Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

04/01/2019 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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01:01:55 PM Start
01:02:46 PM SB89
02:28:42 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 1, 2019                                                                                          
                           1:01 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(JUD)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to the Legislative Ethics Act; and providing                                                                   
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  89                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LEGISLATURE: ETHICS, CONFLICTS                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): RULES                                                                                                               
03/13/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/13/19       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/18/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/18/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/18/19       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/20/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/20/19       (S)       Moved CSSB 89(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/20/19       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/22/19       (S)       JUD RPT CS  1DP 3NR 1AM SAME TITLE                                                                     
03/22/19       (S)       DP: HUGHES                                                                                             
03/22/19       (S)       NR: REINBOLD, MICCICHE, SHOWER                                                                         
03/22/19       (S)       AM: KIEHL                                                                                              
03/27/19       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
03/27/19       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 89(JUD)                                                                                  
03/29/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/29/19       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
04/01/19       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SENATOR JOHN COGHILL                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Introduced  SB 89 on  behalf of  the Senate                                                             
Rules Standing Committee, the prime sponsor.                                                                                    
CHAD HUTCHISON, Senate Majority Counsel                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Gave a presentation  and answered questions                                                             
during the hearing on SB 89.                                                                                                    
DAN WAYNE, Legislative Counsel                                                                                                  
Legislative Legal Services                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on SB
JERRY ANDERSON, Administrator                                                                                                   
Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on SB
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:01:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at 1:01  p.m.   Representatives Wool,  LeDoux,                                                               
Eastman, Stutes, Kopp, Shaw, and  Claman were present at the call                                                               
to order.                                                                                                                       
             SB  89-LEGISLATURE: ETHICS, CONFLICTS                                                                          
1:02:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
SENATE BILL  NO. 89  "An Act relating  to the  Legislative Ethics                                                               
Act;  and  providing  for  an   effective  date."    [Before  the                                                               
committee was CSSB 89(JUD), version 31-LS0209\K.]                                                                               
1:03:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  JOHN  COGHILL,  Alaska State  Legislature,  said  SB  89                                                               
addresses  House  Bill 44  [passed  during  the Thirtieth  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature],  which  enacted various  legislative  ethics                                                               
requirements  and restrictions.   He  summarized changes  made by                                                               
House Bill  44.  He said  SB 89 would not  affect most provisions                                                               
of House Bill  44 but instead would make changes  to its conflict                                                               
reporting requirements.   He explained  that the  legislature had                                                               
not realized how  broadly the ethics rules in House  Bill 44 were                                                               
written.  He said SB 89 would repair those broad definitions.                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL explained that he  was tasked with drafting SB 89                                                               
because he has sat on  the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                                               
for a number of  years and is familiar with how  it operates.  He                                                               
stressed  the  importance of  keeping  SB  89 clear,  clean,  and                                                               
unambiguous.  He noted that  House Bill 44 included new language,                                                               
new definitions,  and new requirements  that created a  "cloud of                                                               
question."   He said the  resultant confusion has  caused ethical                                                               
legislators,  acting out  of an  abundance of  caution, to  avoid                                                               
legislative duties that  they otherwise would do ethically.    He                                                               
added that  the "cloud of doubt"  has protected those who  may be                                                               
"less than  ethical" because  there is  an understanding  that no                                                               
one  would   be  charged  with  ethical   misbehavior  amid  this                                                               
confusion.   He  said  SB  89 would  clarify  these  issues.   He                                                               
pointed to Article 2 of  the Standards of Conduct for legislators                                                               
found  in  AS 24.60.030.    He  said  SB 89  primarily  addresses                                                               
subsections (e) and (g).                                                                                                        
SENATOR   COGHILL  discussed   how   the   Select  Committee   on                                                               
Legislative  Ethics   approached  the  question   of  legislators                                                               
holding private  meetings on conflicted  topics and  whether that                                                               
can be done  legitimately.  He said the  committee determined the                                                               
answer to be  "no" because, under the broad definition  of what a                                                               
conflict would be,  any impact that was greater than  that of the                                                               
general public would  create a conflict.  He  explained that this                                                               
means  legislators  are unable  to  have  private meetings  about                                                               
those topics, as  those meetings would have to be  public for the                                                               
purpose of declaring the conflict.                                                                                              
SENATOR COGHILL  said SB  89 builds upon  language "that  we knew                                                               
worked."    He said  one  new  thing proposed  by  SB  89 is  the                                                               
declaration of conflicts in committee as well as on the floor.                                                                  
SENATOR  COGHILL said  he approached  SB  89 with  an eye  toward                                                               
practicality  in  determining   how  legislators  should  declare                                                               
conflicts  when it  is clear  to them  and to  the public  that a                                                               
conflict  may  exist.   He  noted  that  the next  speaker,  Chad                                                               
Hutchison,   will   argue   that   SB  89   is   undergirded   by                                                               
constitutional arguments.   He urged the  importance of informing                                                               
the  public of  legislator conflicts  and said  SB 89  strives to                                                               
clarify that process.                                                                                                           
1:09:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  whether  the  Select Committee  on                                                               
