Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/12/2019 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
01:32:07 PM Start
01:33:39 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
01:48:19 PM SB11
02:06:30 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
-- Public Testimony on All Appointees --
- Board of Psychologists & Psychological
Associate Examiners - Dr. Erin Johnson
- Board of Dental Examiners - Brittany Dschaak,
Dr. Jesse Hronkin, Dr. David Nielson, Dr. Kelly
Lucas
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 11 MILITARY SPOUSE COURTESY LICENSE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-
                                                                                                                                
1:48:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REINBOLD announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be SENATE  BILL NO.  11, "An Act  relating to  temporary courtesy                                                               
licenses for  certain nonresident professionals; and  relating to                                                               
the   Department    of   Commerce,   Community,    and   Economic                                                               
Development."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:48:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SCOTT  KAWASAKI, Alaska State Legislature,  as sponsor of                                                               
SB 11,  stated he briefly  spoke at  the last meeting.  He stated                                                               
that  Senator Costello  has previously  sponsored legislation  to                                                               
address  this  important issue  for  military  spouses and  their                                                               
families. He said  that over 9,000 servicemen and  women serve in                                                               
Fairbanks. He  anticipated an additional 4,000  members will move                                                               
to his region with the F35s.  He said that of the 10,000 military                                                               
at Joint  Base Elmendorf-Richardson, over  5,000 are  spouses. He                                                               
said  that  these  spouses  work  in  important  professions  and                                                               
certificated programs. He  would like them to be  able to perform                                                               
their duties  without any barriers.  He has been  working closely                                                               
with  the   Department  of   Commerce,  Community   and  Economic                                                               
Development (DCCED) and  other legislators in the  last few years                                                               
to ensure that can happen.  He related that former Representative                                                               
Bill  Thomas originally  introduced a  bill in  2011 to  expedite                                                               
courtesy licenses. The  bill has evolved and last  year it passed                                                               
the  House  unanimously. He  appreciated  the  work that  Senator                                                               
Costello,  as Co-Chair  of the  Joint Armed  Services did  on the                                                               
bill;  however,  it  did  not  pass in  the  final  days  of  the                                                               
legislative session. He said that SB  11 is the exact language in                                                               
House Bill 28 in the last  legislature. He said this bill is pro-                                                               
military, pro-jobs, and pro-economy.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The sponsor statement read as follows:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In 2011, House  Bill 28 was passed into  law to provide                                                                    
     expedited  temporary  courtesy   licenses  to  eligible                                                                    
     individuals  transferred to  Alaska  with their  active                                                                    
     duty service member spouse, so  they can practice their                                                                    
     trade  without experiencing  extensive  wait times  for                                                                    
     licensure   approval   while    they   complete   state                                                                    
     requirements.   For   a  military   spouse,   expedited                                                                    
     temporary courtesy  licenses are the fastest  method of                                                                    
     obtaining  licensure so  they can  get to  work quickly                                                                    
     after relocating to Alaska.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Many states  have passed similar legislation  into law.                                                                    
     However,  states  such  as Washington  and  Connecticut                                                                    
     also included a reporting  mechanism so the Legislature                                                                    
     and Joint  Armed Services Committee equivalent  in that                                                                    
     state could  track the  executive branch's  progress of                                                                    
     implementation.  HB  28  did not  include  a  reporting                                                                    
     requirement when it was passed.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Bill   11  would  require  the   Department  of                                                                    
     Commerce,   Community  and   Economic  Development   to                                                                    
     prepare an  annual report  of courtesy  licenses issued                                                                    
     the  previous   fiscal  year.  This   simple  reporting                                                                    
     mechanism  will help  facilitate communication  between                                                                    
     occupational  boards,   the  state  agency,   the  U.S.                                                                    
     Department  of   Defense  who  assists   in  relocating                                                                    
     service  members  and  families,   as  well  as  Alaska                                                                    
     legislators  with service  members in  their districts.                                                                    
     The  bill will  also aid  in making  occupational board                                                                    
     staff and legislators more  aware of what opportunities                                                                    
     are available  for helping  military spouses  enter the                                                                    
     Alaska the workforce.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Other  states  have  implemented  a  similar  expedited                                                                    
     licensing   program  to   allow  military   spouses  to                                                                    
     transfer  their  professional credentials  quickly  and                                                                    
     contribute  to  the  local  economies.  While  Alaska's                                                                    
     program   is   a   model    for   other   states,   its                                                                    
     implementation   has   stalled    with   few   eligible                                                                    
     professionals  taking  advantage  of  the  program  and                                                                    
     spouses reporting  delays despite the program  being in                                                                    
     effect for eight years.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     SB  11  would  help   identify  inefficiencies  in  the                                                                    
