Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/22/2004 08:40 AM House STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 22, 2004                                                                                         
                           8:40 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch, Chair                                                                                           
Representative Jim Holm, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                                  
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
OVERVIEW: STATE OF ALASKA VS. U.S.                                                                                            
[See 8:08 a.m. minutes for this date]                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 544                                                                                                              
"An Act  providing that public  members of the Board  of Trustees                                                               
of the Alaska Permanent Fund  Corporation may be removed only for                                                               
cause; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
CS FOR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 31(STA)                                                                                      
Relating to urging  the United States Congress  to compensate the                                                               
State of Alaska  for the effect of federal land  ownership on the                                                               
state's ability to fund public education.                                                                                       
     - MOVED CSSJR 31(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 523                                                                                                              
"An   Act   relating   to   qualifications   of   voters,   voter                                                               
registration,  voter residence,  precinct boundary  modification,                                                               
recognized political parties,  voters unaffiliated with political                                                               
parties, early  voting, absentee voting, ballot  counting, voting                                                               
by  mail, initiative,  referendum, recall,  and definitions;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 532                                                                                                              
"An Act amending the definition of 'lobbyist' in the Regulation                                                                 
of Lobbying Act; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 544                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:PERM FUND BOARD PUBLIC MEMBER REMOVAL                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/25/04     3081       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/25/04     3081       (H)        STA                                                                                          
03/25/04     3081       (H)        FN1: ZERO(LAW)                                                                               
03/25/04     3081       (H)        FN2: ZERO(REV)                                                                               
03/25/04     3081       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
04/22/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
BILL: SJR 31                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:FEDERAL FUNDING FOR EDUCATION                                                                                       
SPONSOR(S): RLS                                                                                                                 
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/16/04     2173       (S)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/16/04     2174       (S)        STA, RES                                                                                     
03/18/04                (S)        STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                     
03/18/04                (S)        Moved CSSJR 31(STA) Out of                                                                   
03/18/04                (S)        MINUTE(STA)                                                                                  
03/19/04     2562       (S)        STA RPT CS 5DP SAME TITLE                                                                    
03/19/04     2563       (S)        DP: STEVENS G, HOFFMAN,                                                                      
03/19/04     2563       (S)        STEDMAN, GUESS                                                                               
03/19/04     2563       (S)        FN1: ZERO(S.STA)                                                                             
03/29/04                (S)        RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                 
03/29/04                (S)        Moved CSSJR 31(STA) Out of                                                                   
03/29/04                (S)        MINUTE(RES)                                                                                  
03/31/04     2708       (S)        RES RPT CS(STA) 3DP 2NR                                                                      
03/31/04     2708       (S)        DP: WAGONER, DYSON, SEEKINS;                                                                 
                                   NR: ELTON,                                                                                   
03/31/04     2708       (S)        STEVENS B                                                                                    
03/31/04     2708       (S)        FN1: ZERO(S.STA)                                                                             
04/05/04     2782       (S)        RULES TO CALENDAR 4/5/2004                                                                   
04/05/04     2782       (S)        READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                         
04/05/04     2782       (S)        STA CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                  
04/05/04     2782       (S)        ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                    
                                   UNAN CONSENT                                                                                 
04/05/04     2782       (S)        READ THE THIRD TIME CSSJR
04/05/04     2783       (S)        PASSED Y20 N-                                                                                
04/05/04     2787       (S)        TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                           
04/05/04     2787       (S)        VERSION: CSSJR 31(STA)                                                                       
04/06/04     3221       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
04/06/04     3221       (H)        STA, RES                                                                                     
04/20/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
04/20/04                (H)        <Bill Hearing Postponed to                                                                   
04/22/04     3445       (H)        STA RPT 5DP                                                                                  
04/22/04     3445       (H)        DP: SEATON, GRUENBERG,                                                                       
                                   COGHILL, LYNN,                                                                               
04/22/04     3445       (H)        HOLM                                                                                         
04/22/04     3445       (H)        FN1: ZERO(S.STA)                                                                             
04/22/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
BILL: HB 523                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:VOTERS/VOTING/POLITICAL PARTIES/ELECTIONS                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/26/04     2748       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/26/04     2748       (H)        STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                
02/26/04     2748       (H)        FN1: ZERO(LAW)                                                                               
02/26/04     2748       (H)        FN2: (GOV)                                                                                   
02/26/04     2748       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
04/08/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
04/08/04                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/13/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
04/13/04                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/21/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
04/21/04                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/22/04                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MIKE BARNHILL, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                       
Commercial/Fair Business Section                                                                                                
Civil Division (Juneau)                                                                                                         
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Presented HB  544 on  behalf of  the House                                                               
Rules Committee, by request of the governor.                                                                                    
ROBERT D. STORER, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC)                                                                                        
Department of Revenue                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on  behalf of the APFC, during the                                                               
hearing on HB 544.                                                                                                              
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   As a  member of  the House  Rules Standing                                                               