Legislative Ethics has any thoughts or recommendations.                                                                         
SENATOR  COGHILL said  the committee's  approach is  "you deliver                                                               
the  law,  we'll  interpret  it."   He  relayed  the  committee's                                                               
perspective that  the legislature  faces "some  real conundrums."                                                               
He referenced Advisory  Opinion (AO) 18-05 and AO  19-01 in which                                                               
the Select  Committee on Legislative  Ethics interpreted  the law                                                               
to  address  questions pertaining  to  conflicts.   He  said  the                                                               
committee determined that  if a legislator has  family members or                                                               
some interest in  an enterprise, it would qualify  as a conflict.                                                               
He opined  that this flies in  the face of a  citizen legislature                                                               
and a representative democracy.                                                                                                 
1:10:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked how much  of the tension  around these                                                               
laws is  attributable to the committee's  interpretation of House                                                               
Bill  44.   He recalled  a conversation  he had  with one  of the                                                               
sponsors  in  which  the  sponsor   claimed  the  law  was  being                                                               
misinterpreted  and  that   disallowing  legislators  to  discuss                                                               
certain topics was not the intent.                                                                                              
SENATOR COGHILL  confirmed that this  was not the  intention, but                                                               
the problem  is in  how the  words were  interpreted.   He opined                                                               
that the  legislature must  strike  a cleaner line than  what has                                                               
been delivered to us.                                                                                                           
1:11:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX said  the  problem seems  to  be with  the                                                               
committee's interpretation  of the  law.   She asked,  instead of                                                               
going back  and revising,  why the  legislature cannot  just pass                                                               
clarifying  language reasserting  the intention  to not  disallow                                                               
private  meetings  with  constituents,  regardless  of  what  the                                                               
Select Committee on Legislative Ethics has said.                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL said that  is what SB 89 seeks to  do.  He argued                                                               
that language  from House  Bill 44  must be  changed in  order to                                                               
accomplish that  goal.   He said this  includes the  inclusion of                                                               
family  members  in the  conflicts  provision.   He  called  that                                                               
language "too  broad" and said  SB 89  would revert back  to more                                                               
easily-understood language.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX said she still  does not understand why her                                                               
proposed statement would be insufficient.   She suggested leaving                                                               
the ethics laws  extremely broad.  She restated  that the problem                                                               
seems to  be not that the  law includes family members,  but that                                                               
legislators "cannot have any meetings about anything."                                                                          
SENATOR COGHILL opined that the  definitions and the breadth have                                                               
become a problem.                                                                                                               
1:13:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAD   HUTCHISON,   Senate   Majority   Counsel,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, recognized  and thanked  Dan Wayne  from Legislative                                                               
Legal  Services  for  his   work  raising  constitutional  issues                                                               
related  to House  Bill  44.   He  also  thanked Jerry  Anderson,                                                               
Administrator  of the  Select Committee  for Legislative  Ethics,                                                               
for his fairness in implementing the  law and his patience as the                                                               
legislature fields  him with questions.   He referred  to several                                                               
AOs issued  by the  Select Committee  for Legislative  Ethics and                                                               
pointed out  that they were  unanimous opinions.  He  argued that                                                               
the problems that resulted from House  Bill 44 are not due to its                                                               
interpretation as  there have  been no  dissenting opinions.   He                                                               
said SB 89  attempts to resolve the issues with  the written word                                                               
of the law.                                                                                                                     
1:15:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HUTCHISON  began  his  PowerPoint  presentation  [hard  copy                                                               
included  in the  committee packet]  and addressed  slide 2.   He                                                               
clarified  that  SB 89  would  not  repeal  House  Bill 44.    He                                                               
addressed  slide  3, which  featured  a  list  of House  Bill  44                                                               
provisions  and other  standards  of conduct  which would  remain                                                               
MR. HUTCHISON addressed  slide 4.  He said SB  89 would eliminate                                                               
unconstitutional  language   added  to  statute  in   2018.    He                                                               
addressed  slide  5,  which featured  a  list  of  constitutional                                                               
issues that  have emerged because  of the conflict  provisions of                                                               
House Bill 44, which he  said have affected  fundamental rights.                                                                
He explained  that fundamental  rights may  be restricted  by the                                                               
government, but  only when  it is  necessary to  compelling state                                                               
interests and those restrictions are  narrowly tailored to be the                                                               
least  restrictive  alternative.   He  argued  that the  conflict                                                               
provisions  of  House  Bill  44  clash with  Article  II  of  the                                                               
Constitution of  the State of  Alaska because they  diminish core                                                               
legislative  functions  and  representation.     He  offered  the                                                               
example of  a current senator  who is also  a miner and  how this                                                               
senator  has been  unable to  discuss, meet  privately about,  or                                                               
carry legislation relating to mining.                                                                                           
1:18:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  why  there is  so  much  focus  on                                                               
restoring  previous   language  rather  than   adding  clarifying                                                               
language that supersedes the findings  of the Select Committee on                                                               
Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                             
MR. HUTCHISON  said that  is essentially what  SB 89  attempts to                                                               
do.   He  argued  that  the changes  are  necessary because  some                                                               
provisions in House  Bill 44 restrict fundamental  rights and are                                                               
not the least restrictive alternative.   He pointed to additional                                                               
rights laid out in  Article I, Sections 1, 5, and  6 of the state                                                               
constitution.   He argued that  these rights are  also restricted                                                               
by language in House Bill 44.   He stressed the importance of the                                                               
"least  restrictive  alternative"  requirement  when  restricting                                                               
fundamental rights.                                                                                                             
1:20:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  why the  approach  to  addressing                                                               
House  Bill 44  was not  to clarify  the definition  of "official                                                               
action"  and  ensure it  does  not  include things  like  private                                                               
MR.  HUTCHISON said  "official action"  has not  technically been                                                               
defined.  He said the  Select Committee on Legislative Ethics has                                                               
interpreted  it  as  "legislative  action,"  which  has  a  broad                                                               
definition.   He  said  he  would address  the  topic during  his                                                               
1:21:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HUTCHISON  explained that Article  II of the  Constitution of                                                               
the  State of  Alaska has  been violated  from two  perspectives:                                                               
that of the legislators who must  be able to fulfill their duties                                                               
and  that  of  constituents  who   must  have  representation  in                                                               
government.   He said the  violations of  Article I of  the state                                                               
constitution are a result of  the restrictions not fulfilling the                                                               
requirement  that they  be  "narrowly tailored  to  be the  least                                                               
restrictive  alternative"    He   said  the  current  ethics  law                                                               
violates   equal   rights   and  equal   protections   provisions                                                               
encompassed in Article  I, Section 1 because  different groups of                                                               
constituents    are   disallowed    equal    access   to    their                                                               
representatives.   He  said the  law violates  freedom of  speech                                                               
protections  encompassed  in  Article  I, Section  5  because  of                                                               
restrictions placed  on legislators  and constituents  as relates                                                               
to conversations about the legislative  process.  He said the law                                                               
violates the right  to free assembly and  petition encompassed in                                                               
Article I,  Section 6  because legislators  are not  permitted to                                                               
discuss the legislative process with constituents.                                                                              
MR. HUTCHISON  noted that House Bill  44 defines a conflict  as a                                                               
situation in  which "substantial  benefit or harm"  could result.                                                               
He referenced  a senator who  had to  withdraw a bill  because of                                                               
its potential negative  impacts to her husband, who  works in the                                                               
medical field.  Theoretically, he  said, a senator could not push                                                               
legislation that would  benefit the entire state of  Alaska if it                                                               
would also harm him/her financially.                                                                                            
1:25:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   HUTCHISON  addressed   slide   6,   which  listed   federal                                                               
constitutional  rights that  he said  have been  violated by  the                                                               
ethics law.   He spoke  to violations  of the First  Amendment of                                                               
the Constitution  of the United  States of America.   He remarked                                                               
that the  Fourteenth Amendment,  which ensures  citizens liberty,                                                               
is also  violated when restrictions  are placed  on constituents'                                                               
ability to petition their government.                                                                                           
1:25:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked for an  elaboration of  the Fourteenth                                                               
Amendment protection relating to property.                                                                                      
MR. HUTCHISON said the government  cannot deprive people of life,                                                               
liberty, or  property without due process  of law.  He  said this                                                               
requires some sort of notice, process, or adjudication.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL inquired  about the  constitutionality of  a                                                               
withholding the  legislator per diem  should  certain  bills  not                                                               
pass.  He clarified that  the legislator per diem is compensation                                                               
for room and board  in a town other than one's own.   He asked if                                                               
withholding expected  compensation for  living expenses  would be                                                               
MR. HUTCHISON  said, "I think  your instincts are correct  on the                                                               
per diem," though  stressed that the per diem was  not a focus of                                                               
his presentation.  He recommended  the committee members read Dan                                                               
Wayne's memorandums  on various constitutional issues  related to                                                               
House Bill 44.                                                                                                                  
1:28:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HUTCHISON  addressed slide  7.   He said section  1 of  SB 89                                                               
would amend  AS 24.60.030(e)  and address  issues related  to the                                                               
"scope of  conflict.   He  highlighted various issues  related to                                                               
the practical  result of House Bill  44 including "a vast  net of                                                               
conflict" because conflicts  extend to the immediate  family.  He                                                               
stressed that these are not the least restrictive alternatives.                                                                 
MR. HUTCHISON addressed slide 8,  which detailed proposed changes                                                               
to AS  24.60.030(e).  He  explained that  SB 89 would  return the                                                               
language   used   before   2018.     For   perspective   on   the                                                               
ramifications, he recommended the  committee consult Uniform Rule                                                               
34(b); Mason's  Manual Sections 241,  522, and 560;  and Advisory                                                             
Opinions 04-02, 08-01,  11-05, and 13-01.  He  said those sources                                                               
provide insight  on how ethics  issues related to  conflicts were                                                               
handled  prior to  House Bill  44.   He  noted that  SB 89  would                                                               
eliminate  the language  "immediate family"  within the  scope of                                                               
conflict, as well as passages  that restrict legislator advocacy.                                                               
He  said  the  bill  would  also  eliminate  the  $10,000  income                                                               
threshold and the language "preceding 12-month period."                                                                         
1:32:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HUTCHISON  addressed slide  9.   He said section  2 of  SB 89                                                               
would amend  AS 24.60.030(g).   He spoke to the  connectedness of                                                               
subsections (e)  and (g)  of the  statute.   He said  the changes                                                               
proposed  by SB  89 further  address the  expansion of  conflicts                                                               
enacted  by House  Bill 44.   He  noted that  House Bill  44 made                                                               
omnibus  bills  impractical  because  their  multiple  provisions                                                               
increase the  likelihood of legislator conflicts.   He referenced                                                               
a  situation involving  Senator  Shelley Hughes,  who chairs  the                                                               
Senate  Judiciary Standing  Committee.   He  said Senator  Hughes                                                               
could not  hold a hearing  on an omnibus criminal  justice reform                                                               
bill because  the bill dealt  with the Alaska  Therapeutic Courts                                                               
and her  husband works in the  medical field.  He  spoke to other                                                               
impractical approaches  the Senate  Majority has  had to  take in                                                               
order to abide by the provisions of House Bill 44.                                                                              
MR. HUTCHISON addressed slide 10,  which listed the changes to AS                                                               
24.60.030(g) proposed  by SB 89.   He said conflicts  would still                                                               
have to  be declared  before voting on  a question  in committee,                                                               
but  all other  restrictions and  prohibitions would  be removed.                                                               
He said SB  89 would revert the language  "financial interest" to                                                               
the less-restrictive  "equity or  ownership interest."   He added                                                               
that  the   language  "general  public"  would   be  returned  to                                                               
"substantial class of persons to  which the legislator belongs as                                                               
a member of  a profession, occupation, industry, or  region."  He                                                               
explained that "general  public" is too broad  and therefore does                                                               
not abide by the "least restrictive" requirement.                                                                               
1:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HUTCHISON addressed  slides 11 and 12,  which covered section                                                               
3  of  SB 89.    He  explained that  section  3  would repeal  AS                                                               
24.60.030(j)(2), which  defines "substantially benefit  or harm,"                                                               
and AS  24.60.990(a)(6), which defines "financial  interest."  He                                                               
argued that  these paragraphs should  be removed for  purposes of                                                               
clarity, as the  current definitions are too  broad and therefore                                                               
too  restrictive.   He noted  that the  current language  creates                                                               
myriad  problems  for  legislators  who might  or  might  not  be                                                               
conflicted.     He   reiterated   that   these  restrictions   of                                                               
fundamental rights do not abide by the necessary requirements.                                                                  
1:38:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HUTCHISON addressed slide 13,  which explained that section 4                                                               
of SB 89 would make the act effective immediately upon signing.                                                                 
MR.  HUTCHISON addressed  slide  14,  titled "This  clarification                                                               
attempts to  find the  right balance."   He referenced  AO 19-01,                                                               
authored by  Dan Wayne, and  stressed the  indubitable importance                                                               
of high moral and ethical  standards among public servants in the                                                               
legislative  branch.    He  said  such  standards  are  vital  to                                                               
government trust, respect, and the confidence of constituents.                                                                  
MR. HUTCHISON  paraphrased Mason's  Manual section 522  and said,                                                             
"The right  of the members  to represent their  constituencies is                                                               
of  such major  importance  that members  should  be barred  from                                                               
their  constitutionally required  representative  duties only  in                                                               
clear cases of  personal enrichment."  He  pointed to previously-                                                               
utilized  tools for  addressing  these situations  such as  voter                                                               
recall,  censure,  and ethical  sanctions.    He said  the  final                                                               
decision is in  the election process, where voters  can engage in                                                               
recourse against a  legislator who is perceived  to be unethical.                                                               
He said  there were  plenty of  options for  addressing unethical                                                               
behavior prior to House Bill 44.                                                                                                
1:40:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES asked  for verification  that SB  89 would                                                               
not change the  practice of a legislator declaring  a conflict on                                                               
the  floor and  then being  required to  vote upon  a colleague's                                                               
MR. HUTCHISON  said things would go  back to how they  were prior                                                               
to  House Bill  44, so  if that  was the  process back  then, the                                                               
answer is yes.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES noted  that this  custom seems  to be  the                                                               
topic  related  to  legislative  ethics  that  elicits  the  most                                                               
complaints  from  her  constituents.     She  called  the  custom                                                               
1:41:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN recalled that  there was a proposed change                                                               
to the Uniform  Rules of the Alaska State  Legislature to address                                                               
the  issue   raised  by  Representative   Stutes,  and   that  it                                                               
accompanied House Bill 44 but did not  pass.  He asked if that is                                                               
MR.  HUTCHISON said  he remembered  it being  a House  Concurrent                                                               
Resolution.  He asked for clarification.                                                                                        
CHAIR  CLAMAN  noted  that  House  Bill 44  came  attached  to  a                                                               
concurrent resolution [House  Concurrent Resolution 1 (introduced                                                               
in  the  Thirtieth Alaska  State  Legislature)]  that would  have                                                               
changed  the uniform  rule relating  to the  issue referenced  by                                                               
Representative  Stutes.   He said  changes to  the uniform  rules                                                               
require a  two-thirds vote; House Concurrent  Resolution 1 failed                                                               
to reach that threshold in the House.                                                                                           
MR.  HUTCHISON clarified  that if  House Concurrent  Resolution 1                                                               
did not  pass, then SB 89  would not address the  issue mentioned                                                               
by Representative Stutes.                                                                                                       
1:42:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked for verification that  to change the                                                               
current  practice  of  declaring  conflicts on  the  floor  would                                                               
require a change to the uniform rules.                                                                                          
MR. HUTCHISON deferred to Dan Wayne.                                                                                            
1:43:44 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  WAYNE,  Legislative  Counsel,  Legislative  Legal  Services,                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, said Uniform Rule  34(b) was unchanged                                                               
during the passage of House Bill  44.  He quoted language from AS                                                               
24.60.030(g) indicating  that the voting requirement  spelled out                                                               
in Uniform Rule 34(b) takes precedent over statute.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked again if  the Uniform Rules  must be                                                               
changed to change the practice.                                                                                                 
MR.  WAYNE answered  correct.   He noted  that [House  Concurrent                                                               
Resolution 1] did not pass the legislature.                                                                                     
1:44:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  said the custom  is to not identify  the legislator                                                               
who objects when  another legislator requests to  be excused from                                                               
a vote.   He asked if there  is anything in the  Uniform Rules or                                                               
Mason's Manual that  would prevent the House from  adopting a new                                                             
practice of identifying the objector.                                                                                           
MR.  WAYNE said  there is  nothing that  he knows  of that  would                                                               
prevent that.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked if  it  has  long  been customary  that  the                                                               
objector is not identified.                                                                                                     
MR. WAYNE said  it is his understanding that it  has evolved as a                                                               
custom.   He said he  does not know if  that has always  been the                                                               
same custom,  "but it  is the  custom now and  has been  for some                                                               
1:45:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   WOOL  asked   a  question   about  the   $10,000                                                               
salary/benefit restriction included in House Bill 44.                                                                           
MR. HUTCHISON said  $10,000 is the standard used  to determine if                                                               
a legislator  has a conflict.   As an  example, he said  a person                                                               
who  earned $100,000  over  the  past 12  months  working in  the                                                               
insurance  industry would  have  to be  careful when  considering                                                               
insurance-related bills.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  noted that SB 89  returns language requiring                                                               
"ownership or equity"  for there to be a conflict.   He said this                                                               
means a  person working for  a labor  union or oil  company would                                                               
not be  deemed to be  conflicted because  he/she does not  own or                                                               
hold shares in the union or oil company.                                                                                        
MR. HUTCHISON said it is true  that the class of conflict will be                                                               
reset to  "equity or ownership  interest," which is  what existed                                                               
in  statute  prior  to House  Bill  44.    He  noted that  it  is                                                               
important to  remember that the  Select Committee  on Legislative                                                               
Ethics  assesses each  potential ethical  conflict on  a case-to-                                                               
case basis.                                                                                                                     
1:49:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN presented a hypothetical  scenario: "Let's say I own                                                               
ExxonMobil stock  valued at  more than $10,000  ... and  they pay                                                               
dividends of  $1,000.  And  now there's an  oil and gas  tax bill                                                               
that comes  in front of  the legislature."   He asked,  under the                                                               
current law, whether that is something to disclose.                                                                             
MR. HUTCHISON deferred to Jerry Anderson.                                                                                       
1:50:05 PM                                                                                                                    
JERRY  ANDERSON, Administrator,  Select Committee  on Legislative                                                               
Ethics, asked for  clarification that the income  in the scenario                                                               
is $1,000 in the form of a dividend.                                                                                            
CHAIR CLAMAN  repeated that  the dividend  payment last  year was                                                               
$1,000 and the stock is worth  over $10,000.  He noted that, like                                                               
all stock owners, he would hope  that the stock price would go up                                                               
and not down.  He repeated  that the scenario includes an oil and                                                               
tax bill before the legislature.                                                                                                
MR. ANDERSON  said it  would be his  informal advice  that, under                                                               
that  scenario, a  conflict would  not exist  because income  was                                                               
only $1,000, less than the $10,000 restriction.                                                                                 
CHAIR CLAMAN asked whether, under  the proposed changes of SB 89,                                                               
the  same  situation  with  the   ExxonMobil  stock  would  be  a                                                               
declarable conflict.                                                                                                            
MR. ANDERSON said the answer to  that question can be found in AO                                                               
13-01 which  addressed a  similar scenario.   He said  the answer                                                               
was that  it was not  a conflict,  based on those  specific facts                                                               
"where  it  was  a  small   number  of  shares  compared  to  the                                                               
outstanding number of shares."                                                                                                  
1:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN asked  Mr. Anderson  to  respond to  Representative                                                               
Wool's previous question.                                                                                                       
MR.  ANDERSON  said questions  related  to  employment were  also                                                               
addressed by  the Select  Committee on  Legislative Ethics  in AO                                                               
13-01.  He  said that opinion addressed  both self-employment and                                                               
employment with  an oil  industry company.   He noted  that, even                                                               
though the  language of the law  at that time was  similar to the                                                               
language proposed by SB 89,  the committee was "looking at things                                                               
like employment, stock ownership, self-employment."                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked for verification  that there is  not a                                                               
simple  yes or  no answer  to questions  of conflicts  related to                                                               
employment, and that the answer  is located somewhere in Advisory                                                               
Opinion 13-01.                                                                                                                  
MR. ANDERSON answered, "I believe that  is correct."  He said the                                                               
committee would consider the specific set of facts.                                                                             
CHAIR  CLAMAN noted  that, while  he  appreciates Mr.  Anderson's                                                               
input,  the committee  would like  to hear  his opinion  on these                                                               
matters rather than be told to "go home and read the opinion."                                                                  
1:54:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN recalled  discussing House  Bill 44  with                                                               
the  prime sponsor  during the  previous  session.   He said  the                                                               
concerns about  floor votes raised by  Representative Stutes were                                                               
part of that discussion.   He said it was ironic  that it was the                                                               
one thing  he and the  prime sponsor agreed  upon, yet it  is not                                                               
present  in SB  89.   He  asked  Mr. Hutchison  why  that is  and                                                               
whether  there is  some  type of  value  in maintaining  objector                                                               
MR. HUTCHISON  answered that the  specific focus  of SB 89  is AS                                                               
24.60.030(e) and AS 24.60.030(g), and  that this focus was in the                                                               
interest of time and workload.                                                                                                  
1:56:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  said SB 89 makes  reference to a legislator  who is                                                               
negotiating  for employment.   He  noted that  this reference  is                                                               
located  in  line 9  of  page  2.   He  said  the bill  makes  no                                                               
reference to a  person with whom the legislator is  employed.  He                                                               
asked: "Why  would there be  no duty to  declare a conflict  if a                                                               
person  is  employed,  but  nevertheless  they  would  declare  a                                                               
conflict if they were negotiating for employment?"                                                                              
MR.  HUTCHISON answered  that the  presumption is  to return  the                                                               
language exactly  to the way it  was prior to House  Bill 44, and                                                               
that is how the law read then.                                                                                                  
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked if he could  think of any reason  why someone                                                               
would need to disclose that  he/she is negotiating for employment                                                               
while   another  legislator   employed  by   someone  who   could                                                               
experience  "substantial  benefit  or  harm" would  not  need  to                                                               
disclose his/her employment.                                                                                                    
MR. HUTCHISON said the drafters  are open to discussing potential                                                               
adjustments to the language of the bill.                                                                                        
1:57:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   WOOL  asked   whether,   in   the  interest   of                                                               
simplicity, a full repeal of House Bill 44 was ever discussed.                                                                  
MR. HUTCHISON answered  yes.  He noted that  Senator David Wilson                                                               
had wanted a complete repeal.   He said a full repeal would raise                                                               
additional issues.   He noted that  other parts of House  Bill 44                                                               
have quite a bit  of support.  He said the focus  has been on the                                                               
conflict   provisions  because   of   how   they  have   hampered                                                               
legislative duties.                                                                                                             
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked for confirmation that  Senator Wilson offered                                                               
a floor  amendment to  fully repeal  House Bill  44 and  that the                                                               
amendment failed in the Senate.                                                                                                 
MR. HUTCHISON  answered yes.   He restated that there  are others                                                               
in the  Senate Majority  Caucus who  support other  provisions of                                                               
House Bill 44 and do not support a full repeal.                                                                                 
1:59:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  when  the constitutional  problems                                                               
with House Bill 44 first became known.                                                                                          
MR. HUTCHISON said the issues  started to become known within the                                                               
past  few months.   He  repeated  examples of  senators who  were                                                               
unable to fulfill legislative duties due to perceived conflicts.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN said  he  recalled  a lengthy  memorandum                                                               
from  "our  Legislative  Counsel"  to  then-Senator  Kevin  Meyer                                                               
relating to the constitutionality of House Bill 44.                                                                             
MR.  HUTCHISON recognized  the memorandum  authored by  Mr. Wayne                                                               
and added that  Mr. Wayne had identified many  issues relating to                                                               
House Bill 44.                                                                                                                  
2:01:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN  said he has always  been troubled by the  notion of                                                               
legislators  not being  allowed to  vote because  of a  conflict,                                                               
which  he  feels  conflicts  with   the  right  to  petition  the                                                               
government in  Article I,  Section 6 of  the Constitution  of the                                                               
State of Alaska.  He noted  that this issue was addressed to some                                                               
extent in  the United  States Supreme Court  case Bond  v. Floyd.                                                             
He postulated  that to prevent  a legislator from  voting because                                                               
of  a  conflict  would  be   a  violation  of  that  legislator's                                                               
constituents' right to petition the government.                                                                                 
MR. HUTCHISON  agreed that there  are constitutional  issues with                                                               
depriving citizens the ability to petition their government.                                                                    
2:02:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL noted that $10,000  in income from ExxonMobil                                                               
dividends would represent a conflict.   He asked whether the same                                                               
could apply with the permanent  fund dividend (PFD) if a family's                                                               
household income  could be augmented  by more than $10,000  via a                                                               
robust PFD.                                                                                                                     
MR. ANDERSON said the Select  Committee on Legislative Ethics has                                                               
determined that  the PFD  would not present  a conflict  based on                                                               
the number of  children even if it went over  $10,000 as a family                                                               
unit.   He  said  this is  because each  family  member would  be                                                               
receiving the same amount - not  a greater amount - as members of                                                               
the general public.                                                                                                             
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked for  verification that  there is  no conflict                                                               
even  if  one  legislator  with  10 children  looks  to  take  in                                                               
substantially more  income from  a $3,000  PFD than  a legislator                                                               
with only one child.                                                                                                            
MR. ANDERSON said it is his  understanding that that would not be                                                               
a conflict.                                                                                                                     
MR. HUTCHISON  noted that  a rising  tide floats  all ships.   He                                                               
clarified  that  the  Select   Committee  on  Legislative  Ethics                                                               
decided that the PFD does  not represent a conflict because every                                                               
individual receives the same amount of money.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  said he appreciates that  interpretation but                                                               
noted  that the  parents can  pocket the  family's PFD  checks if                                                               
their  kids  are  minors.   He  shared  frustrations  with  these                                                               
2:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  a  clarifying  question about  the                                                               
previous example of ExxonMobil shares  and dividends.  He posited                                                               
that if  he were to  vote a certain  way that causes  next year's                                                               
dividend  income  to   soar  above  $10,000,  he   would  not  be                                                               
conflicted until next year.  He asked if that was correct.                                                                      
MR.  HUTCHISON said  that  is correct.    He referenced  Advisory                                                               
Opinion  19-02, which  considered  the  year-to-year variance  of                                                               
income for professions such as commercial fishing.                                                                              
2:07:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN noted  that SB 89 would remove  the provisions about                                                               
family member conflicts.  He questioned the removal of spouses.                                                                 
MR. HUTCHISON  said the language  that existed before  House Bill                                                               
44 was less  restrictive, so that is the  rationale for returning                                                               
to it.                                                                                                                          
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  why, if the intent of the  legislation is for                                                               
legislators  to  declare  their conflicts,  the  conflicts  of  a                                                               
legislator's spouse  would be exempted.   He noted  that marriage                                                               
creates legal bonds that do not exist elsewhere.                                                                                
MR. HUTCHISON said a similar  conversation occurred in the Senate                                                               
Judiciary  Standing  Committee.    He noted  that  Alaska  Public                                                               
Offices Commission  (APOC) reporting includes money  coming in to                                                               
the  family  unit.   He  said,  "we're  open to  a  conversation"                                                               
regarding  the spousal  question but  stressed that  every change                                                               
will be viewed through the "least restrictive" lens.                                                                            
2:09:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  whether  SB  89  would  similarly                                                               
exclude children,  including situations where the  child's income                                                               
is being held in trust by the parent.                                                                                           
MR.  HUTCHISON  said  that  was  considered.   He  added  that  a                                                               
household  could  include  not   just  dependent  children  of  a                                                               
legislator,  but   also  a  dependent   parent.    He   said  the                                                               
difficulties involved  with assessing that  financial information                                                               
were determined to be too burdensome and too restrictive.                                                                       
2:11:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN   opened  public  testimony   on  SB  89.     After                                                               
ascertaining  that no  one wished  to testify,  he closed  public                                                               
testimony on SB 89.                                                                                                             
2:11:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  said, "I  have  very  little interest  in                                                               
fiddling around with  this legislation as long as  we are leaving                                                               
... the huge  elephant in the room.   And that is:  No matter how                                                               
gross  your conflict  is, how  clear  your conflict  is, you  can                                                               
simply vote.   You  declare it,  and then you  vote."   She noted                                                               
that   the   Alaska   State   Legislature   mandated   that   the                                                               
municipalities enact  rules to  prevent municipal  officials from                                                               
voting in  assembly if they have  conflicts.  She said  Alaska is                                                               
one  of only  a  few states  in  the entire  nation  that has  no                                                               
preclusions for  voting if there is  a conflict.  She  noted that                                                               
some states have  a strong threshold for  precluding a legislator                                                               
from voting.   She said she feels  there is no point to  SB 89 as                                                               
long as it does nothing to change [Uniform Rule 34(b)].                                                                         
2:13:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said he was  surprised on his first day as                                                               
a legislator  to find  that he  had no option  to abstain  from a                                                               
vote.  He noted that Alaska is one  of a few states that does not                                                               
allow a legislator  to abstain.  He opined that  the inability to                                                               
abstain  is the  perfect cover  for a  legislator who  would vote                                                               
with bad motives.   He said he understands that  there are unique                                                               
aspects  to  being  among the  smallest  state  legislatures  but                                                               
restated that  it always  felt odd  to him.   He  shared concerns                                                               
with bills  such as SB  89 that  are built around  the assumption                                                               
that conflicted legislators will vote  anyway.  He noted that the                                                               
bill also operates under the  assumption that the public will not                                                               
be   engaged,  thus   necessitating   rules,  restrictions,   and                                                               
requirements to offset  that disengagement.  He  said the ensuing                                                               
"counter-intuitive process"  make the legislature  more confusing                                                               
to  members of  the public  who do  wish to  become engaged.   He                                                               
called the process  very strange  and  opined that SB 89 is not a                                                               
good solution.                                                                                                                  
2:15:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL said  he echoes  Representatives LeDoux  and                                                               
Eastman.   He  said the  initial  goal of  House Bill  44 was  to                                                               
change  the Uniform  Rules and  that its  prime sponsor  sought a                                                               
situation  in which  the body  determines  whether a  legitimate,                                                               
clearly-defined conflict should  preclude a vote.   He noted that                                                               
a  ballot  initiative  drafted  by  an  outside  group  had  been                                                               
absorbed  into House  Bill 44.   He  spoke to  how lobbyists  can                                                               
skirt ethics rules related to  taking a legislator out to dinner.                                                               
He  expressed frustration  with the  provision that  would punish                                                               
legislators by  taking away  their per diem  for not  passing the                                                               
budget  by  a certain date     He noted that the  business of the                                                               
House was delayed because organization  was not achieved until 35                                                               
days into  the session.  He  said it would be  "punitive" to have                                                               
legislators pay for  their own hotel room and meals  in Juneau in                                                               
June.   He  advocated  for a  full  repeal of  House  Bill 44  if                                                               
Uniform Rule 34(b) could be  changed, which he reiterated was the                                                               
