Tuesday, March 09, 2010

State Affairs: Campaign Expenditures passes out with changes, Adj. General, Sexual Assualt Awareness Month, Towtruckers,

State Affairs Tuesday March 9, 2010

Mar 09 Tuesday 8:00 AMCAPITOL 106
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED

Adjutant General Thomas Katkus,

Commissioner, Dept. Military & Veterans'

+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED

What Happened:

1. Tom Katkus' nomination to Adjutant General was moved to the next committee.

2. House Current Amendment (HCR) 20 declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness was passed to the next committee.

3.  HB 401 - Campaign Expenditures.  A Committee Substitute with about seven amendments passed out of the committee.  Key changes as I understood this were:
a.  section added to duplicate the federal laws prohibiting foreign nationals from participating in elections
b.  requirement for five largest contributors to be listed by name in television ads was changed to include audio, then reduced to three instead of five.  If I understand this correctly, it was also changed for the visual version as well to just three.  It's not clear how these changes might affect what has to be reported to APOC.  The audio was added.  The change to three was made because Rep. Johnson complained that it would use up 1/3 of a 30 second ad to do that and it would be unintelligible if you read all the names.  Then, to make things consistent, the number for the written contributors was reduced to three as well.  At least, that's what I understood.
There was a lot of language like, "But the amendment would keep it in.  I'm going to withdraw my amendment and add a new one.  To delete on Amendment 2 lines 14 and 15 and instead amend section 9 of the bill to read as it does, change in to on and on page 5 change in to on and retain the language referring to 067." which made it hard to be totally sure what was actually done at the end.
There was also discussion about language that exempts a 'person' from making an anonymous expenditure under certain conditions.  The Leg. Legal attorney said the language was in due to US Constitutional guarantees. 

This is one of the more important bills this session.   In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision saying you can't ban corporate independent spending in elections, Alaska has no laws requiring disclosure of who is making the contributions, because all such contributions had been banned.  This bill incorporates three House bills and there is also a Senate bill working on this to require disclosure of independent contributions.  I'll do a separate post on this because it's so important. 

4.  House Bill 20:  This was introduced by Rep. Ramras on behalf of tow truck drivers who because of a court case Aurora v Credit Union 1, banks that have liens against cars can force tow truck lots to give up the cars without paying any of the towing fees.  The tow truck companies have to get in line with all other creditors.  This bill would put tow truck drivers at the top of the list of lien holders.  I talked to a bank lobbyist about this after the hearing (he'd missed it and asked what had happened.)  After our discussion, it seemed to me that this was an overly complex way to solve the problem.  It would just seem easier to pass a law saying that lending institutions have to pay any towing and storage fees before they can recover a car.  But I'm not an attorney, so there's probably a lot more to it than that.

The Rough Details

OK, so that's the overview.   Below are my notes from this morning's State Affairs.  Use them with CAUTION.  They just guide you to what was discussed, but with omissions as the words flew faster than my fingers, and even errors where I might have misconstrued what someone said.  But the tape is you back up. I'll try another post which gives the highlights of what happened when I figure them out.

Tom Katkus - Adj. Gen of Alaska.  Parents both immigrants, homestead act in Wasilla, five kids went to boarding school around the country.  After college National Guard, jumping out of airplanes.  OCS here.  commissioned 1980, career in Alaska National Guard, APD 1979, 2000 left APD full time NG drug enforcement.  Bigger better toys.  AK Army Guard Commander.

Johnson:  what have you done since?

Katkus :Family, son's headed to Iraq.  Wife also retired Municipal employee

Parents from England and Poland??

Mike Kuntz:  Major, exec officer First Battalion.....  Not prepared to speak.  Lots of change in last year and half.  Concern, lost some people, information missing, one thing fortunate, Gen. Katkus and I had long conversation.  He showed me in the statutes how we are going be utilized in a better way, can conceptualize what is going on.  Good vision.  . .  .

Lynn:  Letter from Rep. Herron.   You know the word "Mustang?"  Person who came up through the ranks to General.  Approved.

House Joint Resolution 20:  Sponsored by Rep. Fairclough

Fairclough:  Aprils is sexual assault
Fairclough staffer:  2.6 X more likely to be sexually assaulted in Alaska than any other state.

Gatto:  1 in 11 men report being victims.  Is there ratio between reported and actual?  There are nation wide studies.

Staff:  For those who report there are 1 in 11 that report.  Men are more ashamed to report sexual violence.  There's not a hard number, that would say there are 40% of men.  Depends on how you define it.  We report mechanically.  Do not go thru national data base.  There are specific ways that rape is described to be considered inappropriate contact.  I don't want to be graphic. Unnecessary.  You all understand what I'm talking about.