Committee,  sponsor  of SJR  31,  summarized  the resolution  and                                                               
answered questions.                                                                                                             
LAURA GLAISER, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions  regarding Version  V to                                                               
HB 523, on behalf of the division.                                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-68, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  BRUCE WEYHRAUCH  called the  House State  Affairs Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  8:40 a.m.  Representatives Seaton,                                                               
Lynn,  Gruenberg,  and Weyhrauch  were  present  at the  call  to                                                               
order.  Representatives  Holm and Coghill arrived  as the meeting                                                               
was in  progress.  [For  the Overview:  State of Alaska  vs. U.S.                                                             
see 8:08 a.m. minutes for the same date.]                                                                                       
HB 544 - PERM FUND BOARD PUBLIC MEMBER REMOVAL                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be House Bill  544, "An Act providing that public  members of the                                                               
Board of  Trustees of the  Alaska Permanent Fund  Corporation may                                                               
be removed only for cause; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
Number 0027                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON moved  to adopt  the committee  substitute                                                               
(CS)  for HB  544, Version  23-GH2142\D, Cook,  4/15/04, as  work                                                               
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH objected for discussion purposes.                                                                               
Number 0034                                                                                                                     
MIKE  BARNHILL,   Assistant  Attorney   General,  Commercial/Fair                                                               
Business  Section, Civil  Division (Juneau),  Department of  Law,                                                               
presented  HB 544  on behalf  of  the House  Rules Committee,  by                                                               
request of the  governor.  He stated that [HB  544] would provide                                                               
that  public members  of  the  Board of  Trustees  of the  Alaska                                                               
Permanent Fund Corporation may be  removed only for cause.  Under                                                               
current law, he explained, a board  member can be removed for any                                                               
reason,  including  partisan  reasons.     Mr.  Barnhill  offered                                                               
examples of cause [found on page 1,  lines 7-9 of Version D].  He                                                               
summarized the  steps of  removal as  outlined in  the bill.   He                                                               
explained that  "the reason why  we do  this" is to  insulate the                                                               
board, which manages  $28 billion in state assets.   He explained                                                               
that [HB 544]  would ensure continuity.  Mr.  Barnhill noted that                                                               
there  is a  list [included  in  the committee  packet] that  his                                                               
office  prepared  in 1980,  listing  all  the felonies  involving                                                               
moral turpitude.   He indicated  that his office has  generated a                                                               
more updated list since then.   In conclusion, he stated that the                                                               
language of the bill is  patterned after similar language for the                                                               
Alaska Board of Fisheries in AS 16.05.280.                                                                                      
Number 0275                                                                                                                     
ROBERT  D.  STORER,  Executive Director,  Alaska  Permanent  Fund                                                               
Corporation   (APFC),  Department   of  Revenue,   revealed  that                                                               
"several   boards  representing   several  administrations   have                                                               
supported this  statutory change  to ...  protect the  board from                                                               
removal for cause."  He noted  that the board is comprised of six                                                               
members,  of  which two  are  cabinet  members who  would  change                                                               
automatically with administration changes.   The other four board                                                               
members  are  appointed  by  the governor  and  serve  four  year                                                               
staggered terms.  He continued as follows:                                                                                      
     Prior to  ... several  administrations, a  new governor                                                                    
     has  come  in  and  replaced  five  of  the  six  board                                                                    
     members.   Now, I can't  say that it  disadvantaged the                                                                    
     fund's management,  but I would  suggest that  the fund                                                                    
     now is far  more mature, in terms of  how it implements                                                                    
     its  assets  strategies -  the  kind  of investment  it                                                                    
     makes  - versus  when  that occurred.   And  investment                                                                    
     knowledge,  institutional   memory,  a   continuity  of                                                                    
     education  we believe  is very  important, and  this is                                                                    
     why board members support this.                                                                                            
     We're   now   looking    at   contemporary   investment                                                                    
     strategies that can  take over ... two  years of study.                                                                    
     That doesn't mean that you  adopt these strategies, but                                                                    
     it's  important that  you study  what other  large plan                                                                    
     sponsors are  doing, so that  you're well aware  of why                                                                    
     they adopted ... the intricacies of these strategies.                                                                      
MR. STORER stated  that he finds that new board  member learn far                                                               
more quickly  if there is  some institutional memory  that exists                                                               
in the board.   He indicated that better questions  are asked and                                                               
[those senior  members of the  board] remember how  the decisions                                                               
were  made   originally.    He   indicated  that  there   are  19                                                               
individuals [on boards] who are  protected for removal for cause,                                                               
including the Alaska  State Pension Investment Board.   He stated                                                               
that this issue  is important and institutional  memory is needed                                                               
in order to make better, more informed investment decisions.                                                                    
Number 0496                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  directed   attention   to  the   term                                                               
"misconduct in  office" on page 1,  line 7, and asked  if that is                                                           
defined anywhere.                                                                                                               
MR. BARNHILL answered that it is not defined in the bill.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked if  the term is  defined anywhere                                                               
in state statute or common law.                                                                                                 
MR. BARNHILL said he would have to find out.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  assumed that  the term  "misdemeanor or                                                           
felony  involving moral  turpitude"  means  only misdemeanors  or                                                           
felonies involving moral turpitude.                                                                                             
MR. BARNHILL answered that's correct.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  opined, "I think  that if we  are going                                                               
to be  referencing some fairly  obscure statute in  the elections                                                               
code, we  should have that defined  in here."  He  indicated that                                                               
he  may offer  an  amendment to  that effect,  and  he asked  Mr.                                                               
Barnhill if he would have any problem with such an amendment.                                                                   
MR. BARNHILL  answered no.   He noted  that the  Senate Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee  decided to "delete the  words involving moral                                                               
turpitude."   He commented that that  is also fine.   He reminded                                                               
the committee that a list had  been provided to define the terms.                                                               
He said,  "If a board  member gets  convicted of any  crime, that                                                               
should constitute reason for cause."                                                                                            
Number 0668                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH professed,  "This is really a  potential huge can                                                               
of worms, politically  and substantively, I think  - doing this."                                                               
He illustrated, "Moral turpitude with  respect to ... child abuse                                                               
is not necessarily moral turpitude  with respect to the knowledge                                                               
necessary to  manage a permanent  fund, but  it may be  an excuse                                                               
... or a reason  to remove someone if you didn't  want them."  He                                                               
said being  charged with a crime  may result in a  huge political                                                               
embarrassment, particularly  regarding something like  bribery or                                                               
theft.  He continued as follows:                                                                                                
     Let's say  you're accused  of that  crime.   Of course,                                                                    
     nobody  wants to  be convicted  before they  have their                                                                    
     day  in court.   But  you  have somebody  accused of  a                                                                    
     serious crime,  but before the  removal is  final, they                                                                    
     have to go through this  huge due process hearing, this                                                                    
     huge public  spectacle embarrassing both the  person on                                                                    
     the  board, potentially  the governor,  the members  of                                                                    
     the fund, the  staff.  You know, I just  -- if you guys                                                                    
     want this, you might get  it, but you better be careful                                                                    
     what you wish for.                                                                                                         
Number 0752                                                                                                                     
MR.  BARNHILL  responded  that  Chair  Weyhrauch's  concerns  are                                                               
legitimate.  He  stated that what he thinks is  most important to                                                               
the  administration is  that it  narrows removal  for cause.   He                                                               
said,  "If  the committee  feels  that  it's important  to  leave                                                               
'involving moral  turpitude' in there,  we're fine with that.   I                                                           
mean, that's why we drafted it in there - to make it narrow."                                                                   
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH responded,   "The  policy goal  here is  to keep                                                               
continuity - keep people on the  board and not ... throw them out                                                               
because of political  whim.  On the other hand  ..., to keep that                                                               
continuity,  you want  some cause.    But if  there's cause  that                                                               
exists, maybe  it's best to just  get rid of them,  without going                                                               
through this cumbersome political trial."                                                                                       
Number 0833                                                                                                                     
MR. STORER proffered  that "those facts are not lost  on us."  He                                                               
said the conclusion  essentially was that the  board members have                                                               
historically been  high profile individuals throughout  the state                                                               
who  have   been  under  a   lot  of  scrutiny  prior   to  their                                                               
appointment.  He said that is  the downside risk.  He emphasized,                                                               
"The importance of  this is from the  investment management point                                                               
of view and that continuity, and  not making decisions -- it is a                                                               
double edged  sword, and we  believe the latter issues  I've just                                                               
observed  material outweighs  that  potential risk  on the  other                                                               
Number 0859                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON stated:                                                                                                   
     Under the  definition of moral  turpitude, I  guess the                                                                    
     promoting  gambling, now  - of  course this  is once  a                                                                    
     person  is  a   member  -  but  if  we   had  pull  tab                                                                    
     legislation  that came  up and  ...  someone voted  for                                                                    
     that, then  they would be  guilty under this?   I mean,                                                                    
     ...  there seems  to be,  under  this definition,  some                                                                    
     funny things.                                                                                                              
MR.  BARNHILL  said  the  answer's   no.    He  said,  "Promoting                                                               
gambling's  a  criminal offense  and,  if  we  pass a  bill  that                                                               
authorizes, for  instance, gaming  or legal gambling,  that would                                                               
be exempted from a criminal offense."                                                                                           
Number 0908                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he  strongly supports the bill, but                                                               
wants to think about it.                                                                                                        
Number 1000                                                                                                                     
MR. STORER, in  response to a question  from Representative Holm,                                                               
noted that  he thinks the  permanent fund's broad  market returns                                                               
are  comparable  to the  [Standard  &  Poors  (S&P)] index.    He                                                               
indicated  there has  been excess  returns of  between 3/4  and 1                                                               
percent.  He stated that he  has worked with virtually all of the                                                               
board members who have been with  the permanent fund.  He assured                                                               
the committee  that "when  you're a fiduciary  for a  large fund,                                                               
you take that  role very seriously."  He stated  that the history                                                               
and tradition of the permanent  fund is "incrementalism" and long                                                               
evaluation and study; therefore, he  would envision changes to be                                                               
incremental, rather than sweeping.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON stated that part  of the problem he sees in                                                               
the bill  is its  legalistic manner.   He suggested  changing the                                                               
language [beginning on page 1, line  6] to read, "only for cause,                                                           
including inefficiency,  neglect of  duty, misconduct  in office,                                                           
