Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/21/1994 01:38 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 NONE 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 date." 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 KPCLC 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. SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HB 28 (PENALTY FOR PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO 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 proportion." 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 offense. 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 institutions. 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 notified. 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 meetings. 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. SENATOR LITTLE moved to adopt SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 254(JUD)(8-LSO859\S) in lieu of 8-LSO859\Q. Without objections, so ordered. 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 groups. 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 group. 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 testify. 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 borough. 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 intricacy. 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 sentence. 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 question. 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 change. 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 restrictions. 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 examples. 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 there. 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 discussion. 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 body." 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 all. 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.