Gatto:  If a person is sexually assaulted day after day.  Is that one person being assaulted, but multiple incidents reported.

Staff:  One person, multiple incidents.

Fairclough:  I was head of STAR, many incidents never get reported.

Gruenberg:  Do men report at centers less than women?

Fairclough:  Since 98% of clients are women, and if 1/11 men report, then obviously underused.

Seaton:  We all recognize this is one stat we don't want to be first in the nation.  Hope we can bring the rate down.

Fairclough:  Gov. Parnell is putting together a march on March 31 to ask Alaskans to step forward to make a public statement about this issue.  ANDVSA is in town today and will be calling on offices.


HB 409 - Campaign Expenditures
Lynn: Brief synopsis on last hearing, my intention to pass bill from committee today.
Seaton:  Move CS for HB 409.
Gruenberg:  Only difference is adoption of your amendment? 
Mike Sica, staff of Rep. Lynn:  Trying to get laws that address disclosures and disclaimers by corporations, unions, llc's.  Page 4 Sec.  is our disclosure
Page 5 sec. 10 is disclaimer
Page 6 is personal liability for officer in event.
Right below section 12, we passed part of an amendment that creates a 24 hour rule for reporting expenditures.

Lynn:  Bring Amendment 3A - What did it do?
Sica:  Page 6, now line 11 and 12. - changed from 3 days to 24 hours.  What happens is language that follows either redundant or contradictory.
Lynn:  Bring Amendment 3B off the table.  Passed w/o objections
Seaton:  Since copy we have was to the previous version, like to make  a line change.  3B Conceptual amendment.  Amendment 1 to version E.
Lynn:  Moving to CS version A
Gruenberg:  Mr. Sica have you completed your explanation?
Sica:  Yes.
Lynn:  Which amendment first and what order
Sica:  I'm a scattered mess here.  E.1
Lynn:  Move E.1
Sica:  Alpheus Bullard is also on line.  What happened at last meeting March 2, we passed an amendment that made changes thruout the bill, where we put the word independent before expenditures, and unintentionally, didn't speak to expenditures not independent, say, made by candidates.  It puts in a section that addresses expenditures that are not indedependent expenditures.
Gruenberg:  I'd like to look at lines 14 and 15, relates to bill itself, Sect. 9, on p. 4 line 29- p. 5 line 6.  Makes a grammatical change that I would like to keep.  Probably Mr. Bullard really wants to delete the ref. on line 5 to ????.  My amendment would, leave the deletion, but change in to on in both cases.
Lynn:  Mr. Bullard?
Bullard:  I don't believe the changes Rep. Gruenberg suggests would cause any harm.  On lines 14 and 15 we will not delete section 9, but change it by deleting [13.16...???)]
Gruenberg:  .... I'm getting confused here.
Lynn:  That is on the record.
Bullard: I understand that you want the changes, but not the grammatical changes, and that's how I would understand your conceptual amendment to the amendment.

Lynn:  Does this go to the heart of the bill as necessary?
Bullard:  I wouldn't characterize it has having substantive effect.  While it would be nice that every thing be grammatical, it isn't legally necessary.
Seaton:  Objection - if we leave it in we have different groupings of people who can make expenditures.  Sect 7 says ....  Sec. 9 says Candidate, campaign manager, treasurer, etc.

Bullard:  Section 7 speaks to expenditures and reporting of them
Section 9 speaks to who can report.

Seaton:  Not what I was talking about.
Bullard:  I don't think there is a conflict.  It just speaks to who may make an expenditure for the candidate.  Forgive me if I'm not addressing the substance of your question.
Seaton:  You are. Section 7 say who can make an expenditure.  How does that coordinate with SEc. 9, authorized list of who can make expenditures.
Bullard:  SEc. 9 only makes ref. to who can make expenditures on behalf of the candidate.  Sec. 7 talks about who can make expenditures in general, not on behalf of the candidate.
Seaton:  Are we saying there, the authorized maker of an expenditure, is authorized to make expenditures on behalf of a candidate and is that different from our new group in sec. 7.
Bullard:  Sec. 9 broken into two paragraphs, 1 on behalf of a candidate, and 2 is on behalf of a group.

Bullard:  Suggested amendment to the amendment of Rep. Gruenberg would have no substantive effect.
Gruenberg:  My only suggestion was purely grammatically - on behalf instead of in behalf - but what is substantive....
Lynn:  We have this many amendments and I'd like to move this out today.
Gruenberg:  Why do you want to take that reference out of the bill?
Bullard:  In the CS 15.13.067 is repealed,
Gruenberg:  But the amendment would keep it in.  I'm going to withdraw my amendment and add a new one.  To delete on Amendment 2 lines 14 and 15 and instead amend section 9 of the bill to read as it does, change in to on and on page 5 change in to on and retain the language referring to 067.
Bullard:  This is the same conceptual amendment as I understaood your first amendment to be.  Yes we can keep the grammatical changes.
Gruenberg:  But we have to keep the reference in the law.
Bullard: I would consider that as a helpful guide to the fact that a group has to register, but it is covered in another statute.
Lynn:  Recognize Rep. Wilson came a while ago.
Wilson:  Why are we retaining that if it is covered elsewhere.
Gruenberg:  It is the current law and it is helpful.
Seaton:  I'm going to object.
Lynn:  Role please Amendment to Amendment w
Gatto yes, Johnson no Gruenbrg yes Peterson, yes, Seaton no, Lynn, no  Failed 4-3
Lynn:  It failed after 15 minutes on a grammatial point.
Gatto:  Mr. Bullard, we've taken great pains removing words, candidates, group, non-group, but when I look at page ten it's back in.
Lynn:  What's he talking about?
Bullard:  Language does different things in different parts of the bill.  By removing the language, it makes clear that it applies to all person equally.  But section 11 says who can make expenditures.  I did not want there to be any risk that there might be some loophole that someone could make an independent expenditure.
Lynn:  Amendment 2 is adopted.

Sica:  AmendmentE2

Lynn:  I offer Amendment 2 which is E3.

Sica:  It says section seven , but we just passed section seven so this will become section 8.  This simply mirrors the federal legislation barring foreign nationals.

Seaton:  For review, we had testimony from AG an APOC, that we would have trouble taking such a violation to APOC, since we had no legislation.  We would have to take ti to the federal court system.  We aren't preempted from doing this.  It is identical language, not in conflict.
Sica:  John Ptacin is on line
Lynn: Amendment 3 passes.

Sica:  E3 if you go to page 5 line 22, after "identify the"  it adds, ????????  - this ads audio component - not only scroll in tiny letters, have to say it outloud too.

Johnson:  I think we're going to get a bunch of campaign ads that sound like Cal Worthington ads.  It's 8 seconds of a 30 second ad.  As a former broadcaster, we're cluttering the air, if the top five contributors are long corporate names, people will sue because they couldn't understand.  We're cluttering the message so much that we are depriving them of free speech.  People can see it on line if they want.  Saying this is egregious.  I could find an attorney to deprive someone of half of their investment.  I'm not knocking Cal Worthington, it's like a machine gun, read five cars in ten seconds, can't understand it.  Although a valid and noble effort.  Getting into an area where people will say it runs afoul.  The rest of it is fine.
Lynn:  I'm going to withdraw.
Seaton:  I don't think there was a motion to put this amendment before us.
Lynn:  I'm going to offer and withdraw the amendment.
Gruenberg:  Will you offer something else because I will.
Lynn:  OK as long as you don't get into grammar.
Gruenberg:  I offer substance of Amendment 4 as Amendment 5.
1.  Main objection I heard from Rep Johnson is length of time.  Actually, this proposed dislaimer is shorter than present law which requires street addresses to be read.
2.  To shorten it further offer conceptual amendment to amendment, p. ?  line 19, I'll insert the word three, and p. 1 line 17 want it clear conceptually, name doesn't have to say corp or LLC and they could just say the name, like "coca cola".
Johnson:  I'm going to object.  I object to whole concept.  If this were written, not address radio.  It's easier to give address.
Lynn:  Personally, I'm listening to someone with radio and tv expertise.
Johnson:  Don't get carried away.  I do have experience.
Gruenberg:  What I'm doing is shortening, it would go part of the way, and then we can get to the substance.
Lynn:  Roll.
Gatto:  Read it before call roll.
Gruenberg:  Line 1, 17 where person's name, wouldn't have to say (if non-individual) wouldn't have to say Alaska Airlines Group, just Alaska Airlines.  2 on line 19 only the top 3 contributors would have to be listed.
Johnson no, gr yes, seaton yes, wilson, yes, gatto yes, lynn, no  5-2 yeah (Amendment 4?)

Lynn:  Amendment 5
Gruenberg: Purpose is to provide transparency.  Some people, visaully impaired folks who listen but won't see it  This will indicate to them people behind the add.  The rest of us listen to tv, doing something else, but we hear the text, without seeing images.  We want to be sure it reaches both sets of people.  Does no harm.
Seaton:  I'd like to ask Mr. Bullard:  In both bill and amendment we have the ontributors, we don't have that bifurcated.  A corp that doesn't have ??? or labor union using treasury, or earnings in Alaska using out of their treasury.  How do we differentiate and what would be the requirement?
Bullard:  Current amendment - line 11 beginning with B, if applicable, would make it only applicable if the entity has contributed.  If no contributor no need to disclose.
SEaton:  If we don't have that do we still need this amendment in the bill, so contributors have some direction of who they have to list.
Bullard:  If you go to bill line 5 page 3, the word

Johnson:  What if the top contributors ten all pay the same money would they all have to be listed.
Bullard:  Not sure.
Gruenberg:  That is not a prob with thea mendment because same language appears on the bill pa. 5 line 22.  All we're doing is removing it lower down.  But it's still the top 5 have to be listed.  Int he unlikely event, if there were six contributors.  If 25, they couldn't require all 25.  Any time there is a number, it will have to be interpreted.  Could be six largest corps.
Gatto:  If six contributors, all the same, all tied for first, they would all have to be listed.
Roll:  Johnson no  Lynn no  Gruenberg yes Peterson yes  SEaton yes  Wilson no  Rep Gatto yes  4 yeah, 3 nay.  (Amendment 5)

Seaton:  For clarification, not the five largest, now the three largest contributors.
Gruenberg:  Only the audio.  Amendment is only audio.
Seaton:  I would make that conforming amendment on the disclaimer, changing to five largest contributors to three.  For written.
Sica:  Memo attached to both Petersen's memo, that may address one of his.
Petersen;  I move Amendment 7
Here in Ak we have a lot of international corps that are involved in resource extraction, they form AK subsidiary.  It gets convoluted, important citizens in Alaska know it is foreign based even if they have an AK subsidiary.  Let the sun shine in, let the voters know who is trying to influence the vote.
Lynn:  Amendment E.5
Seaton:  I think we have on the Amendment 3 p. 1 subsection 4, mentions subsidiary,.  We've adopted the federal prohibition. So I think it is unnecessary.
Gruenberg:  Question to Bullard:  Is this necessary because we adopted A 3.  There are four sentences.  if we are talking about a disclosure.  Does A3 prohibit a foreign govt. owning a 10% interest.
Bullard:  A7 titled E5 applies to entities that the A3 does not speak to.  A3 speaks to entities owned by foreign nationals.  This applies to 10% ownership foreign govts.
Gruenberg:  The first not covered, but the others covered in A3.
Bullard:  I would describe your statement as accruate.  Certain parts spoken to in previous amendment.
Gruenberg:  We'd have to keep line 13 to 15 in.
Bullard:  You're absolutely correct, I looked at the wrong one.
Gruenberg:  You recommend, Bullard, we take out the final sentence.
Bullard:  I don't recommend anything - laughter
Lynn:  Smart man.
Bullard:  The topic is covered, but there is no common definition.  If you wish to adopt, that you leave the ultimate sentence.
Gruenberg:  Would you say we need ..
Bullard:  I object to the word need, but yes, you could remove that.
G:  I move we delete ...........that sentence.
Amendment to Amendment passes.   (Not really sure what they passed here.)

G:  Should any of this definition in A7 also be covering A3 since you said we did not define foreign government?
Bullard:  A7 applies to person with ownership interest owned by foreign governments, A3 speaks to foreign nationals.
Seaton:  Trying to grapple with A7 in relation to A3 Mr. Bullard, we have prohibition on foreign nationals, and it says foreign nationals includes foreign government, how is that not what is in A7.
Bullard:  It is what is described in A7, but only for that statute.  A7 ???
A7 passes as amended

Peterson: E.6= A8.  There are some corps who have moved the home office, say to a foreign location to avoid income taxes, this would require them to actually disclose where they are located, where theyrelocated themselves for the purposes of evading income taxes.
Seaton:  Trying to understand.  Mr. Bullard?
Bullard:  Is there a psecific question?
Seaton:  Trying to undersand where we're asking fr a different address than their address they report on tax issues.  If three subsidiaries - in Cal and had sub in AK, I'm unclear to what this means.
Bullard:  Page 3 line 8 of bill.  Person required to file asked to file certain info.  Rep. Petersen's amendment says, if a person has a different address for tax purposes, that that address be used instead.
Seaton:  How do we dtermine all this?  Multiple addresses, headquarters, etc.  Confused.
Petersen:  Corp called American Widgets all would assume that they were American company, but if they moved to Cayman Islands, they'd have to report that address.
Seaton:  Wouldn't that be covered under foreign corps.  What about if incorporated in Delaware, would they have to use that instead of their.  Does Mr Bullard think this necessary if we adopted earlier.
Bullard:  If the intent is solely for company that has taken it's address offshore for tax purposes, it would be prohibited by federal always and A3.
Johnson:  I have conceptual amendment.  P. 4 line 16 prohibited expenditures.  Purpose, person may not make an expenditure anonymously unless
Bullard:  US Supreme Court in MacIntyre recognized the right of certain limited rights of individuals to make anonymous limited contributions.
Johnson:  If we buy a full page newspaper ad that is not cheap.  We have free speech, but nothing guarantees free speech.
Gatto:  We see it every time, Americans for Peace.  I don't like anonymous ads, because they are always meant to give a name you'd support unless you.
Gruenberg:  I think this is important.  I support it.  I would like to add a severability clause, that if any section is considered unconstitutional, the rest won't be thrown out.  Also going to Judiciary where it can be reviewed.
Johnson:  I see it as friendly if covers whole bill.
A9 passes.
Seaton:  On this last point, I want to be sure it's understood we've asked legal counsel to draw up a memo on this and it is apssed on to the next committee.
Bullard:  I've heard your desire to incorporate amendment and legal memo to explain it.

Online we have Holly Hill from APOC.
Hill:  No comment at this time.
Ptacin:  I have prepared some remarks from last session, we seem pressed for time, you can ask questions personally.
Public testimony closed.
Wilson:   For Mr bullard - you gave us a memorandum, dated March 3.  at end, it says, if all must be disclosed within 24 hours, was that taken care of.
Bullard:  When you considred the bi-furcated, half of which was tabled, I think you covered that.

Johnson:  I have another amendment, I'll work with people on judiciary.  We've talked about candidates and ?????, we've left out, to influence legislation, ads on my home district, those kinds of expenditures need to be looked at as well.  Anyone investing money to influence our process.  I apologize for my absence.  In the next committee, we should take up not only candidates, we see lots of stuff saying call up your legislature, stop this bill, etc.
If we're going to be transparent, we shouldn't go half way.
Wilson:  I want to tap on what Jonhson just said.  Sometimes the ads are very misleading.  I don't care if it's the truth, but if it's misleading.  If people are going to spend money for any reason, the public needs to know.

Petersen:  I do, I think we've made good changes, still a work in progress, Judiciary still needs to work on it.

bill 409  as amendment passes with no objections. 
Lynn:  Thank Mike Sica for his hard work.

HB 251 Liens on vehicles and providing for an effective date.
Ramras:  brought to me by tow truck drivers from my home town.  What happens is people, tow truck is impounded, car is repossessed by bank, poor tow truck operator has to stand behind the back, owed, $85 or $185.  This would allow tow truck drivers would be first on lien list.

Margeret Raybe???:  Represent towing industry across the state.  Also representing y own company.  AK Statutes allow liens against vehicles before anyone else.  Unfortunately, HB 251 says primary lienholder over vehicle has priority.  They can take the vehicle without paying for it.  We expect to be paid directly, we shouldn't absorb losses that rest of emergency services get paid for.
Gruenberg:  The problem I understand that you only have a possessory lien and there is nothing to stop the banks to come and take the vehicle which destroys the possessory lien.  Do you have a right to obtain the possessory.

Raybe:  It should be lien to follow the vehicle. 
Gruenberg:  We can deal with this in Judiciary.

Another witness:  The lienholders want to take the cars  without paying for them.

Mark Davis:  Owner of .... Salvage.  Sympathize with lien holders.  We cannot absorb too many of these.  And some of the lien holders are using this to their advantage.  and blackmailing us.  We aren't trying to steal cars, just to be paid for our services.

Shawn Hess:  I'm in favor.  Example of what happens.  Requested by state troopers to pick up Dui, recovered it, took it to my yard.  Lien holder told me I had to return to them and they returned it to the owner.  Had to settle through insurance company.

Gatto:  AST made request that you tow.  Is it required that they be responsibile.
Hess:  If we take it to our own yard, the owner is responsible.
Gatto:  You have contract with AST.
Gruenberg:  Did the judge issue a written decision.
Davis:  They based it on Aurora towing out of Anchorage.
Gruenberg:  If someone could
Davis:  Credit Union 1 v. Aurora towing.

Lynn:  Close for now, will put it at head of the line.


  1. Funny that MG Katkus is leading the charge against rape and sexual assault, considering the fact that he's been the person in charge of covering up the numerous sexual assault cases that have been reported to the Governors office over the years.

  2. These are heavy charges. Can you expand? Here or by email?


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