Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/03/1998 08:05 AM House STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 413 - INITIATIVE PETITION COMPENSATION                                      
Number 0094                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES announced the next issue up is, HB 413, "An Act                    
relating to disclosure of compensation paid to sponsors of                     
initiative petitions; placing limitations on the compensation that             
may be paid to sponsors of initiative petitions; and prohibiting               
payments to persons who sign or refrain from signing initiative                
Number 0097                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON presented HB 413, he explained current law on             
initiative petitions simply requires that groups, that are                     
circulating petitions, circulate the petitions, there's no                     
disclosure requirement at all, Alaska Public Offices Commission                
(APOC) requires only filings by groups supporting or opposing                  
ballot propositions after they are established on the ballot and               
not during the circulation period of time.  In other words, groups             
that are circulating petitions only are required to disclose when              
they seek to influence the outcome of an election and that does not            
kick into place until after the initiative petition has been                   
certified by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.                            
Number 0108                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, essentially what we have here is                    
somewhat of a conflict of rights.  The right to petition, which of             
course we don't want to constrain, and the right of people who are             
being petitioned to know who is circulating the petition.  He noted            
HB 413 addresses that problem.                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated there is a growing commercialization.              
He said the most interesting phenomenon that's occurring in Oregon             
is there is a list of the top ten petition circulators who were                
paid ranging from $31,000 to $82,000 a year.  It's interesting to              
note that Julius Sabenorio, who was the highest paid petition                  
circulator, earned $82,457 in a two month period of time.  That                
describes the growing commercialization of the initiative petition             
Number 0120                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out in Oregon the number of paid                  
circulators working one petition only was 484 and that represented             
18 percent of all of the petitions circulated.  And we'll assume               
that they were working that petition because they felt strongly                
what that petition was trying to accomplish.  The number of paid               
circulators working on more than one petition was 2,236 or 82                  
percent.  He said, "This also indicates that people who are                    
circuiting petitions are not necessarily doing it because they                 
believe in the initiative petition, they're doing it because                   
they're getting paid to circulate the petition."                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated, in Alaska there is only one petition              
that has been circulated for this general election ballot which was            
done by non-paid volunteers, that was the "billboard" petition.  He            
pointed out, while they didn't pay for signatures, in some cases               
there were salaried employees from the environmental community that            
were helping to circulate those petitions.  They weren't being paid            
for signatures, but some of those petition circulators were                    
salaried employees.                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON referred to the "education endowment," he said            
those petition circulators paid up to seventy-five cents per                   
signature.  The "English as the official language" ballot                      
initiative petition started at fifty cents, and went to seventy-               
five cents per signature, they said they couldn't compete with the             
education circulators and they needed to raise their price.  He                
noted they went from seventy-five cents up to a dollar later on in             
the process.  Those people who are circulating the petition to "ban            
the snaring of wolves" paid one dollar per signature at the                    
beginning, they did hire a professional group and are paying more              
than that now, but we weren't able to determine how much they were             
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said one of the things that happened in Alaska            
is those who were responsible for the initiative petition that                 
wanted to create the education endowment had some serious                      
philosophical disagreements with those who were circulating the                
petitions for the English only as the official language.  He said              
they banned their paid signature people from also carrying the                 
petition and asking for signatures on the English only.                        
Representative Elton said, "That's not an unusual phenomena, paid              
signature gatherers will often have two, or three, or four                     
petitions because they're getting a dollar per signature, they can             
increase their income by four if they're carrying four petitions.              
If they get somebody coming out of a grocery store or coming out a             
mall, then they can get their signature four times, they're getting            
four dollars instead of one dollar."  He stressed that this is an              
industry.  This is no longer a grassroots effort.  These are some              
of the organizations that will pay people to gather signatures.                
Number 0152                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out the bill also says you cannot pay             
somebody for their signature.  For example, you can't say, I'll pay            
you a dollar if you sign the petition, so that loophole is closed.             
