Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211

04/14/2009 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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09:03:30 AM Start
09:04:10 AM Confirmation Hearing for Joseph Schmidt as the Successor to the Alaska Lieutenant Governor.
09:06:50 AM HJR10
09:10:26 AM HB14
09:39:15 AM HB156
09:52:38 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHJR 10(HSS) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 14(STA) Out of Committee
Moved HB 156 Out of Committee
              HB  14-ALASKAN MALAMUTE AS STATE DOG                                                                          
9:10:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD announced the consideration  of HB 14. [CSHB 14(STA)                                                               
was before the committee.]                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BERTA  GARDNER, Alaska State Legislature,  said HB
14 was brought to her by  students of Polaris K-12 School. It was                                                               
entirely their idea.  "Everything in here was written  by them or                                                               
elicited  by those  kids." They  did the  sponsor statement,  the                                                               
request  for hearing,  and all  of the  testimony. She  asked the                                                               
students  why they  chose the  Malamute  as the  state dog.  They                                                               
persuaded her with their answers.                                                                                               
9:12:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD  said she has been  in the school system  for a long                                                               
time, and this  group of students has  articulated their position                                                               
well. She loves  the idea of having a state  dog. Alaska is young                                                               
and, doesn't have the traditions  and "the symbolic things that I                                                               
would like to  see in our state." Some states  have 180 different                                                               
things  on   their  calendar.  About   20  percent   of  Alaska's                                                               
population is  in kindergarten through  12th grade.  Students get                                                               
excited  about celebrating  state  dog day  or  Seward's Day.  It                                                               
stimulates history discussions with teachers.                                                                                   
9:14:45 AM                                                                                                                    
PAIGE  HILL, second  grade, Polaris  School, Anchorage,  said her                                                               
grandmother from North Carolina visited  Ms. Hill when she was in                                                               
kindergarten.  Her grandmother  went  to her  classroom and  said                                                               
North  Carolina had  a  state  dog. Ms.  Hill  then learned  that                                                               
Alaska didn't have  one. This is where it all  began. The teacher                                                               
helped her  students investigate  how to get  a state  dog. After                                                               
lots of  discussion, the  students narrowed the  dog down  to two                                                               
types: husky  and Malamute. They  voted for the  Alaska Malamute.                                                               
It has been  in Alaska for thousands  of years and is  one of the                                                               
12  ancient breeds.  It  is the  only dog  native  to the  United                                                               
States. Two  other classes  joined her  class in  researching the                                                               
Malamute. Once  people understand  this dog's history,  they will                                                               
realize  it should  be the  official  state dog.  "Thank you  for                                                               
taking our bill seriously."                                                                                                     
CIARA BRADY, fourth grade, Polaris  School, said some people feel                                                               
that  the Alaska  husky  should be  the state  dog,  but all  the                                                               
students  were convinced  that  it should  be  the Malamute.  The                                                               
Malamute was developed for a  particular purpose. Arctic settlers                                                               
as long  ago as 5,000 years  or more had heavy  sleds loaded with                                                               
supplies.  Arctic  explorers  could  travel  for  weeks  on  end.                                                               
Malamutes  helped  during  the  gold  rush.  Throughout  Alaska's                                                               
history people  have needed animals  to help. "They got  all that                                                               
and more  from the Alaska  Malamute." They are smart,  loyal, and                                                               
work well with  people. They were treated as part  of the family,                                                               
and  often  helped  raise the  children.  Theoretically,  today's                                                               
Malamutes can do  the same job as their  ancestors. They continue                                                               
to be the same amazing  dogs. The Malamute represents the Alaskan                                                               
character: proud,  independent, and sometimes even  stubborn. The                                                               
Malamute is huge, just like Alaska.                                                                                             
9:19:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SANNE CASSEE, second grade, Polaris  School, said the Malamute is                                                               
named  after  the Malamute  tribe  from  the shores  of  Kotzebue                                                               
Sound. Archeologists  have found ancient bone  and ivory carvings                                                               
showing  the Malamute  from up  to 20,000  years ago.  Recent DNA                                                               
analysis confirms that  the Alaska Malamute is one  of the oldest                                                               
breeds of  dogs. It  is the only  one out of  150 breeds  that is                                                               
native to  the United  States. The Alaska  Malamute was  used for                                                               
pulling thousands  of pounds and not  as a racing dog.  The Inuit                                                               
used  them  for  hunting  seals and  tracking  polar  bears.  The                                                               
Malamute was  so widely respected  that Eskimos who  lived inland                                                               
traveled to  Kotzebue Sound to trade  furs for the dogs.  This is                                                               
how  the  Alaska Malamute  found  its  way  to other  regions  of                                                               
Alaska. Gold  miners wanted big  dogs to freight  their supplies,                                                               
and no  other dog,  no matter  how big, could  come close  to the                                                               
strength and ability of the Alaska Malamute.                                                                                    
9:21:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MAEVE  WILEY,  third  grade,  Polaris  School,  said  the  Alaska                                                               
Malamute  babysat children  while  their Inuit  parents were  out                                                               
hunting. This is  one of the reasons they make  good pets, unlike                                                               
