Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/24/1998 04:11 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
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.                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               

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