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON explained this bill also requires that those              
people who are being solicited for their signature have the right              
to know who is paying for the paid signature gatherers.  That                  
requirement would be disclosed toward the top of the first page in             
twelve-point bold print in capital letters.                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted HB 413 would also give the right of the             
people whose signatures are being solicited to ask how much they're            
being paid for their signature.                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said one of the chief issues, and this is                 
something that has been an issue in other states, is whether or not            
restriction on payment is constitutional.  The issue has been                  
addressed in Colorado.  Colorado banned all payment for signatures.            
He said he believes that case went all the way to the supreme                  
court.  The supreme court found you cannot ban paid signature                  
Number 0167                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES asked which court was that.                                        
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied Meyer v. Grant.  He said he believes              
it went from district court to the United States Supreme Court.                
The Supreme Court did find that you cannot ban payment in the                  
initiative petition arena.  He said, "They defined, as they had                
defined earlier in elections, that money is speech, essentially."              
But they didn't address the issue of constraining the amount that's            
paid and it's also important to note that this bill does not ban               
payment, it only bans one form of payment, and that form of payment            
being based upon a certain amount of money per signature.                      
Representative Elton explained that a person can still contract                
with somebody for signatures.  For example, they could contract for            
one hundred dollars to have somebody solicit signatures.  The only             
requirement would be, because this bill does establish that you                
can't pay more than ten cents a signature, if somebody has a                   
contract for one hundred dollars to gather signatures, they'd have             
to gather at least a thousand signatures to remain outside of the              
constraints of this legislation.  It also doesn't ban another form             
of payment for signature gatherers.  It doesn't ban salaried                   
employment.  The only thing that this does, is it constrains the               
amount of money that you can pay per signature, but it does not ban            
other forms of payment for circulating petitions.                              
Number 0182                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted other states have addressed this same               
problem.  For example Oregon requires disclosure of payment that               
the circulator is receiving for soliciting signatures.  Maine and              
Wyoming have an outright ban on paying per signature.  You have to             
use other forms of payment whether its contract or whether it's                
salary.  On the petition that circulators are, or may be paid,                 
Oregon, California and New Jersey have that requirement.  Reporting            
expenditures, which is something that's currently not required in              
the state of Alaska, reporting expenditures to petition circulators            
is required in Washington, Colorado, and Wyoming.  Other states                
have begun addressing this problem, they've done it in different               
forms, so far there has been no challenge to the constitutionality             
of those types of constraints that other states have used.                     
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he thinks another issue, especially an               
issue for people who are circulating petitions is, will this bill              
make it impossible to use the initiative process.  Representative              
Elton said he didn't think so, our history is replete with                     
grassroots efforts to push initiatives on the ballot and they have             
been successful.  And this is a prepaid signature era and also the             
other example is the (indisc.--coughing) initiative which did not              
pay for signatures.                                                            
Number 0198                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said we have to ask ourselves to what extent              
does the use of paid signature gatherers undercut the initiative               
process itself.  He said he believes signature gatherers, if they              
are paid, are probably less likely to communicate what the issue is            
effectively.  One of the reasons they might not want to do that is             
if they have to stop and explain what the initiative petition does,            
if they take 30 seconds to explain it and five people have already             
walked by, their imperative is, if they're getting a dollar a                  
signature, to get those five people.  So if somebody asks what does            
this do, they're probably less likely to respond because they're               
going to miss five other people that are walking by.                           
Number 0207                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON added that people aren't likely to communicate            
for another reason.  For example, a petition signature gatherer was            
sitting on a garbage can outside of a Brown Jug on New Year's Eve              
in Anchorage with four petitions.  And that person was receiving               
money for each signature and probably not under the best                       
circumstances.  He said that person is probably not going to have              
a complete understanding of what the education endowment does, he's            
probably not going to have a good understanding of what the                    
dynamics are in the trapping industry if they're carrying the snare            
petition for wolves.  That person probably doesn't care, all that              
person cares about is getting the signatures so that they receive              
the payment.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said the most important question is, do we                
really want to change the nature of the petition process itself.               
He said he thinks we've all assumed that the nature of the petition            
process is if there is a group of disgruntled Alaskans, this is the            
avenue that they have to circumnavigate legislators like us who are            
sitting here and maybe not addressing the issues that they think               
are important.  But it's now become an industry and that industry              
means that it's not necessarily the issue that's important and a               
broad group of people that share the same interest are not                     
necessarily behind it.  Sometimes what's behind it is a group of               
people or a special interest group that just has a lot of money to             
finance a petition drive and to get the initiatives on the ballot.             
He indicated we haven't seen that yet in our state, but we're                  
certainly seeing more of it in California.  Those issues aren't                
brought by a lot of people who are concerned about the issue,                  
they're brought by special interests that happen to have a lot of              
money to finance a petition drive and get the initiatives on the               
Number 0233                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said, "You indicated that there's no reporting until               
such time as an initiative goes on the ballot -- and then the same             
sponsor.  Does this bill do anything about making people who are               
circulating the petition to report?"                                           
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied yes, in Section 3 (page 2), the bill              
requires each petition to include a statement of warning in 12                 
point capitalized bold type at or near the top of each page, the               
following language:                                                            
CHAIR JAMES asked where did the money come from to pay the people              
and who has contributed to this group.  She also asked if that                 
doesn't have to be disclosed.                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON gave an example, he said if he was approached             
by a signature gatherer to sign the billboard petition, if this law            
were in place, he would have the right to ask the gatherer whether             
they are getting paid, if they said yes, he would then have the                
right to ask who was paying them.                                              
Number 0248                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES asked, who contributed to the Center for the                       
Environment to pay the signature gatherers.  She added that's not              
the only example out there, but if there's a group that's put                  
together to gather signatures on an issue, the public needs to have            
as much information about the initiative process as they do once an            
initiative is on the ballot.  She said she believes people need to             
know if this group or person put money into that process, and noted            
it's a political process.                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON responded, "I think that's handled in, for                
example campaigns that we may run for public office.  That's                   
handled by saying what can't happen.  For example somebody can't               
give us money that's kind of washed through somebody else.  So it's            
handled in that circumstance as a prohibition against - used                   
somewhat (indisc.) of a term, washing..."                                      
Number 0256                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES interjected the way the campaign finance law is                    
currently written for us, and for any group that is supporting a               
candidate or a ballot issue, is that corporations, unions and                  
political parties can't contribute money.  She said she doesn't                
think there is a limitation on initiatives.  Chair James stressed              
that she believes the same information of recording should be                  
required for them as well as once the initiative gets to the                   
ballot.  She stated she was hoping Representative Elton had                    
something in here that would make them, once they take on this                 
activity and collect money from people, to be able to put an                   
initiative process through, that they have to file and that they               
also have to report where their money is coming from and how                   
they're spending it.                                                           
Number 0264                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON agreed, he said that it's a good point and                
would be amendable to an amendment to accomplish that.  He pointed             
out there are two ways to accomplish that.  One is under the APOC              
rules that govern us.  We just prohibit the washing of money.  The             
other way of accomplishing it would be to require APOC to regulate             
the behavior of groups.  For example, if there is an English as the            
official language group, it would be interesting to know where                 
their funds are coming from, if their funds are coming from another            
group or a citizen.                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stressed this is an important issue.  For                 
example in Washington state, the initiative that would have allowed            
the medicinal use of marijuana under their disclosure laws, he said            
he believes it was found three-quarters of the money that supported            
that petition drive was coming from a single individual in                     
California.  Representative Elton stated he would be open to an                
Number 0276                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES agreed that it is very important.  She said if the                 
"Friends of the Animals" from Connecticut are funding a petition               
drive, we need to know that and the people who are signing the                 
petition also need to know that.  She stated we also need to know              
where their money is coming from and how they're spending it,                  
particularly when the money is coming from outside of our state and            
it's not been a grassroots effort in this state to change state                
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "If the only thing that this would                  
require, is if there is a group called 'Alaskans for the fair                  
pursuit of game,' that was funding the anti-snaring initiative                 
petition, that is all that would be required to be disclosed to the            
signature gatherer, or disclosed on (indisc--noise).  And you're               
right.  It doesn't cover whether or not it's the people for the                
'ethical treatment of animals' in Connecticut or somebody else."               