many  other northern  breeds.  They are  so  gentle human  babies                                                               
snuggled  up   with  puppies.  This  partnership   was  used  for                                                               
survival.  Malamutes helped  with  hunting  and hauling  supplies                                                               
between  camps. They  looked out  for bears  and guarded  caribou                                                               
herds.   Russian  and   European  explorers   saw  this   amazing                                                               
connection  between the  people  and their  dogs. Malamutes  have                                                               
affectionate  dispositions. Early  explorers often  reported this                                                               
superior type  of dog.  They were  easy going  and capable  of an                                                               
enormous  amount of  work. When  Captain Cook  was looking  for a                                                               
trading  route,  he  was  very   impressed  by  the  hard-working                                                               
Malamute that got  along with humans. Prospectors  would pay $500                                                               
for one. Many  dogs were being brought to Alaska  during the gold                                                               
rush.  In an  effort to  make  them bigger  and stronger,  miners                                                               
crossed them  with Malamutes.  The breed  was almost  lost during                                                               
that  era, but  a  few enthusiasts  did their  best  to save  the                                                               
breed.  By 1908  dog racing  was becoming  popular. The  Siberian                                                               
husky  was imported  in 1908.  In an  effort to  get faster  dogs                                                               
people continued  to mix  them. The concept  of the  Alaska husky                                                               
emerged. Dog  mushing with huskies  is the official  state sport.                                                               
Huskies  are already  recognized by  this, but  the husky  cannot                                                               
match the long history of the Malamute.                                                                                         
9:26:30 AM                                                                                                                    
RYAN  TERRY, fifth  grade, Polaris  School, said  long after  the                                                               
gold  rush the  Malamute was  still valued  for hauling  freight.                                                               
They were  easy to  care for  and could  carry heavy  loads. They                                                               
helped haul  mail and  bush supplies.  Native and  white Alaskans                                                               
continued use them  for travel, hunting, and  mail delivery. When                                                               
ships  couldn't  reach  Alaska's  harbors in  winter,  dog  teams                                                               
carried mail through 1,000 miles  of Alaskan terrain in relays of                                                               
300 miles each.  Malamutes were the Big Mac trucks  of their day.                                                               
During the  1925 serum run to  Nome, about 150 sled  dogs relayed                                                               
diphtheria  antitoxin 674  miles in  a record-breaking  5.5 days,                                                               
saving  Nome  from a  terrible  epidemic.  In  World War  I,  the                                                               
Malamute was  called into service  by the French  government. The                                                               
Nome kennel club shipped 450  Alaska Malamutes, sleds, harnesses,                                                               
and two  tons of  dried salmon  to France  where the  dogs easily                                                               
tackled the harsh  conditions and moved troops that  were cut off                                                               
from mountain  passes in far  reaching outposts. The  dogs pulled                                                               
weapons across  frozen ground. They  served as search  and rescue                                                               
dogs and  sniffed out mines.  The military  tried to use  them as                                                               
guard  dogs but  they failed  that test  because they  just liked                                                               
people too much to attack someone.                                                                                              
9:29:30 AM                                                                                                                    
DUNCAN WRIGHT, fifth  grade, Polaris School, asked  people to set                                                               
aside biases about  their favorite breed of dog  and consider the                                                               
intent behind HB 14. The Alaska  Malamute has been here for 5,000                                                               
years, representing  the entire  history of  Alaska. It  has been                                                               
here since  the first people  arrived. They survived  and thrived                                                               
in one of the harshest  environments on earth. The Malamute lived                                                               
as part  of their human family,  helping to hunt, haul,  and care                                                               
for children.  He read of  Malamutes snuggling and  sleeping with                                                               
children to keep them warm  and sometimes staying back to babysit                                                               
the children  when adults went to  hunt. The Malamute went  on to                                                               
impress  explorers, settlers,  and miners.  They participated  in                                                               
Arctic  and  Antarctic explorations,  were  heroes  in the  world                                                               
wars,  helped in  the serum  run, and  hauled massive  amounts of                                                               
freight  and mail  to remote  parts of  Alaska. The  Malamute has                                                               
been involved in Alaska's history  every step of the way. Huskies                                                               
were bred by outsiders and  came mostly from outside stock. Thank                                                               
goodness that  a few  good people saved  the Malamute  breed. The                                                               
legacy of the Alaska Malamute speaks for itself.                                                                                
9:33:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  said it  tickled her  when Representative                                                               
Joule from Kotzebue said people  in Bethel called him a Malamute,                                                               
an  ancient name  of some  of the  Inuit people.  So the  term is                                                               
still used.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  PASKVAN  moved  to  report HB  14  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER clarified  that there  is a  CS from  the                                                               
House State Affairs committee. It capitalizes Malamute.                                                                         
SENATOR FRENCH  moved to rescind  the action  to move HB  14 from                                                               
committee. There was no objection.                                                                                              
SENATOR PASKVAN moved to report CS  for HB 14 from committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, CSHB 14(STA) moved out of committee.                                                                        

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