Legislature(1999 - 2000)

01/18/2000 01:04 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 266 - NAMING ROWLAND MEMORIAL HIGHWAY                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN HALCRO announced the first order of business as House Bill                                                             
266, "An Act renaming the Palmer-Wasilla Highway as the James                                                                   
Arland Rowland, Jr., Memorial Highway."                                                                                         
Number 0057                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING, sponsor of HB 266, explained that the                                                               
bill would rename the Palmer-Wasilla Highway in honor of a police                                                               
officer who was shot to death in the line of duty - James Arland                                                                
Rowland, Jr.  At present, there is a small memorial in his honor                                                                
near the site of the incident.  Representative Kohring explained                                                                
that Mr. Rowland, Jr. was shot to death while proceeding to                                                                     
investigate a suspicious vehicle.  The death was a shock to the                                                                 
Mat-Su Valley and was a tremendous loss.  Mr. Rowland, Jr. grew up                                                              
in the valley; his parents still call Palmer home.                                                                              
Number 0237                                                                                                                     
STEPHANIE DENNIS BROWN testified via teleconference from Mat-Su in                                                              
support of HB 266.  Those who knew and loved Mr. Rowland, Jr. do                                                                
not need a physical memorial to remember him; he will be alive in                                                               
their memories forever.  The community, however, needs this                                                                     
memorial to remind its members that he was a husband, son, father                                                               
and friend who was admired and appreciated.  The community needs                                                                
this memorial so that those who "stand in the face of danger"                                                                   
aren't taken for granted.                                                                                                       
Number 0318                                                                                                                     
WANDA ROWLAND, Mother of James Arland Rowland, Jr., testified via                                                               
teleconference from Mat-Su in support of HB 266.  She seconded the                                                              
testimony of Stephanie Dennis Brown, and stated the following:                                                                  
     We, as his family, don't need this.  We remember every                                                                     
     single time that we wake up even -- we don't even have to                                                                  
     go to the area to remember that our son was killed on                                                                      
     that spot.  But for the officers, the EMT [emergency                                                                       
     medical technician] workers, (indisc.), everybody in the                                                                   
     whole area would like this to remember Jim, to honor him                                                                   
     and each one of our police officers.  I think, if it is                                                                    
     named this, that people that pass by see it will remind                                                                    
     them, 'Hey, let's honor our police officers.  They're out                                                                  
     there giving their -- laying their lives on the line                                                                       
     everyday, giving their best to our nation, to our                                                                          
     community rather.  And, I think, it would be a high honor                                                                  
     to our police officers.  And they're the ones that                                                                         
     suggested this, not my husband and I or anyone in our                                                                      
     family, it's the police officers themselves that asked                                                                     
     for this.  And I thank you for your time and all your                                                                      
     energy that you put forth for this bill.                                                                                   
Number 0410                                                                                                                     
JAMES ROWLAND, SR., Father of James Arland Rowland, Jr., testified                                                              
via teleconference from Mat-Su in support of HB 266.  He stated the                                                             
     We are in favor of this not just for ourselves, but                                                                        
     especially for the community.  We've heard so much, even                                                                   
     from kids in (Indisc.) Elementary School that were                                                                         
     touched by his life as he would go and demonstrate to                                                                      
     them that policemen aren't bad, that policemen are there                                                                   
     to help.  And the children even put up a memorial sign.                                                                    
     They signed a little flag that was put up there.  There's                                                                  
     been others that have done the same thing.  He was doing                                                                   
     all he could.  We had talked to him before about -- you                                                                    
     realize this job could cost you your life and he said, 'I                                                                  
     know, but I'm doing what I can for my community.'  He                                                                      
     loved Palmer.  He was raised around Palmer and he knew a                                                                   
     lot of people there.  And, I think if we can do this...                                                                    
     We were actually the one that helped to erect his                                                                          
     memorials that are there now, but we need something more                                                                   
     of a permanent -- something that people can remember that                                                                  
     this man gave his life to protect their community.  And,                                                                   
     we'll probably never know exactly what happened and we'll                                                                  
     probably never know the thoughts and ideas behind this                                                                     
     man and what he had in mind for our community with what                                                                    
     weapons and arsenal we've found that he had.  He had some                                                                  
     big things in mind for our community and it was not good.                                                                  
     There could have been many, many deaths instead of just                                                                    
     one.  Jim gave his life to protect our community and if                                                                    
     we can do anything to help people to realize that he did                                                                   
     all he could and we need to do all we can.  He left some                                                                   
     pretty big shoes to fill and we'd like to make this an                                                                     
     honorable way if we can do anything we can to fill his                                                                     
     shoes, not only in police work but in supporting the                                                                       
     community and supporting the area, the valley, the Mat-Su                                                                  
     Valley, and the neighboring communities that -- if we can                                                                  
     do anything to help us to remember that someday we might                                                                   
     be the one who will be called on to give our life to                                                                       
     support and to help and protect somebody that we don't                                                                     
     even know - friends and relatives or whoever it may be.                                                                    
     Thank you.                                                                                                                 
Number 0618                                                                                                                     
BOYD J. BROWNFIELD, Deputy Commissioner, Department of                                                                          
Transportation & Public Facilities [DOT/PF], came before the                                                                    
committee to present the department's position.  The department                                                                 
clearly supports and recognizes the legislature's prerogative to                                                                
name and rename public facilities.  The department supports HB 266;                                                             
however, it is concerned that there isn't a policy for naming                                                                   
