Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/08/1993 02:30 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                          March 8, 1993                                        
                            2:30 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                               
  Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman                                          
  Senator George Jacko                                                         
  Senator Dave Donley                                                          
  Senator Suzanne Little                                                       
  OTHERS PRESENT                                                               
  Senator Bert Sharp                                                           
  Senator Loren Leman                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  SENATE BILL NO. 67                                                           
  "An Act amending provisions of ch. 66, SLA 1991, that relate                 
  to  reconstitution of the corpus of the mental health trust,                 
  the  management  of trust  assets,  and  to  the  manner  of                 
  enforcement of the  obligation to compensate the  trust; and                 
  providing for an effective date."                                            
  SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 2                                           
  Relating to certification of  the Alaska State Legislature's                 
  opposition to requiring suspension of a driver's license for                 
  drug offenses.                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 133                                                          
  "An Act  relating to the  revocation of a  person's driver's                 
  license,  privilege  to  drive,  or  privilege to  obtain  a                 
  license; and providing for an effective date."                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 69                                                           
  "An Act  prohibiting employers  from discriminating  against                 
  individuals who use legal products in a legal manner outside                 
  of work."                                                                    
  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                                
  Proposing amendments  to the  Constitution of  the State  of                 
  Alaska relating to terms of legislators.                                     
  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4                                                
  Proposing an amendment to  the Constitution of the  State of                 
  Alaska relating to the duration of a regular session.                        
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
  SB 67 -  See Resources minutes dated 2/3/93 and 2/5/93.                      
           See Judiciary minutes dated 3/1/93.                                 
  SCR 2 -  See Transportation minutes dated 3/2/93.                            
  SB 133 - NONE.                                                               
  SB 69 -  See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/2/93.                        
           See Judiciary minutes dated 2/17/93, and 3/5/93.                    
  SJR  3  -   See  State  Affairs  minutes  dated 1/20/93  and                 
           See Judiciary minutes dated 3/5/93.                                 
  SJR 4 -  See State Affairs minutes dated 1/22/93.                            
           See Judiciary minutes dated 3/5/93.                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  Juanita Hensley, Chief                                                       
  Division of Motor Vehicles                                                   
  Department of Public Safety                                                  
  P.O. Box 20020                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                         
    POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SCR 2 & SB 133.                           
  Joe Ambrose, Attorney                                                        
  Senator Robin Taylor                                                         
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
    POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 69.                                    
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-23, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  Chairman Robin Taylor called the Judiciary Committee meeting                 
  to order at 2:30 p.m.                                                        
  SENATOR TAYLOR  announced that  SB 67  (MENTAL HEALTH  TRUST                 
  AMENDMENTS) had  been cancelled  at the request  of all  the                 
  participants, who were working on a consensus agreement.  He                 
  explained there would be  a hearing on  the bill as soon  as                 
  the agreement was ready.                                                     
  SENATOR  TAYLOR   introduced  SCR  2   (FEDERAL-AID  HIGHWAY                 
  LICENSE), and invited SENATOR SHARP to testify on the bills.                 
  SENATOR SHARP  emphasized the  bills were  sponsored by  the                 
  Senate Transportation Committee by request.                                  
  SENATOR SHARP said  the two bills, SCR 2 and SB 133, were an                 
  either/or type of legislation dealing with the revocation of                 
  driver's licenses for a drug offense.                                        
  SENATOR  SHARP  explained  that  PL  101-516, Department  of                 
  Transportation  and  Related  Appropriations  Act, Sec.  333                 
  mandated withholding  federal-aid highway funds  from states                 
  that fail to enact legislation requiring the   suspension of                 
  an  individual's  driver's  license  upon  conviction  of  a                 
  violation of  the federal Controlled Substances Act - or any                 
  drug offense.                                                                
  SENATOR SHARP further  explained the  law that provided  for                 
  revocation or suspension of drivers licenses required driver                 
  licensing  action against  violators  of  drug offenses  not                 
  limited to moving violations - and not necessarily involving                 
  a motor vehicle.                                                             
  SENATOR SHARP  said the state could avoid the withholding of                 
  funds, first, by enacting a law that provides for revocation                 
  or suspension of  driver's licenses  upon any conviction  of                 
  the Controlled Substances Act - or any drug offense.                         
  SENATOR  SHARP explained  the second  way would  be  for the                 
  State   of   Alaska   to   submit   to  the   Secretary   of                 
  Transportation,  a certificate stating  that the Governor is                 
  opposed to the enactment  or enforcement of such a  law, and                 
  the Legislature has adopted a  resolution (SCR 2) expressing                 
  its  opposition  to  such  a  law.     He  said  the  Hickel                 
  Administration had indicated a willingness to support either                 
  approach,  which means the Governor would  have to include a                 
  letter accompanying the resolution.                                          
  SENATOR SHARP described  what he  called the blackmail  part                 
  which  states,  "If  a  state does  not  meet  the statutory                 
  requirements by  October 1,  1993,  then 5%  of the  federal                 
  highway apportionment for FY  94 shall be withheld; 5%  will                 
  be withheld  also in FY 95 if the  requirement is not met by                 
  October 1, 1994,  if neither action  is taken by October  1,                 
  1995, in FY 96 10% of federal funds will be withheld."                       
  Number 095                                                                   
  SENATOR  SHARP explained if  SB 133  is passed,  Alaska will                 
  have to submit  its certification by  April 1, on an  annual                 
  basis, that they are enforcing the  law.  Once the state has                 
  passed the resolution  (SCR 2), and the  resolution has been                 
  determined to be in compliance, the  Governor is required to                 
  send a letter each year, but the Legislature is not required                 
  to pass a  resolution each year.  Certification  takes place                 
  through the normal federal apportionment process in October,                 
  which is the beginning of their fiscal year.                                 
  SENATOR  SHARP  said   the  Legislature  must  act   on  the                 
  resolution  or  bill by  April  1,  1993 to  allow  time for                 
  certification, and he  explained that many states  had opted                 
  for  the  resolution,   because  they  resent  the   federal                 
  government's  intervention.  He knew of  16 states that have                 
  the passed the bill,  but only three have been  certified as                 
  having  proper  statutes,  which, he  said,  makes  the odds                 
  rather slim for Alaska.                                                      
  SENATOR SHARP concluded with the statistics that 5% of  $212                 
  million of ISTEA  money would be  $10.6 million lost to  the                 
  state the  first two years.   If it went  up to 10%  of $212                 
  million for the third year, it  would be $21.2 million lost,                 
  and he explained the funds can  not be captured by any other                 
  method.    He said  other people  would  be speaking  to the                 
  technicalities of the legislation.                                           
  SENATOR  TAYLOR  opened the  meeting  to questions  from the                 
  committee members.                                                           
  SENATOR  LITTLE asked  SENATOR SHARP  if the  Transportation                 
  Committee  had  a  recommendation  for  proceeding  with the                 
  issue, and SENATOR  SHARP suggested  it would be  individual                 
  preference, but he thought it  should be done expeditiously.                 
  SENATOR  LITTLE  clarified that  both pieces  of legislation                 
  would have the same  effect and the State would  continue to                 
  receive full highway funding.                                                
  Number 159                                                                   
  SENATOR JACKO asked  SENATOR SHARP if  more states used  the                 
  resolution rather than  the bill  method, but SENATOR  SHARP                 
  was  not  sure.   The  bill  was  patterned  after the  once                 
  belonging   to  the  three   states  that  had  successfully                 
  submitted resolutions.                                                       
  SENATOR TAYLOR noted that JUANITA  HENSLEY and LORN CAMPBELL                 
  from  Public  Safety,  and  JEFF  OTTESEN from  DOT/PF  were                 
  available to  answer questions.   He  asked one  of them  to                 
  respond to SENATOR JACKO'S question.                                         
  MS.  HENSLEY  explained  that  the  National  Transportation                 
  Highway Safety Administration is recommending the states opt                 
  out  with  the  resolution, and  she  quoted  the Governor's                 
  office as wishing to have the legislation passed, but he was                 
  not in opposition to the resolution.  She expressed concerns                 
  that once  the legislation is passed,  it has to be  sent to                 
  Washington  D.C. and massaged  through 16 different offices,                 
  before they will make their final approval.                                  
  SENATOR JACKO asked  her if she supported the  resolution as                 
  being  easier  to  get  approved,  and  she  agreed.    They                 
  discussed the proposal by the NTHSA  to opt out, because the                 
  legislation would have to go through the  16 agencies before                 
  April 1 of this year.                                                        
  SENATOR TAYLOR clarified  she meant April 1  and not October                 
  1, and she explained the provisions.                                         
  MS.  HENSLEY  raised the  specter  of an  additional problem                 
  affecting commercial  drivers licenses  being in  compliance                 
  with the Motor Vehicle  Safety Law from 1986.   When SENATOR                 
  TAYLOR asked for the  penalty, MS. HENSLEY said it  was also                 
  5%  for two years and 10%  for each year thereafter, but she                 
  wasn't sure if it was in addition to the penalty on the drug                 
  Number 225                                                                   
  SENATOR LITTLE  ask for  an opinion  from the Department  of                 
  Public Safety on  the proposed  legislation, and she  quoted                 
  Public Safety  as supporting  anything that  would help  the                 
  safety  of  the public.    MS. HENSLEY  said  the department                 
  supported the legislation as well as the resolution, but had                 
  reservations about revoking drivers licenses for non-driving                 
  offenses.    She  praised  present   Alaska  laws  as  being                 
  sufficient to  protect the  public against  those who  drive                 
  under the influence of drugs.                                                
  SENATOR LITTLE asked MS. HENSLEY if she thought the proposed                 
  legislation would  be  a deterrent  on drug  offenses.   MS.                 
  HENSLEY didn't have the counseling knowledge to know whether                 
  the  penalties would prevent a  person from selling or using                 
  drugs, and she described the problems involved.                              
  SENATOR  JACKO  moved  to pass  SCR  2  (FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY                 
  FUNDING/DRUG  ENFORCEMENT)  from  committee with  individual                 
  recommendations.  Without objections, so ordered.                            
  SENATOR LITTLE moved to pass SB 133  (REVOCATION OF DRIVER'S                 
  LICENSE)  from  committee  with individual  recommendations.                 
  Without objections, so ordered.                                              
  SENATOR TAYLOR returned SB 69 (RIGHT TO USE LAWFUL PRODUCTS)                 
  to committee.  He noted there were some proposed amendments,                 
  and copies were distributed.                                                 
  Number 307                                                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR moved to adopt  Amendment #1, which would add                 
  a new  entry in the definition section  (d) on page 2, after                 
  line 17  to say, "(3)  "premises of  the employer"  includes                 
  camps or other living  accommodations provided or maintained                 
  by an employer."                                                             
  SENATOR TAYLOR led a discussion on the  amendment, using the                 
  example   of   preventing  religiously   owned   camps  from                 
  prohibiting the use of  lawful products in their camps.   He                 
  said other camps have also decided they don't want alcoholic                 
  beverages in camp.                                                           
  SENATOR LITTLE  clarified  of the  sponsor, SENATOR  TAYLOR,                 
  that the bill  would prevent ARCO  from enforcing their  "no                 
  alcohol" requirement on the slope.  SENATOR TAYLOR said that                 
  would  only apply if  the amendment wasn't  passed.  SENATOR                 
  LITTLE then  clarified the bill would allow ARCO to maintain                 
  their "no alcohol" prohibition, and SENATOR TAYLOR agreed.                   
  SENATOR JACKO moved  Amendment #1.   Without objections,  so                 
  SENATOR  TAYLOR produced  another  amendment,  #2, from  the                 
  Department of Administration, which was distributed.                         
  SENATOR LITTLE asked SENATOR TAYLOR for the basic intent  of                 
  the  legislation  and  under  what  circumstances, it  would                 
  SENATOR TAYLOR  explained the  basic intent  was to  provide                 
  protection  for  the  lawful and  appropriate  use  of legal                 
  substances on off-duty  hours.  SENATOR  LITTLE asked if  he                 
  meant alcohol and tobacco, and he said "primarily."                          
  SENATOR  HALFORD  thought there  should  be a  definition of                 
  "legal  product,"  and  there  ensued  a discussion  of  the                 
  Number 368                                                                   
  SENATOR  TAYLOR  did not  express  support for  the proposed                 
  amendment  from the  Administration.    While the  committee                 
  contemplated  the amendment,  SENATOR  TAYLOR called  on his                 
  aide,  JOE  AMBROSE,  to  share   some  information  on  the                 
  Disabilities Act.                                                            
  MR. AMBROSE explained, in the course  of doing some research                 
  on the legislation, there was a question from ARCO as to how                 
  the legislation would impact their program to aid people who                 
  were in recovery for alcohol or  drug abuse.  Basically, the                 
  bill wouldn't have  any impact as  far as their program  was                 
  concerned,  but  it  was  also  discovered  that  under  the                 
  Americans with Disabilities  Act, alcoholism is now  defined                 
  as a disability, and comes under the scope of the act.                       
  MR. AMBROSE suggested  that everyone needed to  define their                 
  obligations under the federal legislation.                                   
  SENATOR JACKO asked  for an  interpretation of Amendment  #2                 
  from the Administration.                                                     
  MR. AMBROSE said the amendment was vague which would nullify                 
  the purpose of the  legislation, and he raised the  question                 
  of "nexus" as explained by the Administration.                               
  Number 405                                                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR was  concerned the amendment did  not address                 
  reasonable  standards of  conduct,  and he  described  these                 
  concerns to get around the provisions of  the act.  He again                 
  said he  did not officially offer the  amendment, but wanted                 
  the committee to have the opportunity to discuss it.                         
  SENATOR  LITTLE moved Amendment  #3 from  the Administration                 
  which would add a new paragraph  after line 10 on page 2  to                 
  read, "(3) discharge an individual or otherwise disadvantage                 
  an   individual   with  respect   to   compensation,  terms,                 
  conditions,  or privileges  of employment if  the individual                 
  fails to comply  with an employer's reasonable  standards of                 
  conduct, even  during nonworking  hours, where the  employer                 
  cam  demonstrate a close  relationship between the standards                 
  and the employer's business."  SENATOR TAYLOR objected.                      
  SENATOR JACKO asked SENATOR LITTLE for her interpretation of                 
  the amendment.  SENATOR LITTLE said she was not enthusiastic                 
  about  the  bill  in  its  entirety,  but  she  thought  the                 
  amendment  would make  it more  palatable, and  she gave  an                 
  There ensued a discuss of the amendment in relation to SATCH                 
  CARLSON, the Raven decision on  marijuana, lawful product v.                 
  legal products, federal law, rural options, and required job                 
  performance standards.                                                       
  Number 468                                                                   
  SENATOR LITTLE re-introduced Amendment #2,  and it passed on                 
  a 4-1 vote.                                                                  
  SENATOR  LITTLE  asked if  there  was  a real  need  for the                 
  legislation, and SENATOR TAYLOR indicated  there was lots of                 
  support for the legislation - especially from smokers.                       
  SENATOR JACKO moved to pass CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 69(JUD)                   
  (RIGHT  TO   USE  LAWFUL   PRODUCTS)  from   committee  with                 
  individual recommendations.  Without objections, so ordered.                 
  SENATOR   TAYLOR  returned   SJR   3  (LIMITING   TERMS   OF                 
  and  SJR  4  (90 DAY  SESSION  LIMIT)  and  asked the  prime                 
  sponsor, SENATOR LOREN LEMAN, to begin by reviewing SJR 3.                   
  SENATOR  LEMAN explained  SJR  3 proposes  a  constitutional                 
  amendment  to  limit the  length  of legislative  service to                 
  eight consecutive years, but allows a return to office after                 
  a  minimum  two-year  break  in  service.     He  gave  some                 
  historical perspective on the  legislation as introduced  in                 
  previous years.                                                              
  SENATOR LEMAN  suggested reading the  Sponsor Statement  for                 
  his reasons in sponsoring the legislation, and he maintained                 
  the  intent was supported by 75%  of the public.  He thought                 
  the voters should  have the chance to vote  on the bill, and                 
  thought this  would make a  better public perception  of the                 
  SENATOR LEMAN noted  other versions of his  legislation, but                 
  thought   they  were   extreme   in   their  approaches   to                 
  limitations.     SENATOR  LEMAN   also   thought  his   bill                 
  represented a reasonable compromise among  various pieces of                 
  Number 520                                                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked what  happened to  the Legislator  who                 
  served three terms in  the House, and then  is elected to  a                 
  four year term in the Senate.                                                
  SENATOR LEMAN reviewed previous testimony in committees that                 
  led  to  a revision  to allow  a  legislator in  mid-term to                 
  complete that term,  and he said  he wouldn't object to  the                 
  reinstatement of  the provision.   He  said the  alternative                 
  would be a prohibition against running  for a four year seat                 
  after 6 years, but he would support 10 years in office.                      
  SENATOR  TAYLOR asked SENATOR  LEMAN'S opinion on increasing                 
  the terms  of representatives to  4 year terms,  and SENATOR                 
  LEMAN  thought  it would  make sense  to  include it  in the                 
  package.  He warned against making the bill a Christmas Tree                 
  for things that might bog down the legislation.                              
  SENATOR LITTLE saw the  problem as a concern  that incumbent                 
  legislators had a great  deal of power in gaining  funds for                 
  re-election, and she asked SENATOR LEMAN if he believed that                 
  some  campaign  finance  reform  would  really  address  the                 
  problem.  She  thought financial reform might  be preferable                 
  to limiting the term of an individual, whom the constituents                 
  deemed a terrific representative.                                            
  SENATOR LEMAN  agreed that  people who  support term  limits                 
  also  support  their  own legislators,  but  he  thought his                 
  legislation  would  have a  more  profound effect  on making                 
  legitimate changes than campaign finance reform.                             
  SENATOR DONLEY  reviewed the  debate from  last year  on the                 
  concept of  term limits,  and said  he supported  provisions                 
  that dealt with the  U.S. Congress.  He asked  SENATOR LEMAN                 
  if he had a position on such a provision.                                    
  SENATOR LEMAN said it wasn't included because he didn't want                 
  to doom his bill to a certain death and guarantee a campaign                 
  against his legislation.  He thought SJR 3 had a good chance                 
  of  passing  without the  provision,  but might  enhance the                 
  chance of passing a complete package.                                        
  Number 577                                                                   
  SENATOR DONLEY shared  some ideas he  had on the subject  of                 
  limiting  congressional  terms, but  wouldn't  be applicable                 
  retroactively, which would allow  present members another 12                 
  SENATOR  LEMAN  thought  this  could  be  achieved  with  an                 
  effective date ...                                                           
  TAPE 93-23, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  ... but he  thought Alaska would  be more at a  disadvantage                 
  than other states - unless other states followed suit.                       
  SENATOR JACKO didn't think the legislation applied very well                 
  to Alaska and  thought most  of the support  was from  urban                 
  Alaska.  He  expressed his  concerns about the  legislation,                 
  since he  though the  long-term legislators  from the  rural                 
  areas in the 1980's helped  balance the playing field, since                 
  most of the  resources were in the  rural areas and most  of                 
  the  voters  were in  the urban  areas.   He  emphasized the                 
  legislation was perceived  by the people in rural  Alaska as                 
  an attack on them and said the legislation was a bad idea.                   
  SENATOR LEMAN didn't  see SJR 3  as being a disadvantage  to                 
  rural Alaska over urban, and  he explained what he saw as  a                 
  fair balance of legislators between urban and rural areas.                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR asked SENATOR  DONLEY if he would  be opposed                 
  to expanding the  bill to  be made applicable  to all  other                 
  elected  and appointed bodies  in the state,  such as school                 
  boards and city and borough assemblies.                                      
  SENATOR LEMAN said  the Anchorage School Board  and Assembly                 
  had limited terms of 9 years in  a vote taken in the 1980's,                 
  and he thought the same principal should apply for all.                      
  SENATOR DONLEY said he supported term limits, but he said it                 
  should  be done along with other  limitations to balance the                 
  power between the legislative and executive branch, which he                 
  considers to be  the most powerful  executive branch in  any                 
  state constitution.  He outlined  the limitations of the 180                 
  day limit, which limits the power of the legislature without                 
  a corresponding limitation on the executive branch.                          
  SENATOR DONLEY  contended the legislature kept curbing their                 
  own power without addressing the big  picture to protect the                 
  relative power of the legislature - especially in the growth                 
  of the budget.  He said  the legislature needed to recognize                 
  the impact of reducing the effectiveness of the legislature,                 
  and there should  be separate provisions brought  before the                 
  voters  to  balance out  the  decrease in  the legislature's                 
  Number 062                                                                   
  SENATOR  JACKO  concurred  with  the  remarks  from  SENATOR                 
  DONLEY, and thought  there should be corresponding  curbs in                 
  the executive branch.                                                        
  SENATOR HALFORD said he  would like to apply the  remarks to                 
  the third  branch - to the  election of judges.   He thought                 
  there  should  be more  of a  turn-over  in judges,  but the                 
  judges would probably rule it an unconstitutional amendment.                 
  SENATOR TAYLOR suggested the judicial retirement at 15 years                 
  would take care of the third branch.  He thought appropriate                 
  levels of pay and retirement should be addressed in terms of                 
  the legislature.  He also thought if  legislators were going                 
  to continue to be full-time, they should be paid for it.                     
  SENATOR LEMAN said  he concurred with many  of the comments,                 
  but he said he  was enough of a realist to  know the chances                 
  for  the  resolution to  pass the  Senate  and House  in the                 
  current form  would be  difficult without some  compromises.                 
  He thought his bill was a key  element in making the rest of                 
  it happen.                                                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR suggested SENATOR LEMAN review the provisions                 
  in SJR 4 (90 DAY SESSION LIMIT).                                             
  SENATOR LEMAN explained SJR  4 was another plank in  his bid                 
  for legislative reform, and if the session is  shortened, it                 
  would  enhance the  opportunities for  more citizens  rather                 
  than professional legislators  to serve  in government.   He                 
  thought the legislators could get  their work done within 90                 
  days and return to their own jobs.  He invited the committee                 
  members to read the Sponsor Statement for his bill.                          
  Number 117                                                                   
  SENATOR DONLEY said he never  publicly supported this intent                 
  because it is such a complex issue, but he might be  able to                 
  support  the  bill, if  there was  some  repair work  to the                 
  constitution.    The  first  problem  he  observed  was  the                 
  inability of the legislature to address gubernatorial vetoes                 
  after the  second year of a session, where there should be a                 
  system designed to balance the  powers between the different                 
  branches.  He described  the problem and called it  a pocket                 
  veto by a monarch after the second session.  Anything vetoed                 
  after  the  legislators go  home  is  dead, and  short  of a                 
  special session, he  said there  was no way  to address  the                 
  In problem  #2,  SENATOR DONLEY  linked  it with  the  first                 
  problem by  asking how the legislature could  call a special                 
  session the second year, since  the current provisions don't                 
  work.  He  said too  much power resides  with the  presiding                 
  officers,  where,  if one  disagrees, it  won't happen.   It                 
  wouldn't  matter if  all  of the  members  wanted a  special                 
  session,  one presiding  officer  could prevent  the special                 
  SENATOR DONLEY  said a  Judiciary bill  was introduced  last                 
  year on this subject that would allow  for a call to be made                 
  through a certification to the clerk, where a certain number                 
  of members could  ask for  a special session  and, it  would                 
  occur.  He thought  this might be a way to  address the loss                 
  of the veto over-ride authority through the 90 day limit.                    
  SENATOR LITTLE explained when she came to Juneau she thought                 
  in terms of limiting the session, but she could see now that                 
  so much is involved in being here, to hear the public input,                 
  public  hearings, and  participating  in  healthy debate  on                 
  bills before the legislature.                                                
  SENATOR JACKO concurred  with the remarks  on the length  of                 
  the session and most  of the remarks from SENATOR  LITTLE on                 
  the  committee process.   He  outlined  the problems  in the                 
  rural communities where communication with their legislators                 
  is difficult,  and the constituents  wonder why he  isn't in                 
  Juneau taking care of their interests during the summer.                     
  Number 161                                                                   
  SENATOR  HALFORD  introduced  another topic  to  compare the                 
  length  of legislative sessions in all  of the states, where                 
  they aren't  all bound  by the same  terminology as  Alaska,                 
  which has consecutive  calendar days.  This  precludes being                 
  able to  gather information  from the  constituents, and  he                 
  described the slow beginning of session.                                     
  SENATOR HALFORD suggested within the 90 day limit, it should                 
  begin  with a 45  day session, have  a 30 day  break to deal                 
  with the constituents  back home, and  return to Juneau  for                 
  another 45 days.  He thought the legislators would receive a                 
  lot  of intensive  lobbying in  their  own home  district by                 
  constituents after the issues were on the table.                             
  There ensued a  general discussion on limiting  the session,                 
  special sessions, options, weekend sessions, travel, and the                 
  lack of flexibility.                                                         
  SENATOR  DONLEY  discussed  the  extent  to which  he  would                 
  support  the  bills and  the  modifications he  thought were                 
  needed  to  balance  out  the  impact.    He  suggested  two                 
  modifications, the first being to change the session to more                 
  correspond  to  the  revenue  projections,  and  second,  to                 
  introduce  a   mandatory  special  session  to   review  the                 
  gubernatorial vetoes, or  make it easier  to call a  special                 
  SENATOR TAYLOR opined there would be  significant amendments                 
  to be offered by  the committee members at the  next hearing                 
  on the bills.  He said he would hold them in committee to be                 
  heard in about  10 days -  to give members time  to complete                 
  their amendments.                                                            
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects