Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

02/15/2022 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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             SB 152-LEGISLATOR RETROACTIVE PER DIEM                                                                         
4:29:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 152                                                               
"An  Act relating  to the  convening  of the  legislature at  the                                                               
capital and  in the  Municipality of  Anchorage; relating  to the                                                               
location of  legislative sessions; and relating  to the emergency                                                               
relocation of functions of state government."                                                                                   
CHAIR MIKE SHOWER, speaking as sponsor, introduced SB 152 by                                                                    
paraphrasing the sponsor statement.                                                                                             
[Original punctuation provided with a minor formatting change.]                                                                 
     Senate  Bill 152  envisions  splitting the  legislative                                                                    
     sessions between  Juneau and Anchorage. The  first half                                                                    
     of  the 2-year  session would  be held  in the  Capital                                                                    
     City of  Juneau. The second  half of the  session would                                                                    
     meet in the  City of Anchorage. The idea  came from the                                                                    
     Alaska   Federation  of   Natives  solution   to  their                                                                    
     conflict  with competing  constituencies. They  decided                                                                    
     to  split their  annual  conferences between  Anchorage                                                                    
     and Fairbanks.  It has been  a resounding  success. The                                                                    
     citizens  of Alaska  are  frustrated and  disillusioned                                                                    
     with  their   representatives  hidden  from   reach  in                                                                    
     Juneau. Covid has  further exasperated this frustration                                                                    
     with  Canadian travel  restrictions and  COVID concerns                                                                    
     with traveling by  air. The capitol was  locked down to                                                                    
     visitors all session in 2021.                                                                                              
     Some major  legislative issues seem to  be decided with                                                                    
     little  or  no  consideration  to  their  constituents'                                                                    
     wishes.  Special interest  groups work  the capitol  to                                                                    
     protect  their  constituencies. Committees  often  have                                                                    
     public  testimony with  no one  that shows  up to  make                                                                    
     comments. Many  have simply given  up and  decided it's                                                                    
     not  worth their  time and  money to  talk to  isolated                                                                    
     Legislators  often come  back  for  brief 'town  halls"                                                                    
     where the  public is invited  to testify for  maybe two                                                                    
     or  three  minutes.  Meanwhile back  in  the  halls  of                                                                    
     Juneau, professional  lobbyists are paid six  and seven                                                                    
     figures to influence  legislators with unlimited access                                                                    
     and influence.  Power is consolidated  to a  few senior                                                                    
     legislators in  control of  key committees  that decide                                                                    
     what bills are heard and  what bills die, and what they                                                                    
     can  get for  their  district to  make  it happen.  The                                                                    
     sponsor   believes  the   best   government  is   local                                                                    
     government. Working  class people do not  have the time                                                                    
     and money to  meet face to face  with their legislators                                                                    
     in Juneau during session. If  a majority of legislators                                                                    
     were living  within the community where  the session is                                                                    
     held  at least  every  two years,  they  would have  no                                                                    
     choice  but to  hear  from their  neighbors, when  they                                                                    
     shop  in the  grocery  store, at  the  gas station,  in                                                                    
     local eateries,  and in the  halls and  committee rooms                                                                    
     where the legislature is meeting.                                                                                          
     Many people that  may serve are put off  by the thought                                                                    
     of  moving to  Juneau for  3-4 months  or longer  every                                                                    
     year. It narrows  down the pool of not  only those that                                                                    
     serve in  office, but their  staff. A  legislature that                                                                    
     is responsive  to the  will of  the people  they derive                                                                    
     their  power from  would be  a refreshing  thing. COVID                                                                    
     has exacerbated  it even worse. The  capitol was locked                                                                    
     down all year in 2021.                                                                                                     
     The goal  is not  to move  the capitol,  nor is  it the                                                                    
     goal  to move  the primary  administrative function  of                                                                    
     government. The  goal is  to make  lawmakers accessible                                                                    
     and thus accountable to  their constituents, during the                                                                    
     critical last  year of the session.  Continuing to keep                                                                    
     the legislators  sequestered in Juneau  during session,                                                                    
     where  the only  real access  is an  expensive airplane                                                                    
     ticket and  high-cost hotels  for a  person to  show up                                                                    
     and  visit,  allows  undue influence  to  a  privileged                                                                    
     class of  people and  their professional  lobbyists and                                                                    
     the administration.                                                                                                        
4:33:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SHONDA ERICKSON, Staff, Senator Mike Shower, Alaska State                                                                       
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented the sectional analysis                                                                   
for SB 152 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                            
[Original punctuation provided with minor formatting changes.]                                                                  
     Sec 1;  Conforming language  regarding the  location of                                                                  
     session where election fundraising can occur.                                                                              
     Sec  2;  Conforming   language  regarding  including  a                                                                  
     municipality  where the  legislature is  convened as  a                                                                    
     place  where a  contribution  may not  be solicited  or                                                                    
     accepted while the legislature is convened.                                                                                
     Sec 3; Substantive part  of the legislation; Authorizes                                                                  
     Legislative  Council to  designate a  location for  the                                                                    
     Anchorage legislative session.                                                                                             
     Sec 4;  Conforming language  regarding the  location of                                                                  
     the preceding session.                                                                                                     
     Sec 5; Conforming language  regarding selecting a chief                                                                  
     clerk and secretary in the senate.                                                                                         
     Sec 6;  Conforming language regarding  reimbursement of                                                                  
     moving expenses.                                                                                                           
     Sec   7;   Conforming   language   regarding   lobbyist                                                                  
     Sec 8; Conforming language  regarding where a directory                                                                  
     of lobbyists is placed.                                                                                                    
     Sec 9;  Conforming language  regarding where  an annual                                                                  
     student guest attends session.                                                                                             
     Sec  10;  Conforming  language  regarding  location  of                                                                  
     essay contest in the statute.                                                                                              
     Sec  11; Conforming  language in  ethics statute  using                                                                  
     non geo referenced language changes.                                                                                       
     Sec  12; Conforming  language in  ethics statute  about                                                                  
     use of a  legislator's office and the  location of said                                                                    
     Sec  13; Conforming  language using  non-geo referenced                                                                  
     language  changes in  ethics statute  about fundraising                                                                    
     events, and the location of said events.                                                                                   
     Sec 14; Conforming language making non-geo referenced                                                                    
     language changes in ethics statute about welcome gifts                                                                     
     to the legislature.                                                                                                        
         Sec 15; Conforming language regarding where an                                                                       
     emergency transfer of seat of government would be held                                                                     
CHAIR SHOWER  highlighted that the  bill actually makes  very few                                                               
changes; much of it reflects conforming changes.                                                                                
4:37:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony on SB 152.                                                                                 
4:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
WILLY KEPPEL, representing self,  Quinhagak, Alaska, testified in                                                               
support of SB 152.  He opined that there was no  need to move the                                                               
capital, but there is a need  to move the legislature. He said he                                                               
just flew  from Quinhagak to Anchorage  at a cost of  $1,000, and                                                               
it would be  even more expensive to buy another  ticket to fly on                                                               
to  Juneau. He  described  this as  a double  cost  to visit  the                                                               
legislature and  be able to  testify [in person]. He  opined that                                                               
Alaskans  should  only  have  to  take one  plane  to  visit  the                                                               
4:39:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER closed public testimony on SB 152.                                                                                 
He asked Mr.  Ogan to talk about the changes  he was proposing to                                                               
SB 152 and related his  intention to adopt a committee substitute                                                               
at the next meeting.                                                                                                            
4:40:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  OGAN,   Staff,  Senator   Mike  Shower,   Palmer,  Alaska,                                                               
discussed proposed  changes to SB  152 on behalf of  the sponsor,                                                               
describing  them as  technical. The  original version  eliminates                                                               
reference to  the capital city or  Juneau and that term  would be                                                               
restored, he said.                                                                                                              
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  if  he  had any  comment  after hearing  the                                                               
sectional analysis.                                                                                                             
MR.  OGAN commented  on grocery  store politics  and opined  that                                                               
when  legislators are  in Juneau  they are  not exposed  to their                                                               
constituents as  they rub  elbows at the  grocery store.  Face to                                                               
face  encounters  elicit topics  that  might  not seem  important                                                               
enough for a  phone call. He described the bill  as a good policy                                                               
4:42:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLAND asked  if there was a particular  reason that the                                                               
Municipality  of  Anchorage was  selected  as  opposed to  simply                                                               
identifying it as a location other than Juneau.                                                                                 
CHAIR SHOWER  said he selected  Anchorage because more  than half                                                               
the  legislature resides  in the  MatSu/Anchorage area,  it would                                                               
provide the  greatest bang for  the buck, facilities  are readily                                                               
available, and Anchorage is a travel  hub. He added that he would                                                               
be open to any location that is on the road system.                                                                             
4:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER held SB 152 in committee.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 152 Sectional Analysis 1.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 152
SB 152 sponsor statement 1.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 152
sb136 non support emails.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 152 32-LS1306-B work draft.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 152
I support SB136 7 emails.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
fiscal note 2022.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
HB 148
SB 136 EMAILS OF SUPPORT 40 TOTAL.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
SB 136 EMAILS OF SUPPORT 38 TOTAL.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
sb136 support emails.pdf 44.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
I support SB136 7 emails.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
AK SB 136 - NRA Testimony - Emergency Powers - SUPPORT 2-31-22.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136
HB 123 support emails 3.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
HB 123
SB 136 3 e mails of support.pdf SSTA 2/15/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 136