Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/31/1998 03:32 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             CSHB 362(STA) - AIRPORT MILITARY LOUNGES                          
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN GREEN brought CSHB 362(STA) before the committee as the               
final order of business.                                                       
                                                                               
Number 314                                                                     
                                                                               
DON STOLWORTHY, staff to the House Special Committee on Military &             
Veterans' Affairs, presented the following remarks on behalf of the            
committee:                                                                     
                                                                               
"The presence of a facility for military personnel is beneficial to            
an airport's operations.  It eases the congestion in public waiting            
areas, and promotes good will between the state and military                   
personnel.                                                                     
                                                                               
"The committee is pleased to sponsor HB 362, a bill which ensures              
the continued operation of military lounges in Alaska's airports.              
                                                                               
"In 1996 and 1997, more than 20,000 military personnel took                    
advantage of the Anchorage International Airport's military lounge.            
                                                                               
"Operated by the Anchorage Armed Services YMCA, the Anchorage                  
International Airport's military lounge provides a valuable service            
to our dedicated men and women serving in the defense of our state             
and nation.  At no cost to the state, this lounge is staffed by                
volunteers from squadron booster clubs.                                        
                                                                               
"House Bill 362 will guarantee that as long as nonprofits are                  
willing to operate courtesy lounges for our military service men               
and women, the state of Alaska is willing to provide those spaces              
free of charge when they are available.                                        
                                                                               
"House Bill 362 does not require the state to provide the space.               
It only requires the state to provide the space at no charge, if               
and when available.                                                            
                                                                               
"House Bill 362 passed the House by unanimous vote.                            
                                                                               
"It is the committee's hope that the Senate State Affairs Committee            
will approve this bill and let Alaska's military community know                
that this Legislature is committed to their cause."                            
                                                                               
Number 334                                                                     
                                                                               
SENATOR WARD asked why the legislation is needed.  MR. STOLWORTHY              
explained that the FAA requires an airport to maximize its                     
revenues, and one of the things airports do is lease space.                    
Offering the lounge at a $10 yearly fee without the authority put              
the airport director in a precarious situation with the FAA, so the            
legislation provides the airport director with the authority to do             
what he has been doing.                                                        
                                                                               
Number 362                                                                     
                                                                               
TOM MORGAN, testifying from Anchorage, said for many years the                 
Armed Services YMCA has been quietly and competently serving the               
traveling military through the military courtesy lounge located at             
the Anchorage International Airport.  A safe and secure place has              
been dedicated to the Armed Forces at no expense to the state or to            
the military.  Alaska continues to be of strategic importance in               
the training of the military and the defense of the nation.  He                
pointed out that existing statute does not allow the Armed Services            
YMCA to provide these services without a rental charge, and HB 362             
cleans that up.  The legislation will allow the Armed Services YMCA            
to continue their work and, at the same time, authorize the                    
Anchorage International Airport to offer the space rent free.  He              
added that this arrangement would then be consistent with other                
military lounge airport programs run by the Armed Services YMCA                
and/or the USO nationwide.                                                     
                                                                               
Number 388                                                                     
                                                                               
BONNIE DORMAN, representing the Armed Force YMCA and testifying                
from Anchorage in support of HB 362, said the supervisors and                  
families utilize these facilities in their official and leisure                
travel.  They volunteer as a squadron; they are able to take one               
month out of the year and volunteer up to 480 hours to the lounge.             
This builds morale within their organization and promotes                      
volunteerism.                                                                  
                                                                               
Number 396                                                                     
                                                                               
RICHARD FOSTER testifying from Anchorage, said he represents all               
the enlisted men and women in the Third Wing at Elmendorf Base.  He            
said all members of the Armed Services utilize the lounge, and it              
is a great opportunity for their members who are departing for the             
Far East, or even to the Lower 48 when they deploy out.  It                    
provides opportunity for the young folks to get out and promote                
volunteerism throughout the community.  He urged the committee's               
support of HB 362.                                                             
                                                                               
Number 406                                                                     
                                                                               
DENNIS POSHARD, Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant, Department              
of Transportation and Public Facilities, stated the department                 
supports HB 362.  They worked with the sponsor in making one minor             
change that makes the bill much more acceptable.                               
                                                                               
Number 416                                                                     
                                                                               
There being no further testimony or questions on CSHB 362(STA),                
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked the pleasure of the committee.                            
                                                                               
SENATOR WARD moved CSHB 362(STA) and the accompanying zero fiscal              
note be passed out of committee with individual recommendations.               
Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                       
                                                                               
There being no further business to come before the committee, the              
meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.                                                 

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