Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/24/1998 04:11 PM MLV
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 362 - AIRPORT MILITARY LOUNGES Number 1790 CHAIR MASEK announced the next order of business would be HB 362 "An Act relating to the use of space for military lounges in state- owned or state-controlled airports," sponsored by the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. Number 1820 TOM MORGAN, Anchorage Armed Services YMCA, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He read the his statement into the record: "For more years than anyone knows, the Armed Services YMCA has been quietly and competently serving the traveling military through the Military Courtesy Lounge now located at Concourse B at Anchorage International Airport. A safe and secure place has been dedicated to the Armed Forces at no expense to the state or to the military, "Reaching over 22,000 visitors in 1997, quasi booster clubs provide the volunteers to staff this lounge 365 days a year meeting the needs of domestic and international military members and their families. "Alaska continues to be of strategic importance to the training of our military and the defense of the nation. The military has always been there for us, we should not shift our duties to them. The existing statute does not allow the Armed Services YMCA to provide these services without a rental charge. So that we may continue to meet the needs of the traveling military in Alaska, the Armed Services YMCA supports HB 362. This change will allow us to continue our work, at the same time authorize the Anchorage International Airport to offer this space rent free. "I might add this arrangement would be consistent with other military lounge operations at airports (indisc.) by the Armed Services YMCA or the USO. Again, thank you for the opportunity to speak today." Number 1900 BONNIE DORMAN was next to testify via teleconference from Anchorage. She stated she has worked in the (indisc.) squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base and has had the pleasure of being a volunteer in the YMCA Lounge at the airport. She indicated it is a benefit because it is nice to be able help people who are traveling. She is able to direct them to where they need to be or what they need to do. She said that, as a traveler, she has utilized the lounges for leisure. It is crucial that they are provided with a safe and comfortable environment. She urged the passage of HB 362. Number 1941 COLONEL SAMUEL JOHNSON, Commander, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He stated that he would encourage support for HB 362. He said at least since 1962, when he first came to Alaska, the lounge has been supported by the YMCA and a partnership with the Anchorage International Airport to provide this invaluable service to our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen as they travel through and from the Anchorage International Airport, both domestically and internationally. Colonel Johnson stated last year more than 23,000 travelers took advantage of this wonderful service. As our military members and their families travel overseas with extended airport connection times, this lounge provides a much needed service. It gives our soldiers, airmen and sailors a place to rest and care for their families, as well as to communicate back to their military units and families via the autobahn system which is a government phone system. He noted that at times he has commanded as many as 2,500 troops on Elmendorf and a lot of his people use that invaluable service. Colonel Johnson encouraged support for the legislation. Number 2006 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked Mr. Morgan and Colonel Johnson to pass along to the staff and board members his congratulations on an excellent Salute to the Military the previous Friday evening. Number 2040 DENNIS R. POSHARD, Legislative Liaison and Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, came forward to testify. He said the committee can see in the few sentences in the department's fiscal note that they have no opposition to HB 362. He said he wanted to point out that the fiscal note is zero because the department is going to proceed under the assumption that they are not required to bump a current tenant. If there is revenue generating space available and someone is willing to pay for that space, the DOT/PF will take the revenues. He said in every instance where there is space available, the department will make it available, free of charge, to the appropriate organization. Once they're in, the department is not going to bump them for someone else. Number 2094 CAROL CARROLL, Director, Administrative Services Division, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, came before the committee. She said the department does support HB 362. It is nice to show appreciation to those who do serve our country and one of they ways of doing that is to provide a comfortable place while they're traveling. Number 2121 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER thanked Chair Masek for submitting the legislation and said it is a very worthwhile venture. He noted, for the record, that he has a conflict of interest as he is a board member of the Armed Services YMCA. Representative Mulder then made a motion to move HB 362 out of committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. CHAIRMAN MASEK said his conflict would be noted in the record. She then asked if there was an objection to moving HB 362 out of committee. There being none, HB 362 moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.