Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/14/2002 08:09 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 305-NONCOMPLIANCE WITH SELECTIVE SERVICE Number 1458 CHAIR COGHILL announced that the next order of business was HOUSE BILL NO. 305, "An Act prohibiting certain state employment, a student loan, or a permanent fund dividend for a person who fails to register for the military selective service; and providing for an effective date." Number 1440 COLLEEN SHAUB, Staff to Representative Lisa Murkowski, Alaska State Legislature, noted that a proposed committee substitute (CS) - Version F - was included in the committee packet. CHAIR COGHILL asked if there was any objection to adopting the proposed CS, version 22-LS1209\F, Ford, 2/20/02, as a work draft. There being no objection, Version F was adopted. [Representative Murkowski arrived at the witness table and was greeted by Chair Coghill.] MS. SHAUB read her testimony, as follows: House Bill 305 was introduced to encourage military selective service registration, for all eligible persons. This act requires any United States male citizen, who is between the ages of 18 and 26, to comply with the federal selective service registration requirements, if applicable, when applying to receive certain state employments, and Alaska student loan, and a permanent fund dividend. There are at least 28 other states that have implemented or [are] considering legislation which attaches conditions of services for eligibility for [several] programs and state benefits. With this legislation, Alaska will join those other states in ensuring compliance with the federal registration requirements. In your bill packets, you will find several letters of support and informational testimony. Within the informational testimony, there are three pages of statistical information, showing how much our state would lose in federal dollars for those who do not comply with selective service, how we compare with registration to other states, and which cities have the highest and lowest compliance rates in our state. The last pages of informational testimony [explain] what the selective service system provides for our country. If you have any questions concerning this bill, I will do my best to answer them for you. CHAIR COGHILL interjected a message to those waiting to testify on HB 480, to continue waiting. He thanked the sponsor and her staff for bringing forward the bill and asked the committee if there were any questions. Number 1215 REPRESENTATIVE LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska State Legislature, asked the committee to notice the short title of the bill [page 1, lines 7-8], which read as follows: SHORT TITLE. This Act may be known as the Selective Service Registration Awareness and Compliance Act. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that this is an obligation to comply with the federal Act. She said this is asked of males [between the ages of 18 and 26] in a day and age when not much is asked of Americans. [The intent of the bill] is to make certain that [the public] is acutely aware of this Act and this requirement. Number 1120 REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS asked if there is any federal requirement for females to register and, if not, why not. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI answered that, currently, there is not a requirement for women to register, although the issue has been discussed. Furthermore, if she had the ability to change that, she would. MS. SHAUB proffered that the [U.S.] Supreme Court took up the issue and voted that it was unconstitutional for women to register for the selective service. Number 1035 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said, "I support that." Number 1018 REPRESENTATIVE FATE mentioned attaining the age of 18 and asked if that was a federal code. AN UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER said, "yeah." REPRESENTATIVE FATE said, "The thirty-day part is a federal code." Number 0988 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES said he signed up for the military and remembers what was done on the federal level [regarding making the public aware of the requirement]. He asked what would be done on the state level. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI replied that, currently, individuals in the state are responsible for getting the information to those soon to be 18 years old. She said it is her understanding that one of those individuals is in Sitka, and the other is in Juneau. She noted that Representative Foster used to be a selective service registrar. The National Guard assists with this effort, she said. She indicated that there are other volunteer efforts to raise the awareness level. Number 0868 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said that, should this legislation pass, there would be a statement in the permanent fund dividend (PFD) application. She stated, "I think it would be the intent to make sure that it is more publicly broadcast." Number 0828 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated a facsimile sheet included in the committee packet [with the heading, "zip code distribution summary report"], which lists the compliance rates of various communities. She pointed to the "non-registration rate" and said that some areas were at 100 percent compliance, while others - including Anchorage - were "not doing very well." She referred to previous testimony heard in the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs, where it was noted that registrars are not always invited in to speak at schools. She said that it is harder to speak at a larger school such as those in Anchorage, than in a school in a smaller community where everyone knows everyone else. Number 0696 