Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/21/1994 01:38 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                         March 21, 1994                                        
                           1:38 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                
 Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman                                           
 Senator George Jacko                                                          
 Senator Dave Donley                                                           
 Senator Suzanne Little                                                        
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  OTHERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Bill Williams                                                  
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 HOUSE BILL NO. 28                                                             
 "An Act relating to the penalty for providing alcoholic beverages             
 to a person under the age of 21; and providing for an effective               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 254                                                            
 "An Act relating to open meetings of governmental bodies; and                 
 amending Rule 82 of the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."                     
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 49                                                
 Urging the Congress to reevaluate its practice of imposing unfunded           
 mandates on state and local governments.                                      
 HOUSE BILL NO. 454                                                            
 "An Act making a supplemental appropriation to the Department of              
 Law to pay costs of certain continuing legal proceedings; and                 
 providing for an effective date."                                             
 SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD THIS DATE.                                            
 HOUSE BILL NO. 374                                                            
 "An Act relating to reimbursable service agreements and other                 
 agreements between state agencies for the purchase of services."              
 SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEAR THIS DATE.                                             
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 HB 28 -  NO PREVIOUS ACTION.                                                  
 HB 254 - See Judiciary minutes dated 3/9/94 and 3/16/94.                      
 SJR 49 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION.                                                  
 HB 454 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION.                                                  
 HB 374 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION.                                                  
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Jeanneane Henry                                                               
 3812 Baranof                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 28.                                         
 Margot Knuth, Asst. Atty. General                                             
 Criminal division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
   POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 28.                                     
 Glenn Schrader                                                                
 Kenai Peninsula Central Labor Council                                         
 P.O. Box 1587                                                                 
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
   POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 254.                                    
 Gene Dekerlegand                                                              
 P.O. Box 1757                                                                 
 Soldotna, Alaska 99669                                                        
   POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 254.                                    
 Mr. Tom Bettaker                                                              
 AML Legislative Committee                                                     
 217 Second Street #200                                                        
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Worked on HB 254.                                       
 Kent Swisher                                                                  
 Alaska Municipal League                                                       
 217 Second Street #200                                                        
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Worked on HB 254.                                       
 Rosemary Hagivig, President                                                   
 League of Women Voters                                                        
 P.O. Box 240423                                                               
 Douglas, Alaska 99824                                                         
   POSITION STATEMENT: Worked on HB 254.                                       
 John McKay                                                                    
 Alaska Newspaper Association                                                  
 211 H Street                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 254.                                        
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 94-21, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:38 p.m.                                                            
 A MINOR) sponsored by REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS to committee and           
 invited JEANNEANE HENRY to testify from Ketchikan.                            
 MS. HENRY testified as to her support of the bill for the past 2.5            
 years, and she shared a letter from the Mental Health Department in           
 Ketchikan dealing with alcohol and drug abuse in the Ketchikan                
 area.  She read the following paragraph:  "The high rate of                   
 availability and consumption level results in alcohol related                 
 problems, which at best can be described, as epidemic in                      
 Number 052                                                                    
 MS. HENRY promised to fax the letter for the remainder of the                 
 information, and she reviewed an incident in which her son was                
 killed in an accident as the result of an adult furnishing a large            
 amount of alcohol to a group of teens.  She thanked SENATOR TAYLOR            
 for hearing the bill and offered to answer questions.                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR invited the sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS,             
 who explained this bill had also been sponsored by a former                   
 legislator from Ketchikan in response to the alcohol related deaths           
 of the two youths in that community.  He said the purpose of the              
 legislation was to strengthen the penalty for providing alcohol to            
 a person who is under the age of 21.                                          
 Right now, REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS explained, furnishing alcohol to           
 a minor is a misdemeanor carry a penalty of one year in year in               
 prison and a $5 thousand fine.  He said the House Judiciary                   
 provides that a person who provides alcohol to a minor in violation           
 of AS 04.16.051 is guilty of a class C felony if, within the                  
 previous five years, the person has a prior conviction for the same           
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS also explained a class C felony carries a             
 maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $50 thousand fine.              
 He described the suffering from alcohol and drug abuse all across             
 the State of Alaska, and he urged serious support for the bill.  He           
 offered to answer questions.                                                  
 Number 100                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE questioned the rational behind the five year time              
 limitation as far as a previous conviction.                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS explained when he first introduced the bill           
 it was a class C felony on the first offense with five years in               
 prison and a $50 thousand fine, but the House Judiciary Committee             
 chose to take that up on the second offense.                                  
