Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/22/1993 09:10 AM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                
                        January 22, 1993                                       
                            9:10 A.M.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Senator Leman, Chairman                                                      
  Senator Miller, Vice Chairman                                                
  Senator Taylor                                                               
  Senator Duncan                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Senator Johnny Ellis                                                         
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                                
  Proposing amendments  to the  Constitution of  the State  of                 
  Alaska relating to terms of legislators.                                     
  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4                                                
  Proposing an amendment of  the Constitution of the State  of                 
  Alaska relating to the duration of a regular session.                        
  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5                                                
  Proposing amendments  to the  Constitution of  the State  of                 
  Alaska  relating  to   legislative  action   on  bills   and                 
  resolutions and legislative caucuses.                                        
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
  SJR 3 - See State Affairs minutes dated 1/20/93.                             
  SJR 4 - No previous action to record.                                        
  SJR 5 - No previous action to record                                         
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-3, SIDE A                                                            
  Number 001                                                                   
  Chairman  Leman called  the  Senate State  Affairs Committee                 
  meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.                                                
  before the committee as the first order of business.                         
  SENATOR  MILLER  moved to  pass  SJR 3  from  committee with                 
  individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                 
  Number 050                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN introduced SJR 4 (90 DAY SESSION LIMIT) as the                 
  next order of  business.  Because  the bill is sponsored  by                 
  the Chairman,  Senator Leman turned  the gavel over  to Mike                 
  Miller, Vice Chairman of the committee.                                      
  SENATOR LEMAN explained that SJR 4 proposes a constitutional                 
  amendment to reduce the session length from its existing 121                 
  days to 90  days.  He said  his rationale for doing  this is                 
  that he believes that with the  proper scheduling of work, a                 
  session  could  be completed  within  90 days;  it  would be                 
  advantageous to those monitoring the  legislature; and there                 
  is a  money savings.  He said he  does not concur with those                 
  who say that  this will put more  power in the hands  of the                 
  Administration  because the  legislature  has  the power  to                 
  appropriate  and it can deal with administration action.  He                 
  urged the committee's favorable consideration of SJR 4.                      
  Number 100                                                                   
  SENATOR  TAYLOR moved  to  pass SJR  4  from committee  with                 
  individual recommendations.   Hearing no objections,  it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
  SENATOR MILLER introduced SJR 5  (COMMITTEE ACTION ON BILLS;                 
  CAUCUSES) sponsored by Senator Leman,  as the final order of                 
  SENATOR LEMAN said SJR 5 deals with the procedure for acting                 
  on bills and  the procedure in committee.  He explained that                 
  he got the idea for this  particular legislative reform from                 
  the State  of Colorado.   Colorado adopted the  procedure in                 
  1988, and they have found that it has worked well.                           
  The legislation provides that every  bill or resolution that                 
  is introduced must be heard in committee.  The rationale for                 
  this is that  a committee chairman,  by himself or  herself,                 
  would not be able  to singularly kill a bill  or resolution,                 
  but that it would  have to come before the  committee and be                 
  heard.  The  committee could take a  vote and decide  not to                 
  further  advance  the  bill.    The  Rules  Committee  would                 
  schedule bills for floor action in  the order that the bills                 
  are referred  to the  Rules Committee.   Senator Leman  sees                 
  this as a process that is more open to the public.                           
  SENATOR LEMAN said the legislation  also provides that every                 
  bill would be considered upon its  merit.  The final section                 
  of the resolution relates to  caucuses. It prevents a member                 
  from being bound by a caucus to vote for or against a matter                 
  coming  before the  legislature,  except for  organizational                 
  Number 150                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER  questioned whose definition  of "merit"  was                 
  being used.  He said one member may feel a bill has a lot of                 
  merit, while  another member  may feel  it doesn't  have any                 
  merit at all.  SENATOR LEMAN agreed that some bills may have                 
  no merit,  but he said they should  be considered, and if it                 
  is  found that they have  no merit, then  they should not be                 
  discharged by the committee.                                                 
  Number 180                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER added that  the problem he has with  the word                 
  "merit" is that it is an extremely subjective term.                          
  SENATOR  TAYLOR moved  to  pass SJR  5  from committee  with                 
  individual recommendations.   Hearing no  objections, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
  Number 190                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER turned the gavel back to SENATOR LEMAN.                       
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 9:24 a.m.                            

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