and may not be removed simply for political convenience."                                                                       
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH interjected that he  had to leave momentarily and                                                               
was, therefore, handing the gavel over to Representative Holm.                                                                  
Number 1186                                                                                                                     
VICE-CHAIR  HOLM suggested  that  Representative  Seaton add  his                                                               
idea in  the form of  a committee substitute  to be heard  in the                                                               
next hearing of HB 544.                                                                                                         
Number 1194                                                                                                                     
MR.   BARNHILL,   in    response   to   Representative   Seaton's                                                               
aforementioned  suggestion,  stated  that there  is  actually  no                                                               
provision  in the  bill for  an appeal.   He  said, "It's  just a                                                               
hearing."  He clarified, "Because  of the decision, the aggrieved                                                               
board  member  -- they  wouldn't  appeal  from that;  there's  no                                                               
provision  in here  for administrative  appeal -  they'd probably                                                               
have  to sue  the state."   In  regard to  putting a  decision in                                                               
writing,  he noted  that there  is supreme  court precedent  that                                                               
says  that   administrative  decisions  should  be   detailed  in                                                               
writing.  He  added, "So, I think that's important  to leave that                                                               
in  there,  otherwise you  get  into  an  area of  arbitrary  and                                                               
capricious decision-making by an  administrative agency.  I don't                                                               
really think we want to do that."                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  stated that  the point of  the bill  is to                                                               
let administrations  know that "they  do not have  the authority,                                                               
for political  reasons, to remove  people, if  there has to  be a                                                               
removal  for  cause."   He  questioned  whether listing  all  the                                                               
causes may  restrict the  ability too  much or  raise the  bar so                                                               
much that it becomes a very contentious issue.                                                                                  
[HB 544 was heard and held.]                                                                                                    
SJR 31-FEDERAL FUNDING FOR EDUCATION                                                                                          
Number 1273                                                                                                                     
VICE-CHAIR HOLM announced that the  next order of business was CS                                                               
FOR SENATE JOINT  RESOLUTION NO. 31(STA), Relating  to urging the                                                               
United States Congress to compensate  the State of Alaska for the                                                               
effect of federal  land ownership on the state's  ability to fund                                                               
public education.                                                                                                               
Number 1289                                                                                                                     
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT, Alaska State Legislature, as a member                                                                  
of the House Rules Standing Committee, sponsor of SJR 31,                                                                       
paraphrased the sponsor statement as follows:                                                                                   
     The  legislation stems  from  a  resolution adopted  in                                                                    
     July  of  2002,  by  the  Executive  Committee  of  the                                                                    
     Council  of  State Governments-WEST  [CSG-WEST]  urging                                                                    
     the membership  of thirteen states to  support and pass                                                                    
     joint   resolutions   expressing   how   federal   land                                                                    
     ownership  hinders western  states'  abilities to  fund                                                                    
     education.   Eight  members of  the Alaska  Legislature                                                                    
     serve on  the Executive  Committee:   Senators Cowdery,                                                                    
     Ogan, Gary  Stevens, and myself, and  ... Speaker Kott,                                                                    
     Representative Coghill, McGuire and Rokeberg ....                                                                          
     The  [committee substitute  (CS)]  before  you had  one                                                                    
     change   in   [the   Senate  State   Affairs   Standing                                                                    
     Committee],  and  that  was  adding  another  "WHEREAS"                                                                  
     paragraph  on   page  2,  line  27,   which  ties  this                                                                    
     resolution to  the overall efforts of  CSG-WEST and the                                                                    
     twelve other member states.                                                                                                
     Since  this  effort  began, all  thirteen  states  have                                                                    
     introduced  similar  resolutions  and all  but  four  -                                                                    
     California,  Washington, Colorado,  and  Alaska -  have                                                                    
     passed the resolutions.  This  initiative is the result                                                                    
     of years of research  and preparation by legislators of                                                                    
     the  State of  Utah  and their  legislative staff,  who                                                                    
     have developed  the statistics  and dollar  amounts you                                                                    
     see presented in the resolution.                                                                                           
     The  Western Governors'  Association has  also endorsed                                                                    
     this  resolution,  which   is  termed,  "APPLE,"  which                                                                    
     stands for Action Plan for Public Land and Education.                                                                      
     The  western  states as  group  are  falling behind  in                                                                    
     education funding  when measured in growth  of real per                                                                    
     pupil expenditures  ... during  the period from  1979 -                                                                    
     1998.   Eleven  of the  twelve states  with the  lowest                                                                    
     real growth in pupil expenditures are western states.                                                                      
     The growth  rate of real per-pupil  expenditures in the                                                                    
     thirteen western states is less  than half - 28 percent                                                                    
     versus 57 percent - of that in the 37 other states.                                                                        
SENATOR THERRIAULT noted that that statistic is shown on the                                                                    
first of a group of graphs (included in the committee packet).                                                                  
He continued as follows:                                                                                                        
     On average,  enrollment in western states  is projected                                                                    
     to  increase dramatically,  while  the  growth rate  in                                                                    
     other states  is projected to  actually decrease.   ...                                                                    
     That's shown on graphs 2 and 3.                                                                                            
     Yet,  Western  states'  state  and  local  taxes  as  a                                                                    
     percent of  personal income are  ... as high  or higher                                                                    
     than other states, and that's shown on graphs 4 and 5.                                                                     
