Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/01/2002 03:52 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            HB 296-MUNICIPAL MERGER AND CONSOLIDATION                                                                       
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR informed members that a committee substitute (CS)                                                               
had been prepared.                                                                                                              
SENATOR COWDERY moved to adopt the Senate Judiciary committee                                                                   
substitute (labeled Cook 5/1/02) in lieu of the original bill.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced that without objection, the CS was                                                                    
adopted. He then took teleconference testimony.                                                                                 
MR. STEVE SCHWEPPE,  testifying from Ketchikan,  said he submitted                                                              
a written statement to the committee.                                                                                           
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR acknowledged  receipt  and  distribution of  that                                                              
testimony and thanked  Mr. Schweppe for his efforts.  Mr. Schweppe                                                              
had  no further  comments  to add  and  committee  members had  no                                                              
questions, so Chairman Taylor continued taking public testimony.                                                                
MR.  KEVIN  WARING,  Local  Boundary  Commission  (LBC),  informed                                                              
members he  submitted written  testimony. He then  went on  to say                                                              
the LBC supports  Section 1 of HB 296, which fixes  an omission in                                                              
existing law.  However, the  LBC is opposed  to Sections 2  and 3,                                                              
which  would change  the  manner  in which  votes  are counted  in                                                              
consolidation elections  for boroughs and cities.  The current law                                                              
provides  that consolidation  proposals  be approved  by a  simple                                                              
majority of  the voters  in the area  that would be  consolidated.                                                              
The  proposed  change  would  require   separate  approvals  by  a                                                              
majority  of voters  in  each city  to be  consolidated  and by  a                                                              
majority  of  the voters  in  the  borough area  outside  affected                                                              
cities.  In  the  LBC's  view,  the  present  procedure  basically                                                              
provides for one  person, one vote, and majority  rule, which fits                                                              
with the Alaska  Constitution and legislative policy  for the last                                                              
30  years.  The  proposed  language  would  allow  a  minority  of                                                              
residents  to  veto  a  consolidation  proposal  as  installing  a                                                              
weighted vote.  He repeated the LBC  is opposed to Sections  2 and                                                              
MR. WARING said he would like to  clarify what might be a drafting                                                              
error in the bill.  Section 2 adds a new section  to AS 29.06.100.                                                              
That section  in law now deals  with the content  of consolidation                                                              
petitions.  The  proposed new  section  requires  the petition  to                                                              
include  guidelines  in  the  petition  for  how  the  outcome  of                                                              
consolidation  elections is  decided. The  LBC suggests that  this                                                              
amendment  to  election  procedures might  be  more  appropriately                                                              
placed in  AS 29.06.140,  the section of  statute that  deals with                                                              
consolidation elections and election  procedures. He noted the LBC                                                              
has statutory powers to amend petitions.  If the committee decides                                                              
to include  the changes  in Sections 2  and 3  of HB 296,  the LBC                                                              
believes  a relocation  of  Section  2 would  clarify  legislative                                                              
intent and prevent any possible confusion.                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  thanked Mr.  Waring  and  called Mr.  Bourcy  to                                                              
MAYOR TIM  BOURCY, City of Skagway,  informed members the  City of                                                              
Skagway has  a borough petition before  the LBC at this  time. The                                                              
City of Skagway is in support of  HB 296 but is concerned that the                                                              
bill does not address annexation issues.                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  informed Mayor Bourcy  that a sentence  was added                                                              
in the Senate Judiciary CS that provides  for the same application                                                              
on annexation.                                                                                                                  
MR. BOURCY thanked the committee and said he would support that.                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  read  that  sentence  on page  2,  line  26,  as                                                              
follows,  "This subsection  is to  be consistent  with the  voting                                                              
requirements for annexation specified  in AS 29.06.040," and asked                                                              
Representative Whitaker to address the CS.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER, sponsor  of HB 296, said he is in support                                                              
of the CS and hopes the committee does what it thinks is best.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked Mr. Blasco  if the CS  needs to have  a (1)                                                              
placed at the end of line 27, page 2.                                                                                           
MR. ROBERT  BLASCO, attorney,  replied,  "Yes, Senator Taylor,  if                                                              
that's possible. There  are different sections to  that portion of                                                              
Title  29 and  the one  that references  the  concerns that  we've                                                              
raised as to annexation is actually Section 1."                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR moved Amendment 1,  to add a parenthetical 1 after                                                              
".040" on  page 2, line 27.  There being no objection,  the motion                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT noted Amendment 1 should have read (c)(1).                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR agreed and moved  Amendment 2, to insert (c) after                                                              
".040" and  prior to  (1). There being  no objection,  Amendment 2                                                              
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COWDERY moved SCS CSHB 296(JUD)  as amended from committee                                                              
with individual recommendations.                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  noted that without  objection, SCS  CSHB 296(JUD)                                                              
and  its  accompanying  fiscal  note  moved  from  committee.  The                                                              
committee then took up HB 52.                                                                                                   

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