Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

04/22/2021 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 1:15 pm --
+ SB 40 VETERANS' BENEFITS SERVICES; DISCLOSURE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
*+ HJR 16 HMONG VETERANS MILITARY RIGHTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
         SB 40-VETERANS' BENEFITS SERVICES; DISCLOSURE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:26:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
SENATE  BILL  NO. 40,  "An  Act  relating to  veterans'  benefits                                                               
services and veterans' benefits appeal services."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:27:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SETH   DUGGAN,   Staff,   Senator  Josh   Revak,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  on  behalf of  prime  sponsor  Senator Josh  Revak,                                                               
introduced SB  40.  He  said that SB  40 would require  those who                                                               
provide veteran benefit services  or benefit appeal services, for                                                               
compensation,  to notify  veterans  before taking  them  on as  a                                                               
client  that  those services  are  provided  for free  through  a                                                               
veteran  service organization.   He  said that  the veteran  must                                                               
sign  and date  a  disclosure affirming  that  he/she knows  free                                                               
services  are  available, with  a  civil  penalty of  $1,000  per                                                               
instance  levied   against  providers   who  don't   provide  the                                                               
information.  He described SB  40 as aiming to increase awareness                                                               
of available services for veterans, dependents, and survivors.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:29:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOSH  REVAK, Alaska State Legislature,  as prime sponsor,                                                               
explained that  when servicemembers return to  civilian life, the                                                               
military  must  aid in  areas  such  as legal  representation  or                                                               
medical supplies.   Veteran service organizations  (VSOs) such as                                                               
the  Veterans of  Foreign  Wars (VFW)  and  American Legion  have                                                               
officers trained  to provide services  which veterans  may access                                                               
for free instead of paying fees to other providers.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:30:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY said  that she appreciates that  SB 40 would                                                               
make it clear  that the services are available  instead of having                                                               
the information  in the  fine print.   She  noted the  absence of                                                               
commissioned  officers corps  such  as the  National Oceanic  and                                                               
Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA) and the Commissioned  Corps of                                                               
the U.S.  Public Health Service  in the text  of SB 40  and asked                                                               
whether those officers could be listed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REVAK answered  that  it would  be  appropriate to  list                                                               
anyone eligible for free VSO services.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON asked about outreach to veterans.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REVAK answered that the  veteran would be notified of the                                                               
available  free  services  by the  person  or  organization  they                                                               
approached for assistance.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON asked what  the process for reporting would                                                               
be,  should the  veteran not  be  notified of  the free  services                                                               
available.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REVAK  replied that the  Director of Veterans  Affairs is                                                               
available for questions.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:32:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN,  Director of Veterans  Affairs, Office  of Veterans                                                               
Affairs, Department  of Military and Veterans  Affairs, explained                                                               
that there  would be  a media campaign  and notifications  to the                                                               
VSOs.  He  also noted a database of 36,000  veterans who would be                                                               
contacted directly with information.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON expressed support for SB 40.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:33:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked whether regular outreach  to veterans                                                               
could be made policy at the VSOs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REVAK  noted that VSOs  have strong outreach  efforts and                                                               
deferred to Mr. Bowen for more information.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN  explained that  the Office of  Veterans Affairs  has a                                                               
monthly meeting with  the VSOs and would ensure  that the message                                                               
is repeated often.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK announced that SB 40 was held over.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 40 ver A 3.12.21.pdf HL&C 5/3/2021 3:15:00 PM
HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
SB 40 Sponsor Statement 2.23.21.pdf HL&C 5/3/2021 3:15:00 PM
HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
SB 40 Fiscal Note 3.4.21.pdf HL&C 5/3/2021 3:15:00 PM
HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
SB 40 Hearing request HMLV 4.12.21.pdf HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
SB 40 Research VSO duties 4.13.2021.pdf HL&C 5/3/2021 3:15:00 PM
HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
SB 40 Testimony Challenge Alaska 3.8.21.pdf HL&C 5/3/2021 3:15:00 PM
HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
SB 40 Testimony Ron Siebels 3.3.21.pdf HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
SB 40
HJR 16 version A 4.13.2021.PDF HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJR 16
HJR 16 Sponsor Statement 4.13.2021.pdf HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJR 16
HJR16 Hearing Request 4.13.2021.pdf HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJR 16
HJR 16 Fiscal Note 4.19.2021.pdf HMLV 4/22/2021 1:00:00 PM
HJR 16