Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124


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08:00:11 AM Start
08:01:17 AM HB72
08:28:21 AM Presentation(s): Division of Community and Regional Affairs Database
09:40:25 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: Dept. of Commerce, Community, & TELECONFERENCED
Economic Development Div. of Community &
Regional Affairs Database
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invited/Public> --
-- <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                         March 26, 2019                                                                                         
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Sara Hannan, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Sharon Jackson                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 72                                                                                                               
"An Act establishing the month of February as Black History                                                                     
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PRESENTATION(S): DIVISION OF COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                                     
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  72                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BLACK HISTORY MONTH                                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STORY                                                                                             
02/25/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/25/19       (H)       CRA                                                                                                    
03/26/19       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE ANDI STORY                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HB 72.                                                                       
CAITLYN ELLIS, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information and answered questions                                                               
during the hearing on HB 72, on behalf of Representative Story,                                                                 
prime sponsor.                                                                                                                  
SALLY DONALDSON                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 72.                                                                           
CELESTE HODGE GROWDEN                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 72.                                                                           
SHERRY PATTERSON                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 72.                                                                           
SANDRA MOLLER, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Community & Regional Affairs (DCRA)                                                                                 
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a PowerPoint presentation on DCRA.                                                                  
JADE BICKMORE, Program Manager                                                                                                  
Research & Analysis                                                                                                             
Division of Community & Regional Affairs (DCRA)                                                                                 
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a tutorial on using DCRA's Community                                                                
Database Online to access community information.                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:00:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  SARA HANNAN  called  the  House Community  and  Regional                                                            
Affairs  Standing   Committee  meeting  to  order   at  8:00  a.m.                                                              
Representatives  Claman, Kreiss-Tomkins,  Thompson, Drummond,  and                                                              
Hannan  were  present  at  the  call  to  order.    Representative                                                              
Jackson arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                 
                   HB 72-BLACK HISTORY MONTH                                                                                
8:01:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced  that the first order  of business would                                                              
be HOUSE BILL NO.  72, "An Act establishing the  month of February                                                              
as Black History Month."                                                                                                        
8:01:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDI STORY,  Alaska  State  Legislature, as  prime                                                              
sponsor, introduced  HB 72.  She paraphrased from  the first three                                                              
paragraphs  of the sponsor  statement [included  in the  committee                                                              
packet], which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
     House  Bill 72  establishes  February  as Black  History                                                                   
     Month.  It  celebrates  and   honors  the  contributions                                                                   
     African-Americans  have made  to Alaska  and the  United                                                                   
     In  recent  years,  the  legislature  has  offered  many                                                                   
     resolutions  recognizing Black  History  Month for  each                                                                   
     individual year.  HB 72 and its companion,  SB 40, would                                                                   
     enshrine the  recognition into statute. With  passage of                                                                   
     HB 72, Alaska  joins other states and nations  that have                                                                   
     adopted Black History Month.                                                                                               
     HB  72   celebrates  the   many  accomplishments,   both                                                                   
     recognized  and  forgotten,   of  African-Americans  and                                                                   
     their   contributions   to  Alaskan   communities.   The                                                                   
     recognition  of  Black  History Month  is  necessary  to                                                                   
     acknowledge and  promote the continued work  of African-                                                                   
     Americans  who have contributed  to Alaska's  workforce,                                                                   
     economic development, culture, and community.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  said HB 72 would ensure  that Alaskans learn                                                              
about people who  have contributed to the state,  including Bettye                                                              
Davis, who  was the  first African-American  woman elected  to the                                                              
Senate in  2000.   Former Senator  Davis also  served as  chair of                                                              
the state  Board of  Education and  Early Development  and  in the                                                              
Alaska House  of Representatives  from 1991-1996.   Representative                                                              
Story relayed  that before former  Senator Davis started  a career                                                              
