Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
02/26/2015 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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|Confirmation Hearing: Commissioner, Department of Administration|
|"continuing Discussion of the Implementation of Ballot Measure No. 2(13psum)-an Act to Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJR 13-RETAIN ARMY FORCES IN ALASKA 9:03:10 AM CHAIR STOLTZE announced that HJR 13 was before the committee. 9:03:39 AM ELIJAH VERHAGEN, Staff, Representative Lora Reinbold, Alaska State Legislature, provided an overview of HJR 13. He related that HJR 13 supports maintaining and strengthening current Alaska Army personnel levels at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). The downsizing of military bases across the U.S. is mandatory under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Department of Army is looking at thirty military installations and has four more to downsize. Both Wainwright and JBER are on the list to be considered. Under the Budget Control Act, the Army was required to have listening sessions, which occurred Monday in Anchorage and Tuesday in Fairbanks. The bases could lose up to 15,000 people at each site. The resolution urges the Department of Defense to not downsize, and, if possible, strengthen the bases because Alaska is strategically located. 9:05:27 AM CHAIR STOLTZE surmised that the military cutbacks are an attempt to eliminate sequestration. He spoke in support of controlling the federal budget and in support of the military. MR. VERHAGEN did not know if the sponsor shared those concerns. CHAIR STOLTZE asked if she is a fiscal conservative. MR. VERHAGEN answered yes. CHAIR STOLTZE reiterated his concern. 9:07:28 AM MR. VERHAGEN maintained that the shutdown should not be for Alaska's bases. SENATOR MCGUIRE joined the committee meeting. 9:08:23 AM MICHAEL O'HARE, Deputy Director, Division of Homeland Security, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, testified in support of HJR 13. He spoke of the great responses in the listening sessions. CHAIR STOLTZE asked Mr. O'Hare to comment on sequestration. MR. O'HARE said he has no comment on the topic. SENATOR MCGUIRE related that she attended the Anchorage meeting and noted a slide presentation there. She discussed a process for submitting letters of support that included information about military families, location, training, and more. 9:11:08 AM MR. O'HARE agreed. The slide summarized what Alaska can do and what it has done with world-class military training and community support for the military. SENATOR HUGGINS noted that there normally is a transition of duties to the Alaska Army National Guard when a base shutdown happens. 9:12:29 AM MR. O'HARE offered to provide that information to the committee. SENATOR HUGGINS implied that when active component units are reduced, mission-creep into the Reserves increases. CHAIR STOLTZE noted his appreciation for all of the community support regarding the military. 9:14:20 AM SENATOR COGHILL offered Amendment 1: Page l, lines 2-3: Delete "take structural realignment actions with regard to" Insert "reduce personnel at" Page l, lines 6 - 7: Delete "a structural realignment of" Insert "structural reductions to" Page 1, lines 8 - 9: Delete "structural realignment actions not be taken with regard to both" Insert "no personnel reductions be made for" Page4, line5: Delete "take structural realignment actions with regard to both" Insert "reduce personnel at" CHAIR STOLTZE objected for discussion. SENATOR COGHILL explained Amendment 1 takes the "structural re- alignment action" wording out and replaces it with "reduction in personnel." 9:15:22 AM CHAIR STOLTZE removed his objection. There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. CHAIR STOLTZE opened public testimony. SENATOR COGHILL commented that the amendment is "official speak" to back up what the public has been saying. He pointed out that all the bases around America have patriotism; Alaska is fortunate to also have strategic location and community support. He agreed there is pressure in Alaska to undo federal sequestration. He stressed that it is time to stand up for national defense. 9:17:43 AM CHAIR STOLTZE considered Alaskans the most patriotic, pro- military state of all. SENATOR MCGUIRE noted the presence of Senator Wielechowski and Senator Sullivan in attendance at the Anchorage meeting. She said there were many quotes from General Mitchell who said, "He who holds Alaska will hold the world." She drew attention to the importance of the Arctic. 9:19:16 AM SENATOR HUGGINS stated that it is important to consider the history of how the military is perceived by the public, as compared to today. 9:20:36 AM CHAIR STOLTZE closed public testimony. 9:21:01 AM SENATOR HUGGINS moved to report CSHJR 13, as amended, from committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, SCS CSHJR 13(STA).