     program before  they cause  delays in  productivity and                                                                    
     ensure the program is working as intended.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Introduced in 2018  as House Bill 262,  the bill passed                                                                    
     the House unanimously and  gained bipartisan support in                                                                    
     the Senate  before it failed  to reach the floor  for a                                                                    
     vote. The concept of this  bill is listed as a priority                                                                    
     for  the  U.S.  Department  of  Defense  by  the  state                                                                    
     liaison serving Alaska.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The   passage  of   Senate   Bill   11  would   improve                                                                    
     communication  between  state  and  federal  government                                                                    
     agencies  and   active  duty  families.   By  improving                                                                    
     efficiency and  awareness about what  opportunities are                                                                    
     available,   the  bill   will  help   welcome  military                                                                    
     families to Alaska.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I  respectfully   urge  your   support  of  SB   11,  a                                                                    
     corrective bill  that will help ease  the transition of                                                                    
     military families  and get more  licensed professionals                                                                    
     to    work   in    our   communities    near   military                                                                    
     installations.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:50:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MERCEDES COLBERT, Staff, Senator Scott Kawasaki, Alaska State                                                                   
Legislature, on behalf of the sponsor of SB 11, Senator Scott                                                                   
Kawasaki. She paraphrased from a prepared statement, which read                                                                 
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Senate Bill  11 would  require Department  of Commerce,                                                                    
     Community, and  Economic Development  to report  on the                                                                    
     progress of  drafting and implementing  regulations for                                                                    
     temporary courtesy  occupational licenses  for eligible                                                                    
     military spouses.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  2011, House  Bill 28  was passed  to help  ease the                                                                    
     transition  for military  families as  they transferred                                                                    
     to  Alaska. AS  08.01.063 provides  expedited temporary                                                                    
     courtesy licenses  to eligible  spouses of  Active Duty                                                                    
     Service members  who already hold a  license in another                                                                    
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In  the fall  of 2017,  Fairbanks business  leaders and                                                                    
     legislators found  that despite a series  of nationwide                                                                    
     legislations,  military  families   were  still  having                                                                    
     difficulties  transitioning   throughout  many  states,                                                                    
     including  Alaska,   particularly  regarding  obtaining                                                                    
     occupational licenses.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     This  issue  was  reiterated   in  the  November  2017,                                                                    
     Updated Preliminary  Findings of the Eielson  Air Force                                                                    
     Base  Regional Growth  Plan. As  a part  of the  study,                                                                    
     Focus Groups were conducted  among military families to                                                                    
     discover what challenges they  may face when relocating                                                                    
     to Alaska  to serve.  One of  the comments  featured in                                                                    
     these  findings, was  "Anyone who  has a  license in  a                                                                    
     different state  is required  to get  a new  license or                                                                    
     certification in Alaska. This is a challenge."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The point  of HB  28 was  to reduce  this same  sort of                                                                    
     challenge back in  2011, so the fact  that one persists                                                                    
     shows that there is still some area for improvement.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     After the University of  Minnesota study, DoD published                                                                    
     a   document   entitled    "Evaluation   of   Licensure                                                                    
     Implementation Best  Practices," which was  provided to                                                                    
     members,  and  featured  two  examples  of  legislation                                                                    
     regarding occupational  licensing for  military spouses                                                                    
     from  Connecticut and  Washington. [DOD  presents about                                                                    
     this]                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The main difference between these  and HB 28 from 2011,                                                                    
     is that  Washington and Connecticut's  versions include                                                                    
     and  set  requirements  for  a report  that  is  to  be                                                                    
     presented to their variation of  a Joint Armed Services                                                                    
     Committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     SB  11,  the one  you  are  hearing today  is  directly                                                                    
     modeled off these  bills. Then-Rep. Kawasaki introduced                                                                    
     HB 262 in 2018, which  passed the House unanimously and                                                                    
     earned bipartisan  support in the Senate  before it got                                                                    
     stalled at the end of session.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In 2017,  of 13,396 Occupational  License Applications,                                                                    
     fewer  than 35  were received  for the  Military Spouse                                                                    
     Request  for  Expedited  Application.  With  more  than                                                                    
     20,000 active  duty personnel in Alaska  and about half                                                                    
     of them here  with spouses, this very  low number seems                                                                    
     to reflect  a lack  of communication about  the program                                                                    