in government,  she  was a social  worker, mentor,  and made  life                                                              
better for children across the state.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY talked  about attorney  and scholar,  Mahala                                                              
Ashley  Dickerson,   who  was   Alaska's  first   African-American                                                              
attorney and,  in 1983, the  first African-American to  be elected                                                              
president of  a national  association of women  lawyers.   In 1959                                                              
Ms. Dickerson  established  a law practice  in Anchorage,  Alaska,                                                              
and one of her  most notable cases was an equal  pay lawsuit filed                                                              
on  behalf of  a female  professor  at the  University of  Alaska.                                                              
Representative  Story  said,  "It  was  one  of  the  first  cases                                                              
representing  women professors  at  an American  university  whose                                                              
salaries were lower  than their male counterparts."   She said Ms.                                                              
Dickerson lost the case, but it was won upon appeal in 1975.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY concluded,  "I  believe  this bill  promotes                                                              
cross-cultural  understanding and  honors  the cultural  diversity                                                              
in our  communities and our state."   She asked  committee members                                                              
to join her in support of HB 72.                                                                                                
8:04:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CAITLYN  ELLIS, Staff,  Representative  Andi  Story, Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Story,  prime sponsor of                                                              
HB 72,  offered a  brief history  related to  Black History  Week.                                                              
She  said  it  was  created  in 1926  by  Carter  G.  Woodson,  in                                                              
Washington, D.C.,  and called "Negro  History Week."   Mr. Woodson                                                              
chose the  second week in  February to correlate  this recognition                                                              
with  the  celebration  of  the  births  of  Abraham  Lincoln  and                                                              
Frederick Douglas.   Ms. Ellis quoted  an article by  Lonnie Bunch                                                              
that  lists two  reasons for  the establishment  of Negro  History                                                              
Week, as follows:                                                                                                               
     One was  to use history to  prove to White  America that                                                                   
     Blacks have  played important  roles in the  creation of                                                                   
     America  and thereby  deserve to be  treated equally  as                                                                   
     citizens.    In essence,  Woodson,  by  celebrating  the                                                                   
     heroic Black  figure - be they inventors,  entertainers,                                                                   
     soldiers  - hoped  to prove  our worth,  and by  proving                                                                   
     our  worth,   he  believed  that  equality   would  soon                                                                   
     follow.  His  other goal was to increase  the visibility                                                                   
     of  Black   life  in   history  at   a  time  when   few                                                                   
     newspapers, books,  and universities took notice  of the                                                                   
     Black  community, except  to  dwell upon  the  negative.                                                                   
     Ultimately, Woodson  believed Negro History  Week, which                                                                   
     became Black  History Month in 1976, would  be a vehicle                                                                   
     for racial transformation forever.                                                                                         
     ... Hopefully  a renewed Black  History Month  can focus                                                                   
     attention  on  the  importance  of  preserving  African-                                                                   
     American culture.                                                                                                          
MS. ELLIS  noted that  in Alaska communities  have their  own ways                                                              
of  celebrating  Black  History   Month,  including  gospel  choir                                                              
performances   in  Juneau   and  Fairbanks,   and  this   year  in                                                              
Anchorage,  the first  Bettye  Davis African-American  Summit  was                                                              
MS.  ELLIS pointed  out that  many resolutions  have been  brought                                                              
forward  over the  years recognizing  Black History  Month.   Each                                                              
resolution  was  specific  to a  particular  year.   In  order  to                                                              
establish  Black History  Month  in perpetuity,  it  must be  done                                                              
statutorily, through a bill such as HB 72.                                                                                      
8:07:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  said Black  History  Month is  celebrated                                                              
nationally and in  Alaska.  She asked what HB 72  would offer that                                                              
does not already exist.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  clarified  that by  putting  Black  History                                                              
Month in  statute, the legislature would  not have to bring  it up                                                              
each  year as  must be  done with  a  resolution.   She said  this                                                              
would  promote planning  and cultural  understanding.   She  said,                                                              
"Obviously  it's   one  month  that  it's  designated,   but  it's                                                              
intertwined through all  the months of the year."   She said there                                                              
is a  zero fiscal  note; the state  would not  put money  into the                                                              
events but  would "continue  to rely  on communities to  celebrate                                                              
... as they do."                                                                                                                
8:08:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ELLIS  noted that on line  5 of the proposed  legislation, the                                                              
word  "may" is  used to  indicate  that the  celebration of  Black                                                              