original  intent of  the original  bill  sponsor.   He said  most                                                               
other legislative  bodies have  a process  for abstaining  from a                                                               
vote due to a conflict.   He said he appreciates the fix proposed                                                               
in  SB 89,  but there  are constitutional  issues with  more than                                                               
just what it addresses.                                                                                                         
2:17:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW  asked, "If we  are affected by this  law, or                                                               
we are conflicted  by this law, how  are we able to  vote on this                                                               
law?"  He noted that this might be "a rabbit hole."                                                                             
MR.  HUTCHISON  said  the  broad   scope  of  conflicts  and  the                                                               
restrictions placed upon legislators are  what SB 89 is trying to                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN  clarified Representative Shaw's question:  "If this                                                               
bill affects  what we have to  declare and what we  don't have to                                                               
declare, don't we all have a  conflict in voting on this bill, in                                                               
and of itself?"   He pondered whether all  40 representatives and                                                               
all  20 senators  are automatically  conflicted because  the bill                                                               
relates to their conduct.                                                                                                       
MR.  HUTCHISON  said conflicts  exist  everywhere  and to  go  in                                                               
circles raises the question, where does it end?                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW said the reason  he asked what because he was                                                               
2:20:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP commented that  the committee should focus on                                                               
the original intent of SB 89's  drafters to address only a narrow                                                               
portion of House  Bill 44.  He also noted  that the Senate passed                                                               
the  bill  on   "a  pretty  strong  vote."     He  remarked  that                                                               
Representative  LeDoux  eloquently  shared her  frustration  with                                                               
[Uniform Rule  34(b)].   He suggested a  separate bill  to tackle                                                               
that issue.  He stated that the  drafters of SB 89 wish to simply                                                               
reset the conflict provisions to what  they were prior to 2018 in                                                               
order  to  make them  more  manageable  and  to align  them  with                                                               
constitutional rights.   He said  SB 89 would  enable legislators                                                               
to adequately  represent a  broader constituency  versus removing                                                               
themselves from the job  they were elected to do.   He said SB 89                                                               
addresses  two  things  on  which  the Senate  was  able  to  get                                                               
consensus.   He  noted  that committee  members have  highlighted                                                               
additional  things they  would like  to see  changed.   He stated                                                               
that the  drafters of  SB 89  did well to  achieve their  goal of                                                               
addressing  the constitutional  and pragmatic  issues with  House                                                               
Bill 44.   He  called the  bill in front  of the  committee "very                                                               
2:23:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  said  he  agrees  to  some  extent  with  previous                                                               
committee members  who have shared  concerns about  the inability                                                               
to  be excused  from voting.   He  added that  he is  also really                                                               
troubled by the notion of being  excused from voting.  He pointed                                                               
to  Article I,  Section 6  of the  Constitution of  the State  of                                                               
Alaska, which  relates to the  right to petition  the government.                                                               
He noted that  the state constitution can  provide greater rights                                                               
than  can  the  federal  constitution.   He  remarked  that  each                                                               
constituent  has the  right to  petition  his/her government  and                                                               
that the most direct means  to petition the government is through                                                               
one's legislators.   He stated  that constituents have  the right                                                               
to  call their  representative, have  their representative  vote,                                                               
and know how  their representative has voted, no  matter how many                                                               
"warts  or conflicts  or issues"  that legislator  may have.   He                                                               
said to preclude a legislator  who is also an ExxonMobil employee                                                               
from  voting  on   an  oil  and  tax  bill   would  deprive  that                                                               
legislator's constituents  from access to one  of their essential                                                               
representative  forms of  government.   He  noted  that, while  a                                                               
constituent of  a conflicted legislator could  conceivably get in                                                               
touch with  a different  legislator, there  is no  guarantee that                                                               
he/she would be  treated with the same favor as  one of the other                                                               
legislator's  actual constituents.   He  reiterated his  concerns                                                               
with  anything  that  says  a   person  cannot  petition  his/her                                                               
legislator and  anything that would prevent  that legislator from                                                               
voting  on behalf  of his/her  constituents.   He  noted that  he                                                               
feels    the   Select    Committee   on    Legislative   Ethics's                                                               
interpretation of House Bill 44  violates the Constitution of the                                                               
State of  Alaska.   He said  the bill in  front of  the committee                                                               
purports to offer  a fix to some  of those problems.   He said he                                                               
thinks  it is  a good  bill for  the committee  to consider  with                                                               
great care.                                                                                                                     
2:27:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  said Chair  Claman spoke  eloquently about                                                               
the right  to petition.   She said that,  to the extent  that his                                                               
remarks  are constitutionally  valid, the  legislature should  go                                                               
back  and redo  all the  laws mandating  that the  municipalities                                                               
preclude conflicted officials from voting.                                                                                      
2:27:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN said  he thinks there is some point  to that, but it                                                               
is not the bill in front of  the committee.  He announced that SB
89 would be held for further review.                                                                                            
2:28:42 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:28 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB089 ver K 4.1.19.PDF HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 Sponsor Statement 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 Sectional Analysis ver K 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 Explanation of Changes ver U to ver K 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 Supporting Document-Advisory Opinion 18-05 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 Supporting Document-Advisory Opinion 19-01 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 PowerPoint Presentation 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89
SB089 Fiscal Note LEG-SESS 4.1.19.pdf HJUD 4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 89