 SENATOR LITTLE clarified if a person had given liquor to a minor              
 and was convicted of the offense six years before, then it would              
 still be a misdemeanor not a class C felony.  REPRESENTATIVE                  
 WILLIAMS said she was correct.  SENATOR LITTLE thought there should           
 be no time limitation there, and there ensued a discussion of this            
 provision with MARGOT KNUTH from the Criminal Division of the                 
 Department of Law.                                                            
 Number 143                                                                    
 MS. KNUTH express her respect to the sponsor and the motivation for           
 the legislation, but she explained the Department of Law had some             
 concerns about elevating the offense to a felony level.  She asked            
 the committee to remember the Department of Law, as well as the               
 Department of Corrections, is faced with dwindling resources rather           
 than more, and by making the second offense a felony matter, it               
 will require the Department of Law to take the case to grand jury             
 or to a preliminary hearing.  She discussed the role of probation             
 in the offense, and she explained these type of offenses frequently           
 don't result in any period of incarceration, with more than a month           
 in jail being unlikely.  She expressed a forewarning that elevating           
 it to a felony offense would not make people more conscientious               
 about the crime, or deterred people from committing the crime.                
 MS. KNUTH explained as a misdemeanor, the offense was treated                 
 seriously by the court, and she described the feeling about the               
 offense and what the district court wanted to do about sending a              
 message.  She didn't think there would be such an impact in                   
 superior court, but would just be considered one of the least                 
 serious felonies, and she hoped the message wasn't conveyed to                
 offenders that what they did was somehow acceptable, because as a             
 felony offense, it wasn't capturing much attention.  Again, MS.               
 KNUTH conveyed her respect for the purposes for the legislation,              
 but she was not sure it would achieve its goal.                               
 SENATOR DONLEY asked it there had been any multiple prosecution of            
 persons accuse a second time for this same offense, and MS. KNUTH             
 referred to their fiscal note to report there weren't many of these           
 second time offenses.                                                         
 Number 191                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY asked if there were any examples that would show               
 whether or not judges were giving out jail sentences for second               
 time misdemeanor offenses.  He surmised they weren't, and asked for           
 any case specifics.                                                           
 MS. KNUTH said it was largely suspended jail time.                            
 SENATOR TAYLOR did think there were serious ramifications; however,           
 if licensed premises were found to be the persons selling.                    
 MS. KNUTH said he was correct and explained there were a number of            
 consequences, beginning with putting their license in jeopardy.               
 She also explained some fringe liability civil consequences that              
 have some economic bite there, and she noted that retail clerks,              
 cocktail waiters, and waitresses usually face the loss of their               
 job.  This is in addition to the criminal liability.                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR said that CHAR and the bar owners were supportive of           
 this kind of legislation because of the pressures under which they            
 find themselves with phoney identifications.  He thought they lose            
 their license on a second offense, and he claimed the ABC Board has           
 pulled some licenses.                                                         
 SENATOR DONLEY thought it was incredibly rare, but SENATOR TAYLOR             
 claimed the Board was getting stricter with the bars.  SENATOR                
 DONLEY wasn't convinced.                                                      
 Number 243                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY asked if there was any support from the industry on            
 the bill, since there didn't seem to be anyone in the audience from           
 the liquor industry to testify.                                               
 MS. HENRY from Ketchikan responded to the discussion claiming the             
 misdemeanor up to recently has not been taken very seriously, and             
 she said it was very difficult to find out who provides the liquor.           
 She claimed the person who had provided liquor to her son had                 
 violated probation several times, had a DWI while on probation, and           
 smuggled marijuana into jail.                                                 
 MS. HENRY thought if this person had been treated as a felon in the           
 beginning, it might have sent a different message.  She reviewed              
 her complaints about the consumption of alcohol and thought it was            
 time to send a very clear strong message.                                     
 SENATOR DONLEY thought the best way to send a clear strong message            
 would be to build enough facilities to handle 700 misdemeanors now            
 waiting to serve time, so that when they are convicted they could             
 go right to jail and serve their time without waiting up to a year            
 or more to serve their present sentences.  His final message was              
 the legislature should adequately finance the Correctional                    
 SENATOR JACKO moved to pass CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 28(JUD) am                  
 (PENALTY FOR PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO A MINOR) from committee with                
 individual recommendations.  Without objections, so ordered.                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR returned HB 254 (OPEN MEETING ACT) to committee and            
 opened the Kenai/Soldotna teleconference to hear testimony from               
 GLENN SCHRADER and GENE DEKERLEGAND, both representing the Kenai              
 Peninsula Central Labor Council.                                              
 Number 297                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if he had the most recent committee substitute           
 on HB 254, and MR. SCHRADER said he did.                                      
 MR. SCHRADER had earlier expressed some annoyance at the meeting of           
 the Alaska Municipal League, because they charged a fee to attend.            
 He had written a letter to ATTORNEY GENERAL COLE, and he shared the           
 letter which said it was an open meeting, and they should not have            
 charged a fee.                                                                
 MR. SCHRADER referred to Section 1 of the committee substitute,               
 which he thought had been transferred over to page 5, line 7                  
 regarding a governmental body.  He didn't think the change took               
 into consideration the corporations that receive public money such            
 mental health, utilities, etc., and he thought they should be                 
 included in the legislation.                                                  
 MR. SCHRADER thought executive sessions should be recorded to be              
 able to answer legal questions in the future.  On page 3, line 28,            
 regarding the notice, he thought the line should read print [and]            
 broadcast media.                                                             
 Number 351                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE noted MR. SCHRADER'S concerns and explained [or] was           
 used because some places in the state have neither a newspaper or             
 a radio station, which could make some meeting difficult to notice.           
