                 
 of Colorado, when he won passage of the first resolution of                   
 this kind, answered that argument eloquently.  He reminded his                
 colleagues, and I quote, Our Declaration of Independence had                  
 no force of law.                                                              
 I ask the committee's support of SJR 7.                                      
 Number 047                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES said she suggested an amendment and a committee                   
 substitute, which she would discuss with the sponsor.  A copy of              
 the amendment was passed out to members of committee.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked Senator Taylor what the status was             
 in the other states that are working this issue.                              
 SENATOR TAYLOR said he couldn't answer that, except it is very                
 positive.  There are many other states apart from those he                    
 mentioned in his opening statement that are working on this same              
 Number 085                                                                    
 CHAIR JAMES read the following amendment to the committee:                    
 WHEREAS the United States Constitution envisions sovereign                   
 states and guarantees the states a republican form of                         
 government; and                                                               
 WHEREAS Alaska and its municipalities are losing their power                 
 to act on behalf of state citizens as the power of government                 
 is moving farther away from the people into the hands of                      
 federal agencies composed of officials who are not elected and                
 who are unaware of the needs of Alaska and the other states;                  
 WHEREAS the federal court system affords a means to liberate                 
 the states from the grips of federal mandates;                                
 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor is respectively requested                 
 to examine and challenge by legal action on behalf of the                     
 state, federal mandates contained in court rulings, federal                   
 laws and regulations, or federal practices to the extent to                   
 those mandates infringe on the sovereignty of Alaska or the                   
 state's authority over issues affecting its citizens; and be                  
 FURTHER RESOLVED that Alaska's sister states are urged to                    
 participate in any legal action brought under this resolution.                
 CHAIR JAMES wanted to submit the above amendment to the committee             
 and said she had the CS for SJR 7.  She asked for comments from the           
 sponsor regarding the proposed changes.                                       
 SENATOR TAYLOR did not believe the changes would do any disservice            
 to the legislation.  He said if people feel they are of assistance,           
 then wanted to participate in that also, it was a good idea.                  
 Number 128                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS asked Senator Taylor how he envisioned               
 this resolution would work, if it were implemented.  Another                  
 question he had was if this resolution included both funded and               
 unfunded mandates.                                                            
 Number 139                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR explained that it is not a question of whether or              
 not money is involved.  The question is not just unfunded mandates.           
 Frequently, those mandates that do not require a specific amount of           
 funding are probably as onerous to us as anything.  There are                 
 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that set various               
 standards and tell us that we, if we wish to have our Department of           
 Environmental Conservation participate in the game, have to pass              
 higher standards, or that we cannot pass any standard lower than              
 those of the federal government.  That is a mandate on us; for                
 instance, mandating how our garbage dumps work, and it mandates how           
 our water works.  Those mandates are just as offensive as those               
 that require us to spend money on various programs yet they fail to           
 send the money.  This legislation is worded in such a way that it             
 encompasses all mandates:  Funded and unfunded.                               
 Number 173                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN voiced his support for this Senate resolution.           
 Number 191                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS expressed that this is saying that problems             
 are strictly problems of the states.  Some mandates, such as with             
 EPA, were triggered in the past because at the time, they felt                
 compelling needs for the problems to be looked at nationally.                 
 Representative Willis's concern was if this action would preclude             
 the national government from looking at a problem that might have             
 national implications.                                                        
 SENATOR TAYLOR answered that this was not the intent of this                  
 resolution.   There are always going to be matters of national                
 significance that need the attention of the federal government.               
 The problem is that the federal government made a decision to go              
 way beyond what either the Constitution or the forefathers of this            
 country ever intended for the federal government to do.  It is                
 micro-managing almost every aspect of our lives within the state.             
 If the state is going to retain any semblance of state's rights in            
 this constitutional balance, then the people of the state must                
 reassert themselves for that purpose.  The national requirements              
 for defending this nation, the national requirement for providing             
 for ease of transportation and access across state lines, and to              
 make certain that disease and illness are attacked, that education            
 is funded, and that various standards are set, are not perceived as           
 being as local or on a regional basis, so that they would not have            
 a national significance.   He doesn't believe they say that in this           
 resolution.  He believes it speaks loudly about the concerns of               
 whether or not there is any state jurisdiction left.                          
 Number 231                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN brought up the wetlands act as a classic                 
 example of government overreaction.  In a state like Florida where            
 the Everglades are drying up, there is a crisis and there should be           
 a stoppage of continued watering or "de-watering" encroachment into           
 wetlands, but to strike a pen and say that all states will have no            
 net loss of wetlands, it is micro-managing.                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR said he was in the Florida Everglades about four               
 weeks ago.   For the last five or six years they have used the                
 drying up of the Everglades as a campaign issue and fund raiser.              
 Now because of unusual rains, they are experiencing the highest               
 water level in 42 years, so the people of Florida worry now about             
 the panther and deer populations because they are stuck up on an              
 island and the panthers are eating the deer, and the deer are                 
 starving.  The campaign presentingly is to save the deer and to do            
 something about all that water.                                               
 CHAIR JAMES spoke up about our practice of social engineering,                
 financial engineering, and natures engineering.  She said, "If man            
 believes that they can manipulate nature, they are on an ego trip.            
 There is absolutely no power as strong as nature to destroy or to             
 Number 275                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN said he respects the intent of the                   
 resolution, and he agreed with some of the problems that have been            
 incurred in other parts of Alaska, and the topic of wetlands that             
 has been wrestled with by Alaskans trying to develop resources.               
 However, he wanted to address the amendment submitted by                      
 Representative Ogan, wondering if it is speaking to actions such as           
 the lawsuit recently addressed:  Babbitt v. Alaska.  He asked if            
 this was part of addressing it into the amendment, on lines 15 and            
 CHAIR JAMES said that was not her intention.  This legislation has            
 nothing to do with the Babbitt lawsuit.  It is a different issue              
 altogether.  What it is suggesting is that the Governor examine and           
 challenge the federal government, by legal action, on behalf of the           
 state:  Federal mandates, like the mandatory helmet law.  There are           
 many mandates, particularly in the Department of Transportation               
 (DOT) and if the state does not do what they say, DOT takes away              
 our highway funds.  She believes this is a blackmail clause.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said we need to move that this first                
 amendment be accepted.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER moved that the committee adopt the CS             
 for SJR 7, Draft C, dated 2/6/95.                                             
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any objection to the motion.  There            
 being no objection, she said the motion passed and they would be              
 working from the CS for SJR 7, Draft C.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN referred to his amendment, which he passed out,           
 and moved to adopt amendment 3, to be added to the CS.  It includes           
 a change on line 1 and line 2 of page 2 on the CS.  It reads:                 
 WHEREAS the powers of the Congress are itemized in Art. I,                   
 Sec.8, of the United States Constitution, and the Congress                    
 should concentrate on carrying out those important duties                     
 while leaving local matters to each of the states to resolve                  
 based upon the unique needs and circumstance of each state;                   
 WHEREAS the management of fish and wildlife resources by the                 
 federal government within the State of Alaska is not                          
 authorized by the United States Constitution and is a gross                   
 abrogation of power reserved to the several states thereunder;                
 Number 360                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR said there are errors in the first paragraph,                  
 because there are more powers than are addressed:  Military powers            
 and other powers.                                                             
 Number 415                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN, after hearing more comments, withdrew his                
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN moved that the committee pass CS for SJR 7 out           
 of committee, with individual recommendations.  There being no                
 objection, it was so moved.                                                   

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