Number 1439                                                                                                                     
VICE-CHAIR HOLM stated, "That kind of flies in the face of what                                                                 
we normally hear; we don't pay any taxes on this."                                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT answered  that's true.  He noted  that chart 4                                                               
shows  Alaska at  10.3  percent.   He added,  "And  you can  look                                                               
across the country,  you know, we're right in there  with all the                                                               
states."  He continued as follows:                                                                                              
     Western   states'   commitment   to  education   as   a                                                                    
     percentage of  state budget is  equal to that  of other                                                                    
     states.   If you look  on charts 6  and 7, you  can see                                                                    
     the percentage  of the overall  state budget  that goes                                                                    
     into education.                                                                                                            
     The problem  lies with the  federal government  and the                                                                    
     enormous amount of land it  owns in western states.  If                                                                    
     an  imaginary  line  was  drawn  from  Montana  to  New                                                                    
     Mexico, no  state east  of that line  has more  than 14                                                                    
     percent of  its land  owned by the  federal government.                                                                    
     No state west of that line  has less than 27 percent of                                                                    
     their  land  federally  owned, with  the  exception  of                                                                    
     Hawaii.   Four  western states  have more  than 62%  of                                                                    
     their  land federally  owned.   Those  four states  are                                                                    
     Alaska,  ...  Idaho,  Nevada, and  Utah,  and  that  is                                                                    
     displayed on graphs 8 - 11 ....                                                                                            
SENATOR THERRIAULT  stated that he  thinks graph number  9 really                                                               
shows "that  imaginary line and  how those western states  have a                                                               
tremendous  amount  of federal  land  ownership."   He  continued                                                               
paraphrasing the sponsor statement as follows:                                                                                  
     The  two  primary  ways  that  federal  land  ownership                                                                    
     impacts the  funding of education in  western states is                                                                    
     through  enabling  Acts  and   property  taxes.    Most                                                                    
     enabling  Acts for  western  states, including  Alaska,                                                                    
     promised to  give the state  5 percent of  the proceeds                                                                    
     from  the  sale of  federal  land  for the  benefit  of                                                                    
     public  education.    In 1977  the  federal  government                                                                    
     abandoned  its original  policy  to  dispose of  public                                                                    
     lands,  depriving   the  states  of   public  education                                                                    
     funding  estimated  to  be  over  $14  billion.    This                                                                    
     resolution  does  not  recommend that  federally  owned                                                                    
     lands  be  sold,  necessarily,   only  that  states  be                                                                    
     compensated as was promised.                                                                                               
     States  are  not  allowed to  assess  property  tax  on                                                                    
     federal lands,  impacting western  states in  an amount                                                                    
     over $4 billion annually.   The federal government does                                                                    
     provide Payment in Lieu of  Taxes (PILT) ..., since the                                                                    
     states cannot tax the federal  lands, but the amount of                                                                    
     PILT payments to  states in 2001 was only  4 percent of                                                                    
     the annual property tax lost by western states ....                                                                        
     This  resolution proposes  ...  to create:  legislative                                                                    
     awareness, public  education, and to build  the western                                                                    
     states' coalition,  to petition Congress  to compensate                                                                    
     the western states.                                                                                                        
     In summary, western states are  financially harmed in a                                                                    
     significant  way   by  the   amount  of   federal  land                                                                    
     ownership.    The  conclusion   is  that  federal  land                                                                    
     ownership  hinders  western  states'  ability  to  fund                                                                    
     public education.                                                                                                          
     CSG-West  has formed  [the]  APPLE Initiative  Steering                                                                    
     Committee, which  is chaired by Speaker  Marty Stevens,                                                                    
     with the Utah House of  Representatives, and I also sit                                                                    
     as a member on the ... committee.                                                                                          
     The ...  committee will work like  a strategic planning                                                                    
     group who will press the  case in Congress and with the                                                                    
     Judiciary.   The  first meeting  of  the ...  committee                                                                    
     will  be held  at the  CSG-WEST annual  meeting ...  in                                                                    
     Anchorage, in September of this year.                                                                                      
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   offered  to   answer  questions   from  the                                                               
committee.   He  noted  that  Mr. Briggs  was  also available  to                                                               
answer technical  questions regarding the  data that was  used to                                                               
produce the  numbers that  appear in the  resolution and  in [the                                                               
Number 1626                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted that  the  premise  is that  the                                                               
State  of Alaska  has a  lot of  federal land,  is not  receiving                                                               
compensation, and needs  the money for education.   He noted that                                                               
one remedy  is to  get compensation.   Furthermore,  he suggested                                                               
two other  alternatives:  to allow  the state to tax  the federal                                                               
land, and to give  the state some of the federal  land so that it                                                               
can  turn it  into  income-producing assets.    He asked  Senator                                                               
Therriault what he  thinks about adding those  ideas as potential                                                               
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  replied  that  certainly, as  the  issue  is                                                               
pressed to Congress, if Congress is  not willing or does not have                                                               
the  ability to  compensate [the  State  of Alaska]  on a  yearly                                                               
basis, it  might consider one  of the  other remedies.   He noted                                                               
that it would  take an Act of Congress to  make the land taxable,                                                               