History Month  would not  be mandated.   She  said whereas  in the                                                              
past   Black   History   Month   was   brought   forward   through                                                              
resolutions, perhaps  every year or sporadically, under  HB 72, it                                                              
would be in statute for the first time.                                                                                         
8:09:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN opened public testimony on HB 72.                                                                               
8:09:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SALLY  DONALDSON testified  in support  of HB  72.   She said  she                                                              
worked in  the Juneau School District  for 23 years, and  prior to                                                              
that  in North  Carolina  and Georgia.    She  said Black  History                                                              
Month has  been important in  schools and  in the community.   She                                                              
opined that  having Black  History Month  placed in statute  would                                                              
be well-deserved  by many  African-Americans who have  contributed                                                              
and continue  to contribute  to  Alaska's history.   She said  she                                                              
liked what  Representative Story  stated about the  celebration of                                                              
many accomplishments,  both those recognized and  those forgotten.                                                              
Ms. Donaldson  indicated  that putting Black  History Month  under                                                              
statute  would emphasize  its importance.   She  said although  no                                                              
appropriation of  funds would be  required under HB 72,  its value                                                              
would be priceless,  because "Alaskans of all ages  in schools and                                                              
communities  will  recognize  the   month  of  February  as  Black                                                              
History Month, as written in the statute."                                                                                      
8:11:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  asked whether  Ms.  Donaldson was  saying                                                              
that  currently  in schools  Black  History  Month was  not  being                                                              
MS. DONALDSON answered  no, but putting it in  statute "would make                                                              
a statement  that our state recognizes  this as a month  and wants                                                              
to set aside  the entire month of  February."  She said  she knows                                                              
that schools  are celebrating Martin  Luther King Day, as  well as                                                              
Black History Month in February.                                                                                                
8:12:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CELESTE HODGE  GROWDEN testified  in support of  HB 72.   She said                                                              
she  served  as president  of  the  National Association  for  the                                                              
Advancement of Colored  People (NAACP) for nearly a  decade in the                                                              
1980s,  and most  recently, she  has  served as  president of  the                                                              
Silo  Community  Development,  Inc.,  which she  described  as  "a                                                              
501(c)(3)    nonprofit   organization    that   empowers    youth,                                                              
minorities,  and  the  disadvantaged   to  improve  lives."    She                                                              
     The  organization's goal  is to enhance  the quality  of                                                                   
     life of those  less fortunate by providing  transitional                                                                   
     assistance,  economical  and   educational  opportunity,                                                                   
     job  search support,  health  education, prevention  and                                                                   
     wellness  programs,  and youth  mentorship.   The  major                                                                   
     emphasis  of SCDI  is to  develop  and promote  programs                                                                   
     that advance  minorities, youth,  and the  disadvantaged                                                                   
     in    health,   education,    justice,   and    economic                                                                   
MS. HODGE GROWDEN  said she is proud to state  that SCDI organized                                                              
the first Bettye  Davis African-American Summit:   "Moving towards                                                              
hope together."   She said the organization raised  money from the                                                              
community.    Further,  SCDI  received  a  grant  to  support  its                                                              
"Justice Project,"  which she described as "a  storytelling effort                                                              
designed  to  share achievements  and  contributions  of  African-                                                              
American trailblazers  in Alaska  through a series  of vignettes."                                                              
There  have  been  requests  for  the vignettes  to  be  shown  in                                                              
MS.  HODGE   GROWDEN  admitted   that  Black   History  Month   is                                                              
recognized in  public schools but  is limited.  For  example, when                                                              
she  was in  school,  she learned  about  Martin  Luther King  and                                                              
slavery during  Black History Month.   This year, she  said, local                                                              
trailblazers  were  recognized,   such  as  Bettye  Davis,  Alonzo                                                              
Patterson,  Blanche  Louise  Preston McSmith,  and  Mahala  Ashley                                                              
Dickerson.   Ms. Hodge  Growden  urged passage  of HB 72,  because                                                              
"we need  it in order  to not only  recognize Black  History Month                                                              
but to keep it alive and to know locally our trailblazers."                                                                     
8:15:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  remarked  that she  considers  herself  a                                                              
trailblazer  but had  not received  an invitation  to this  event.                                                              
She  emphasized, "We  all need  to  be recognized,  and until  the                                                              
internal division  is healed,  we can't  expect legislation  to do                                                              
that work."                                                                                                                     
MS. HODGE  GROWDEN explained  that the aforementioned  individuals                                                              
were recognized  through a process  opened by SCDI  wherein people                                                              
could  nominate those  individuals  that they  wanted  recognized.                                                              
She expressed hope  that another grant would be  received from the                                                              
Alaska   Community    Foundation,    and   someone   may    submit                                                              
Representative Jackson's name for consideration.                                                                                
8:16:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON asked Ms.  Hodge Growden  if she  had sent                                                              
out an official invitation.                                                                                                     
MS.  HODGE  GROWDEN  responded  that  the  community  was  invited                                                              
through a post on Facebook.                                                                                                     
8:17:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SHERRY PATTERSON  opined that it  is important to  "enshrine Black                                                              
History  Month"  in statute.    She  said  her heart  breaks  each                                                              
February when  "we have to  strive to sponsor  events here  in the                                                              
capital city," though  she indicated those events  are "eventually                                                              
attended and  supported by  the community."   She stated,  "Unless                                                              
something  happens in  our hearts,  it won't  go too much  further                                                              
than it already  has."  Ms. Patterson said she loves  that she has                                                              
family members  who are honored  during Black History Month.   She                                                              
stated her support and appreciation of HB 72.                                                                                   
8:19:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  recollected that the aforementioned  Ms. McSmith,                                                              
in Anchorage,  had been friends  with Rosa  Parks.  She  asked Ms.                                                              
Patterson if her recollection is correct.                                                                                       
MS. PATTERSON  offered her  understanding that  was correct.   She                                                              
said she knew  Ms. McSmith and called  her a force in  Alaska that                                                              
should be recognized.                                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  indicated that the connection between  Rosa Parks                                                              
and Ms. McSmith reminded her how small the world is.                                                                            
8:20:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN closed public testimony on HB 72.                                                                               
8:20:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON indicated  that she had  gone to  an event                                                              
where  Ms. Patterson  sang.  She  exclaimed,  "This lady can  sing                                                              
your hearts  into this  statutory  change."   She stated that  the                                                              
proposed  bill is appreciated,  "but  truth and  light need  to be                                                              
shined on the  whole situation, right?"  Using  the permanent fund                                                              
dividend  (PFD)  as  an  example,  she  noted  that  just  because                                                              
something  is put in  statute, does  not mean  it cannot  be taken                                                              
away.   She emphasized the  need "to look  at the whole  picture."                                                              
She concluded,  "Thank you all for  all of your work and  for your                                                              
great intention in changing the heart of Alaska."                                                                               
8:22:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that HB 72 was held over.                                                                             
8:22:34 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:22 a.m. to 8:28 a.m.                                                                       
^PRESENTATION(S):  DIVISION  OF  COMMUNITY  AND  REGIONAL  AFFAIRS                                                              
  PRESENTATION(S): DIVISION OF COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                               
8:28:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced  that the final order  of business would                                                              
be  the presentation  on the  Division of  Community and  Regional                                                              
Affairs database.                                                                                                               
8:28:48 AM                                                                                                                    
SANDRA  MOLLER,   Director,  Division  of  Community   &  Regional                                                              
Affairs  (DCRA),  Department  of Commerce,  Community  &  Economic                                                              
Development  (DCCED),  gave  a PowerPoint  presentation  on  DCRA.                                                              
She  began with  slide 2,  "Community and  Regional Affairs,"  and                                                              
brought attention  to the  mission statement:   "Helping  Alaska's                                                              
communities  build  sustainable economies  and  a  means of  self-                                                              
governance."    She  mentioned   Article  X,  Section  14  of  the                                                              
Constitution of  the State of Alaska,  which, on slide  2, read as                                                              
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     An agency shall  be established by law in  the executive                                                                   
     branch  of the  state government  to  advise and  assist                                                                 
     local governments.   It  shall review their  activities,                                                                 
     collect  and publish local  government information,  and                                                               
     perform other duties prescribed by law.                                                                                  
MS.  MOLLER  explained  that  she  had  "highlighted"  the  phrase                                                              
"collect  and publish"  because  that would  be the  focus of  her                                                              
presentation.    She  said  the  division  has  54  employees  and                                                              
collects  and   produces  the   community  database   through  the                                                              
division's Research  and Analysis Section.   As shown on  slide 3,                                                              
Ms.  Moller listed  the  other functions  of  the division,  which                                                              
are:   the Alaska  Native Claims  Settlement Act (ANCSA)  Planning                                                              
and  Land  Management;  the  Local   Government  Assistance  Rural                                                              
Utility Business  Advisor (RUBA) Program; the Office  of the State                                                              
Assessor;  the Local Boundary  Commission;  the Community  Aid and                                                              
Accountability  Grants; the  Alaska  Native Language  Preservation                                                              
and Advisory Council; and Serve Alaska.                                                                                         
8:30:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOLLER  directed  attention to  slide 4,  titled "What  is the                                                              
CDO?" [Community  Database Online].   She  explained that  the CDO                                                              
provides  useful  information  for   those  new  to  a  community.                                                              
Previously it  was a mapping  program used for infrastructure;  it                                                              
showed aerial mapping,  utilities, types of government,  and local                                                              
representatives.   It evolved into  online usage to put  maps into                                                              
tables  and provide  a variety  of  data that  can be  downloaded.                                                              
She  said the  CDO  provides  community resource  information  and                                                              
economic indicators.   A person can print reports.   She said Jade                                                              
Bickmore's  part of  the presentation  would  guide the  committee                                                              
members  through the  online data.   She  said it  is possible  to                                                              
import data into maps for geographical information.                                                                             
MS. MOLLER  moved on  to slide  5, titled  "Sample queries."   She                                                              
said  this gives  an idea  of the  types  of answers  that can  be                                                              
sourced  from the  database.   She recollected  that the  division                                                              
had conducted  a survey  in 2017  to discern  the interest  of the                                                              
online resource users.   The division will conduct  another survey                                                              
in  the future  in order  to stay  current with  what people  want                                                              
from the CDO.                                                                                                                   
8:33:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MOLLER  directed   attention  to  slide  6,   titled  "Future                                                              
applications."   She  said the  slide  shows how  the division  is                                                              
trying to  modernize its collection  by adding:   economic metrics                                                              
to  attract  investment  in the  state;  Alaska  natural  resource                                                              
data;  and  additional  community  utility  infrastructure.    She                                                              
emphasized  the division's  willingness to  hear suggestions  from                                                              
8:34:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN asked who the primary users of the CDO are.                                                                     
MS. MOLLER  answered mostly  state and  regional entities  looking                                                              
at how they  can work with a  community.  She expressed  hope that                                                              
the division  can expand its  user base.   Part of the  reason for                                                              
taking part  in the presentation  today, she  said, is to  get the                                                              
word out about the resource.                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN asked  how often  the  division receives  queries                                                              
from private sector businesses.                                                                                                 
8:35:52 AM                                                                                                                    
JADE BICKMORE, Program  Manager, Research & Analysis,  Division of                                                              
Community  &  Regional  Affairs (DCRA),  Department  of  Commerce,                                                              
Community  &  Economic  Development (DCCED),  answered  that  DCRA                                                              
gets a lot  of inquiries, many  from researchers.  The  CDO system                                                              
allows users  to download the  data and "look  at it any  way they                                                              
want."  She  said a lot of  businesses and grantees inquire  as to                                                              
areas and contacts in communities.                                                                                              
MS. BICKMORE  began to  show, live online,  how anyone  can access                                                              
information via  the division's CDO.   She started by  showing the                                                              
"main  page" and  links  to  the division  home  page.   She  next                                                              
showed a metadata  page, which shows the source of  the data, with                                                              
direct links to  agencies.  Ms. Bickmore illustrated  an important                                                              
tool, called  "How To."   She said it  describes the  features and                                                              
icons and  how to  find data.   She said a  user can  download all                                                              
the data  or filter the  data to specific  communities.   She said                                                              
this is  a totally  new system.   In response  to a question  from                                                              
Co-Chair  Hannan,   she  relayed  that  the  system   came  online                                                              
November 27, [2018].   She noted that the division  is "constantly                                                              
evolving and adding  new data," which is something  the old system                                                              
did not allow.   She explained that the old system  would override                                                              
old  data with  new,  whereas  the  new system  allows  historical                                                              
information to  remain, which allows  users to look at  trends and                                                              
do research.                                                                                                                    
8:39:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BICKMORE showed  a  "What's New"  tab,  by which  a user  can                                                              
access the  most recently  added information  through links.   She                                                              
recommended   checking  the  tab   on  a   regular  basis.     She                                                              
recommended  using browsers  Chrome or Firefox,  because  she said                                                              
the CDO does not work as well with Internet Explorer.                                                                           
MS. BICKMORE  displayed a highlighted  area showing  the organized                                                              
boroughs and  communities throughout Alaska.   A user can  look at                                                              
a  particular community  and the  information  pertaining to  that                                                              
community,  including incorporation  date, pronunciation  of name,                                                              
history,  geographic and  climate  information, and  demographics.                                                              
She showed  how a  user can "scroll  in" to  look at the  details.                                                              
She  showed population  by  race, by  age,  by sex  -  all of  the                                                              
information  sourced  from  the  U.S. Census  Bureau.    She  said                                                              
someone inquired as  to who was responsible for  plowing a certain                                                              
road,  and  the  CDO provided  that  information.    Ms.  Bickmore                                                              
showed  how  to  find  out  about   schools;  she  mentioned  that                                                              
historical data was still to come.                                                                                              
8:45:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BICKMORE said  a user can find out information  on a wealth of                                                              
topics,   including:     representatives;  alcohol   restrictions;                                                              
taxes;  household income;  poverty;  general services;  healthcare                                                              
facilities;  utilities;  water  source;  affiliation  with  ANCSA;                                                              
community  contacts;  and  tribal   information.    She  said  the                                                              
website shows  the business  licenses for  those communities  with                                                              
populations  fewer  than  2,500,  and  there  is  a  "do-your-own"                                                              
search for businesses in larger communities.                                                                                    
8:47:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  asked if the  web site lists  the sources                                                              
of the taxes.                                                                                                                   
MS. BICKMORE answered  yes.  She mentioned "Alaska  taxable 2018,"                                                              
and she  said a user  can search  through a story  map or  look at                                                              
the  data for  a spreadsheet.    She said  she would  demonstrate.                                                              
She pointed  out that when  a user clicks  on a certain  community                                                              
name, that  community will  be highlighted  on a  map to  show its                                                              
location.     Also  available  to   view  are  community   photos,                                                              
community plans, profile maps, and financial documents.                                                                         
8:49:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON asked  whether  clicking  a dot  on a  map                                                              
will bring up the information about that area.                                                                                  
MS. BICKMORE  answered yes and  offered further details  about the                                                              
interactivity  of  the  map.     She  then  continued,  showing  a                                                              
navigation bar, on  which is the aforementioned  "What's New?" and                                                              
"Interactive Applications."   Regarding the latter,  she explained                                                              
that the division  has designed applications ("apps")  specific to                                                              
a  given  topic, but  she  emphasized  this  is  just one  way  of                                                              
getting  information on  topics.   She showed  tables pulled  down                                                              
and related  to other agencies  and said  a user can  download the                                                              
data.  People can  send a survey to DCRA requesting  certain data,                                                              
and the  division  will respond.   She  said there  is also  a GIF                                                              
link,  which is  for  other state  agencies  that have  geographic                                                              
information system  (GIS); this allows  the division to  pull that                                                              
information from those agencies into its web site.                                                                              
8:52:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BICKMORE  next showed  the community  contact directory.   She                                                              
mentioned  the  division  is  working on  video  tutorials.    She                                                              
talked  about  the  various  topics  that  can  be  found  in  the                                                              
directory,  including  communities,  schools, and  Village  Public                                                              
Safety Officers  (VPSOs).  She pointed  to an attribute  table and                                                              
reiterated that the  information from the maps  can be downloaded.                                                              
She said  a user can  filter and "add  expressions" as a  means of                                                              
focusing on information  for a particular community,  for example.                                                              
In  response to  a question  from Co-Chair  Hannan, she  indicated                                                              
that "expressions"  related to  fields.   She illustrated  this by                                                              
showing  various columns  and demonstrating  a  search related  to                                                              
one community.   She stated, "As  you move around in the  map, the                                                              
map and the data  below will change, depending on  where you are."                                                              
Under  options, a  user can  "export  to CSB,"  which will  export                                                              
either  all the  data or  the data  the  user has  filtered.   She                                                              
offered further  demonstration.  She  said labels can be  made for                                                              
all the division's datasets.                                                                                                    
8:56:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BICKMORE  talked about story  maps, a community overview  of a                                                              
