Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

04/03/2012 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SCR 20 DECORATION OF HONOR TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ SJR 16 MILITARY PENSIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    SJR 16-MILITARY PENSIONS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:18:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SADDLER  announced that  the  final  order of  business                                                               
would  be  SENATE JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO.  16, Urging  the  United                                                               
States Congress  to approve legislation  allowing members  of the                                                               
military to receive promised retirement benefits.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:19:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BILL WIELECHOWSKI,  Alaska State  Legislature, explained                                                               
SJR  16  came about  after  the  Defense  Business Board,  U.  S.                                                               
Department  of  Defense  (DoD),   suggested  a  plan  to  convert                                                               
military retirement from the current  20-year vesting system to a                                                               
retirement  system   similar  to   a  401(k)  arrangement.     He                                                               
acknowledged that  an appropriate retirement system  for military                                                               
service  members  can be  a  controversial  issue; however,  this                                                               
resolution  simply  asks  that  all  service  members  should  be                                                               
allowed to maintain  the retirement system they  were promised at                                                               
the  time they  signed up  for  service.   Currently, a  military                                                               
service  member  who  serves  for  20 years  can  retire  with  a                                                               
percentage  of  their  pension, thus  this  resolution  is  about                                                               
keeping promises made to active  duty military members.  He noted                                                               
that in  the committee packet  was a copy  of a bill  in Congress                                                               
sponsored  by Congressman  Don Young  which supports  this issue.                                                               
Senator Wielechowski advised that  Alaska has thousands of active                                                               
duty military  members and constituents  in his  district support                                                               
the resolution.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:21:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN declared a conflict of interest.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLER objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SADDLER indicated Representative  Lynn would be required                                                               
to vote.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  said he supports the  resolution, explaining                                                               
that those who  enlisted should get what they  were promised and,                                                               
in effect, they have a contract with the federal government.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI agreed.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON   observed  that  one  who   joined  the                                                               
military  at  17 years  of  age  and  served  35 years  would  be                                                               
required to  wait several  more years for  their retirement.   He                                                               
said, "This  isn't the way  that we're  supposed to do  things in                                                               
the United States."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:23:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SADDLER opened public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:23:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MCHUGH    PIERRE,   Deputy    Commissioner,    Office   of    the                                                               
Commissioner/Adjutant   General,   Department   of   Military   &                                                               
Veterans' Affairs  (DMVA), said the department  strongly supports                                                               
the resolution.  Within DMVA,  there are 1,800 full-time National                                                               
Guard  members, of  which 800  are  of active  guard and  reserve                                                               
(AGR) status,  are paid in  active duty status, and  are eligible                                                               
for all benefits.   The department believes  the commitments made                                                               
to these  members should be  honored and they should  receive the                                                               
retirement package promised  to them at the time  they joined the                                                               
military.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SADDLER understood  the concern  of the  DoD about  the                                                               
cost of  retirement for military  members, and whether  those who                                                               
serve less than 20 years should have some benefit.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  observed a service member  with a disability                                                               
can retire earlier.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:26:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SADDLER held over SJR 16.                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SCR 20A.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SCR20 Sponsor Statement.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SCR 20 Fiscal Note.PDF HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SJR 16 Fiscal Note.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SJR016A.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SJR 16 Military Pension Fact Sheet.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SJR 16. Text of HR3520.Keeping Our Promises Act of 2011.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SJR16.Letter from VoteVets.Org.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM
SJR16.Articles on Military Pension Cuts.pdf HMLV 4/3/2012 1:00:00 PM