as well as to distribute the land.                                                                                              
SENATOR   THERRIAULT,   in   response    to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative Gruenberg, confirmed that  the resolution does not                                                               
have to be uniform with that of the other states.                                                                               
Number 1736                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to adopt CSSJR 31(STA).                                                                             
VICE-CHAIR HOLM objected for discussion purposes.                                                                               
Number 1804                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  adopt Conceptual  Amendment 1                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     On page 3, line 3, following "compensation":                                                                               
     Insert "or allow the state to tax the land or transfer                                                                     
      sufficient land to allow us to properly fund public                                                                       
VICE-CHAIR HOLM asked  if that wouldn't be  incorporated in "just                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  answered,  "Not  necessarily,  because                                                               
'just compensation'  implies that  they pay us  for the  land; it                                                               
certainly doesn't  imply giving us  the land.   I don't  think it                                                               
applies allowing us to tax the land."                                                                                           
VICE-CHAIR  HOLM  said  there  are  no  "side  boards"  on  "just                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG offered his  understanding that the term                                                               
"compensation"  means payment.    He  indicated that  [Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1] would "make it clearer."                                                                                           
VICE-CHAIR   HOLM   offered    his   understanding   that   "just                                                               
compensation" includes payment in loan taxes (PILT).                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked if  [the federal government giving                                                               
the State of Alaska] the land would be included in PILT.                                                                        
Number 1868                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   said  he   appreciates  [Representative                                                               
Gruenberg's] thought.  Notwithstanding  that, he stated, "That is                                                               
a bigger bite than I think we want  to take out of just a mention                                                               
in this resolution."  He  added, "Just mentioning it would almost                                                               
do it some disservice."                                                                                                         
Number 1882                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG withdrew [Conceptual Amendment 1].                                                                     
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  remarked  that the  federal  government  can                                                               
control PILT, but he can't  imagine the federal government giving                                                               
the State of Alaska the power to  tax its land.  In regard to the                                                               
transfer  of  land,  he  noted  that  federal  land  [in  Alaska]                                                               
includes  bombing  ranges, national  parks,  and  preserves.   He                                                               
stated, "Even  suggesting the thought  that Denali  National Park                                                               
[and Preserve] might  be transferred to state ownership  ... - or                                                               
[the Arctic National  Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)] -  perhaps brings a                                                               
lot of  criticism, unnecessarily, to the  resolution, from people                                                               
who would support getting PILT ...."                                                                                            
VICE-CHAIR HOLM removed his previous  objection to adopting CSSJR
Number 1926                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved  to  report CSSJR  31(STA)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSSJR  31(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
HB 523-VOTERS/VOTING/POLITICAL PARTIES/ELECTIONS                                                                              
VICE-CHAIR HOLM  announced that  the last  order of  business was                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  523,  "An Act  relating  to  qualifications  of                                                               
voters,  voter registration,  voter residence,  precinct boundary                                                               
modification, recognized  political parties,  voters unaffiliated                                                               
with  political parties,  early voting,  absentee voting,  ballot                                                               
counting,  voting by  mail, initiative,  referendum, recall,  and                                                               
definitions; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
Number 2000                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON moved  to adopt  the committee  substitute                                                               
(CS) for HB  523, Version 23-GH2021\V, Kurtz, 4/21/04,  as a work                                                               
VICE-CHAIR objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                    
Number 2006                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL, on  a  procedural  note, informed  Vice-                                                               
Chair  Holm that  it is  not necessary  to object  for discussion                                                               
purposes to the motion to adopt  a committee substitute (CS).  If                                                               
there is no objection to a CS,  then that's the CS that is before                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
VICE-CHAIR HOLM removed his objection [to Version V].                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  [moved to  adopt] Amendment  1, labeled                                                               
23-GH2021\V.1, Kurtz, 4/22/04, which read as follows:                                                                           
     Page 1, line 5, following "ballot counting,":                                                                            
          Insert "optically scanned and electronically                                                                        
     generated ballots,"                                                                                                      
     Page 5, following line 4:                                                                                                  
          Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                     
        "* Sec. 6.  AS 15.15.030(13) is amended to read:                                                                    
               (13)  The [NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER                                                                         
     PROVISION OF THIS TITLE, THE]  director may provide for                                                                    
     the  optical  scanning of  ballots  [VOTING  BY USE  OF                                                                
     ELECTRONIC  BALLOTING  EQUIPMENT OR  OPTICALLY  SCANNED                                                                    
     BALLOTS]  where the  requisite equipment  is available.                                                                    
     [IF  THE  DIRECTOR  PROVIDES  FOR   VOTING  BY  USE  OF                                                                    
     ELECTRONIC  BALLOTING  EQUIPMENT,  THE  DIRECTOR  SHALL                                                                    
     PROVIDE  ELECTRONIC  BALLOTING   EQUIPMENT  THAT  WOULD                                                                    
     ALLOW  VOTERS WITH  DISABILITIES,  INCLUDING THOSE  WHO                                                                    
     ARE  BLIND  OR  VISUALLY  IMPAIRED,  TO  CAST  PRIVATE,                                                                    
     INDEPENDENT, AND VERIFIABLE BALLOTS.]                                                                                      
        * Sec. 7.   AS 15.15.030 is amended by  adding a new                                                                  
     paragraph to read:                                                                                                         
               (14)  The director may provide for voting by                                                                     
     use of electronically generated  ballots by a voter who                                                                    
     requests to use a  machine that produces electronically                                                                    
     generated ballots.                                                                                                         
        *  Sec. 8.   AS 15.15  is  amended by  adding a  new                                                                  