     at several levels.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     As  DOD notes,  they found  some board  staff were  not                                                                    
     even  aware of  this opportunity  afforded by  the 2011                                                                    
     legislation. Some boards are  more aware, further along                                                                    
     with implementation than others.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:53:59 PM                                                                                                                    
     With   fewer  than   35  temporary   courtesy  licenses                                                                    
     provided  that year,  yet  with  thousands of  military                                                                    
     spouses  in the  state, it  seems there  may be  a lost                                                                    
     opportunity for military families  to take advantage of                                                                    
     this  program  that  gets  them  to  work  quickly  and                                                                    
     contributing to the local economy.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In  Fairbanks, we  expect  800-1000  spouses to  arrive                                                                    
     steadily  over the  next 10  years alongside  more than                                                                    
     1400 direct employees and  personnel associated with F-                                                                    
     35  platform. As  a Senator  of a  district where  many                                                                    
     will be living, we want  to ensure spouses are afforded                                                                    
     as  much information  as  possible about  opportunities                                                                    
     available to them.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Simply  put, by  requiring  the department  to issue  a                                                                    
     report  on military  spouse occupational  licensure, SB                                                                    
     11  would  help  facilitate communication  between  the                                                                    
     boards, DCCED, Dept of  Defense and military community,                                                                    
     and would help keep the  legislature informed as to any                                                                    
     continual challenges or room for improvement.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     It took  7 years  for lack of  reporting to  show there                                                                    
     was  an  issue  or  shortcoming that  could  have  been                                                                    
     provided  if a  reporting requirement  was included  in                                                                    
     the   original  bill   in  2011.   We  appreciate   the                                                                    
     communication by the Division  of Licensing since then,                                                                    
     in  coordination with  the Dept  of  Defense, which  we                                                                    
     believe was  a result  of introducing  this legislation                                                                    
     last year. We  hope to keep this going  by passing this                                                                    
     bill to improve the program.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:54:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     What the Bill Does:                                                                                                    
     Report would include:                                                                                                      
   - Expedited application procedures                                                                                           
   - Progress made for implementing regulations, changes to                                                                     
     regulations made  to accommodate the needs  of military                                                                    
     spouses, and any plans for future regulations                                                                              
   - Provide the number and type of the licenses that have                                                                      
     been issued                                                                                                                
   - Provide update about the Department's efforts to                                                                           
     inform each  board authorized  to issue  these licenses                                                                    
     and how  they are  working with the  military community                                                                    
     about  informing military  spouses they  may apply  for                                                                    
     temporary expedited occupational licenses                                                                                  
   - The department shall annually produce and distribute                                                                       
     to  each  board  authorized  to  issue  these  licenses                                                                    
     informational   materials   to  improve   the   board's                                                                    
     knowledge  of the  licenses,  the application  process,                                                                    
     and best practices in providing applicant support.                                                                         
   - Encourages the designation for a single employee to                                                                        
     serve as  Point of  contact for public  information and                                                                    
     inquires related to  temporary courtesy licenses (which                                                                    
     from what  the Dept. has  said, will be  dept. Director                                                                    
     Sarah Chambers).                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Report would be submitted to  JASC on or before March 1                                                                    
     each year, ahead of the  annual meeting during session.                                                                    
     Department  shall consolidate  two most  recent reports                                                                    
     and submit biennial report to  legislature on or before                                                                    
     March 1 during first regular session.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:55:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     WHY  JASC?  JASC acts  as  a  liaison between  military                                                                  
     installations  and  the  state, ensuring  Alaskans  are                                                                    
     aware of military missions while  reaching out to those                                                                    
     who  serve  the nation  here  in  Alaska. JASC  members                                                                    
     typically  represent  areas of  the  state  in or  near                                                                    
     where  military installations  are located,  where many                                                                    
     active duty  service members live with  their families.                                                                    
     The  more information  available to  JASC members,  the                                                                    
     better  military families  may be  served in  return by                                                                    
     state lawmakers.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  report would  be publicly  available, which  would                                                                    
     help  legislators, military  community, boards  and DOD                                                                    
     communicate  and coordinate,  so spouses  are aware  of                                                                    
     opportunities  available to  them as  they relocate  to                                                                    
     Alaska in service to the nation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:56:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH thanked  her for  the background.  He pointed  out                                                               
that licensure is  about public safety. He said  he is supportive                                                               
of this  bill. He said  engineering uses reciprocity  to practice                                                               
in  other  states. He  asked  who  ensures  the licensure  has  a                                                               
reciprocal jurisdiction.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:57:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  COLBERT deferred  to the  Department of  Commerce, Community                                                               
and Economic Development (DCCED).                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:57:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SARA  CHAMBERS,  Deputy  Director,  Juneau  Office,  Division  of                                                               
Corporations,  Business, and  Professional Licensing,  Department                                                               
of Commerce,  Community and Economic Development  (DCCED), stated                                                               
that the  department supports SB  11. It  will not change  any of                                                               
the licensing  procedures. She said  that the  department already                                                               
expedites   military   spouse   licenses  and   has   established                                                               
credentialing and  reciprocity provisions for licensure  for most                                                               
professions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She  said  that the  department  continually  looks for  ways  to                                                               
improve. For example, the department  has drafted a bill it hopes                                                               
will  be introduced  in the  next few  weeks that  would offer  a                                                               
temporary license for  all licenses. She explained  that the bill                                                               
would bypass  the board, which  is often the holdup.  She offered                                                               
her belief  that this  bill is  a good way  to hold  the division                                                               
accountable.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:59:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP   asked  whether   this  bill  relates   more  to                                                               
accountability and how well the department is performing.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. COLBERT answered yes, that is pretty much how it is framed.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:59:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked  whether  he  knew  how  many  reciprocity                                                               
agreements  the  state  has with  other  states  on  occupational                                                               
licensing.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHAMBERS   answered  that  there   are  very   few  national                                                               
reciprocity  agreements, otherwise  known as  licensure compacts.                                                               
She said  Alaska does not  have any, that  the state has  its own                                                               
licensure by credentials that says  if a licensee holds a license                                                               
in  another state  or  jurisdiction, that  Alaska  will make  the                                                               
requirements a little less onerous  than if the person is seeking                                                               
initial  licensure. She  indicated  that  licensure compacts  are                                                               
rare and the medical and  nursing boards have been discussing it.                                                               
However, the  legislature has not  yet adopted  licensure compact                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:00:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO thanked the sponsor's  staff. She said expedited                                                               
licensure  for spouses  is a  great way  to support  our military                                                               
families.  She   said  these  professionals  give   back  to  our                                                               
communities.  She asked  whether  she knew  how  much faster  the                                                               
expedited licensure process will be for military spouses.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHAMBERS said  that it would depend on the  license type. She                                                               
indicated  that it  could even  slow  the process  down since  it                                                               
would treat the licensee differently.  She said the department is                                                               
working on ways to streamline the process.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked for  the top ten  licenses in  Alaska and                                                               
the timeframe for license approval for each one.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHAMBERS asked  for further clarification on  whether this is                                                               
from  the  time they  apply  or  when  the parties  complete  the                                                               
application.  She  offered  to  provide  the  committee  with  an                                                               
overview  that  will  give  members  a  sense  of  the  different                                                               
timelines.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:03:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REINBOLD remarked that she  cosponsored the bill last year.                                                               
She  said  that her  district  represents  Joint Base  Elmendorf-                                                               
Richardson  (JBER),  and  this  is  an  important  issue  to  her                                                               
constituents.  She related  her  personal  experiences living  in                                                               
Norway and problems she encountered.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
She reviewed upcoming committee announcements.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:04:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH offered his willingness to move the bill.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:05:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REINBOLD  opened public  testimony, and  after ascertaining                                                               
no one wished to testify, closed public testimony on SB 11.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB 11 was held in committee.                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
L&C Psychologists and Psychological Associate Examiners Resume - Johnson.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
L&C Dental Examiners - Resume Dschaak.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to Boards and Commissions
L&C Dental Examiners Resume - Hronkin.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to Boards and Commissions
L&C Dental Examiners Resume - Nielson.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to Boards and Commissions
L&C Dental Examiners Resume - Lucas.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to Boards and Commissions
SB 11 Supporting Document - Rep. Thomas Letter of Support.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 11
SB 11 Supporting Document- Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Letter of Support.pdf SL&C 3/12/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 11