highways and other facilities.  He cited about 70 to 80 people                                                                  
annually are lost on the highways throughout the state.  Who                                                                    
deserves it?  Who doesn't deserve it?  What sort of criteria should                                                             
be used?  It seems that there should be some sort of policy to                                                                  
address these types of questions.  In addition, the renaming of a                                                               
highway takes away the traditional reason for naming that                                                                       
particular highway, especially when its name connects two different                                                             
communities.  In addition, it is also important to look at the                                                                  
consequences of changing the postal addresses as the result of a                                                                
renaming.  Mr. Brownfield further explained that the department has                                                             
submitted a zero fiscal note.  It costs less than $1,000 to put up                                                              
two signs; however, there should be some consideration for the                                                                  
fiscal responsibility to take care of these signs as they mount up.                                                             
Number 0914                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON stated, in response to Mr. Brownfield's                                                              
testimony, that the policy is this type of process - when a good                                                                
purpose comes about.  He noted that a few years ago the legislature                                                             
named a number of highways and bridges after Alaskan veterans.  He                                                              
also stated that the combined fiscal note is something that perhaps                                                             
the legislature would have to put money into at some point down the                                                             
Number 1008                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY stated that his post office address has                                                             
changed from Anchorage to Spenard and back to Anchorage after                                                                   
unification, but he has never physically moved.  He doesn't believe                                                             
that the inconvenience of changing one's address as the result of                                                               
the renaming of a highway is significant enough not to support                                                                  
Number 1057                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN HALCRO stated this is the second time in less than a year                                                              
that the legislature has entertained something like this.  It is                                                                
his hope and desire that the legislature would never have to name                                                               
a highway or public facility after a fallen law officer ever again,                                                             
but this is a fitting tribute; it shows the community that the                                                                  
legislature respects the services provided by the individuals in                                                                
public safety.  He understands the department's concern in regards                                                              
to the maintenance of signs, but overall the cost is negligible and                                                             
worth absorbing.                                                                                                                
Number 1121                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ALBERT KOOKESH asked:  At what point should there be                                                             
a fiscal note?  Where is the line between having a fiscal note and                                                              
not having a fiscal note?  It adds up after a while.  It doesn't                                                                
seem fair to the public to show a zero fiscal note.  If it costs                                                                
$1,000 then there should be a fiscal note, unless there is a                                                                    
cutoff.  He's not objecting to the bill or the merits of the bill,                                                              
but he believes there ought to be a clear policy on when there                                                                  
should or should not be a fiscal note.                                                                                          
Number 1169                                                                                                                     
MR. BROWNFIELD stated the cost of the two signs will be less than                                                               
$1,000; but over a period of time the department will find itself                                                               
having to replace them and having to include sufficient monies in                                                               
its budget for such.  At the present time, however, the department                                                              
will put the signs up with no fiscal note, but there will be a                                                                  
long-range [fiscal] impact that at some point in time will have to                                                              
be addressed.                                                                                                                   
Number 1225                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY wondered whether there is any sign that                                                                  
doesn't have to be replaced yearly because of bullet holes.  Isn't                                                              
it part of the cost of operations for the department? He                                                                        
specifically asked Mr. Brownfield whether the department has a sign                                                             
shop or whether the department uses the private sector to make such                                                             
MR. BROWNFIELD replied the department has a sign shop, and uses a                                                               
private contractor to build some of its signs.  In further                                                                      
response, the department has to replace a lot of signs with bullet                                                              
holes on an annual basis.  He said the more signs, the more bullet                                                              
holes, the more signs that have to be replaced, which is the                                                                    
long-range [fiscal] impact to the department.                                                                                   
Number 1297                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated, in agreement with Representative                                                                  
Cowdery, that there is an ongoing expense to replace signs, but at                                                              
some point there might have to be a sub-allocation to meet that                                                                 
expense.  He noted, as manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System,                                                             
there was ongoing money for signs for when a vessel changed its                                                                 
name, which is probably the same for DOT/PF.                                                                                    
Number 1344                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN HALCRO closed the meeting to public testimony.                                                                         
Number 1350                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING asked Mr. Brownfield whether it would be                                                                 
more appropriate to rename or coname the highway.  He has an                                                                    
amendment to coname it so that those who have businesses and live                                                               
along the highway wouldn't have to change their address and incur                                                               
any expense(s).                                                                                                                 
MR. BROWNFIELD replied the department has in the past left an old                                                               
name up and put a new name up; the department would not object to                                                               
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
Number 1457                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY made a motion to adopt Amendment 1.  There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.  The amendment reads as                                                                  
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "renaming the Palmer-Wasilla Highway as"                                                                       
          Insert "designating"                                                                                                  
     Page 1, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "renamed"                                                                                                      
          Insert "concurrently designated as"                                                                                   
Number 1469                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to move HB 266, as amended, out                                                             
of committee with individual recommendations and attached zero                                                                  
fiscal note(s); he asked unanimous consent.  There being no                                                                     
objection, CSHB 266(TRA) so moved from the House Transportation                                                                 
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             

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