Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

04/16/2019 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 93 MILITARY SPOUSE COURTESY LICENSE TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 93 Out of Committee
+= HB 109 MILITARY CHILDREN SCHOOL RESIDENCY WAIVER TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 113 MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          HB 113-MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:14:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at ease at 2:14 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:15:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 113, "An  Act relating to  employment preferences                                                               
for spouses  and children of veterans,  disabled veterans, former                                                               
prisoners of  war, members  of the  national guard,  and deceased                                                               
service members."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:16:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:16:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  moved  to   adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 113,  labeled 31-LS0715\U, Wayne, 4/15/19,                                                               
as the working draft.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:16:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:17:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON, prime  sponsor  of  HB 113,  paraphrased                                                               
parts  of  the  sponsor  statement  [included  in  the  committee                                                               
packet],  which  read  in  its   entirety  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  purpose  of House  Bill  113  is to  allow  hiring                                                                    
     preferences to military  spouses and dependent children                                                                    
     in the State of Alaska and the private sector.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Military families  fall into two categories:  Blue Star                                                                    
     or Gold Star Families.  Blue Star families are military                                                                    
     spouses and  dependents of  active service  members and                                                                    
     veterans. Gold  Star families  are usually  spouses and                                                                    
     children of a deceased  service members while in active                                                                    
     duty.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In  Alaska, veterans  with a  disability  receive a  10                                                                    
     point/or  10%  hiring  preference and  service  members                                                                    
     transitioning receive a  5 point/5% preference. Current                                                                    
     law allows  for either  automatic interviews  or points                                                                    
     on a  test if a test  is required. HB 113  would extend                                                                    
     these benefits to spouses and dependents.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     A recent  report from the  Department of  Defense found                                                                    
     that a  quarter of  military spouses are  unemployed or                                                                    
     underemployed. There are several  efforts being done in                                                                    
     all  50 states,  but Alaska  is one  of the  few states                                                                    
     that  do not  give employment  preferences to  military                                                                    
     spouses HB113  would also make  Alaska the  first state                                                                    
     to  support  Gold  Star  Families.  There  are  roughly                                                                    
     151,881 military  dependents out of 68  thousand active                                                                    
     members according to the  Alaska Department of Military                                                                    
     & Veteran Affairs.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     This  is  a small  but  significant  way to  honor  our                                                                    
     service  members and  their  families,  who often  fall                                                                    
     under  the  cracks while  also  making  a sacrifice  to                                                                    
     serve their country.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:20:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERICK  CORDERO GIORGANA,  Staff,  Representative Sharon  Jackson,                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, explained that HB  113 extends current                                                               
hiring  preferences  to  military   and  Blue  Star  spouses  and                                                               
dependents,  and to  Gold Star  spouses and  dependents.   A Gold                                                               
Star is a  military member who died in active  duty, while a Blue                                                               
Star is  an active  duty service  member or  veteran.   He stated                                                               
that military spouses  are among the highest  unemployed group in                                                               
the  United States  despite their  education or  experience.   He                                                               
said  that this  is often  due to  gaps in  their resume  and the                                                               
instability  of constantly  relocating.   Under Alaska's  current                                                               
law, service  members who are  applying for  a job get  a 5-point                                                               
hiring  preference, while  veterans with  disabilities get  a 10-                                                               
point preference -  HB 113 will extend these  benefits to spouses                                                               
and  dependents.   If the  employer can't  assign points  because                                                               
they  don't use  the hiring  rubric that  results in  a numerical                                                               
score, then  the benefit will  be the guarantee of  an interview.                                                               
He  noted  that  24  other  states  currently  provide  veterans'                                                               
preference to spouses or surviving spouses.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:24:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON noted  that  current  statutes allow  the                                                               
state  and   private  employers   the  ability  to   give  hiring                                                               
preferences  to  veterans  and members  of  the  National  Guard;                                                               
however,  the  statutes  do  not   extend  those  preferences  to                                                               
military spouses or dependents.   She added that the current bill                                                               
would  "extend  our  work  pool  and  give  the  opportunity  for                                                               
military spouses to integrate more in our communities."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:25:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO GIORGANA  addressed  the changes  from the  original                                                               
bill.   He  said, "the  original bill  did not  spell out  active                                                               
service  members in  the  section that  expands  the benefits  to                                                               
spouses and families," adding that the  CS makes that clear.  The                                                               
CS  also  clarifies  active  service   members  or  veterans  who                                                               
identify as  disabled.  He  further noted that  Legislative Legal                                                               
Services, Legislative  Affairs Agency, made changes  to amend the                                                               
State Personnel  Act [AS  39.25] to  reference definitions  in HB                                                               
113 for consistency.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR CORDERO  GIORGANA turned attention  to the  sectional analysis                                                               
of the CS for  HB 113, version U.  He stated  that section 1 does                                                               
not prohibit  a private employer  from having  hiring preferences                                                               
for  persons described  in Section  2 of  this bill.   Section  2                                                               
repeals and  reenacts the current  statute by  adding definitions                                                               
removed  from  Section  1  for clarity.  This  section  does  not                                                               
prohibit  a private  employer from  having hiring  preferences to                                                               
active-military,  veterans   and  families.  This   section  adds                                                               
language to  include spouses and  dependent children  of deceased                                                               
service  members  to  the  list.   Section  3  amends  the  State                                                               
Personnel Act to reference definitions  as stated in Section 4 of                                                               
this  bill for  consistency.   Section  4  amends the  employment                                                               
preference for veterans or former  prisoners of war by adding new                                                               
language to  include families of  an active-duty  service member,                                                               
veteran,  or former  prisoner of  war.   He  said, "this  section                                                               
clarifies the  type of  preference given  the hiring  process and                                                               
whether the applicant  is disabled or not."   Section 5 clarifies                                                               
that a  person may  receive an  employment preference  under only                                                               
one of  the categories described in  sections 3 and 4.   A person                                                               
may use  the preference without limitation  when being considered                                                               
for  a position  for which  persons who  are not  currently state                                                               
employees  are  being  considered.   If  the  recruitment  for  a                                                               
position is limited  to state employees, preference  under (a) or                                                               
(c) of  this section may not  be counted.  Section  6 states that                                                               
this  bill   does  not  involve  interpreting   amendments  of  a                                                               
collective  bargaining   agreement  and  makes  a   reference  to                                                               
subsection  (a) of  Section 4.    Section 7  defines a  dependent                                                               
child as anyone age 0-19 years old or  up to age 23 if they are a                                                               
full-time  student  at  an accredited  educational  or  technical                                                               
institution  that  is  recognized  by the  Alaska  Department  of                                                               
Education  and Early  Development.   Finally,  section 8  removes                                                               
language that has been included in section 4.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked  why  they  decided  on  age  23  for                                                               
dependents when healthcare  can continue for a "child"  up to the                                                               
age of 26.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON offered  her understanding that "according                                                               
to the statutes  it covers a child  up to 23 as long  as they are                                                               
in college."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO GIORGANA  explained that  healthcare provisions  are                                                               
federal,  adding that  in  Alaska  the age  is  usually  23.   He                                                               
further noted  that the state also  provides educational benefits                                                               
to Gold Star  families by waiving their tuition and  fees if they                                                               
want to enroll in the state education system.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:31:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX removed  her  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objection, version U was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR returned  attention to  the definition  of a                                                               
dependent child and asked if it excluded stepchildren.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO  GIORGANA replied that, currently,  the language does                                                               
not include stepchildren.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON offered her  understanding that the DD 214                                                               
[U.S. Department  of Defense Certificate of  Release or Discharge                                                               
from Active Duty] lists dependents without distinction.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:33:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   suggested  extending  the   definition  of                                                               
dependent to include trade schools or apprenticeships.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:34:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN,  Director, Office  of Veterans  Affairs, Department                                                               
of  Military &  Veterans'  Affairs, explained  that any  programs                                                               
including  trades  or  on-the-job  training  that  are  certified                                                               
through the post-secondary institution  would be included in this                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:35:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:36:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN expressed  his full support of HB 113.   He stated that                                                               
the hiring preferences  will provide a benefit to  both Blue Star                                                               
and Gold Star military families  by getting them a job interview.                                                               
He  said  it will  show  them  that  the  state cares  about  the                                                               
sacrifices they made.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:40:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TERRE  GALE, Director,  Division of  Labor Standards  and Safety,                                                               
Department of Labor & Workforce  Development, noted that, because                                                               
its  voluntary, there  will be  no  direct fiscal  impact on  the                                                               
division of  Labor Standards  and Safety,  Department of  Labor &                                                               
Workforce Development (DLWD).                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:40:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANA  MANCIAGLI, President,  DM Consult,  informed the  committee                                                               
that she  is a  national expert on  "the military  spouse plight"                                                               
and  expressed her  support  for HB  113.   She  stated that  the                                                               
military  community  has  been  left behind  in  terms  of  their                                                               
unemployment   and   underemployment   statistics  and   gave   a                                                               
description of the numbers that support this statement.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:46:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMIE  ALLARD  gave  a  short   description  of  her  educational                                                               
background  and  experience  working with  military  spouses  and                                                               
teaching them  how to  get jobs.   She suggested  including part-                                                               
time  students in  the  current  bill to  allow  them to  receive                                                               
employment  benefits, noting  that some  kids can't  take a  full                                                               
class schedule and work at the same time.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:48:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  asked  if  problems  are  intensifying  for                                                               
military spouses  because of the military's  active engagement in                                                               
the Middle East for the last 20 years.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALLARD  mentioned that she was  in the military in  the 1990s                                                               
during Desert Storm  and stated that they faced  the same ongoing                                                               
problems  because  of  constant relocation  and  deployed  family                                                               
members.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[HB 113 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB0109A.PDF HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 109
HB 109 Sponsor Statement.pdf HMLV 4/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 109
HB 109 Sectional.pdf HMLV 4/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 109
HB 109 Fiscal Note.pdf HMLV 4/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 109
DoD HB109 Letter of Support.pdf HMLV 4/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 109
HB 113 Version U.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113A.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Sponsor Statement 4.8.2019.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Sectional Analisys 4.8.2019.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
Fiscal Note.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113 Summary of Changes.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Backup Document Military Families Are Struggling to Make Ends Meet - The Atlantic 4.8.19.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Reference Document 2018 Blue Star Family Survey -Executive-Summary 4.8.19.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Reference Document - Column The Military Spouse Employment Plight 4.8.19.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Reference Document 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey 4.8.19.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Reference Document Office of People Analytics Survey 2017 4.8.19..pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Reference Document Office of the US President Military Spouses 4.8.19..pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Backup Document NCSL veterans' state hiring preference 4.8.19.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
The Blue Star and Gold Star Families Act.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
The Blue Star and Gold Star Families Act.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Sectional for CS 4.16.2019.pdf HMLV 4/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
HMLV 4/23/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 113