Legislature(2019 - 2020)ANCH LIO DENALI RM


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10:44:34 AM Start
01:23:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Advisory Opinions
Approval of Amended Contract-Outside Counsel FY19
Review of Statutes and Rules of Procedure
Chair/Staff Report
2019 Legislation Update
Other Business
                            ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                          
                 SELECT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                       
                                   AUGUST 14, 2019                                                                              
                              Full Committee Meeting                                                                          
10:40:00 AM                                                                                                                   
1. CALL THE MEETING TO ORDER                                                                                                    
Joyce Anderson called the meeting to order at 10:41 a.m. and Jerry Anderson conducted                                         
roll call.                                                                                                                    
Roll Call                                                                                                                       
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                          
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                            
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                  
Deb Fancher                                                                                                                   
Lee Holmes                                                                                                                    
Conner Thomas                                                                                                                 
Skip Cook                                                                                                                     
Joyce Anderson                                                                                                                
Quorum present.                                                                                                               
Others present                                                                                                                  
Senator David Wilson (Alternate for Senator John Coghill)                                                                     
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson (Alternate for Senator Tom Begich)                                                                  
Jerry Anderson, Administrator                                                                                                 
Jacqui Yeagle, Administrative Assistant                                                                                       
Joyce Anderson declared a quorum and she introduced and welcomed new alternate                                                
public member Patrick FitzGerald. She explained that the role of the alternate member is                                      
to serve when a public member is unable to serve.                                                                             
At Joyce Anderson’s request, Patrick FitzGerald introduced himself. He said that he was                                       
born and raised in Alaska and he has lived in Alaska his entire life except for four years                                    
when he went to school. He said that he gotten involved in politics when he moved to                                          
Anchorage in 2016 and he loves doing the work for state and for the people. He said he is                                     
excited to be on the committee and thanked Chief Justice Joel Bolger for selecting him.                                       
Joyce Anderson said that Patrick FitzGerald is a Republican. She added that there is a                                        
requirement in statute that disallows more than two public members of one political party                                     
on the committee.                                                                                                             
Representative Louise Stutes joined the meeting telephonically.                                                               
Joyce Anderson said that Dan Wayne with LAA Legal, Jacqui Yeagle, Administrative                                              
Assistant, and Jerry Anderson, Ethics Committee Administrator were also in the room.                                          
Joyce Anderson asked that for the record the committee members identify themselves                                            
before they speak. She said that the agenda for the day was full and the meeting was                                          
expected to last three hours.                                                                                                 
2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA                                                                                                           
Joyce Anderson said she wanted to reserve for a future meeting item 7b1, Review of                                            
Statutes and Rules of Procedure, from the agenda. She asked for a motion to approve the                                       
agenda as amended.                                                                                                            
Lee Holmes moved to approve the agenda as amended. Senator Tom Begich seconded                                                
the motion. There was no further discussion. The motion carried.                                                              
10:44:34 AM                                                                                                                   
3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                                        
Joyce Anderson directed the committee’s attention to the March 28, 2019 Full Committee                                      
Meeting Minutes and asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the March 28, 2019                                           
full committee minutes.                                                                                                       
Senator Tom Begich moved to approve the March 28, 2019 Full Committee meeting                                                 
minutes. Lee Holmes seconded the motion. There was no further discussion. The motion                                          
Joyce Anderson asked for a motion to approve the March 28, 2019 House Subcommittee                                            
Meeting Minutes as presented.                                                                                                 
Lee Holmes moved to approve the March 28, 2019 House Subcommittee Meeting                                                     
Minutes. Senator Tom Begich seconded the motion. There was no further discussion. The                                         
motion carried.                                                                                                               
10:45:32 AM                                                                                                                   
4. PUBLIC COMMENT                                                                                                               
There were no public comments.                                                                                                
5. ADVISORY OPINIONS                                                                                                            
Joyce Anderson directed the committee’s attention to draft Advisory Opinion 19-03,                                            
which was requested by Senator Tom Begich who had waived confidentiality so it could                                          
be discussed by the Ethics Committee in a public session.                                                                     
Joyce Anderson asked Senator Tom Begich if he wanted to speak to why he requested the                                         
advisory opinion.                                                                                                             
Senator Tom Begich began by saying that he would be recusing himself from voting on                                           
the advisory opinion because he requested the opinion. He explained that the question                                         
stemmed from a spirited preliminary discussion by the Ethics Committee about a request                                        
that he had made on an issue that had come up during the 2018 election. There was                                             
scheduled at a location in his district a forum for candidates of all political parties and he                                
considered it part of his role as a member of the state senate to inform the public about                                     
the forum. He was not a candidate in that election and he was not publicly supporting any                                     
of the candidates. Senator Begich received informal advice not to provide that                                                
information and he did not. After the committee discussion about the issue, he requested                                      
a formal opinion, resulting in draft Advisory Opinion 19-03.                                                                  
Dan Wayne began his overview of the advisory opinion by saying that the request                                               
received through the Ethics Committee did not have a lot of facts and so he made some                                         
factual assumptions in writing the opinion. The assumptions are noted in the opinion.                                         
Dan Wayne reviewed the statement of facts: the forum was hosted by a nonpartisan                                              
organization and the legislator publishing the newsletter is not a featured candidate at the                                  
forum, is not using the newsletter to advocate for a particular candidate, or pack                                            
attendanceat the forum, or influence the outcome of the election in which the featured                                        
candidate  is running; and also that the requestor desires to include information  about the                                  
forum  in the newsletter in order to fulfill what the legislator perceives as an obligation to                                
inform  constituents of civics matters. Dan Wayne    noted that he was not sure if the word                                   
“civics” in the last sentence should be “civic” or “civics.”                                                                  
Senator Tom Begich offered that the word should be “civic.”                                                                   
Dan Wayne read from the discussion section of the advisory opinion: From this, we                                             
understand your question to be one relating to a future candidate forum. Therefore, it is                                     
likely that, at a minimum, the public would perceive the information published in the                                         
newsletter as informing constituents about an opportunity to attend an upcoming                                               
candidate forum. It is conceivable that they could also perceive the forum or the                                             
presentation of information in the newsletter as partisan political activity, depending on                                    
how it’s presented – we didn’t have facts about how it was going to be presented really –                                     
and what additional information is provided.                                                                                  
10:50 AM                                                                                                                      
Dan Wayne said that AS 24.60.030(a) provides that a legislator can’t use public funds,                                        
facilities, services, or other government assets or resources for a nonlegislative purpose,                                   
for involvement in or support of or opposition to partisan political activity, or for the                                     
private benefit of the legislator… and he added that the rule does not prohibit a legislator                                  
from sending any communication in the form of a newsletter to the legislator's                                                
constituents, except a communication expressly advocating the election or defeat of a                                         
10:51:20 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative DeLena Johnson joined the meeting.                                                                             
Dan Wayne referred to the question presented: Does the Legislative Ethics Act permit a                                        
legislator to include, in the legislator's regularly scheduled legislative newsletter,                                      
information about a candidate forum. He said it was important to reference that phrase                                        
because the conclusion refers to and limits the opinion to regularly scheduled newsletters.                                   