Number 0284                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said he appreciates what Representative Elton             
is trying to do and what he's done.  He asked, in your research,               
have you seen any examples of the paid signature gatherer sharing              
his bounty with the signature givers.                                          
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied he hasn't.  But there is included in              
this proposed legislation a prohibition on that kind of behavior.              
He noted it would be classified as a misdemeanor for the signature             
gatherer to pay somebody for their signature.                                  
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON mentioned he assumed the guy outside the Brown            
Jug wasn't sharing commodities from the jug with the signature                 
givers.  Representative Dyson said, if he's going to stay in this              
line of work, he needs to increase his capacity for cynicism.  He              
asked, "Has any of the states, that have addressed this in statute,            
addressed the use of signatures for gathering a petition, for                  
future mailing lists fund-raising efforts."                                    
Number 0301                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied, clearly those lists have value.  He              
said he can't answer the question on whether or not people have                
converted the value of those lists by selling them because he                  
doesn't know.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked have other states addressed this in                 
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON responded not to his knowledge.                           
Number 0305                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS noted he would like to see the initiative               
process put under the same scrutiny that the candidates have - with            
the expenditures and everything and applauded Representative                   
Elton's request of that.  He said he could probably support this if            
that language was in here to where there's full disclosure                     
including the 30-day reporting.  Representative Hodgins said he                
also believes the public needs to know who is behind these                     
initiatives because it's part of the public process and it's very              
important that the public has that information.                                
CHAIR JAMES mentioned a petition drive which addressed an issue                
against something she was doing so she took a copy of the petition             
and wrote to the people that were on that list to explain her                  
position.  Chair James noted that she received lots of responses               
saying they didn't sign the petition.                                          
CHAIR JAMES indicated if you put a petition up in front of                     
somebody, whether they like the idea or not they'll sign it.  We               
need to sieve the process to be sure that something that sounds                
really good and isn't good, doesn't get put upon the vulnerable.               
We also need to be cautious to be sure that the public process that            
we have is a real public process and not a sham.                               
Number 0322                                                                    
KEN JACOBUS, Representative, Alaskans for a Common Language                    
testified via teleconference on HB 413.  He said, "We were one of              
the sponsors and circulators for the 'official English petition'               
which has now been certified.  I'm opposed to placing a limitation             
on the payments for initiative signatures. ... Basically our                   
situation with the 'official English' was started by a bill which              
was filed by Pete Kott in the Legislature several years ago which              
did not get any action.  We then decided we needed to move it along            
as part of an initiative petition."                                            
MR. JACOBUS stated, "What we're talking about here is the right to             
petition the government, and we believe that the right to petition             
the government should not be restricted.  Reporting may be                     
required, and that's perfectly appropriate, but restrictions on the            
person's right to participate in the petition process should not be            
restricted.  I presented a written letter [to Representative Elton,            
March 3, 1998] ... which discusses this matter in detail.  But                 
basically, Meyer v. Grant, which is the case cited by the sponsor              
did hold that it was a violation of the first amendment to prohibit            
payment for the circulation of an initiative."                                 
Number 0332                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS continued, "What you're doing, by placing a ten cents              
per limit on the signatures, is also effectively prohibiting the               
circulation of initiative petitions.  An average circulator can                
average 20 signatures per hour, at ten cents per hour he earns two             
bucks.  You can't hire somebody for that amount to circulate your              
petitions.  The going rate is somewhere between 40 to 50 percent,              
where there are problems, a dollar an hour -- and this is detailed             
in my letter.  The three to four dollars an hour is set forth in               
the sponsor's statement, that's real hard to believe.  I'd have to             
verify that to see where that came from.  But there's no way that              
one would be required to pay three or four dollars an hour to a                
circulator to collect signatures."                                             
Number 0338                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS continued, "What you're trying to do basically here is             
price-fix it at an unreasonable level.  This is no different than              
legislating than McDonald's may charge ten cents for a 'Big Mac.'              
