Legislature(2007 - 2008)BARNES 124

03/29/2007 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS


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01:03:23 PM Start
01:03:33 PM HB210
01:18:02 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 210 QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 210-QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:03:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROSES  announced that the  only order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  210, "An  Act  relating to  the appointment  and                                                               
qualifications of the adjutant general."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:03:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM,  sponsor  of   HB  210,  informed  the                                                               
committee that  the bill  pertains to  the qualifications  of the                                                               
adjutant general  of the  Alaska National Guard.   She  noted the                                                               
increasing importance  of the role  of the Alaska  National Guard                                                               
and the military  in the daily lives of Alaskans.   The intent of                                                               
the  bill is  to  address  recent changes  in  the structure  and                                                               
organization  of  the Alaska  National  Guard.   Members  of  the                                                               
Alaska  National Guard,  she said,  are on  duty 24  hours a  day                                                               
defending  the  country  and  serving   the  state  during  local                                                               
emergencies.  This bill will improve  the morale of the troops by                                                               
ensuring  that the  adjutant general  is adequately  qualified to                                                               
lead them.  She encouraged committee members to support HB 210.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:05:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH  observed  that   HB  210  raises  the                                                               
officer's rank by  adding one star to their rank,  but that there                                                               
is no fiscal impact to the  state budget.  She said she supported                                                               
the  work  of  the  present  adjutant  general.    Representative                                                               
Fairclough  then  asked about  the  resulting  increased cost  of                                                               
additional federal retirement benefits.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:07:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROSES  stated  that  he grew  up  as  a  military                                                               
dependent and anytime there is an  increase in rank there is also                                                               
an increase in pay and retirement benefits.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:07:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH asked whether  the four star status for                                                               
Alaska's adjutant  general is  comparable to  the qualifications,                                                               
requirements, and  responsibilities of  an officer of  equal rank                                                               
elsewhere in the nation.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:08:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  deferred the  equal status  question to                                                               
either  one of  the witnesses.    However, she  clarified that  a                                                               
lieutenant major is a  three star, and page 1, line  5, of HB 210                                                               
states  that   the  governor  "may"  [appoint];   therefore,  the                                                               
governor retains the final decision on the appointment.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:09:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MCHUGH PIERRE,  Director of Communications,  Legislative Liaison,                                                               
Office  of  the   Commissioner/Adjutant  General,  Department  of                                                               
Military  and Veterans  Affairs' (DMVA),  answered Representative                                                               
Fairclough's question by  stating that the increase  in rank from                                                               
two  star to  three star  is  authorized only  when the  National                                                               
Guard Bureau approves  of the change.  Mr.  Pierre explained that                                                               
the rank of the National Guard  Bureau chief may increase to four                                                               
star; therefore, all states will  be authorized to increase their                                                               
adjutants  general  to the  rank  of  three  star.   Until  these                                                               
changes are  recognized by federal  statue, however,  an increase                                                               
in rank at the state level is meaningless.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:10:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROSES asked for further questions.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:10:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH  thanked all those in  the military who                                                               
serve the state and the nation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:11:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PIERRE informed  the committee  that six  other states  have                                                               
more stringent standards than Alaska  and it is important for the                                                               
troops to know that their adjutant general is highly qualified.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:11:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL MIKE BRIDGES, Legislative  Affairs Chair, Alaska National                                                               
Guard   Officer's  Association   (ANGOA),  stated   that  he   is                                                               
representing ANGOA  and has also  submitted written  testimony to                                                               
the  committee.   He emphasized  that  the morale  of the  Alaska                                                               
National Guard is diminished by  the appointment of a non-Alaskan                                                               
to the position of adjutant  general.  Brilliant officers who are                                                               
presently within the ranks of  the Alaska National Guard have the                                                               
military  education, combat  experience,  and homeland  emergency                                                               
response  experience necessary  to  best lead  the  troops.   The                                                               
Alaska National  Guard Officer's  Association is  supporting this                                                               
bill to encourage the governor  to appoint adjutants general from                                                               
the highly qualified members of the Alaska National Guard.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:13:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROSES closed public testimony on HB 210.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:15:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH   moved  to  report  HB   210  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal note.  There being  no objection, HB 210 was reported                                                               
out  of the  House Special  Committee on  Military and  Veterans'                                                               
Affairs.                                                                                                                        

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