Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

02/12/2020 01:45 PM JUDICIARY

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01:55:45 PM Start
01:56:31 PM Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
02:06:04 PM Commission on Judicial Conduct
02:13:22 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
- Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
- Commission on Judicial Conduct
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 12, 2020                                                                                        
                           1:55 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     William Granger - Anchorage                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Jane Mores - Anchorage                                                                                                     
     Robert Sheldon - Anchorage                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM GRANGER, Appointee                                                                                                      
Board of Governors                                                                                                              
Alaska Bar Association                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony on his appointment to the                                                              
Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JANE MORES, Appointee                                                                                                           
Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                           
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony  on her appointment to the                                                             
Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT SHELDON, Appointee                                                                                                       
Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                           
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered testimony  on his appointment to the                                                             
Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:55:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 1:55  p.m.  Representatives  Claman, Stutes,                                                               
LeDoux,   and  Shaw   were  present   at  the   call  to   order.                                                               
Representatives Kopp and  Drummond arrived as the  meeting was in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
^Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar                                                                                           
              Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar                                                                          
                                                                                                                              
1:56:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
the  Confirmation  Hearings on  the  Board  of Governors  of  the                                                               
Alaska Bar and the Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:56:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:57:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM  GRANGER,  Appointee,  Board  of  Governors,  Alaska  Bar                                                               
Association, offered  testimony on his appointment  to the Alaska                                                               
Bar  Association Board  of  Governors.   He  stated  that he  has                                                               
served  on the  Board of  Governors for  approximately 14  years,                                                               
although  not all  that time  has been  served contiguously.   He                                                               
explained that most of his time  served on the Board of Governors                                                               
has been  as treasurer.   He  expressed that  he has  enjoyed the                                                               
work,  learned  a  lot  along  the way,  and  would  like  to  be                                                               
considered for reappointment.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:58:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   asked  Mr.   Granger,  aside   from  his                                                               
experience on  the Board of  Governors, what qualifies him  to be                                                               
on the board.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:58:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRANGER  answered  that  he  thinks  boards  should  have  a                                                               
reasonable amount of  diversity and talent.  He  remarked that he                                                               
is  a  public  member  and   has  been  involved  with  financial                                                               
businesses  for most  of his  life.   He expressed  that he  is a                                                               
"numbers,  dollars, sense  kind of  guy."   He said  that he  has                                                               
interacted extensively  with the  legal community  throughout his                                                               
professional career,  which gives him a  reasonable understanding                                                               
of how lawyers  operate in civil proceedings.   He expressed that                                                               
he thinks he  lends a great deal of  continuity and institutional                                                               
knowledge to  the board;  the board  members turn  over regularly                                                               
and he stated that he thinks  he is the longest tenured member to                                                               
have  ever served  on the  board.   He  said that  he thinks  the                                                               
institutional knowledge he  has is valuable in  helping new board                                                               
members  get up  to speed  as quickly  as possible;  the turnover                                                               
typically happens every three years.   He added, "It takes really                                                               
a full year  for them to get  a grasp as to what's  going on, the                                                               
second year  to start kind  of contributing in a  meaningful way,                                                               
and the  third year to  be up to  speed and running,  and usually                                                               
after  that  they're gone."    He  summarized  that as  a  public                                                               
member, he  is always interested in  what is good for  the public                                                               
and working to  ensure that the Alaska Bar  Association is acting                                                               
in the  public's best interest  and contributing to  the public's                                                               
perception of the judiciary.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:01:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked whether  Mr. Granger could  tell her                                                               
what the function is of the  Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar                                                               
Association.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:01:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER  replied that the  Board of Governors  is responsible                                                               
for administering the testing for  the entrance to the Alaska Bar                                                               
Association and  it makes recommendations  to the  Alaska Supreme                                                               
Court.    He stated  that  it  is responsible  for  administering                                                               
discipline  in matters  regarding lawyers  who may  have violated                                                               
ethics or court rules.  The  board also administers funds for the                                                               
lawyers' fund  for client protection;  should a lawyer  pass away                                                               
while he/she  has clients, the  board will handle  the transition                                                               
and arrange  to find another  lawyer to take  over the case.   He                                                               
said  that  the  board  is involved  in  education  and  advocacy                                                               
projects,  and it  puts on  a  free legal  symposium that  allows                                                               
people  to meet  a  large group  of lawyers  and  get free  legal                                                               
advice.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:03:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN noted  that he had served on the  Board of Governors                                                               
for six years in the mid-2000s,  and he found Mr. Granger to have                                                               
a  very active  presence.   He stated  that the  total number  of                                                               
members on  the Board of  Governors is 12 or  13, 3 of  which are                                                               
public  members.   He  explained  that  Mr.  Granger was  in  the                                                               
minority as a public member  and, in two significant areas during                                                               
Chair Claman's tenure,  Mr. Granger was a tireless  voice for the                                                               
public's  interest.   He  recalled a  discussion  on whether  the                                                               
Alaska  Bar  Association  should  have a  director  of  pro  bono                                                               
services, in which the public  members of the board really worked                                                               
to convince  the lawyers on  the board that  it was a  good idea.                                                               
He added that  Mr. Granger was also a very  strong voice in terms                                                               
of increasing  required continuing education, which  prevailed in                                                               
the Alaska  Supreme Court and  resulted in a now  mandatory legal                                                               
education  rule.    He  summarized  that  Mr.  Granger  has  been                                                               
effective  on the  board and  has a  great deal  of institutional                                                               
knowledge.   He expressed that  he thinks it  is good to  see Mr.                                                               
Granger  desire to  continue his  service, and  he commended  the                                                               
governor for re-appointing him to the board.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[The statement made  in regard to forwarding  the confirmation of                                                               
William  Granger, Appointee,  Board  of  Governors, was  combined                                                               
with  the   statement  forwarding  the  two   appointees  to  the                                                               
Commission on Judicial Conduct made at the end of the meeting.]                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
^Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                                                 
                 Commission on Judicial Conduct                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:06:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANE  MORES, Appointee,  Commission on  Judicial Conduct,  Alaska                                                               
Court  System,  offered  testimony  on  her  appointment  to  the                                                               
Commission on Judicial  Conduct.  She stated that she  has been a                                                               
member of the  Alaska Bar Association for nearly 30  years and it                                                               
was her pleasure  to serve on the Commission  on Judicial Conduct                                                               
for the  past year.   She  expressed that she  was honored  to be                                                               
reappointed and  hopes to continue  her service for a  full four-                                                               
year  term.    She  stated  that she  did  not  have  a  prepared                                                               
statement, but  she would  be happy to  answer any  questions the                                                               
committee might have.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:07:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND thanked Ms. Mores  for her service on the                                                               
commission.  She  pointed out to the committee that  Ms. Mores is                                                               
the sister  of Senator  Shelley Hughes.   She expressed  that she                                                               
met Ms. Mores  in her first year  as a legislator in  2013 and is                                                               
"pleased to no  end" to be able  to move her name  forward on the                                                               
appointment.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:07:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  stated that he has  known Ms. Mores for  nearly his                                                               
entire time  in the  legislature and  has always  appreciated her                                                               
participation and contributions  in the community.   He said that                                                               
he is  pleased to see  her getting reappointed to  the Commission                                                               
on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  SHELDON,  Appointee,   Commission  on  Judicial  Conduct,                                                               
Alaska Court System, offered testimony  on his appointment to the                                                               
Commission on  Judicial Conduct.   He stated  that he is  a third                                                               
generation Alaskan  who has followed  in his family's  example of                                                               
public service  in Alaska, which  has spanned the last  88 years.                                                               
He  said he  is presently  employed  by companies  and serves  on                                                               
boards  for   high  latitude   capital  formation   and  business                                                               
endeavors  in Alaska,  Canada, Iceland,  Greenland, and  Mainland                                                               
Scandinavia.   He  explained that  since 2004,  he has  served on                                                               
several boards,  commissions, and councils  for each of  the past                                                               
five governors  of Alaska.  He  stated that he would  be going on                                                               
to his  fourth term on  the Commission  on Judicial Conduct.   He                                                               
explained  that  the  commission  investigates  alleged  judicial                                                               
misconduct  and ethical  impropriety;  he expressed  that it  was                                                               
fortunate   that   most   of   these   complaints   were   either                                                               
unsubstantiated or not under the commission's jurisdiction.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHELDON  said that  his  education,  work, and  interest  in                                                               
finance  and  economics  extends  to  interconnections  with  the                                                               
judiciary, and he  expressed that the rule of law  is critical to                                                               
the orderly  function of the economy  but is also a  component of                                                               
Alaska's cost of capital.  He  explained that Alaska is priced as                                                               
though  it  is  an  emerging  market  rather  than  a  developing                                                               
economy;  it   is  his  hope  that   through  ensuring  continued                                                               
confidence  in  the  judiciary, Alaska's  cost  of  capital  will                                                               
decrease  over time.   He  expressed that  serving on  the Alaska                                                               
Commission on  Judicial Conduct has been  an extremely satisfying                                                               
experience,  but he  has seen  it  is highly  important that  the                                                               
commission  has  orderly  continuity   of  service,  as  well  as                                                               
institutional  knowledge  retention  amongst  its  members.    He                                                               
stated  that  judge  and  attorney  representatives  are,  for  a                                                               
variety of reasons, frequently unable  to serve for more than one                                                               
four-year  period, and  public members  help to  bridge long-term                                                               
continuity and knowledge; he expressed  that he hopes to continue                                                               
to be a part of that continuity and knowledge.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:10:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SHAW commented, "I got  back on the Ruth [Glacier]                                                               
this last season  and I see that the Mountain  House has expanded                                                               
accordingly; it's quite  a beautiful structure and  I hadn't been                                                               
up there  since the days that  I was climbing with  Harry Johnson                                                               
and Janae (ph), and I just wanted to say hello."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:10:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHELDON replied,  "Well, thank you very much.   It's been the                                                               
fulfillment of a 50-year family vision."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:10:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  stated  that  he is  very  happy  that  Mr.                                                               
Sheldon wants  to continue with  his service, and he  thinks that                                                               
it  is fortunate  to  have someone  who is  involved  on so  many                                                               
levels bring his experience to  the Alaska Commission on Judicial                                                               
Conduct.  He said, "It's not  often that we have individuals that                                                               
run on  about 12 tracks  simultaneously, but he's got  the energy                                                               
to do it."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:11:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  thanked Mr.  Sheldon for  his willingness  to serve                                                               
again.  He  equated Mr. Sheldon's experience, as  a public member                                                               
of a  board, to  that of  Mr. Granger, and  he expressed  that he                                                               
thinks the experience these men  bring, with their prior service,                                                               
is a real benefit to the boards on which they serve.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:11:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN, after  ascertaining that there was no  one else who                                                               
wished to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:12:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  stated that  the House  Judiciary Standing                                                               
Committee  had  reviewed  the qualifications  of  the  governor's                                                               
appointees, and recommends that  the following names be forwarded                                                               
to a  joint session  of the House  and Senate  for consideration:                                                               
William  Granger to  the Board  of Governors  of the  Alaska Bar,                                                               
Jane  Mores to  the Alaska  Commission on  Judicial Conduct,  and                                                               
Robert  Sheldon to  the Alaska  Commission  on Judicial  Conduct.                                                               
She  stated that  this  does not  reflect intent  by  any of  the                                                               
members  to vote  for  or against  these  individuals during  any                                                               
further sessions for the purposes of confirmation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:12:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN stated  that the  names would  be forwarded  to the                                                               
joint session of the House and Senate.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:13:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:13 p.m.