     section to read:                                                                                                           
          Sec. 15.15.032.  Use of electronically generated                                                                    
     ballots.  (a)   If the director provides  for voting by                                                                  
     use of  electronically generated ballots,  the director                                                                    
     shall  provide  balloting  equipment that  would  allow                                                                    
     voters  with  disabilities,  including  those  who  are                                                                    
     blind   or   visually   impaired,  to   cast   private,                                                                    
     independent, and verifiable ballots.   The director may                                                                    
     not  provide for  more than  one machine  that produces                                                                    
     electronically generated ballots in  a precinct or in a                                                                    
     regional   supervisor's   office,  except   where   the                                                                    
     director  determines   that  additional   machines  are                                                                    
     needed  to accommodate  the needs  of individuals  with                                                                    
     disabilities,   including  individuals   with  physical                                                                    
     limitations or visual impairments.                                                                                         
          (b)  Software for voting by use of electronically                                                                     
     generated ballots  shall be tested and  certified under                                                                    
     AS 15.20.900.                                                                                                              
          (c)  The director shall provide for a paper                                                                           
     record  of each  electronically  generated ballot  that                                                                    
     can be                                                                                                                     
               (1)  reviewed and corrected by the voter at                                                                      
     the time the vote is cast; and                                                                                             
               (2)  used for a recount of the votes cast at                                                                     
     an election  in which electronically  generated ballots                                                                    
     were used."                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 19, following line 28:                                                                                                
          Insert new paragraphs to read:                                                                                        
               "(38)  "electronically generated ballot"                                                                         
     means  any ballot  other than  a paper  ballot that  is                                                                    
     physically  marked   by  the  voter  using   a  writing                                                                    
     instrument or a mechanical device;                                                                                         
               (39)  "optically scanned ballot" means a                                                                         
     paper  ballot  designed  to  be   read  by  an  optical                                                                    
     scanning machine."                                                                                                         
     Renumber the following paragraphs accordingly.                                                                             
     Page 20, line 28:                                                                                                          
     Following "APPLICABILITY.":                                                                                                
     Insert "(a)"                                                                                                               
     Delete "18 - 40"                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG explained  that Amendment 1 incorporates                                                               
the  ideas  from  another bill  regarding  elections,  which  was                                                               
sponsored by  Representative Les Gara and  then by Representative                                                               
Bill Harris.                                                                                                                    
Number 2068                                                                                                                     
VICE-CHAIR HOLM asked if there was any objection to Amendment 1.                                                                
No objection was stated; therefore, Amendment 1 was so ordered.                                                                 
Number 2091                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG [moved to adopt] Amendment 2, labeled                                                                  
23-GH2021\V.2, Kurtz, 4/21/04, which read as follows:                                                                           
     Page 10, line 29, through page 11, line 17:                                                                                
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Sec. 23.   AS 15.45.130 is repealed and reenacted                                                                
     to read:                                                                                                                   
          Sec. 15.45.130.  Certification of circulator.                                                                       
     Before being  filed, each  petition shall  be certified                                                                    
     by   an  affidavit   by  the   person  who   personally                                                                    
     circulated   the   petition.     In   determining   the                                                                    
     sufficiency  of the  petition, the  lieutenant governor                                                                    
     may not  count subscriptions on petitions  not properly                                                                    
     certified  at the  time of  filing or  corrected before                                                                    
     the  subscriptions are  counted.    The affidavit  must                                                                    
     state in substance that                                                                                                    
               (1)   the  circulator  signing the  affidavit                                                                    
     meets    the    residency,   age,    and    citizenship                                                                    
     qualifications   for  circulating   a  petition   under                                                                    
     AS 15.45.105;                                                                                                              
               (2)   the  person is  the only  circulator of                                                                    
     that petition;                                                                                                             
               (3)     the  signatures  were  made   in  the                                                                    
     circulator's actual presence;                                                                                              
               (4)     to  the  best  of   the  circulator's                                                                    
     knowledge,  the signatures  are  those  of the  persons                                                                    
     whose names they purport to be;                                                                                            
               (5)   the signatures are of  persons who were                                                                    
     qualified voters on the date of signature;                                                                                 
               (6)   the circulator has not  entered into an                                                                    
     agreement with  a person  or organization  in violation                                                                    
     of AS 15.45.110(c);                                                                                                        
               (7)     the   circulator  has   not  violated                                                                    
     AS 15.45.110(d) with respect to that petition; and                                                                         
     (8)  if  the circulator has received  payment or agreed                                                                    
     to receive payment for the  collection of signatures on                                                                    
     the  petition,  before  circulating the  petition,  the                                                                    
     circulator  prominently placed,  in the  space provided                                                                    
     under  AS 15.45.090(5),  the  name of  each  person  or                                                                    