Dan Wayne continued, saying that after citing AS 24.60.030(a) and the exception in (J) in                                     
the advisory opinion, there is a brief discussion about the lack of definition in the Ethics                                  
Act of "partisan" or "non-partisan.'' But, he said, a definition is not necessary to answer                                   
the question as long as the information published [in the newsletter] doesn’t expressly                                       
advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate and is not clearly only for the private                                    
benefit of the legislator or legislative employee because the exception in AS                                                 
24.60.030(a)(J) allows the legislator to include information in a legislative newsletter to                                   
the legislator's constituents even if it amounts to partisan political activity or if the forum                               
itself is a partisan political activity.                                                                                      
Dan Wayne that other limitations in the Act might apply and cited AS 24.60.030(a)(5), “a                                      
legislator or legislative employee may not use or authorize the use of government assets                                      
or resources for the purpose of political fund raising or campaigning,” which he said                                         
depending on the facts of the case could trump the AS 24.60.030(a)(J) exception.                                              
Dan Wayne continued, saying that under AS 24.60.031 legislators and legislative                                               
employees are barred from soliciting contributions or promises or pledges to contribute to                                    
a political campaign during a 90-day period except in certain limited circumstances, on a                                     
day when a house of the legislature is in session. After reading the section in the meeting,                                  
Dan Wayne suggested changing it to read “90-day period before an election…” and he                                            
made a note to that effect.                                                                                                   
Dan Wayne continued, saying that previous opinions of the committee – AO 13-03 and                                            
AO 15-03 – talked about how AS 24.60.030(a)(2)(J) allows legislators to use legislative                                       
assets and resources to send legislative newsletters, but only to constituents.                                               
Dan Wayne said that advisory opinion concludes that a legislator is permitted to include                                      
the information about a candidate forum in a regularly scheduled newsletter as long as it                                     
does not expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate; it is not clearly only                                 
for the private benefit of a legislator or legislative employee; and it is does not constitute                                
political fund raising or campaigning barred by AS 24.60.030(a)(5) or a solicitation                                          
barred by AS 24.60.031. The conclusion ends with the reminder that everybody is                                               
responsible for their own compliance with the Act and that the committee will consider                                        
applicable facts in each instance and also factor in whether there is an appearance of                                        
ethical impropriety.                                                                                                          
Senator Tom Begich clarified some of the factual points to ensure the committee’s                                             
understanding. Senator Begich said that it was a nonpartisan organization that conducted                                      
the forum – the Downtown Partnership – there was no charge to the public, there was no                                        
fund raising activity, there was no political activity of any kind, the newsletter went out                                   
to all constituents and it was posted online so there was no restricted audience that would                                   
have received the newsletter. Senator Begich added that in his opinion the advisory                                           
opinion cut to the heart of the difference between what is electioneering, what is                                            
campaigning, and what is the civic duty of legislators to inform.                                                             
Joyce Anderson asked if there any discussion by committee members.                                                            
Skip Cook recommended adding the word ‘upcoming” to the second line on page two as                                            
suggested by Dan Wayne.                                                                                                       
Joyce Anderson recommended two changes: replace the word “do” to “does” at the end                                            
of the first line of 2 under the conclusion and to reference the statute in 1 of the                                          
Conner Thomas moved to adopt draft Advisory Opinion 19-03 with the proposed                                                   
Deb Fancher seconded the motion to adopt draft Advisory Opinion 19-03 with the                                                
proposed amendments.                                                                                                          
Joyce Anderson reviewed the proposed amendments.                                                                              
    â?¢ Removing the “s” from the word “civics” in the Statement of Facts.                                                    
    â?¢ Adding the word “upcoming” to the sentence at the top of page two to read                                             
        “…that opportunity to attend an upcoming candidate forum.”                                                            
    â?¢ Adding the words “before an election” after the word “period” to the sentence on                                      
        page three to read, “Also, legislators and legislative employees are barred, under                                    
         AS 24.60.031, from soliciting contributions or promises or pledges to contribute                                     
       to a political campaign during a 90 day period before an election except in certain                                    
        limited circumstances…” Adding a reference to AS 24.60.030(a)(2)(J) to the second paragraph under the                                       
    â?¢ Replacing the word “do” with “does” in the third paragraph under the conclusion.                                      
Joyce Anderson asked if there were further discussion. Seeing none, Joyce Anderson said                                       
that a roll call was required and directed Jerry Anderson to conduct a roll call vote.                                        
11:00:22 AM                                                                                                                   
Jerry Anderson read a summary in accordance to the Rules of Procedure, “Formal                                                
Advisory Opinion AO 19-03 advises whether a legislator may include information in a                                           
regularly scheduled legislative newsletter to the legislator’s constituents about a                                           
candidate forum. This advisory opinion states the conditions under which such                                                 
information may be included in the legislative newsletter.                                                                    
Roll Call Vote is to concur or not concur with the draft opinion. A vote of yes will be a                                     
vote to concur with the draft opinion as amended. A vote of no will be to not concur with                                     
the draft opinion as amended in committee discussion.                                                                         
Skip Cook                                                      Y                                                              
Conner  Thomas                                                 Y                                                              
Joyce  Anderson                                                Y                                                              
Senator  John Coghill                                          Y                                                              
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                      Y                                                              
  (alternate to Senator Tom Begich who recused himself)                                                                       
Representative  DeLena   Johnson                               Y                                                              
Representative  Louise  Stutes                                 Y                                                              
Deb  Fancher                                                   Y                                                              
Lee  Holmes                                                    Y                                                              
The Ethics Committee adopted advisory Opinion 19-03 as amended with a vote of 9-0.                                            
Joyce Anderson said that the advisory opinion will be referred back to Legislative Legal                                      
for the changes, the final advisory opinion will be sent to Jerry Anderson, distributed to                                    
committee members, added to the Ethics Committee website, and included in the next                                            
Ethics Committee newsletter.                                                                                                  
11:02:30 AM                                                                                                                   
Word of caution language                                                                                                        
Joyce Anderson directed the committee’s attention to the Word of Caution language for                                         
advisory  opinions and  asked Jerry Anderson   to speak about  it.                                                            
Jerry Anderson said that he proposed the word of caution language be added to the online                                      
versions of advisory opinions 18-01, 18-02, 18-04, 18-05, and 19-05 that were related to                                      
HB44, which passed in 2018, and affected by the passage of SB 89 in 2019. Jerry                                               
Anderson read the proposed language to the committee:                                                                         
        Word of Caution:                                                                                                      
          SB 89 became law on May 25, 2019, significantly changing AS 24.60. Prohibited                                       
        Conduct and Conflicts of Interest. Based on these changes, the advice in this                                         
        formal advisory opinion may no longer be applicable or appropriate. Caution is                                        
        required in using this opinion in similar situations.                                                                 
Jerry Anderson said that the date the language was adopted by the committee would be                                          
included in the word of caution statement. The word of caution language would appear                                          
on the website at the top of the affected advisory opinions. Jerry Anderson said he was                                       
looking for committee input on the prudence of the word of caution and the language                                           
used in the word of caution.                                                                                                  
Senator Tom Begich asked Joyce Anderson if a motion was required prior to discussing                                          
the word of caution language.                                                                                                 
Joyce Anderson replied that no motion was required.                                                                           
Conner Thomas asked if the intent was to take a vote on the language.                                                         
Joyce Anderson replied that she did not believe a vote was needed unless the committee                                        
thinks it is necessary.                                                                                                       
Conner Thomas said that the language was good, that he supports it, and thinks it is                                          
needed. Conner Thomas asked Jerry Anderson if he intended to include all of AS 24.60                                          
in the word of caution language.                                                                                              
Jerry Anderson said he believed that the advisory opinions previously approved by the                                         
committee are impacted through that statutory section alone but it could be the                                               
Legislative Ethics Act (AS 24.60).                                                                                            
Conner Thomas said that the reason he asked that question is because it references                                            
Prohibited Conduct and Conflicts of Interest, which is AS 24.60.030.                                                          
Joyce Anderson suggested citing the entire act and mentioning AS 24.60.030 specifically.                                      
Conner Thomas agreed with Joyce Anderson’s suggestion and added that personally he                                            
thought that it was appropriate to be specific about AS 24.60.030.                                                            
Joyce Anderson said that she agreed and that the statement should cite both the Act and                                       
AS 24.60.030 specifically.                                                                                                    
Senator Tom Begich asked if there were a plan to review the affected advisory opinions                                        
against the new statute to update the advisory opinions or if it would require the                                            
committee to request Legislative Legal to revise the advisory opinions.                                                       
Joyce Anderson responded that there are many advisory opinions that are no longer                                             
applicable because of statutory changes and in her memory the committee has only made                                         
changes to one advisory opinion due to a specific request from the committee. It is an                                        
option if the committee wants to request revising the advisory committee.                                                     
Senator John Coghill said he thought the language in the cautionary statement was                                             
appropriate and that the changes should be a talking point in training because they were                                      
subjects of significant conversation over the last three or four years and there are going to                                 
be lingering questions in peoples’ minds.                                                                                     
Joyce Anderson asked if there were further discussion. Seeing none, she read the word of                                      
caution again:                                                                                                                
        Senate Bill 89 became law on May 25, 2019, significantly changing AS 24.60                                            
             Legislative Ethics Act, specifically AS 24.60.030 Prohibited Conduct and                                         
        Conflicts of Interest. Based on these changes, the advice in this formal advisory                                     
        opinion may no longer be applicable or appropriate. Caution is required in using                                      
        this opinion in similar situations.                                                                                   
11:10:30 AM                                                                                                                   
6. APPROVAL OF AMENDED CONTRACT WITH OUTSIDE COUNSEL – FY                                                                       
Jerry Anderson said that the contract amended the amount of the contract from $8,000 to                                       
$10,000. The amendment was previously approved by Chair Joyce Anderson and based                                              