That's absolutely unreasonable to place such a limitation on people            
who circulate initiative petitions.  To say that you can do it                 
through salaried employees doesn't solve that because the most                 
effective way to gather signatures quickly is through a piecework              
method.  It's going to cost a lot more to do a petition if you have            
to do it through salaried employees.  And what you're doing here is            
discriminating against people who want to circulate an initiative              
petition in the most efficient way by requiring them to pay in the             
manner which is least efficient.  Basically I believe the ten-cent             
limitation violates Meyer v. Grant.  You're just asking for                    
constitutional litigation.  I would recommend that this entire bill            
be defeated.  But that something which maybe requires reporting                
prior to the initiative being certified might be appropriate but               
this particular approach is not appropriate."                                  
Number 0348                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said she understands the free enterprise system, the               
right to free speech, and the right to be paid for your services.              
She asked, what responsibility do we have to the vulnerable, do we             
just let everybody fall into whatever pit they can fall in and say,            
that's their fault?                                                            
CHAIR JAMES pointed out a lot of petitions indicate that there were            
people who signed petitions didn't know they did and were                      
distressed that they did.  She asked what kind of protection do we             
have for that happening.                                                       
Number 0354                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS responded, "It shouldn't be regulated at the signature             
gathering stage.  I can tell with our petition, we gave our                    
circulators a lot of instruction on how to circulate petitions,                
what the petition was about and our circulators would answer                   
questions that people might have about the petition.  The place                
that this is controlled though is not at the circulation stage,                
it's at the election stage.  You can't prevent people from voting              
a mistake without saying that you can't vote.  The place where this            
all falls out is not when you're gathering signatures.  It's during            
the debate prior to the election when people actually vote on the              
proposition.  It's not something that needs to be restricted here."            
Number 0361                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Jacobus if it were more than ten            
cents, say a quarter, would that be okay with you.                             
MR. JACOBUS replied no, in order to get somebody to go out in the              
cold to collect signatures you've got to pay more than twenty-five             
MR. JACOBUS further explained they originally paid their                       
circulators fifty cents per signature, they went up to seventy-five            
and had to go up to a dollar.  This was a problem circulation                  
because there were adverse weather conditions, they had a short                
time frame for signature collection, and they had problems with                
lack of access to certain good signature gathering locations.  They            
also had competition, the anti-wolf snaring people came in, and the            
National Education Association came in and bid the price up.  And              
the permanent fund dividend came out in the middle of the                      
circulation process which meant people had money and were less                 
likely to want to go to work earning extra money to collect                    
signatures.  So you're probably going to be paying a dollar per                
signature in Alaska.                                                           
Number 0373                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS indicated the "wolf people," if they're smart are                  
paying much more than a dollar per signature because they're up                
against a 30-day deadline.  He said the market should control                  
what's being paid for this.  The people who agree to circulate                 
petitions should be able to charge whatever they want to charge and            
the people who are in the business of circulating petitions should             
be able to pay whatever the market rate is.  Mr. Jacobus stated it             
doesn't work to place some sort of artificial limitation on it.                
Twenty-five cents will absolutely not work in Alaska and fifty                 
cents probably will not now even work in Alaska.                               
Number 0379                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES asked, "Are people that are hiring people by the                   
signature, or in any other way, are they required then to - if                 
anyone keeps track so that anyone that's paid more than $600 gets              
a 1099, or do they put them on the payroll.  How does this money               
ever get taxed?"                                                               
MR. JACOBUS replied that he can't speak for every company.  But                
there's no withholding, it's an independent contractor                         
relationship.  He said he doesn't know what they do about 1099's               
and doesn't know about reporting.                                              
Number 0385                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ mentioned the Center for the Environment              
people did it for free.  He said that seems to him, the true idea              
behind a citizen initiative, is you get people who really believe              
in a cause, get the signatures rather than folks that are                      
mercenaries about the signatures they're gathering.                            