     organization  that  has  paid  or  agreed  to  pay  the                                                                    
     circulator   for  collection   of  signatures   on  the                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  explained that Amendment 2  redrafts AS                                                               
15.45.130,  making  only one  substantive  change.   He  directed                                                               
attention to  [the last  sentence of]  Section 23,  [beginning on                                                               
page 11, line 15, of Version V], which read as follows:                                                                         
     In  determining the  sufficiency of  the petition,  the                                                                    
     lieutenant  governor  may  not count  subscriptions  on                                                                    
     petitions not properly certified.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG stated  his concern that there  may be a                                                               
technical  problem  with  a  petition,   and  he  explained  that                                                               
Amendment 2  would allow a  supplement affidavit in order  to add                                                               
missing information.                                                                                                            
[Vice-Chair Holm turned the gavel back over to Chair Weyhrauch.]                                                                
Number 2176                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH asked  if  any objection  had  been [stated]  to                                                               
Amendment 2.                                                                                                                    
Number 2186                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected [to Amendment 2].                                                                               
Number 2190                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH requested a roll  call vote, which was ultimately                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  reiterated the purposed of  Amendment 2                                                               
and said he hoped it would be fairly benign.                                                                                    
Number 2223                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL expressed interest  in knowing the court's                                                               
past position on this issue.                                                                                                    
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  emphasized the importance  of addressing  HB 523                                                               
Number 2290                                                                                                                     
LAURA  GLAISER, Director,  Division of  Elections, Office  of the                                                               
Lieutenant Governor, stated that she  doesn't think it's wrong to                                                               
allow  someone to  file  a supplementary  [affidavit]  to make  a                                                               
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  stated that  the  committee,  presented with  a                                                               
lengthy [Amendment 2], doesn't know  how to analyze it in context                                                               
of its historical basis or the legal issues surrounding it.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  clarified that  the amendment  had been                                                               
drafted, using  the same language,  but "setting it out  a little                                                               
Number 2330                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH announced  that  the committee  would put  aside                                                               
Amendment 2 for now.                                                                                                            
TAPE 04-68, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2339                                                                                                                     
MS.  GLAISER  turned  attention  to  [Amendment  3,  labeled  23-                                                               
GH2021\V.3, Kurtz, 4/21/04], which read as follows:                                                                             
     Page 4, line 1, following "confidential.":                                                                               
          Insert "(a)"                                                                                                          
     Page 4, line 3, following "voter's":                                                                                       
          Insert "age or"                                                                                                       
     Page 4, following line 9:                                                                                                  
          Insert new subsections to read:                                                                                       
          "(b)  In addition to the information in (a) of                                                                        
     this  section, the  name and  address of  an individual                                                                    
     who has been  the victim of domestic  violence shall be                                                                    
     confidential and  not open to public  inspection if the                                                                    
     individual  requests in  writing that  the individual's                                                                    
     name and address not be released.                                                                                          
          (c)  Notwithstanding other provisions, and in                                                                         
     compliance   with   federal   law,   information   made                                                                    
     confidential  by this  section may  be released  by the                                                                    
               (1)  to a local, state, or federal                                                                               
     government  agency,  including  to  the  child  support                                                                    
     enforcement  agency  created  in  AS 25.27.010  or  the                                                                    
     child support enforcement agency  of another state; the                                                                    
     agency receiving  information under this  paragraph may                                                                    
     use  the  information  only for  governmental  purposes                                                                    
     authorized under law;                                                                                                      
               (2)  in compliance with a court order; or                                                                        
     (3)    if  the  person   who  is  the  subject  of  the                                                                    
     information  has   provided  written  consent   to  the                                                                    
MS.  GLAISER   noted  that  both  Representative   Berkowitz  and                                                               
Representative Gruenberg had, at prior  hearings of HB 523, spoke                                                               
about  protecting  voting  information and  victims  of  domestic                                                               
violence,  and  ensuring  that  courts,  police,  and  the  Child                                                               
Support Enforcement  Division (CSED) could have  access [to voter                                                               
information]  if needed.    She said  that's  what [Amendment  3]                                                               
would  do.   She  indicated  that [Amendment  3]  was drafted  by                                                               
request to incorporate the concerns of the committee.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   said   [Amendment   3]   would   add                                                               
subsections (b) and (c).                                                                                                        
Number 2229                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, in response to a remark from                                                                          
Representative Lynn, indicated that the requirement for a                                                                       
voter's telephone number had not been taken out of the bill.                                                                    
MS. GLAISER confirmed that was true.                                                                                            
[HB 523 was heard and held.]                                                                                                    
Number 2225                                                                                                                     
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 9:32                                                               
a.m.  [For  the Overview: State of Alaska vs.  U.S. see 8:08 a.m.                                                             
minutes for the same date.]                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects