Legislature(1995 - 1996)

01/16/1996 03:31 PM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            SJR 24 CHANGE TIMING OF VETO OVERRIDE                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order             
 at 3:31 p.m. and brought up SJR 24 as the only order of business              
 before the committee.  The chairman asked Senator Donley, prime               
 sponsor of SJR 24 to give the committee a review of the                       
 Number 015                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY stated that SJR 24 proposes changes to the Alaska              
 State Constitution regarding the transmittal of bill documents, how           
 vetoes work, and how special sessions would be called to deal with            
 vetoes.  Senator Donley informed the committee he has been working            
 on this subject for about the last six years.  He thinks there                
 should be set time limits for transmitting passed legislation, and            
 that not having specific lengths of time by which legislation must            
 be transmitted has been an area of abuse by presiding officers.               
 Everyone would be better served if there were specific guidelines             
 in the Constitution addressing that area.                                     
 Number 045                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY related details of SJR 24, which are contained in              
 the Sponsor's Statement and SJR 24.  SJR 24 would also require the            
 executive branch to provide specific reasons for vetoing                      
 Number 060                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY informed the committee of the timelines and                    
 conditions set forth by SJR 24 for addressing vetoes.                         
 Number 140                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY stated that currently, the conditions set forth for            
 having a special session to address vetoed legislation are                    
 ambiguous.  SJR 24 would help clear up that ambiguity.                        
 Number 190                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY thinks a clarification could be made to SJR 24 if,             
 in Section 4, the language on page 3, line 11 was changed from " A            
 bill becomes law if," to "A bill unsigned by the Governor becomes             
 law if,".                                                                     
 SENATOR DONLEY thinks SJR 24 would technically clean up some                  
 ambiguities in the Constitution.                                              
 Number 208                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN concurred with Senator Donley regarding some past               
 abuses which were enabled by ambiguities in the Constitution.                 
 Senator Leman wondered why SJR 24 excluded Sunday from the count of           
 days in most instances, excepting the portion of the resolution               
 stating the legislature shall meet in joint session on the fifth              
 day following receipt of the veto message.  He wondered if that was           
 an intentional omission.  Senator Leman also wondered if it would             
 be better to say, "within five days", instead of "on the fifth                
 Number 230                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY explained that the resolution specifies the fifth              
 day because of the way the Constitution is currently written.  He             
 suggested that Senator Leman's concerns could possibly be addressed           
 in legislative intent.  The Constitution currently specifies "Bills           
 vetoed after adjournment of the second regular session shall be               
 reconsidered...no later than the fifth day...", which is                      
 interpreted to mean the legislature is not required to meet.                
 Senator Donley wants to convey his opinion that the legislature               
 should always meet when legislation is vetoed.                              
 Number 250                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN agreed that it should be mandatory to meet to                   
 consider vetoes, but he would like to see the flexibility to meet             
 at any time within that five-day period.                                      
 Number 260                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY stated he would like to work with Senator Leman on             
 a solution to Senator Leman's suggestion.                                     
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asked Senators Donley and Leman to work on that                
 Number 270                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP also expressed concern over the practicability of              
 the time-frames set out in SJR 24, particularly with regards to the           
 duties of Legislative Legal Services.  He would like that concern             
 Number 285                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN wondered if SJR 24 would impact enrollment of                   
 CHAIRMAN SHARP wants clarified how SJR 24 would impact the last               
 days' crunch of legislation.  Legislative Legal Services will be              
 contacted regarding that question.                                            
 Number 310                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked that the Senate Secretary and the                
 Chief Clerk also be contacted regarding impact on those offices by            
 SJR 24.                                                                       
 CHAIRMAN SHARP called Mr. Baldwin to testify.                                 
 Number 320                                                                    
 JIM BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,                   
 Governmental Affairs Section, stated support for the first section            
 of SJR 24.  However, he thinks the legislature should establish the           
 provisions of Section 1 of SJR 24 in Alaska Statute or the uniform            
 rules, and not by constitutional amendment.  He is concerned that             
 a constitutional amendment would be too difficult to change, should           
 it become necessary to do so at a future date.  Mr. Baldwin thinks            
 a constitutional amendment might be to inflexible and burdensome.             
 Number 350                                                                    
 MR. BALDWIN stated support for the provision requiring the governor           
 to provide statement of reasons for a veto.  He thinks statements             
 of objection should be comprehensive.                                         
 MR. BALDWIN does not think a legislature should reconsider the                
 vetoed legislation of the previous legislature.                               
 Number 375                                                                    
 MR. BALDWIN's final point was that the executive branch really              
 likes the current rule giving the executive branch twenty days                
 after adjournment of the legislature to review legislation.  It is            
 a work-load issue for executive branch staff.  Both OMB and the               
 Department of Law review all the bills for the governor, which is             
 a time-consuming process.                                                     
 CHAIRMAN SHARP replied, as he understood it, SJR 24 would give                
 finality in the second session.  A new legislature would not be               
 reconsidering vetoed legislation passed during the previous                   
 Number 390                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY added that if there was any question about that, he            
 would be happy to clarify that it has to be the same legislature              
 considering vetoes.  He also does not have a strong feeling                   
 regarding Section 4.  Twenty days is a reasonable request.                    
 Number 400                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Mr. Baldwin if can supply the                    
 committee with information regarding time limits and veto messages            
 in other states.                                                              
 Number 407                                                                    
 MR. BALDWIN replied there is quite a bit of case law in other                 
 states relating to veto messages.  He will try to find some                   
 information for the committee.                                                
 SENATOR DONLEY recalled cases from other states where the governor            
 did not provide information, and the case was over whether the veto           
 was legitimate or not.                                                        
 MR. BALDWIN added that some of those cases found the veto invalid,            
 because the information was not there.  We have yet to see that               
 litigation here, but he feels it's coming someday.                            
 Number 419                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP commented that under Section 3 he would like to see            
 a finite time by when veto-override consideration has to be made.             
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asked those who wish to do so to work on SJR 24 and            
 then let the committee know when it is ready for consideration                
 again.  He will contact Legislative Legal Services regarding                  
 practicability of the time frames contained in SJR 24.                        
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked the chairman to also check with the              
 Senate Secretary's Office and the Chief Clerk's Office regarding              
 the practicability of the time frames contained in SJR 24.                    
 Number 439                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP replied he would do so.  Hearing no other business             
 to come before the committee, Chairman Sharp adjourned the Senate             
 State Affairs Committee meeting at 4:00 p.m.                                  

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