MR. JACOBUS responded that's one way of doing it.  But the problem             
in getting volunteers is there is less volunteerism available.  He             
indicated political parties are getting weaker, the bodies and                 
hours that were available for volunteer services are no longer                 
available.  People would rather make a contribution of money to                
support their cause than spend eight hours standing out in sub-zero            
weather collecting signatures.  He said virtually all initiatives              
are currently done professionally.                                             
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "I just got to say, the cynicism                
that Representative Dyson felt on an earlier issue seems to be                 
catching because I find it hard to believe that there are no                   
ideologues out there to stand around in sub-zero temperatures, or              
even during the summer when the weather's nice to collect                      
signatures for an issue they believe in."                                      
MR. JACOBUS replied there are ideologues who will do that, but the             
most effective way to do something in a short time is to get                   
contributions from supporters and pay people to collect signatures.            
He said the U.S. Supreme Court has approved that process.                      
TAPE 98-29, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES continued, "...will go out and collect signatures, that            
the signatures on that petition are the people who are even going              
to vote for it."                                                               
MR. JACOBUS stated that's true, the purpose of the initiative                  
process is for supporters to place an issue on the ballot.  And                
these supporters can support the petition either by going out and              
standing on the corner, or by contributing a hundred dollars so                
that someone else can be hired to go out and stand on the corner.              
CHAIR JAMES said that isn't one man one vote because if they're                
willing to pay a hundred dollars for somebody else to get                      
signatures then they're voting several times on this issue.                    
MR. JACOBUS said no, they're not voting on the issue, they're just             
getting signatures.  The important point is whether the issue will             
be adopted or not and each person gets one vote there.  He said,               
"Getting it on the ballot is crucial of course, but it doesn't get             
the measure enacted.  You've got to get it through the public                  
debate and then through the election.  That's where the important              
decision is made."                                                             
Number 0012                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY noted if this bill were to become law, it                 
would prohibit paying more than ten cents for a signature.                     
MR. JACOBUS explained, "Apparently unless you did this by having a             
salaried employee do it, and that's just not efficient to pay                  
somebody an hourly rate for sitting on a garbage can at the Brown              
Jug with no incentive to collect signatures - with no incentive to             
do the job.  Actually, the guy sitting on the garbage can at the               
Brown Jug on New Year's Eve really exercised quite a bit of                    
initiative, that guy ought to be congratulated for having a good               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what is the limit that could be paid a              
salaried employee.                                                             
MR. JACOBUS responded there's no limitation as he sees it in the               
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY indicated, "So if this bill was to become law,            
you simply change it from piece work to hourly work or monthly work            
and you go about your business."                                               
Number 0024                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS responded, "While obviously true, but there will                   
probably be litigation over it, but to do it by monthly or hourly              
will result in the campaign being much more expensive.  And that,              
since there's much more expense involved, results in further                   
restrictions in the individual people's right to petition their                
government.  They're going to have to spend a lot more money to                
petition their government than they would have to spend under a                
piecework type approach."                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he thought our constitution had something            
in it about the right to petition the government, shall not be                 
Number 0030                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS responded that's true, that's in the federal and the               
Alaska constitution.  It should be restricted in a least manner                
possible.  He said, "It can be restricted for example by requiring             
reporting in advance ... we don't have to report prior to the                  
initiative being certified.  And there would be nothing wrong with             
requiring reporting prior to the initiative being certified if the             
Legislature wanted to do that.  But reporting is different from                
regulating.  And I support reporting and disclosure, but I don't               
support restriction."                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked, if we believe that the right to                    
petition the government shall not be infringed, where do we get the            
statutory authority to put "warning" on there.                                 
MR. JACOBUS stated he also has problems with the warnings.  When               
you're talking about constitutional issues, you can infringe to a              
certain minor degree so long as there's a compelling interest if               
it's a fundamental right.  But you do have the right to infringe a             
little bit.  He indicated he has problems with the warning, but it             
may be held that there's a state interest for the warning.  He said            
he doesn't mind the warning which says you can't sign more than                
once, you can't sign somebody else's name - if you do you're guilty            
of a Class B misdemeanor.  He said even that warning doesn't help              
because somebody signed their petition "Taco Bell," obviously that             
got a buck for the signature gatherer, but it wasn't a valid                   
Number 0052                                                                    
MR. JACOBUS read: "This petition may be circulated by a paid                   
signature gatherer or a volunteer, you have the right to ask, and              
the gatherer must disclose to you, how much and by whom the                    
gatherer is paid."  He said he has some problems with that because             
it interferes with the right of privacy of the gatherer.  He's                 
going to have to disclose his compensation to a member of the                  
public and most other people, other than public officers, don't                
have to disclose their salary when anybody asks.                               
MR. JACOBUS concluded you have authority to place certain                      
limitations on the process and the warning may be within the                   
authority of the Legislature to enact.  He reiterated that he has              
problems with it but would not strongly object to the warning.                 
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what is the purpose of this proposed                
Number 0062                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON explained the point is to ensure that the                 
initiative petition process is exactly as we envision it that it's             
a grassroots process, and it's not a process that's simply                     
available to any interest that has a lot of money.  He also pointed            
out the purpose is to constrain the petition process to those                  
people who feel strongly about an issue and who don't feel that                
issue is being addressed by the Legislature and who have enough                
supporters in the jurisdiction, in this case the state, to get it              
on the ballot and to constrain the ability of a special interest               
group that simply has a lot of money to get on the general election            
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said we're talking about first amendment              
issues and it's important to recognize it.  It's not an absolute               
right in the first amendment.  It's subject to reasonable time,                
place, and manner of restrictions.  He said the question we have to            
ask is this a reasonable thing to do.  When we're moving in favor              
of full disclosure and the purity of the political process is                  
involved, which it is here, then this is an eminently reasonable               
step to take.                                                                  
Number 0078                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted some interesting issues have come up                
subsequent to his opening statement.  The first is whether or not              
we can restrict a constitutional right to petition.  He said the               
simplest answer to that is we already do it, we assign a certain               
number of signatures that must be gathered before the petition goes            
on the ballot, so right there is a significant constraint on how               
you petition government.                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out that in some cases volunteerism               
declines because there aren't enough people out there that want to             
volunteer to do the activity that is being requested.  For example,            
in Juneau, including a lot of communities in Alaska, we have a lot             
of people that man the Salvation Army Kettles during Christmas.                
They get a lot of people to do that simply because there are a lot             
of people who believe in doing that.  So, it's less a question of              
volunteerism declining than it is a question of zeal that people               
may have for different issues.                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON read the following excerpt from the Salem                 
Statesman Journal, 3/30/97, An out-of-state petitioner earns big               
bucks in Oregon, which describes the business of signature                     
gathering more succinctly.                                                     
     Julius Sabenorio was working in Vancouver, Washington, last               
     year, collecting signatures on a petition drive, when he heard            
     that the real money was in Oregon,                                        
     So he headed south to Portland where he hooked Oregon                     
     Taxpayers United, the group that was mounting an initiative to            
     cut and cap property taxes.                                               
     Two months later, Sabenorio had paid a total of $82,457 for               
     collecting signatures on that initiative and seven others,                
     according to records in the secretary of state's office.                  
     Sabenorio said, "It was a lot of money; there was easy money              
     to be made out there, believe me."                                        
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said that is the kind of situation that this              
bill is attempting to address and attempting to constrain.  He                 
stated that he would prepare an amendment to change the APOC rules             
to address the full disclosure.                                                
Number 0101                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said she would like to assign HB 413 to a subcommittee.            
She appointed herself and Representatives Berkowitz, and Elton to              
the subcommittee.                                                              

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