on a request by Legislative Legal the amendment was approved by members via an email                                          
vote with seven members approving the amendment and two members nonresponsive.                                                
Jerry Anderson continued, saying no further expenditures were anticipated and that the                                        
reason the contract was on the agenda was to approve the amended contract in a public                                         
session. Jerry Anderson asked the committee to note that the contract had expired at the                                      
end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2019.                                                                                      
Joyce Anderson entertained a motion to approve the amended contract as presented.                                             
Deb Fancher moved to approve the amended contract as presented. Lee Holmes seconded                                           
the motion.                                                                                                                   
Joyce Anderson asked if there were further discussion regarding the contract. There was                                       
no further discussion.                                                                                                        
Joyce Anderson directed Jerry Anderson to conduct a roll call vote.                                                           
Deb  Fancher                           Y                                                                                      
Lee  Holmes                            Y                                                                                      
Senator  John Coghill                  Y                                                                                      
Senator  Tom  Begich                   Y                                                                                      
Representative  DeLena   Johnson       Y                                                                                      
Representative  Louise  Stutes         Y                                                                                      
Skip Cook                              Y                                                                                      
Conner  Thomas                         Y                                                                                      
Joyce  Anderson                        Y                                                                                      
Jerry Anderson announced that the vote approved the amended contract by a vote of 9-0.                                        
7. REVIEW OF STATUTES AND RULES OF PROCEDURE                                                                                    
Review of statute AS 24.60.150(b)(1) Duties of Committee                                                                        
Joyce Anderson opened a review of AS 24.60.150(b)(1) Duties of Committee. She said                                            
the Rules of Procedure states, “The committee may recommend legislation to the                                                
legislature the committee considers desirable or necessary to promote and maintain high                                       
standards of ethical conduct in government.” She added that the Rules of Procedure                                            
stipulate that the committee is to discuss changes to the Legislative Ethics Act at a                                         
committee meeting and may make recommendations to the legislature.                                                            
Joyce Anderson asked if any committee members had legislative changes to propose.                                             
Conner Thomas expressed his opinion that it might be difficult to vet changes at the                                          
current meeting and suggested that if members did have suggested changes that they be                                         
submitted and distributed and discussed at a future meeting.                                                                  
Joyce Anderson agreed that changes could be considered at the next meeting, noting that                                       
the Rules of Procedure stipulate that at least on an annual basis, the committee review                                       
proposed statutory changes received from committee members, staff, and others. She                                            
directed the committee to send suggested legislative changes to Jerry Anderson for                                            
consideration at the next meeting.                                                                                            
11:17 AM                                                                                                                      
Review of statutes pursuant to AS 24.60.150(b)(1)                                                                               
Jerry Anderson addressed the handbooks that are required under AS 24.60.150(a)(2) and                                         
required in Section 12 of the Rules of Procedure to be distributed at Ethics trainings to all                                 
employees and in new hire packets. The word “distributed” implies a physical copy of the                                      
handbook. He said that the requirement is currently fulfilled by printing for every                                           
employee a copy of the Standards of Conduct Handbook. The vast majority of employees                                          
who attended training in 2019 declined a paper copy of the handbook leaving three full                                        
boxes of leftover handbooks. The handbook is published online and can be accessed at                                          
any time. He asked that the committee consider limiting the distribution to legislators’                                      
offices, LIOs, and new hires.                                                                                                 
Senator Tom Begich added that the copies of the handbooks are now useless because they                                        
contain outdated material.                                                                                                    
Jerry Anderson agreed and added that the statutes were not updated by the publishing                                          
deadline and so they were not even included in the handbook. So, changes, for example,                                        
to HB 44 were not in the handbook, making it out of date at distribution.                                                     
Senator Tom Begich submitted that the lack of a physical copy may result in the                                               
handbook not being read so he recommended a provision allowing individuals to request                                         
a physical copy.                                                                                                              
Joyce Anderson added that Section 12 of the Rules of Procedure requires that the                                              
handbook be distributed at the beginning of each legislative session to legislators’ offices,                                 
the LIOs, and be included in new hire packets. She opened the discussion to other                                             
committee members and Jerry Anderson.                                                                                         
Skip Cook suggested language saying the committee will publish yearly on the internet                                         
the Standards of Conduct Handbook and that printed copies will be distributed on request                                      
or to all first time employees and on request to others.                                                                      
Conner Thomas asked for confirmation of his understanding that the committee was                                              
discussing amending the Rules of Procedure, not statute. Joyce Anderson confirmed                                             
Conner Thomas’s understanding.                                                                                                
Deb Fancher suggested only publishing the handbook online rather than distributing it                                         
every year to legislators’ offices and LIOs.                                                                                  
Senator Tom Begich said that he agrees with publishing the handbook online and                                                
appreciates wanting to reduce the number of copies printed. He agreed to distributing                                         
physical copies at training by request only – that would significantly reduce the number                                      
of handbooks to be published – but expressed concern that a physical copy continue to be                                      
distributed to legislators’ offices because not having the physical copy in the office may                                    
minimize the perception of its importance.                                                                                    
Senator John Coghill expressed his agreement that a physical copy be distributed to                                           
legislators’ office, new hires, and by request.                                                                               
Skip Cook suggested adding cautionary language to the handbook to the effect that the                                         
handbook is updated regularly and to check the online version for the most updated                                            
Conner Thomas asked what is the practice for updating the handbook regularly online.                                          
Joyce Anderson said that it is updated yearly.                                                                                
Conner Thomas suggested that the cautionary language refer to updating on an annual                                           
basis rather than regularly.                                                                                                  
Skip Cook asked if it would be better to update regularly rather than on an annual basis.                                     
Joyce Anderson said she thought that because it will be online it would be better to                                          
update the handbook as changes occur rather than annually. Conner Thomas agreed, as                                           
long as it is updated continuously.                                                                                           
Jerry Anderson said he thinks it avoids confusion to include a revision date in the online                                    
version. Joyce Anderson agreed with Jerry Anderson’s comment.                                                                 
Representative DeLena Johnson expressed support for distributing printed copies to                                            
legislators and on request and suggested adding a revision date to the printed copy as well                                   
so it would be easy to compare the revision dates.                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich asked if a motion was required to change the Rules of Procedure.                                           
Joyce Anderson responded affirmatively.                                                                                       
Senator Tom Begich moved to amend the Rules of Procedure Section 12 Education by                                              
adding after the word “online” after the word “publish” in section (a)(1); adding the                                         
words “by request” after the word “attendees” in section (a)(2)(A); and including                                             
language at the beginning of the physical copy of the handbook indicating that readers                                        
should check online for regular updates and including revision dates when making online                                       
updates. Skip Cook seconded Senator Tom Begich’s motion.                                                                      
Joyce Anderson asked if there were further discussion.                                                                        
Senator John Coghill asked for restatement of the motion. At Joyce Anderson’s request,                                        
Senator Tom Begich restated the motion.                                                                                       
Skip Cook made a friendly amendment suggesting that (a)(2)(A) of Section 12 include                                           
language that says, “printed copies of the handbook will be distributed” instead of “the                                      
handbook will be distributed”.                                                                                                
11:34 AM                                                                                                                      
Representative DeLena Johnson made a friendly amendment that (a)(1) of Section 12 say                                         
“the committee will publish online and printed copies.”                                                                       
Senator Tom Begich advised that the language Representative DeLena Johnson proposed                                           
in her friendly amendment was the intent and did not need to be a friendly amendment.                                         
Joyce Anderson said there was a motion with a friendly amendment on the floor and                                             
directed Jerry Anderson to conduct a roll call vote.                                                                          
Lee  Holmes                            Y                                                                                      
Senator  John Coghill                  Y                                                                                      
Senator  Tom  Begich                   Y                                                                                      
Skip Cook                              Y                                                                                      
Conner  Thomas                         Y                                                                                      
Joyce  Anderson                        Y                                                                                      
Deb  Fancher                           Y                                                                                      
Representative  DeLena   Johnson       Y                                                                                      
Representative  Louise  Stutes         Y                                                                                      
The committee adopted changes to section 12 of the Rules of Procedure by 9-0.                                                 
Joyce Anderson stated that Jerry Anderson will update that section of the Rules of                                            
Procedure and distribute it to committee members.                                                                             
11:35 AM                                                                                                                      
Jerry Anderson directed the committee’s attention to the list of approved internships in                                      
the packet. He said that the committee had delegated to the administrator the ability to                                      
review the material submitted to the Ethics Office for new internship programs and in                                         
consultation with the chair to approve them without full committee action.                                                    
Jerry Anderson noted that on the list there are two categories of internship programs:                                        
academic ones affiliated with educational institutions and non-academic internships                                           
affiliated with outside organizations. In some cases, interns are paid by an organization                                     
other than the legislature.                                                                                                   
Jerry Anderson said that he has been contacted about new paid internships that may be                                         
politically oriented and would fall outside of the parameters of those on the list. He thinks                                 
the committee, not the administrator, should approve those internships.                                                       
Referring to the list of internships, Senator Tom Begich said that he believed the name of                                    
the Alaska Universities Legislative Internship Program had been changed to the Ted                                            
Stevens Legislative Internship Program. Senator Tom Begich continued by saying he                                             
Joyce Anderson asked if there were any current interns.                                                                       
Senator Tom Begich replied there were none currently but that he may in the future in his                                     
other capacity formally request that those internship programs be considered by the                                           
Joyce Anderson replied that she didn’t think for discussion purposes that Senator Tom                                         
Begich had a conflict.                                                                                                        
Skip Cook asked if the interns were paid.                                                                                     
Senator Tom Begich replied that yes, the interns are paid. They receive a $15,000                                             
stipend, which sometimes goes to the potential employer but usually to the intern for                                         
living expenses.                                                                                                              
Joyce Anderson asked if the interns had been approved by the Ethics Office. Senator                                           
Tom Begich replied that he did not think so.                                                                                  
Joyce Anderson wondered if legislative offices may be unaware that they need to come                                          
through the committee and if notice to that effect should be distributed to legislators at                                    
the beginning of session. Senator Tom Begich agreed that would be a good idea.                                                
Joyce Anderson explained that the reason the committee approves internships is to assure                                      
the sponsoring organizations do not have an ulterior motive in placing an intern in a                                         
legislative office. She reiterated her position that it would be a good idea to distribute a                                  
message to legislators at the beginning of session directing them to contact the Ethics                                       
Senator John Coghill said yes, the legislators should be made aware of the requirement                                        
and he believes there is a difference between educating interns about the legislative                                         
process and allowing advocacy activities in the legislature and the use of state resources                                    
for those advocacy issues.                                                                                                    
Skip Cook said that as he understood, the committee approves the internship program,                                          
not approve the individual intern. He advised Senator Begich to apply for approval for his                                    
program. Senator Tom Begich agreed he would do so.                                                                            
Skip Cook said that he thought both the administrator and the committee chair have                                            
authority to review and approve internship program requests and if either or both were                                        
uncomfortable doing so, the committee could do so.                                                                            
Joyce Anderson agreed and asked Jerry Anderson if he had any more to add.                                                     
Jerry Anderson said that he had no problem reviewing and approving requests that fell                                         
within established parameters but was uncomfortable with those that did not.                                                  
8. CHAIR/STAFF REPORT                                                                                                           
Management Log                                                                                                                  
Joyce Anderson directed attention to the July 31, 1019 Management Log and asked if                                            
anyone had questions for Jerry Anderson.                                                                                      
Conner Thomas had a question about the first question on the second page: May a                                               
legislator enter into a "scope of work" with a non-profit related to pending legislation that                                 
a legislator is promoting? He wondered if AS 24.60.030(e)(3), which references taking                                         
official action while negotiating for employment should have been be included in answer                                       
to the question. Jerry Anderson and Joyce Anderson agreed to add a reference to AS                                            
24.60.030(e)(3) in the answer.                                                                                                
Senator Tom Begich asked about the fifth question on page six: May my legislator accept                                       
a gift of conference fees for a group which discusses policy issues but not political or                                      
partisan issues? He said he had recently accepted gifts of travel to attend National                                          
Conference of State Legislatures forums and asked for confirmation that he should                                             
disclose those gifts. Joyce Anderson responded that yes, if the gift amount was over                                          
Deb Fancher asked about the fourth question on the second page: May a legislator write a                                      
letter or sign onto a letter to the Attorney General urging the prosecution of an individual                                  
or individuals based on the request of a private party? She wondered if that action                                           
constitutes official action.                                                                                                  
Lee Holmes said there is a difference between a legislator speaking to the attorney                                           
general as an individual to advocate for an issue or as a representative in an official                                       
capacity. As an individual, a legislator could speak to the attorney general but not as a                                     
Senator Tom Begich said that two co-chairs had in their official capacity requested                                           
specific information about an alleged criminal act by a member of the administration.                                         
He said he thought their actions were legitimate and that it was a legislative responsibility                                 
to ensure the law is upheld. He suggested that the question needs more discussion.                                            
Joyce Anderson asked Jerry Anderson to explain more about the question.                                                       
Jerry Anderson said that someone believed a crime had been committed and requested                                            
prosecution of the person believed to have committed the crime. Legislators signed on to                                      
the letter asking the attorney general to prosecute. He said he had had multiple questions                                    
about this matter.                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich recalled that he had been approached to sign the letter and admitted                                       
he felt conflicted about whether or not he should sign it.                                                                    
Representative Stutes left the meeting.                                                                                       
Joyce Anderson recalled that her understanding was that if a legislator uses their title, it                                  
does not necessarily mean they are taking official action as a legislator and asked other                                     
long time committee members if her understanding was accurate.                                                                
Senator John Coghill agreed that what Joyce Anderson said sounded correct. He said the                                        
question is whether the action taken is for a private benefit. Sometimes there is a manifest                                  
injustice that a legislator wants to have examined. Asking for examination is different                                       
than advocating for it.                                                                                                       
Lee Holmes said that he thinks the words, “urging the prosecution of an individual”                                           
seems to be crossing the bounds of ethics. A person can ask the attorney general to look                                      
at whether a law has been broken but to urge prosecution is ethically bothersome because                                      
it is not up to a legislator to determine if a law has been broken.                                                           
Senator Tom Begich responded to Lee Holmes saying that he thinks the letter requested                                         
that the attorney general reconsider the decisions made, based on additional evidence, as                                     
to whether or not the person should be prosecuted.                                                                            
Joyce Anderson said based on the discussion, she thinks additional information about that                                     
question should be added to the staff report. Senator Tom Begich offered to work with                                         
Jerry Anderson to add the additional information.                                                                             
Joyce Anderson directed Jerry Anderson to provide more details in the answer and send                                         
the revised answer out to committee members for review and comments.                                                          
Representative DeLena Johnson said that she agrees with the opinion in the staff report.                                      
Senator Tom Begich pointed out that the word “day” is missing from line two on the                                            
seventh page.                                                                                                                 
Joyce Anderson added that in the fourth question on page four, the word “disclosure”                                          
should be replaced with the word “disclose.”                                                                                  
12:09:39 PM                                                                                                                   
Patrick FitzGerald left the meeting.                                                                                          
12:09:55 PM                                                                                                                   
12:20:49 PM                                                                                                                   
Searchable database                                                                                                             
At Joyce Anderson’s direction, Jerry Anderson proposed to the committee the idea of                                           
implementing an online and searchable database of informal advice, similar to the                                             
searchable database of advisory opinions that is currently online. He said IT had                                             
developed a searchable database for his use and wanted the committee’s input about                                            
making it accessible to members of the committee, legislators and their staff, and the                                        
general public.                                                                                                               
Representative DeLena Johnson expressed interest in making the database password                                              
protected for use by legislators and legislative offices but expressed concerns about                                         
public access to the database because there is a possibility that confidential information                                    
about the requestor would be made public. She also offered that the advice should also be                                     
date-marked and carry a word of caution about the continued applicability of the advice                                       
for similar situations.                                                                                                       
Joyce Anderson acknowledged she had not considered the possibility that a person could                                        
use the database and learn the identity of the person who asked the question. She                                             
responded to Representative DeLena Johnson’s second point by referring to the second                                          
page of the related memo and reading Jerry Anderson’s suggestion for word of caution:                                         
          “This informal advice is not a substitute for current informal advice from the                                      
        Administrator of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics and is not binding on                                     
            the Committee. This informal advice only applies to the specific facts and                                        
          activities as outlined in the communication. The advice is not applicable to a                                      
        scenario under different or omitted facts.”                                                                           
Joyce Anderson said she would also like to add the words, “The advice was based on the                                        
statute applicable at the time of advice and has not been reviewed or updated under                                           
current statutes.”                                                                                                            
Conner Thomas said that Representative DeLena Johnson’s concerns gave him cause to                                            
reconsider his initial thought that it would be great to have the database available to all                                   
and added that protecting the advice with a password would be better – with the caveat                                        
that the advice was based on existing laws at the time the advice was given and had not                                       
been reviewed since that time.                                                                                                
Jerry Anderson responded to Representative DeLena Johnson’s concern about dating the                                          
advice. He said that the documents would be dated by the year of the advice going back                                        
to 2011.                                                                                                                      
Representative DeLena Johnson said she thought the database would be a useful tool to                                         
help frame a question before calling the administrator for advice.                                                            
Joyce Anderson said no formal action was required and informally asked each of the                                            
members about their thoughts about a searchable database. All members agreed it was a                                         
good idea and Joyce Anderson directed Jerry Anderson to proceed in arranging for the                                          
database to be password protected and available to legislators.                                                               
Jerry Anderson offered to send to committee members the link to the document so they                                          
could review the database and make sure they are comfortable with it.                                                         
Joyce Anderson agreed, directed Jerry Anderson to do so, and asked committee members                                          
to send comments about the database to Jerry Anderson.                                                                        
12:34:43 PM                                                                                                                   
COGEL conference                                                                                                                
Joyce Anderson opened a discussion of the 2019 COGEL Conference, asking for                                                   
expressions of interest in attending. Skip Cook, Conner Thomas, Senator John Coghill,                                         
Representative DeLena Johnson, and Senator Tom Begich expressed interest. Jerry                                               
Anderson recommended arranging travel early to secure the early bird price (the end of                                        
October) and space at the conference hotel.                                                                                   
Disclosure filing                                                                                                               
Joyce Anderson asked Jerry Anderson to speak about electronic disclosure filing. He                                           
explained there were many more steps and time involved in processing handwritten                                              
disclosures. He directed attention to the packet documents that demonstrate the steps                                         
involved in processing handwritten disclosures and electronically filed disclosure, then                                      
asked Jacqui Yeagle to explain more fully the situation.                                                                      
Jacqui Yeagle  communicated    a few  other advantages  of electronically filed disclosures –                                 
assuming no special circumstances: eliminates the need to contact the filer for review of                                     
the electronic version of the disclosure; requires no database access, which increases the                                    
chance of errors in the back-end processes and requires more knowledge on the part of                                         
the processor; and requires fewer documents submitted to the Senate Secretary’s office                                        
and the Chief Clerk’s office, which reduces the load on those offices.                                                        
Lee Holmes asked how committee members – who do not have computer access to file                                              
online – could get access so they could comply.                                                                               
Joyce Anderson said in the past there may have been committee access.                                                         
Jacqui Yeagle said that there are cases where a person does not have the ability to file                                      
online. The proposal under discussion would not eliminate filing a handwritten                                                
disclosure, just make it easier to file online than submit a handwritten disclosure.                                          
Conner Thomas asked what percentage of disclosures are filed by hand.                                                         
Jacqui Yeagle replied that maybe ten percent of the disclosures are filed by hand, and                                        
added that in January, February, and March when there are more than 100 disclosures                                           
filed, the time it takes to process them becomes significant. She added that the Ethics                                       
office has been encouraging filing online and there has been a noticeable increase in the                                     
number of electronically filed disclosures.                                                                                   
Joyce Anderson asked what Jerry Anderson suggests doing.                                                                      
Jerry Anderson said the link to the disclosure documents could be disabled. Instead, if a                                     
paper disclosure is required, the filer could call the Ethics office for a disclosure to                                      
Joyce Anderson said another advantage to electronic filing is that the Ethics office                                          
receives a receipt when a disclosure if filed online.                                                                         
Jerry Anderson added that the filer also gets a confirmation of filing when it is completed                                   
Joyce Anderson asked if the committee approved the idea of removing the online link to                                        
paper copies of the disclosures.                                                                                              
There was no disagreement and Joyce Anderson asked Jerry Anderson to include                                                  
information in the newsletter about the online filing requirement and ask filers with                                         
special circumstances to call the Ethics office and to inquire about login credentials for                                    
the public members.                                                                                                           
12:48:55 PM                                                                                                                   
Ethics Training                                                                                                                 
Jerry Anderson said new employee training is ongoing via video, which includes 3 ?                                            
hours of the sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination component conducted                                          
by Human Rights Commission staff and another 2 ? hours of the Ethics training. Total                                          
time to complete the training is six hours and ten minutes.                                                                   
Jerry Anderson said that there were two components of in-person ethics training in early                                      
2019: ethics and the Human Rights Commission sexual harassment and other                                                      
discrimination training. Ethics training was condensed somewhat in order to                                                   
accommodate 3 ? hours of the Human Rights Commission training. Returning legislators                                          
had 1 ? hours of refresher ethics training.                                                                                   
Jerry Anderson said there was a change in Human Rights Commission leadership and all                                          
of the 2019 presenters have left the organization so new arrangements for that component                                      
of training need to be made. He asked the committee for direction regarding the length of                                     
time and delivery method for each of the components.                                                                          
Joyce Anderson said to Jerry Anderson that she recalled that he had said he thought the                                       
number of phone calls received this year had increased and that he had suggested that                                         
may have been the result of the condensed training for legislators.                                                           
Jerry Anderson said that HB 44 issues had dominated the training for returning                                                
legislators, and that SB 89 would alleviate some of the questions around that topic. He                                       
affirmed Joyce Anderson’s memory that he had ventured that the amount of time spent on                                        
returning legislator training may have resulted in an increase in the number of questions                                     
received by the ethics office.                                                                                                
Joyce Anderson asked for clarification about why the ethics committee was charged with                                        
mandating and providing the sexual harassment prevention training.                                                            
Skip Cook said that the reason the training was required was due to the behavior of some                                      
Joyce Anderson responded that she still did not understand why the ethics office was                                          
charged with mandating and providing the training when the ethics office cannot answer                                        
questions about the topic and why the Legislative Council, for example, could not make it                                     
Deb Fancher said that her memory is that the Ethics Committee was charged with it                                             
because the committee had “teeth”.                                                                                            
Senator John Coghill recalled that the committee had been reluctant to take it on. Conner                                     
Thomas agreed and said that there had been a long debate about it. Senator John Coghill                                       
added that legislative leadership thought that the training was necessary and the                                             
committee had the only leverage point to make it mandatory and that it could not be                                           
severed without a mandate to personnel and that has not happened.                                                             
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson said ethics training was valuable, especially for new                                               
legislators and staff. She had personally benefitted from the training.                                                       
12:57 PM                                                                                                                      
Senator John Coghill said that he had noticed in both the legislator and legislative                                          
employee training that discussion had dominated and that had impacted the ability to get                                      
through the training agenda. He said that ethics training was important because that is the                                   
arena in which legislators and legislative employees worked all the time. He suggested                                        
that personnel training and ethics training have some overlap, they are also unique. He                                       
personally found it difficult to transition between the two parts of training and would                                       
prefer separate trainings.                                                                                                    
Senator Tom Begich said he thought one part of the training dominated the discussion.                                         
He would prefer shorter, more effective separate trainings on separate days.                                                  
Senator John Coghill said he did not think there was a statutory requirement to provide                                       
the personnel training.                                                                                                       
Joyce Anderson agreed with Senator John Coghill’s statement.                                                                  
Skip Cook said that he had learned that the Human Rights Commission had been                                                  
conducting their training for years to state employees. He questioned why the state                                           
mandate and training for all employees could not be extended to legislators and                                               
legislative employees.                                                                                                        
Representative DeLena Johnson said that now may be a good time to hand off the sexual                                         
harassment prevention training so that it does not detract from ethics training and                                           
requested that investigation be conducted and discussed at the next meeting, perhaps                                          
including Skiff Lobaugh at that meeting.                                                                                      
Senator Tom Begich suggested assembling a small subcommittee to develop a proposal                                            
and return it to the full committee for debate.                                                                               
Senator John Coghill recalled that Skiff Lobaugh, the Legislative Council chair, and                                          
Legislative Legal were involved in the discussion about mandating the personnel training.                                     
He suggests a hardline proposal going forward.                                                                                
Skip Cook suggesting involving the Human Rights Commission in the discussion as well.                                         
Joyce Anderson suggested internal discussion first and asked other member’s thoughts.                                         
Senator John Coghill said that would be okay as long as Skiff Lobaugh was involved                                            
because he would be one to make further contact.                                                                              
Joyce Anderson directed Jerry Anderson to set up the meetings and to notify the                                               
committee about the details in case they are interested in participating.                                                     
1:11:46 PM                                                                                                                    
9. 2019 LEGISLATION UPDATE                                                                                                      
Senator John Coghill said that in the beginning of the legislative session everybody agreed that                              
HB 44 needed changes and it took almost 100 days to agree on how to change the law. SB 89 is                                  
still less than perfect and there are questions left that will be just as tough to resolve.                                   
Senator Tom Begich offered that Senator John Coghill had much patience in getting through the                                 
process in spite of the number of nuances and opinions involved and that without Senator John                                 
Coghill’s involvement, the bill would never have gotten through.                                                              
Deb Fancher commented that the comparison document prepared on May 6, 2019 by Chad                                            
Hutchison was helpful and valuable and asked if there was an updated version of the document.                                 
Chad Hutchison directed the committee’s attention to two documents on BASIS: a comparison                                     
sheet and a list of bullet points that gives details about analyzing the changes incorporated into                            
SB 89.                                                                                                                        
Joyce Anderson thanked Chad Hutchison and asked Jerry Anderson to locate the documents and                                    
forward them to the committee.                                                                                                
Senator Tom Begich asked when the bill was signed and ceremonialized.                                                         
Joyce Anderson said the bill had been signed on May 25, 2019. Chad Hutchison confirmed the                                    
signing date and said there had been no signing ceremony.                                                                     
10. OTHER BUSINESS                                                                                                              
Joyce Anderson said that Jerry Anderson had received a compassionate gift request from                                        
Legislative Council for three legislative employees. Joyce Anderson read from the statute                                     
that refers to a compassionate gift request:                                                                                  
        …  [is to] intended to aid or comfort a recipient or a member of the recipient’s                                      
        immediate family in contending with a catastrophe, a tragedy, or a health-related                                     
Joyce Anderson continued that the compassionate gift request did not identify the gift or                                     
the reason for the gift as it had been in the past. Joyce Anderson proposed calling the                                       
chair of the Legislative Council and ask for the information and solicited the committee’s                                    
thoughts about that action. There were no comments from the committee.                                                        
Jerry Anderson initiated a discussion about the date of the next meeting and asked if the                                     
committee wanted to wait until January. Joyce Anderson proposed an earlier meeting,                                           
perhaps by teleconference if there were only a few items. The committee discussed dates                                       
and Joyce Anderson asked Jerry Anderson to work with committee members to find an                                             
agreeable date.                                                                                                               
11. ADJOURN                                                                                                                     
Joyce Anderson asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.                                                                     
Lee Holmes moved to adjourn the meeting.                                                                                      
Joyce Anderson adjourned the meeting at 1:23 p.m.                                                                             
1:23:46 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
BASIS Full committee packet.pdf JETH 8/14/2019 10:30:00 AM