 MR. SCHRADER was not convinced and asked she proposed they be                 
 SENATOR LITTLE suggested it might be by CB or just be the required            
 posting at the principle office where the meeting will be held and            
 other places as designated by the governmental body.                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR next called on MR. DEKERLEGAND agreed with the                 
 testimony from MR. SCHRADER on charging a fee of $125 to attend the           
 Alaska Municipal League meeting, and he felt it was a double                  
 taxation on the public.  He reviewed what he thought were the                 
 inequities of the meeting and continued to feel shut out of the               
 MR. SCHRADER quoted SENATOR TAYLOR as attending the AML meetings              
 where nothing much happened, but he was concerned with both the               
 legislators as well as the members of the municipal league made a             
 large lobbying body for the 60 legislators.  He said there were               
 speakers at the last meeting he would like to have heard.                     
 Number 401                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR expressed concern at the definition of a                       
 "governmental body performing a judicial or quasi-judicial                    
 function," because of the exemptions of bodies such as hospitals,             
 and he explained his objections.  SENATOR HALFORD asked if it                 
 included private hospitals, and they suggested possible hospitals.            
 SENATOR LITTLE explained the public hospitals in her area do notice           
 their public meetings, but she was unable to answer about the                 
 private hospitals in the state.  She suggested that TOM BETTAKER,             
 from the AML Legislative Committee, might have some better answers.           
 MR. BETTAKER didn't think there was a problem since the law only              
 applied to governmental bodies, which would include only public               
 hospitals not private hospitals.                                              
 SENATOR TAYLOR reviewed some of the private hospitals but thought             
 the community hospital in Petersburg would be required.                       
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked MR. BETTAKER for an update statement from AML            
 and from his own perspective as to the possible undecided issues.             
 MR. BETTAKER thought the legislation and the work done on the                 
 current committee substitute addresses a number of problems that              
 have been identified by the league and other groups that have                 
 worked on the act.  He thought these included the definition of               
 when a meeting is covered, when the meeting should occur, and how             
 far the statute should progress as far as advisory groups that                
 advise advisory groups.  He also thought it included the staff of             
 a mayor as addressed by the legislation.  He suggested people can             
 always find a hole in any legislation, but he thought the                     
 definitions were clear and covered the remedies for violations for            
 the finality of decisions.                                                    
 MR. BETTAKER thought the bill was being used to find technicalities           
 to attack political disagreements, and he describe some of these.             
 Number 455                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR said the changes in the latest committee substitute            
 were highlighted on page 3 starting with the word "subject" to the            
 top of page 4, ending with the word "meetings."  On page 5, was               
 highlighted "by members collectively" and inserted paragraph 2 of             
 line 14 through 17.                                                           
 254(JUD)(8-LSO859\S) in lieu of 8-LSO859\Q.  Without objections, so           
 SENATOR LITTLE explained the cooperative group that has been                  
 meeting recently, within the last hour, agreed to another change              
 that had been a concern.                                                      
 SENATOR LITTLE moved to insert on page 5, line 10, after                      
 governmental body the words or chief elected executive officer,           
 which then read: "or (B) make recommendations directly to another             
 government body or chief elected executive officer authorized to              
 take action on matter that is the subject of the recommendations,"            
 She quoted a previous person who testified a mayor's blue ribbon              
 meeting would have to be held in public session under this language           
 since they did not make recommendations to another governmental               
 body but to an individual who appointed them.                                 
 SENATOR LITTLE said this change would require the existing                    
 condition to continue, whereas, if a mayor appoints a blue ribbon             
 commission to study a specific item, the meetings must be held in             
 public with notification.                                                     
 SENATOR TAYLOR maintained his objections on the amendment for                 
 purposes of discussion, and he expressed serious concerns this                
 provision carries the specific requirements of open meetings on               
 down to the sub-committee level.  He gave some examples of how                
 cumbersome he thought it would be to use.                                     
 Number 502                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE suggested it was one of those grey areas and                   
 questionable as to whether the open meetings act applies to the               
 sub-committees.  She explained so long as the sub-committee reports           
 to a committee that actually makes decisions, they would need to              
 meet in open session.                                                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked how we differentiate between the committee               
 which forms itself up and comes in to make a recommendation, and              
 the committee formed by the governmental body or its executive.               
 SENATOR LITTLE questioned whether there needed to be a distinction            
 between those two, and SENATOR TAYLOR referred to his previous                
 examples to say he wouldn't want to do so.  He gave some examples             
 of organizations he wanted to scrutinize.                                     
 SENATOR TAYLOR also questioned the use of the words authorized and            
 authority.  SENATOR LITTLE disputed some of his understanding of              
 the directions, and she explained her understanding of the                    
 directions for the sub-committee to meet in public.                           
