Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

04/23/2021 09:00 AM Senate EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
09:02:28 AM Start
09:03:09 AM SB119
09:19:49 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                     SB 119-OATH OF OFFICE                                                                                  
9:03:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL NO. 119                                                               
"An  Act  relating  to  oaths of  office;  and  requiring  public                                                               
officers  to  read the  state  constitution,  the Declaration  of                                                               
Independence, and the United States Constitution."                                                                              
9:03:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LORA REINBOLD, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                                
sponsor of SB 119, read opening remarks, as follows:                                                                            
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     The  need for  all elected  and appointed  officials to                                                                    
     read  and  take  responsibility to  uphold  the  United                                                                    
     States    Constitution   and    the   Declaration    of                                                                    
     Independence as  well as the Constitution  of the State                                                                    
     of  Alaska  is   to  ensure  that  the   power  of  the                                                                    
     individual  citizens and  the Alaska  residents is  not                                                                    
     truncated, eroded or extinguished.                                                                                         
     Without the  verified awareness and vital  knowledge of                                                                    
     how the  state and federal governments  were structured                                                                    
     to facilitate  peace, equality, elected  officials will                                                                    
     be  set  up  to  fail   those  if  they  do  not  fully                                                                    
     understand   what  they   take  their   oath  to.   The                                                                    
     responsibility  to  mindful   administrate  within  the                                                                    
     governmental  academic  structure   on  behalf  of  the                                                                    
     public   is  the   greatest   importance  because   the                                                                    
     cherished  trust  that  the   people  place  in  public                                                                    
     officials,  they  must  be   fully  equipped  with  the                                                                    
     knowledge and  the direction of  our government  in its                                                                    
     relentless pursuit  of justice, equality,  and whenever                                                                    
     they  are employed  by the  people. Our  requirement of                                                                    
     all  public  officials  to commit  to  upholding  these                                                                    
     essential documents ensures that  not only such elected                                                                    
     officials have  clear direction by which  to govern and                                                                    
     to administrate,  it enforces the connect  of the trust                                                                    
     between the  people of  the state  of Alaska  and those                                                                    
     charged with acting on their behalf.                                                                                       
9:05:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD paraphrased the sponsor statement, which read:                                                                 
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     This bill  requires all those whose  are statutorily or                                                                    
     constitutionally required to take  an oath in the State                                                                    
     of  Alaska to  read: the  Declaration of  Independence;                                                                    
     the United States Constitution  and The Constitution of                                                                    
     the  State  of Alaska.  Following  the  reading of  the                                                                    
     documents, a signed  statement acknowledging the action                                                                    
     will be  filed at the Alaska  State Libraries, Archives                                                                    
     and Museums directly after taking the Oath of Office.                                                                      
9:06:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND asked her to identify the acronym SLAM.                                                                           
SENATOR  REINBOLD   answered  that   it  stands  for   the  State                                                               
Libraries, Archives and Museums (SLAM).                                                                                         
9:06:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLAND said  he did  not see  that the  bill raised  many                                                               
education  policies  and thus  he  would  not  hold the  bill  in                                                               
committee  very  long.  He emphasized  that  he  understands  the                                                               
importance of the U.S. Constitution  and the Alaska Constitution.                                                               
Although he  appreciates the significance  of the  Declaration of                                                               
Independence, he pointed out that  Alaska does not require office                                                               
holders  to protect  and defend  it. He  asked whether  she would                                                               
like to explain why the  Declaration of Independence was included                                                               
in SB 119.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR REINBOLD responded  that when the 13  colonies decided to                                                               
declare their  independence, colonists  had many  grievances with                                                               
Great Britain and  King George III. She  included the Declaration                                                               
of Independence  in SB 119 because  it is a powerful  reminder of                                                               
why  the colonists  were  willing  to lay  down  their lives  for                                                               
liberty.  Further,   the  Declaration  of   Independence  marries                                                               
perfectly with the Bill of Rights, she said.                                                                                    
9:08:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS agreed  that everyone  should  be familiar  with                                                               
these documents.  He asked whether  city and borough  council and                                                               
assembly members were included.                                                                                                 
9:08:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  answered  that  any elected  official  who  is                                                               
required  to  take an  oath  to  the  State  of Alaska  would  be                                                               
9:09:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said  she would almost require this  for those who                                                               
file for  any elected  office. She wondered  how many  people who                                                               
pledge to  uphold state and  U.S. constitutions are  not familiar                                                               
with the  documents. She directed  attention to Section  2, which                                                               
refers to  each special officer  and person appointed.  She asked                                                               
for the definition of special officer.                                                                                          
SENATOR REINBOLD answered that a  special officer refers to a law                                                               
enforcement officer.                                                                                                            
9:10:11 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  referred to Section  9 of SB 119,  which requires                                                               
the  principal  executive  officer  of each  department  and  the                                                               
member of  each board  within the  state government.  She related                                                               
her understanding that it would  include commissioners and deputy                                                               
commissioners. She asked whether  this provision would also apply                                                               
to commission members.                                                                                                          
SENATOR REINBOLD  answered that  it will apply  to anyone  who is                                                               
already statutorily required to take  an oath of office. She said                                                               
the bill does not add any additional people to the list.                                                                        
9:10:52 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES  asked  if  she  knew who  was  included  in  the                                                               
principal  executive officers  category.  She  surmised it  would                                                               
apply to  commissioners, but she  wondered if it  included deputy                                                               
commissioners  or  other   department  leadership.  The  language                                                               
identifies that  the members  of each board  must take  the oath.                                                               
She asked whether that would include commissions as well.                                                                       
SENATOR   REINBOLD    related   her   understanding    that   all                                                               
commissioners  have to  take an  oath of  office. Every  employee                                                               
must sign  that they read  the documents. She explained  that she                                                               
introduced the  bill because  taking the  oath of  office differs                                                               
for judges,  elected officials and  peace officers. SB  119 would                                                               
require that everyone  who takes an oath of office  must read the                                                               
Constitution  of   the  State  of  Alaska,   the  Declaration  of                                                               
Independence, and the United States  Constitution, sign that they                                                               
did so and that oath is filed at SLAM.                                                                                          
9:13:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES directed  attention  to Section  9  and said  she                                                               
recalls that  all state employees  must sign the oath.  She asked                                                               
whether this is a new oath for them.                                                                                            
SENATOR  REINBOLD answered  that  all state  employees must  sign                                                               
that they read  the Alaska Constitution. She said  this bill does                                                               
not change the requirement for state employees.                                                                                 
9:14:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND  pointed out that  the questions did not  appear to                                                               
be related  to education  policies. He  reminded members  that SB
119  has a  further referral  to the  Senate Judiciary  and State                                                               
Affairs Committees.                                                                                                             
9:14:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  asked how  many people who  would be  required to                                                               
sign an oath  that would be filed at SLAM.  She surmised it would                                                               
be thousands of people.                                                                                                         
SENATOR REINBOLD answered that State  of Alaska employees have to                                                               
sign an oath.  She offered her belief that the  Oath of Office is                                                               
an  important   historical  document   for  judges   and  elected                                                               
officials.  Thus, it  is important  to preserve  these historical                                                               
documents in  SLAM so people  can see  the signed Oath  of Office                                                               
9:15:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  stated that  SLAM falls  under the  Department of                                                               
Education and  Early Development.  She asked whether  anyone from                                                               
SLAM was online.                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HOLLAND  offered to  arrange  to  have someone  from  DEED                                                               
online  at the  next meeting.  He noted  that Section  1 includes                                                               
school board members,  which may be why it had  a referral to the                                                               
Senate Education Standing Committee.                                                                                            
9:16:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLAND asked  if the  sponsor  would like  to review  the                                                               
sectional analysis of SB 119.                                                                                                   
9:16:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  reviewed the sections  of SB  119, paraphrasing                                                               
each section. It read as follows:                                                                                               
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     Section  1. AS  14.12.090  is amended  to require  that                                                                    
     school board members, before  taking office, shall read                                                                    
     the   Constitution  of   the  State   of  Alaska,   the                                                                    
     Declaration  of  Independence,  and the  United  States                                                                    
     Constitution.  Each section  requires specific  elected                                                                    
     or appointed officials to read the documents.                                                                              
     Section 2 applies to a law enforcement officer.                                                                            
     Section 3 applies to a supreme court justice.                                                                              
     Section 4 applies to a court of appeals judge.                                                                             
     Section 5 applies to a superior court judge.                                                                               
     Section  6  applies  to  a  district  court  judge  and                                                                    
     Section 7 applies to legislators.                                                                                          
     Section 8 applies to municipal officials.                                                                                  
     Section  9  applies  to  executive  offices  and  board                                                                    
     Section 10 applies  to a public officer  or employee of                                                                    
     the state.                                                                                                                 
9:17:46 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  offered his  view that  this should  be required                                                               
reading for everyone.                                                                                                           
9:18:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD thanked  members. She said she does  not want to                                                               
see  any  infringement on  the  rights  of  the people  that  she                                                               
serves. She  stated that  she read  all three  documents required                                                               
under  the  bill  in  the   same  day,  which  was  a  remarkable                                                               
experience  that has  emboldened her.  She said  she has  come to                                                               
love  these documents.  She offered  to research  and respond  to                                                               
Senator Hughes' questions.                                                                                                      
[CHAIR HOLLAND held SB 119 in committee.]                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 119 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 4/23/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 119
SB 119 Sectional Final.pdf SEDC 4/23/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 119
SB 119 Sponsor's Statement Final.pdf SEDC 4/23/2021 9:00:00 AM
SJUD 1/31/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 119