Monday, March 29, 2010

House Judiciary - Self Defense and New Personnel Board

Mar 29 Monday 1:00 PMCAPITOL 120
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED

Both bills passed out of committee with some changes. 

HB 348 stems from last year when the Personnel Board met non-stop hearing complaints against then Governor Palin.  The fact that the board has only three members all appointed by the Governor added to people's concern that the board was stacked in favor of the Governor. 

This bill increases the board to five people and changes the method of appointment - this bill would have the Supreme Court Chief Justice give the Governor 3-5 names.  The Board must have
at least one member of the political party of the candidate for governor who received the highest number of votes, and one member of the political party of the candidate for governor who received the second highest number of votes, in the most recent general election at which a governor was elected.
The State Affairs Committee discussed the language of "major parties" and what would happen if a third party member was elected, as in the case of Gov. Hickel.  Major political parties seems to have disappeared, but there is another section that says
Not more than three [TWO] members of the board may be members of the same political party.
So, theoretically, the board could have three Democrats, a Republican, and a Libertarian.

The CS added a new section to the existing statute:
Sec. 39.25.064. Prohibited conduct by board members and board employees and contractors. A member of the personnel board, an employee of the board, or a person under contract to provide personal services to the board may not,  during the person's term of office or employment or during the term of the person's contract,
(1)  hold or campaign for elective office;
(2)  be an officer of a political party, political committee, or group; or
(3)  lobby, employ, or assist a lobbyist. 
An amendment took employees and contractors out of this section.  There was a concern about State personnel employees and non-policy positions such as recorder or janitor.  There was also concern that attorneys hired to be hearing officers and everyone in their firms would be bound by these restrictions.

There was also concern raised by the Court system and the Department of Law about whether having the Chief Justice be the source of the nominees would raise separation of power issues. 

But when asked directly whether the court actually objects to submitting a list of names? Is there an alternative idea?  Doug Woolover answered that the Court is ok with supplying a list, but prefers not.

HB 381 has been significantly changed.  Section 2 was dropped completely in the Committee Substitute.   Also the title was changed to "An Act relating to self defense in any place where a person has the right to be."  I'll try to discuss this in another post.

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