 SENATOR TAYLOR claimed the committee was authorized to take action            
 on the subject of the recommendation, and he used the example of a            
 city council taking action as a home rule municipality on any                 
 subject.  He said a committee could form and make recommendations             
 under subsection (b).  SENATOR DONLEY suggested the use of                    
 governmental authority and explained why he thought it was a better    er   
 choice so it wouldn't be just an ad hoc group.                                
 SENATOR LITTLE claimed the committee was talking about a                      
 governmental body and not any group that organizes itself to make             
 recommendations.  She listed assemblies, councils, boards,                    
 commissions, and committees appointed by the mayor of a town or the           
 governor of the state to establish public policies.  She did not              
 understand the concerns of SENATORS TAYLOR and DONLEY.                        
 SENATOR TAYLOR read the directions as being vague and used the PTA            
 as an example of when the mandate for noticing the meeting brings             
 them into the scope of the open meetings act.  SENATOR DONLEY                 
 thought the PTA had more status than an ad hoc group.                         
 Number 552                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE bargained that after the passage of the present                
 amendment, she would offer another amendment , which she thought              
 might clarify the intent.                                                     
 SENATOR TAYLOR returned to the first amendment which would insert             
 on page 5, line 10, after governmental body the words or chief             
 elected executive officer.  Without objections, so ordered.                  
 SENATOR LITTLE moved to add on line 8 of page 5 to add after                  
 similar body the words of a public entity so the language would           
 read: "... commission, committee or other similar body of a public            
 entity with the authority ..."  SENATOR JACKO asked if the                    
 amendment accomplished what was intended.  SENATOR TAYLOR thought             
 it would and explained why.                                                   
 TAPE 94-21, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR continued a general discussion with the committee              
 members on the amendment in relation to compliance with the open              
 meetings act.  Without objections, SENATOR TAYLOR announced the               
 passage of the amendment.                                                     
 SENATOR DONLEY returned to SENATOR TAYLOR'S example of the PTA to             
 explain he now thought they were under the open meetings act.                 
 SENATOR LITTLE claimed the change just made in her amendment would            
 exempt them and explained why she thought so.  SENATOR DONLEY                 
 didn't think that was clear and described their close ties to the             
 school district.                                                              
 SENATOR TAYLOR said SENATOR DONLEY was probably correct and                   
 suggested the need for "creation by authority of."  SENATOR DONLEY            
 said he was seeking clarification since it was a group participated           
 in by people all across the state.  There was a discussion as to              
 whether they should be in or out, and SENATOR TAYLOR wanted them              
 out, but he said others probably want them under the open meetings            
 act.  The discussion continued with SENATOR DONLEY describing                 
 possible distinctive status of the group.                                     
 SENATOR LITTLE asked MR. BETTAKER from the AML Legislative                    
 Committee if he thought by changing the amended language, just                
 adopted, to add created by would solve the designation of the PTA           
 MR. BETTAKER said he was thinking about language that might fit,              
 and there was some general discussion of possible changes in                  
 wording.  He explained the question dealt with which groups are               
 covered, not who created them, and he thought the creation would              
 have to be put in some other place in the legislation.  There was             
 some discussion of his points, and SENATOR TAYLOR thought it would            
 take additional work.                                                         
 Number 042                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE felt the phrase, of a public entity, was acceptable     e    
 as currently used and thought it difficult to make the PTA a public           
 entity.  She said it received no public funds and is a private                
 MR. BETTAKER explained the PTA would not be a body of public                  
 entity, but in some districts, they are officially recognized as a            
 committee with a role in the process of making recommendations                
 directly to the school board.  He also explained how the PTA                  
 achieves special status in some districts and not others.                     
 SENATOR DONLEY thought the only way out was to exempt them, and               
 SENATOR JACKO asked about other organizations that might be exempt.           
 SENATOR TAYLOR proposed subparagraph (B) for elimination, and he              
 explained his reasons.                                                        
 SENATOR LITTLE thought the goal should be, wherever possible and              
 practical, to hold open meetings in order to involve the public as            
 much as possible in activities by governmental bodies.  She                   
 defended subparagraph (B) as being the product of anguish from many           
 people and suggested it be left in place.  SENATOR LITTLE described           
 entities that wanted even more openness in this governmental body             
 definition to include committees appointed by heads of departments,           
 and she described other examples.  She considered it a compromise.            
 Number 085                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY asked that there be some discussion about the PTA              
 example, and he described meetings of parents from ordinary to                
 sophisticated, who might be intimidated by making the process too             
 difficult.  He continued to describe the interaction of these                 
 parents on other levels, such as bridge games, and he feared these            
 people would become victims of the open meetings act. He wanted to            
 have some discussion.                                                         
 SENATOR LITTLE tried to assure SENATOR DONLEY the PTA would not be            
 considered a public entity and their meetings would not be under              
 the open meetings act, plus there would be no problem with four               
 parents playing bridge together.  She stressed her opinion that a             
 PTA was not of a public entity.                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought the concern expressed committee is whether             
 or not we should make this inclusive of all sub-committee level               
 activities, and he took up SENATOR DONLEY'S concern about the                 
 bridge club and the open meetings act.  He claimed, with the                  
 addition of the phrase or chief elected executive officer, this act    ct   
 just became enforceable against the executive branch government,              
 where today it is on legislative branches only.  He spoke at some             
 length on his concerns.                                                       
 SENATOR JACKO moved to eliminate [or] and subparagraph (B) in                 
 Section 7 on lines 9 through 11.  SENATOR LITTLE objected.                    
 SENATOR LITTLE asked to get the opinion of MR. SWISHER and MS.                
 HAGIVIG about this particular issue, because she knew they had                
 spent long hours on these words.  SENATOR TAYLOR invited them to              
 Number 144                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY, in speaking to the motion, said subparagraph (B)              
 drags a lot of non-compensated citizens into this process under               
 this law, and he gave some examples.  He asked about a remedy under           
 the act, which brought about some discussion among the senators.              
 MR. SWISHER explained the city council cannot draft the PTA, but              
 could invite them to become a special committee, which they may or            
 may not choose to do.  He thought this moved the PTA out of the               
 problem of their dealing with the open meetings act.                          
 SENATOR DONLEY asked what gave them the authority, and MR. SWISHER            
 said it would be the same as the folks in the first two rows might            
 have if decided to get together and make a recommendation to you.             
 We can do that; you don't have to listen.                                     
 SENATOR DONLEY questioned the relationship between the school                 
 district and the PTA.  MR. SWISHER said the PTA does not have to              
 accept a special relationship offered by the city council or                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR claimed that if they did accept the relationship               
 they would then come under the open meetings act, and MR. SWISHER             
 said they did.  SENATOR DONLEY thought MR. SWISHER was being more             
 specific, but SENATOR DONLEY said this was open for more general              
 circumstance.  He discussed some possible instances of this                   
 reasoning, and talked about rival PTA's.                                      
 MR. SWISHER said if the school board created them as an advisory              
 group to the school board, then SENATOR DONLEY and SENATOR TAYLOR             
 would be correct about being of a public entity.                              
 MS. HAGIVIG concurred with MR. SWISHER'S testimony, and she said              
 KAREN ROBINSON had gone to ask TAM COOK about PTA's specifically.             
 She also explained PTA's as organized at both the state and                   
 national level with their own set of by-laws, has a very specific             
 structure, and are a completely separate, private entity, but the             
 school boards may recognize them as a special interest group that             
 has a special relationship with the school district.  She said,               
 unless they are specifically delegated to do a particular task for            
 the school board, and accept.                                                 
 SENATOR DONLEY wanted to know where that assertion was said, and              
 MS. HAGIVIG said it wasn't specifically said there.  She continued            
 to quote from previous testimony on the autonomy of school boards.            
 SENATOR DONLEY argued it wasn't specifically said in the bill and             
 described the problem from the legislative perspective.                       
 MS. HAGIVIG described many nuances in existing open meetings act              
 that have been consistently tested in court, and she claimed public           
 officials have been left at the mercy of any given court decision.            
 SENATOR DONLEY said that he agreed with her and thought it should             
 be specifically stated in the legislation.  MS. HAGIVIG explained             
 they have tried to be comprehensive in general terms.  SENATOR                
 JACKO asked her if there were other groups she could list.                    
 Number 200                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE said eliminating subparagraph (B) would also                   
 eliminate nearly all advisory groups at all levels from falling               
 under the open meetings act.  She didn't think that was the intent            
 of the legislation.  She did think it made sense for the planning             
 commission meetings that make recommendations to the city council             
 to be subject to the provisions of the act.                                   
 SENATOR JACKO suggested anything discussed at the sub-committee               
 level would be discussed at the whole committee level, and would              
 not exclude the public.                                                       
 SENATOR LITTLE drew on her experience as the staff administrator of           
 lots of planning commission meetings, to describe the level of                
 discussion as being much more intricate than what occurred at the             
 city council level, and she thought it was sensible to have those             
 meetings noticed and open for the public to listen to this level of           
 SENATOR TAYLOR said the planning commission would be covered under            
 the introductory line and subparagraph (A), but SENATOR LITTLE said           
 many times planning commissions are only advisory to the city                 
 council.  They discussed making policies, governmental bodies,                
 public entities, and the implementing of making decisions for a               
 public entity.                                                                
 SENATOR JACKO asked if the lively planning commissions she                    
 described open to the public, and SENATOR LITTLE said they were.              
 Number 240                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY described the planning and zoning as conducted in              
 Anchorage and the authority to take actions, unless over ruled by             
 the city council.  SENATOR TAYLOR thought this was similar to most            
 home rule cities.                                                             
 SENATOR TAYLOR referred to line 13 on page 5 which included                   
 consists of two or more members, to ask MR. BETTAKER if that meant     t    
 two or more city council members, and he suggested a change in the            
 SENATOR DONLEY asked MR. BETTAKER how far down the line of decision           
 does the culpability extend for negating a decision, and he used              
 the example of a citizen's advisory committee to explain his                  
 MS. HAGIVIG explained the whole structure in the legislation does             
 apply for a remedy, which she thought could easily be administered            
 at every level, probably expeditiously, and she gave some examples.           
 She indicated her group, the League of Women Voters, felt strongly            
 much of the business of local government with a good deal of input            
 from advisory committees.  She explained, if the borough assembly             
 were to specifically appoint an advisory committee to deal with a             
 decreet issue and return to the assembly by a date certain with a             
 recommendation, her organization feel they ought to be subject to             
 the conditions of the open meetings act.                                      
 SENATOR DONLEY said it would go all the way to the sub-committee              
 level.  SENATOR TAYLOR agreed and they discussed their objections             
 to her explanation on violations and remedies.                                
 Number 297                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR said it was the remedy currently in law for a city             
 council.  SENATOR JACKO seemed pleased when SENATOR TAYLOR said               
 they had to do it over again.                                                 
 MS. HAGIVIG explained most of these kinds of committees already               
 consider themselves subject to the open meetings act, and she                 
 continued to explain the value of the open meetings act, as well as           
 the remedies.                                                                 
 SENATOR DONLEY shifted to the consideration of community councils             
 in Anchorage, where he explained they were advisory to the assembly           
 and officially authorized under city government.  He explained the            
 membership is everyone who lives in that area, and he asked how to            
 deal with them.                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR suggested they follow the procedures of the                    
 legislation, but SENATOR DONLEY described they live across the                
 street from each other.  SENATOR LITTLE asked if they had officers,           
 and when SENATOR DONLEY said they did, she explained those would be           
 the ones constrained from not meeting with each other.                        
 SENATOR DONLEY claimed his only remedy would be to specifically               
 exempt community councils and PTA's, and he described the informal            
 grass roots aspects of the community councils.  He described it as            
 a membership rather than a formal committee.                                  
 Number 339                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE said she would consider the formal members to be               
 those persons officially elected by the community council to take             
 action on their behalf.                                                       
 MR. SWISHER thought it narrows the applicability of the act, and he           
 referred to page 1 of the legislation to the language being                   
 stricken, to explain it applies to anyone who spends public money.            
 He considered it a broad and sweeping definition, and he said the             
 language was drafted to limit the applicability to advisors to a              
 governing body.  He explained their attempt was to draw the                   
 distinction between advisors to a governing body and advisors to              
 the advisors.                                                                 
 SENATOR JACKO asked for clarification as to his distinction of a              
 recommendation of an advisory group that is making recommendations            
 to a group that spends public money and whether it would be exempt.           
 SENATOR TAYLOR said "public money" was thrown out altogether as a             
 qualifier, because it is being deleted on the first page, but has             
 been redefined as those who fall within the level of qualification            
 on page 5 by specific definitions.  He outlined the problems he saw           
 in these definitions, and speculated there was a larger amount of             
 power in recommendations from a community council rather than a               
 mayor's commission recommendations.  He voiced suspicions there               
 would be those who would claim the councils needed to be under the            
 open meetings act, because of their power.                                    
 Number 386                                                                    
 There was a general discussion about community councils since they            
 also exist in the Mat-Su Valley, and MS. HAGIVIG said they were now           
 in Juneau, but under a different structure.  There was a discussion           
 as to where it would be as far as the legislation, and MS. HAGIVIG            
 said the meetings were noticed.                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY reviewed the requirements and procedures in the                
 Anchorage community councils, but he did want the meetings opened             
 and the process noticed.  He expressed concern about certain                  
 ramifications which limited the ability of citizens to interact               
 over issues of normal concern.                                                
 SENATOR JACKO expressed concern the legislation would inhibit the             
 chatty grass roots citizens that want to get involved, and he                 
 thought there might be other groups that need to be examined.                 
 SENATOR DONLEY had no objections to the process, but when dealing             
 with private citizens, he had concerns about limiting them on their           
 own time.  SENATOR JACKO brought up the role of the news media in             
 the process.  SENATOR TAYLOR was concerned the opportunities to               
 further misuse this act for obstructing bonafide activities of the            
 governmental entity.                                                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought the addition of the words or chief elected            
 executive officer, invaded the executive branch, and he continued            
 to defend his position.                                                       
 Number 440                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE suggested, to take care of the community council               
 issue, to change the wording to or other similar body under control   rol  
 of a public entity, and she explained the reasons for her suggested     d    
 There ensued a general discussion of grass roots communication                
 requirements, phone banks, split requirements, and public meetings.           
 MS. HAGIVIG said she understood the distinction, but she was not              
 aware of the structure of the community councils in Anchorage.  She           
 thought that while the councils were recognized, they didn't have             
 any particular authority under the Anchorage Municipality.  She               
 continued the discuss with SENATOR DONLEY the relationship the                
 councils have with the municipality.                                          
 SENATOR DONLEY suggested that rather than eliminating subparagraph            
 (B), to make all of the notice requirements apply to all those                
 groups, and he discussed it in relation to communications                     
 MS. HAGIVIG said she understood the special distinctions, and gave            
 some examples of her understanding.                                           
 After some discussion of the previous amendment, SENATOR JACKO                
 restated the amendment: He moved to eliminate [or] on line 9,                 
 subparagraph (B) in Section 7 on lines 9 through 11, and the [;] on           
 page 13.                                                                      
 SENATOR LITTLE again it would remove all advisory groups at all               
 levels of government from noticing their meetings and having open             
 meetings under this act, and she suggested they look for other ways           
 to handle the problem.                                                        
 SENATOR DONLEY said he supported the groups keeping their                     
 publication notices and whatever it takes to allow everyone to                
 participate.  He doesn't support taking them out altogether, but              
 indicated he would like to explore other options.                             
 SENATOR TAYLOR suggested it be to spin it off and put it back into            
 Section 5, page 3, beginning with line 24 (e) Reasonable public              
 notice shall be given for all meetings ....                                  
 There was some discussion as to which meeting would be on the list,           
 TAPE 94-22, SIDE A                                                          
 Number 001                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE led the committee members and members of committee             
 that worked on the legislation in a discussion of ways to make the            
 legislation more acceptable to the detractors, to restructure                 
 meetings, and to simplify the compliance of the act.                          
 SENATOR DONLEY answered questions by MS. HAGIVIG about the                    
 community councils as to their relationship to the municipality,              
 saying they are part of the Anchorage charter and there are                   
 requirements to planning and zoning people get a recommendation               
 from the community council.                                                   
 Number 049                                                                    
 SENATOR HALFORD asked if there was any legal review dealing with              
 specific advisory bodies.  He asked several more related questions            
 about the open meetings act.  SENATOR TAYLOR was not aware of any,            
 but called on MR. BETTAKER for information.                                   
 MR. BETTAKER described a case in Anchorage, which has caused some             
 confusion in the supreme court in this area, because no one knows             
 what the law covers now.  He explained the defined it as any part             
 of the process that leads to the ultimate decision making, which              
 clearly implies that every advisory group, all the way down the               
 line that makes a recommendation, is covered.  He said it was a               
 factor in dealing with this legislation.                                      
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the dictamen was within the case, and                 
 whether the case did not turn on an advisory committee making the             
 recommendation, but was a school board or city council.  After some           
 discussion, MR. BETTAKER said SENATOR TAYLOR was correct and was an           
 inappropriate extension in the law.                                           
 Number 104                                                                    
 JOHN MCKAY, representing the Alaska Newspaper Association, asked to           
 make some comments, and SENATOR TAYLOR agreed.                                
 MR. MCKAY, in answer to SENATOR HALFORD'S question, reviewed the              
 present law which covers advisory groups, explained what happens              
 with the present change in the law.  He said his group strongly               
 opposed the proposed amendment, saying it would substantially gut             
 the present law.  He also explained it has applied to the executive           
 branch for the last 30 years, but doesn't apply to the legislative            
 branch.  He finally explained the legislation as the preservation             
 of the status quo.                                                            
 SENATOR TAYLOR said he didn't want it extending to a mayor at this            
 point, but MR. MCKAY explained it already does, and he gave some              
 SENATOR JACKO called for the question on his previous amendment.              
 SENATOR TAYLOR called for a vote on SENATOR JACKO'S move to                   
 eliminate [or] on line 9, subparagraph (B) in Section 7 on lines 9            
 through 11, and the [;] on page 13 of SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE              
 BILL NO. 254(JUD).  The roll call was taken with the following                
 results: SENATORS TAYLOR, HALFORD, and JACKO voted "yea," and                 
 SENATORS LITTLE and DONLEY voted "nay."  SENATOR TAYLOR stated the            
 motion carried.                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD suggested returning to Section 5, page 3, beginning           
 with line 24 (e) Reasonable public notice shall be given for all             
 meetings ..., because he thought it was a legitimate motion.                 
 SENATOR HALFORD explained he voted for the deletion with the                  
 understanding that it would be dealt with in some way.                        
 Number 168                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE said those were two separate issues, the first being           
 that all advisory groups, at all levels, that don't have the                  
 authority to establish policies are not covered by the open                   
 meetings act.  She didn't think that was the intent of the                    
 legislation, and she claimed the committee was careful not to                 
 reduce what is currently in statute.                                          
 MR. SWISHER suggested a new section saying exactly what the                   
 legislators want, and SENATOR HALFORD said he would support that,             
 but SENATOR TAYLOR was still concerned about the activities of the            
 present advisory committees.  SENATOR HALFORD said he assumed they            
 were not advisory, but SENATOR DONLEY described the clout of those            
 in Anchorage.  SENATOR HALFORD said he was looking at the community           
 council type examples, and SENATOR TAYLOR talked about planning and           
 zoning commissions.                                                           
 Number 208                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought the councils in Ketchikan were advisory                
 only, but someone from the audience disputed this.  There was some            
 discussion on decision making advisory groups, and SENATOR LITTLE             
 provided information on those groups that advise city councils.               
 SENATOR HALFORD read what was left of Section 7, paragraph (1), and           
 reviewed what he considered the essence of the section.  SENATOR              
 TAYLOR and SENATOR DONLEY joined the discussion saying they thought           
 that would cover most or all of the advisory groups.  SENATOR                 
 HALFORD thought the committee needed an exact answer, and go from             
 SENATOR DONLEY thought the open meetings act should apply to the              
 executive branch, too, and he explained his reasons.  There was               
 discussion as to whether it should have been deleted, and SENATOR             
 JACKO asked if it would include the governor.  SENATOR DONLEY used            
 a city manager, appointed by the city council, to determine he/she            
 was like a strong mayor, and SENATOR JACKO added, "like a CEO."               
 Number 252                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY continued the scenario to include the city manager             
 appointing a committee to advise him on some important policy issue           
 to the community.  He asked if the city manager would be outside              
 the scope of the legislation as amended or would the committee have           
 to be noticed and open.                                                       
 SENATOR HALFORD thought the notice requirements should be broadly             
 defined, but he felt people felt harassed by the no communication             
 provisions, and he used the examples of small communities of                  
 informal groups that don't have any power to really do anything.              
 He described the differences in those persons who stand for                   
 elections and their dealing with advisory groups.                             
 SENATOR LITTLE moved to pass a technical amendment to remove                  
 subparagraph (A) on line 8 of page 5, and put a [.] after entity,             
 since there is no longer a subparagraph (B).  Without objections,             
 so ordered.                                                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR reminded members that after the word body on line 8     8    
 of page 5, was inserted the words of a public entity.  He said the     e    
 words under the control of which had been suggested earlier by              
 SENATOR LITTLE.                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE offered to meet with the groups that have been                 
 working on the legislation to come up with some language that would           
 meet SENATOR HALFORD'S requested concerns regarding sub-committees,           
 if the working groups are still willing to participate in the                 
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought most of the people she was talking about               
 were left in the provision, and he explained his reasons.                     
 Number 306                                                                    
 SENATOR HALFORD thought a method of reaching where the committee              
 wants to go might be to add a definition of an "advisory body" to             
 Section 7 on page 5.  Then when referring to the section on notice            
 requirements, it would apply to both "governmental bodies" and                
 "advisory bodies."  SENATOR HALFORD thought the section dealing               
 with notice requirements would apply to both advisory bodies and              
 governmental bodies, while the communication requirements would not           
 apply to advisory bodies.                                                     
 SENATOR LITTLE asked about a planning commission as an advisory               
 body, but SENATOR HALFORD said he wasn't thinking of a planning               
 commission as an advisory body.  He thought a planning commission             
 was always covered, because they have the authority to do                     
 something.  SENATOR LITTLE added, "in some cases."                            
 SENATOR HALFORD said he assumed the committee would receive an                
 answer as to the status of the planning commission, and said he did           
 not intend a planning commission, which deals with huge amounts of            
 money in zoning, to be covered.  He thought more in terms of a                
 community council group.                                                      
 SENATOR HALFORD brought up the subject of per diem and travel                 
 expenses for some of the advisory groups, and he was looking for              
 those that were very informal, the ones who pay their own way.                
 They also don't have the power to effect policy and economic                  
 decisions, but there are advisory groups on which, he concluded,              
 the legislature spent a lot of money.                                         
 SENATOR DONLEY asked the committee for a decision on executive                
 branch question, and he said he would like to see the notification            
 apply to groups.  He said some of the interpretation was what it              
 was thought to be now, from a review of the testimony.                        
 Number 350                                                                    
 There was a general discussion of this issue with varying                     
 conclusions, and SENATOR LITTLE thought the current law includes              
 the executive branch, departments, divisions, bureaus, agencies,              
 and all other boards.  This brought about a continuation of the               
 discussion as to whether the legislative branch should be covered,            
 and there was considerable quibbling over the definition of "a                
 SENATOR LITTLE asked for clear directions for the working group for           
 some ideas for a committee substitute.  SENATOR TAYLOR suggested              
 the definition for "advisory groups"  by SENATOR HALFORD should be            
 included.  SENATOR DONLEY thought those groups that are either                
 salaried or compensated should also be addressed.                             
 SENATOR HALFORD thought whether or not a group receives                       
 compensation should be included in the definition, and those                  
 receiving compensation should not be considered as an advisory                
 body.  There was general agreement on this part of the definition,            
 and SENATOR DONLEY said it would solve the community council                  
 problem since none of them got paid at the community council level.           
 SENATOR TAYLOR and SENATOR HALFORD led a discussion on the reality            
 of the situation in crafting another committee substitute.  SENATOR           
 LITTLE suggested a separate open meetings act that would apply to             
 the executive branch, but there was objection for various reasons.            
 SENATOR HALFORD thought the committee should be sensitive to                  
 getting legislation enacted, and there was general agreement from             
 Number 399                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR decided to hold the bill for another meeting.                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 49, urging the             
 Congress to reevaluate its practice of imposing unfounded mandates            
 on state and local governments.                                               
 After a short discussion, SENATOR HALFORD moved to pass SENATE                
 JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 49 (UNFUNDED MANDATES) from committee with               
 individual recommendations.  Without objections, so ordered.                  
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects