Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

04/15/2009 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Teresa Sager-Albaugh - Board of Game
Moved CSSJR 22(RES) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
Heard & Held
Moved CSHJR 25(ENE) AM Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB  14-ALASKAN MALAMUTE AS STATE DOG                                                                          
4:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  announced  the  consideration  of  HB  14.  [CSHB
14(STA) was before the committee.]                                                                                              
STEFAN  JOHNSON,  sixth grade,  Academy  Charter  said the  fifth                                                               
graders want the  malamute as the state dog, but  he believes the                                                               
husky is a better choice. He  noted that the husky, Balto, ran on                                                               
the serum run. He concluded that  the husky has a longer history,                                                               
is  more  familiar, and  would  reflect  Alaska better  than  the                                                               
4:55:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BERTA  GARDNER, Alaska State Legislature,  said HB
14 was brought  to her by students in her  district. She met with                                                               
the  school community  to talk  generally  about the  legislative                                                               
process.  After one  girl noted  there  wasn't a  state dog,  the                                                               
class did  some research and  then asked  for her help.  She said                                                               
her first question was why the  state dog shouldn't be the husky.                                                               
The students  gave a lot  of persuasive reasons and  their choice                                                               
is  good. However,  this  is  not about  the  dog  but about  the                                                               
legislative  process.  "It's been  just  a  wonderful project  no                                                               
matter  what  the  outcome."  She expressed  the  hope  that  the                                                               
committee  keeps  their  minds  open  until  they  hear  all  the                                                               
testimony.  She pointed  out that  everything in  the packet  was                                                               
written or elicited by the students.                                                                                            
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  if the  students  discussed Alaska  dogs,                                                               
because multiple dogs with a renowned history in this state.                                                                    
4:57:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER said  they did  have that  discussion. On                                                               
the House floor two amendments were  offered. One was to make the                                                               
sled dog the  state dog and the  other was to make  the husky the                                                               
state dog.  Both amendments were  voted down. Although  the husky                                                               
is well  known and beloved, she  believes the husky and  all dogs                                                               
are honored by having dog mushing as the official state sport.                                                                  
SENATOR  HUGGINS mentioned  the wolf  and said  you can  make the                                                               
case  that multiple  canines have  a significant  history in  the                                                               
state.  He  encouraged  everyone  to  maintain  the  open  minded                                                               
approach that the students have demonstrated.                                                                                   
SENATOR  WAGONER asked  if the  famous Balto  was supposed  to be                                                               
returned to the state.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  replied she thinks  she saw Balto  in the                                                               
Anchorage museum, but  she isn't sure if he was  on loan of there                                                               
5:00:04 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMIE  RODRIGUEZ,   teacher,  Polaris  K-12   School,  introduced                                                               
herself, fellow teacher, Carol Bartholomew  and the five students                                                               
who would testify.                                                                                                              
KAI ROBERTS, fourth grade, Polaris  K-12 School, related that the                                                               
Alaskan malamute is the right  choice as the official dog because                                                               
of its  long history in  helping explorers and miners  during the                                                               
gold rush.  "Theoretically, today's malamutes are  doing the same                                                               
job as their  ancestors. In other words, they continue  to be the                                                               
same  amazing  dogs  that  they  were  throughout  Alaska's  long                                                               
history." The malamute is huge, just like Alaska.                                                                               
OCEANA GAMEL-HOWES,  third grade,  Polaris K-12 School,  said the                                                               
Alaskan  malamute   was  named  after  the   Inuit  tribe  called                                                               
Malamute. This  breed has  been in Alaska  for over  5,000 years,                                                               
perhaps much longer.  Recent DNA tests confirm that it  is one of                                                               
the oldest breeds of dogs.                                                                                                      
5:03:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MADELINE FLORES,  fifth Grade, Polaris K-12  School, said Alaskan                                                               
malamutes  stayed with  Inuit children  while their  parents were                                                               
out on  hunts. They  allowed babies  to crawl  in and  snuggle up                                                               
with their  puppies. Explorers often  reported that the  work dog                                                               
kept by  the Malamute  people was less  wild, more  friendly, and                                                               
capable of an  enormous amount of work. She pointed  out that the                                                               
husky  is already  recognized through  the official  state sport.                                                               
Alaska dog  mushing wouldn't be  the same without the  husky, but                                                               
that  breed cannot  match  the  long and  varied  history of  the                                                               
malamute, she concluded.                                                                                                        
ADELINE WRIGHT,  second grade, Polaris K-12  School, said Alaskan                                                               
malamutes continued  to be valuable  freight dogs long  after the                                                               
gold  rush. They  played an  important role  in the  1925 run  to                                                               
deliver lifesaving  serum to Nome.  During World War I  they were                                                               
called  into  service  delivering  supplies  to  stranded  French                                                               
soldiers.  In World  War  II Alaskan  malamutes  pulled sleds  in                                                               
areas that were not accessible by other transportation.                                                                         
5:07:08 PM                                                                                                                    
YUNG  SHU  WONG, fifth  grade,  Polaris  K-12 School,  asked  the                                                               
committee to  set aside any  bias about  a favorite breed  of dog                                                               
and consider the  intent of HB 14. "The  Alaskan malamute's 5,000                                                               
plus years represents  the entire history of  Alaska." This breed                                                               
has  impressed  explorers,  miners,  and  settlers.  The  Alaskan                                                               
malamute  participated  in  the  serum  run  and  hauled  massive                                                               
amounts of  freight. The list  goes on. The Alaskan  malamute has                                                               
been  involved in  Alaska's  history  and has  been  a good  team                                                               
member for over  5,000 years. The legacy of  the Alaskan malamute                                                               
speaks for  itself; passing  HB 14 honors  that legacy  and won't                                                               
cost  the  state a  cent."The  Alaskan  malamute deserves  to  be                                                               
recognized as our official state dog," he concluded.                                                                            
MS. RODREGUEZ  said the children  have worked for over  two years                                                               
on this bill;  they have done the research and  they are correct.                                                               
"We totally support them."                                                                                                      
CHAIR MCGUIRE  thanked the students  and teachers for  their hard                                                               
work. The testimony has been compelling, she said.                                                                              
5:10:08 PM                                                                                                                    
ESTHER ERICKSON,  sixth grade, Academy  Charter School,  said the                                                               
husky should  be the state dog  because it helped carry  serum to                                                               
kids in Nome and it has a great history in Alaska.                                                                              
MARIAH YOUNG,  sixth grade, Academy  Charter School, said  she is                                                               
testifying against making the Alaska  malamute the state dog. She                                                               
loves malamutes  but the  husky is steeped  a little  deeper into                                                               
Alaska history. The  husky pulled a sled over 1,000  miles to get                                                               
medicine for  a sick boy in  Anchorage when the medicine  and the                                                               
doctor  were in  Nome. The  husky was  specifically bred  to have                                                               
thick fur, their paws work  as snow shoes. The husky participated                                                               
in  Alaska's  first  great  race;  it would  be  a  good  dog  to                                                               
represent Alaska.                                                                                                               
5:12:55 PM                                                                                                                    
ZACHARY  BLOOM, sixth  grade, Academy  Charter  School, said  the                                                               
husky should  be the state  dog. It ran  the great race  over the                                                               
Iditarod  Trail.  Huskies  were  bred to  make  it  across  tough                                                               
terrain.  "People  come   to  Alaska  to  see   huskies  and  not                                                               
malamutes," he said.                                                                                                            
STEVEN  MURPHY, sixth  grade, Academy  Charter  School, said  the                                                               
husky  should be  the Alaska  state dog  because of  the Iditarod                                                               
race.  They  saved lives  and  helped  people. Huskies  are  more                                                               
widely  known  around America  than  the  malamute. "Huskies  are                                                               
specifically the Alaska dog," he said.                                                                                          
BRANDY BOOKOUT,  sixth grade, Academy Charter  School, stated her                                                               
belief that  some of  the information about  the malamute  is not                                                               
correct; it  is about the  husky instead. The  husky participated                                                               
in the serum run to Nome and  restored hope to the sick. They are                                                               
thought  of as  an Alaskan  dog,  not the  malamute. Most  people                                                               
don't know what a malamute is.                                                                                                  
5:16:24 PM                                                                                                                    
ELLI WALTON, sixth grade, Academy  Charter School, testified that                                                               
the husky should  be the state dog. People in  the Lower-48 think                                                               
of  huskies  when they  think  about  an  Alaskan dog.  Why  make                                                               
another dog  the symbol of Alaska?  The husky was bred  in Alaska                                                               
for Alaskans while the malamute is  an ancient dog that came from                                                               
ELIAS  STRATTON, sixth  grade, Academy  Charter School,  said the                                                               
husky  should be  the state  dog because  he owns  a husky.  Last                                                               
weekend his dog  pulled him on his bike along  the Coastal Trail.                                                               
People don't  know what a  malamute is;  Alaska is known  for its                                                               
COLE  CLEMENTS,  sixth grade,  Academy  Charter  School, said  he                                                               
believes  that  huskies  should  be  the  state  dog  because  of                                                               
previous  testimony. They  have  heavy fur,  they  like the  cold                                                               
weather,  and they  helped  a sick  kid in  Nome.  He polled  the                                                               
audience asking how  many have seen a malamute and  how many have                                                               
seen  a husky.  "That  kind  of proves  that  everybody's seen  a                                                               
husky. That is my point," he concluded.                                                                                         
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if the  Academy Charter School  has a                                                               
MR.  CLEMENTS  replied  his  school  is known  as  "Home  of  the                                                               
5:21:11 PM                                                                                                                    
LOGAN METZLER,  sixth grade, Academy  Charter School,  said until                                                               
today he had no  idea what a malamute is, but  even when he lived                                                               
in  Arizona   he  knew  about   the  husky.  His  grandpa   is  a                                                               
spokesperson for  the Iditarod and  he supports the husky  as the                                                               
state dog. They are built for  Alaska while the malamute was just                                                               
brought over  with hunters. He  believes the husky should  be the                                                               
state dog.                                                                                                                      
MEGAN  THOMAS,  sixth grade,  Academy  Charter  School, said  the                                                               
husky should  be the state  dog because  she has lived  in Alaska                                                               
her  whole life  and  has seen  a malamute  just  once. She  sees                                                               
huskies all the time and there  are more huskies in the Iditarod.                                                               
It would be honorary to make the husky the state dog.                                                                           
At ease from 5:23 p.m. to 5:29 p.m.                                                                                             
5:29:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE   said  these  students  have   put  forward  good                                                               
arguments on both  sides. She related that sometimes  the goal in                                                               
bringing a bill  forward is to elicit a healthy  debate. That has                                                               
happened  here. She  thanked the  Polaris  students for  bringing                                                               
this bill  forward and getting  so many fellow Alaskans  to weigh                                                               
in.  She  encouraged  them  to continue  to  participate  in  the                                                               
legislative process.                                                                                                            
SHEILA MARTIN, dog breeder, Palmer,  said she has lived in Alaska                                                               
for 25  years. She breeds  and trains  dogs and thus  is familiar                                                               
with  the  American  Kennel Club  (AKC)  recognized  breeds.  She                                                               
expressed  the  opinion  that recognizing  the  malamute  as  the                                                               
official state  dog would  be a mistake.  The AKC  recognizes the                                                               
Alaskan malamute  as a  breed that is  separate and  distinct and                                                               
doesn't  encompass the  many dogs  used in  sled dog  racing. The                                                               
state dog  should represent the dog  that has been used  by past,                                                               
present and future Alaskans, she said.  This can only be the sled                                                               
dogs of  Alaska. This is the  dog that mushers and  Alaskans call                                                               
the Alaskan husky.                                                                                                              
5:34:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE asked  if  she has  thought  about compromises  to                                                               
recognize both a state dog of sport and a state dog.                                                                            
MS. MARTIN expressed reservations.                                                                                              
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked if there is an Alaskan malamute.                                                                            
MS.  MARTIN said  that is  apples and  oranges. Someone  familiar                                                               
with the AKC  thinks about a breed standard when  asked about the                                                               
Alaskan  malamute,  but  a  Mackenzie  River  malamute  that  she                                                               
purchased  in  Alaska  didn't  fit the  standard.  That  dog  was                                                               
considered an Alaskan husky too.                                                                                                
CHAIR MCGUIRE  asked the  sponsor if  she's thought  of a  way to                                                               
accommodate both canines.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  said  it   is  the  prerogative  of  the                                                               
committee, but  the bill says  the Alaskan malamute. The  AKC has                                                               
its  own rules.  Initially she  favored the  husky, but  it is  a                                                               
mixed breed.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE  asked if  she would support  amending the  bill to                                                               
include the  Alaskan malamute as  the official state dog  and the                                                               
Alaskan husky as the official state sled dog.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER replied dog  sledding is already the state                                                               
sport and  that encompasses  all dogs that  are used  in mushing.                                                               
The malamute has  a multi-thousand year history in  Alaska and is                                                               
associated with the first Alaskans.  The malamute is the only AKC                                                               
recognized breed that is indigenous to North America.                                                                           
CHAIR   MCGUIRE  asked   the  committee   if  they   support  the                                                               
5:39:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS proposed  letting  Alaska students  vote on  the                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER concurred with Senator Huggins.                                                                                 
SENATOR FRENCH said  this is what democracy is  all about. Having                                                               
ballots  distributed to  students  across the  state  is a  great                                                               
5:42:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  encouraged the  committee to  seriously consider                                                               
letting the students vote.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  said this  bill is largely  about student                                                               
engagement and  learning about the process.  Another school might                                                               
want to bring  forward another bill or amend  existing statute if                                                               
this were to pass.                                                                                                              
SENATOR WAGONER  supported letting  sixth grade  Alaskan students                                                               
vote on the issue. It would be a very educational process.                                                                      
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  asked  the  teachers at  Polaris  if  they  would                                                               
continue  the quest  for democracy  if the  committee decided  to                                                               
have students vote on the issue.                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  suggested turning this over  to the commissioner                                                               
of education. "If the commissioner  is worth his salt, he'll find                                                               
a way to have an election and figure it out."                                                                                   
5:45:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RODRIGUEZ said her group  disagrees because it took 2.5 years                                                               
to get to this point. The  necessary information can't get out in                                                               
time to have a vote. Putting this  to a vote would be an entirely                                                               
different process.  This isn't how  you pass laws; you  don't put                                                               
an issue  out to a small  group of people to  speak for everyone,                                                               
she said. "We very respectfully object," she said.                                                                              
SENATOR WAGONER disagreed saying this  is the way the legislative                                                               
process works.                                                                                                                  
5:49:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  agreed with  Senator  Wagoner  saying with  due                                                               
respect to  each of the kids  that worked hard on  this there are                                                               
lots of differing ideas.                                                                                                        
MS.  RODRIGUEZ said  we understand  that things  can happen  to a                                                               
bill, but  the intent of the  bill is to honor  the whole history                                                               
of Alaska, not just dog mushing.  The Alaskan malamute has been a                                                               
part  of the  entire history  of Alaska.  "We hope  that you  can                                                               
understand that," she said.                                                                                                     
5:50:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE  said this bill just  came to the Senate  this week                                                               
and is moving quickly because of  the good work the students have                                                               
At ease from 5:50 p.m. to 5:51 p.m.                                                                                             
5:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE noted that she was  part of the bills regarding the                                                               
state  seal  and the  state  flag  song;  they elicited  lots  of                                                               
emotion. She thanked the students and held HB 14 in committee.                                                                  

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