Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The House Judiciary Committee heard House Joint Resolution 15 on Monday. The resolution previously passed out of the House State Affairs Committee in late January.
The resolution would amend the Alaska Constitution by reducing the number of votes needed in joint session to override revenue and appropriation bills to 40, or two-thirds, instead of the current 45 votes, or three-fourths.
An amendment proposed by Rep. David Eastman, to reduce from five days to three days the time to override a governor's veto, was withdrawn.
The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins of Sitka, with co-sponsorship by Reps. Andy Josephson, Matt Claman and Ivy Spohnholz.
“Alaska is the only state or territory in the United States that requires three-fourths of the legislature’s membership vote to override appropriation bill vetoes,” Rep. Kreiss-Tompkins said in his sponsor statement. “HJR 15 lowers the threshold to two-thirds of the membership of the legislature, putting it in line with the majority of other states and with the existing threshold for non-appropriation-related legislation in Alaska … It is essential that the constitutionally granted separation of powers between legislative and executive branches be beneficially re-balanced. HJR 15 seeks to do so by creating a uniform two-thirds veto override threshold, including for budget vetoes.”
Other vetoed bills would still require the 45-vote threshold.
The resolution will next be heard in the House Finance Committee.
The judiciary also heard HB 133, which deals with juvenile justice, and HB 201, a bill that would permit the attorney general to defend the governor or lieutenant governor on an ethics violation charge if the defense is in the best interest of the state.