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said her recollection was that it was simpler back during World War II, when [young men] would sign up at the post office. She said she wondered why the federal government did not choose to have that availability now and advertise it with a sign on the wall. Number 0668 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI responded that a person can still register with selected service at a post office, or any federal building; however, the problem is not where you can sign up, but providing the awareness [that it is required]. She said there is no draft now and many growing up now do not have anyone in their family who have ever been in a war and do not realize that [registering with the selective service] is a federal requirement. Number 0610 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she is disappointed to hear this. She stated her belief that the schools and anyone responsible for "young people growing up should have responsibility." She mentioned inexpensive posters that could be used. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI mentioned that Charlie Smith (ph) might be online to testify. [CHAIR COGHILL called on Mr. Smith (ph), but there was no reply.] Number 0537 REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS commented that it's an easy thing to do at the post office or on the Internet. He then turned to the denial of the PFD, and asked if a person would be denied for the particular year that they [failed to apply] or would the person not be able to apply for the PFD thereafter. He also requested clarification of the student loan ramifications. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI clarified that the intent of the legislation is that if one fails to register at the time the PFD application is being completed, then the PFD would be denied or withheld for that year. This is not retroactive in regard to the PFD or the student loan. Qualification for receipt of the PFD in regard to registration for selective service would be determined each year the application is made. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS related his understanding then that if a person hasn't registered when that person turns 18 years of age, that person wouldn't receive the PFD that year, even if the person registers later. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI explained: "At the time that you file for your application, if you have not complied with the registration requirement and it was applicable to you, you would be denied." She deferred to Ms. Jones, Permanent Fund Division. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS remarked that this penalty would be quite an impetus for people to register. CHAIR COGHILL pointed out, "If you look at the effective date of this, we're going to give a year to make notice of that. So, it would be on the application, as I understand it." REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI agreed. REPRESENTATIVE WILSON remarked that she didn't realize Representative Murkowski was working on this issue. She noted that she too had received a request to submit a bill on this issue. She informed the committee that many states do what is being proposed here, but it's attached to the driver's license. However, Alaska's Division of Motor Vehicles didn't want to be involved in this. She expressed her belief that it's important that people register for selective service. Number 0148 NANCI A. JONES, Director, Permanent Fund Dividend Division, Department of Revenue, explained that this would work on a strict compliance order. The division will receive a tape from Selective Service that would be matched with persons between the age of 18 and 26 in order to determine if they were on the tape for the qualifying year. She clarified that would be for the year that has passed, the year for which the PFD is being applied. Once an individual isn't on the tape, that individual wouldn't receive that [year's] dividend. When the individual registered and Selected Services listed the individual on the tape as being in compliance, the individual would receive a PFD. For example: "If ... March 31st when we run a tape when a person would apply, if they weren't on the tape, they would not be eligible for a dividend. If on April 15th they went and applied, then they would [be] eligible the next rotation, which would be the next year - the next time that we would actually read the tape." REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS inquired as to other reasons people don't receive a PFD. MS. JONES specified other reasons that people don't receive the PFD as follows: the individual isn't an Alaska resident, the individual left the state for more than 180 days on an absence not specified in statute, or the individual broke residency by voting [in another state]. TAPE 02-27, SIDE A REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS inquired as to whether an individual could be a felon and incarcerated [and still receive] a PFD. MS. JONES replied that no, a felon is not eligible to receive a PFD in the year of incarceration. She noted that there is a statute that addresses individuals that are incarcerated. Number 0088 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES inquired as to how the book will specify that a person who doesn't register for selected services won't receive their PFD. MS. JONES answered that this would be highlighted as a new item in the household booklet. Furthermore, the division is going to try to place an alert on the face of the application as well. Number 0220 REPRESENTATIVE FATE moved to report HB 305, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. There being no objection, CSHB 305(STA) was reported from the House State Affairs Standing Committee.