story  map, and  information  that shows  whether  a committee  is                                                              
unincorporated.     Some  communities   have  photos,   while  the                                                              
division  is working  on  getting  good photos  for  others.   The                                                              
division  does  not  have  as  much  data  on  the  unincorporated                                                              
cities; therefore,  there is less  information on those maps.   In                                                              
response  to  Co-Chair  Hannan and  Representative  Thompson,  Ms.                                                              
Bickmore mentioned  the term "Census-designated place"  (CDP), and                                                              
she said  the information  the division  gets from  unincorporated                                                              
cities, such as  population, is important in terms  grants related                                                              
to those  communities.  As  more communities become  incorporated,                                                              
"it is nice to have that information there," she stated.                                                                        
8:59:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BICKMORE  stated that Alaska  is different from  other states,                                                              
because  it does  not  have counties.    The state  has  a lot  of                                                              
unincorporated  boroughs, she noted.   She said  it made  sense to                                                              
have story  maps that  showed U.S. Census  areas and  boroughs and                                                              
"information  that  is  related to  that  and  not  so much  of  a                                                              
community."  She  illustrated by showing the Fairbanks  North Star                                                              
Borough.   She mentioned  square  miles, and  then she listed  the                                                              
CDPs.   She explained  what was shown  related to demographics  on                                                              
the borough level  rather than the city level.   She showed school                                                              
information, economics,  types of taxes,  and poverty level.   She                                                              
said  some  [CDPs] have  more  information  than  others do.    In                                                              
response  to  Co-Chair  Hannan and  Representative  Thompson,  she                                                              
said sales  tax information could be  broken down in a  variety of                                                              
9:04:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BICKMORE next  showed  the  committee the  interactive  maps,                                                              
which are  predefined story  maps and apps  in which  the division                                                              
has already  pulled information.   She said the division  had just                                                              
posted  the Alaska  Field Price  Report.  She  explained that  the                                                              
division looks  at the field  prices in 100 communities  annually.                                                              
She said this  used to be published  as "a regular report"  but is                                                              
now  more interactive,  and people  are enjoying  the new  format.                                                              
She illustrated  how fuel  gets to  communities and the  struggles                                                              
involved;  transportation  methods;  and  gasoline prices  in  the                                                              
state.  She showed  another map that changed color  to reflect gas                                                              
prices  over the  years.   She  highlighted  price comparisons  to                                                              
national  prices.   She showed heating  fuel  prices.  She  called                                                              
Anchorage  the "donut  hole"  on the  map,  as well  as the  North                                                              
Slope Borough,  because there is no  data from those places.   She                                                              
explained that is  because the North Slope Borough  has subsidized                                                              
heating.  She said  any of the associated maps will  take the user                                                              
via links to the sources of the information.                                                                                    
9:09:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BICKMORE  talked  about  a  web page  to  find  datasets  for                                                              
download.    She   demonstrated  by  looking  up   information  on                                                              
transportation in  Alaska, from data  to spreadsheet.   She showed                                                              
how the map changes  based on filters.  She then  showed a feature                                                              
wherein  users  can   build  their  own  map  by   deciding  which                                                              
information  they  want.   She  said  this  feature is  tied  into                                                              
information  from  the  Department   of  Transportation  &  Public                                                              
Facilities   (DOT&PF).     She  explained   that  currently   DCRA                                                              
downloads  the information  from  other agencies,  but once  those                                                              
other  agencies   use  the  same   system,  then  that   won't  be                                                              
necessary.   She showed how to  put population information  on the                                                              
map.   She indicated  three dots  to the right  and said  there is                                                              
access  to an  attribute  table.   A person  can  utilize this  by                                                              
choosing data  and then seeing it on  the map.  The  data can also                                                              
be exported to a spreadsheet.                                                                                                   
9:14:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON asked how  much of  the data  is supplied                                                              
by  communities and  how  much is  put  in by  the  division.   He                                                              
inquired about the  number of staff in the division  that works on                                                              
this project.                                                                                                                   
MS. BICKMORE  answered that  she has  a total of  5 people  in her                                                              
group.   She said they  were able to  do this project  with little                                                              
information  technology  (IT) support.    She  said the  tool  has                                                              
opened the  ability to look at  data and compare  information from                                                              
past  years.   She  said the  old  system was  time-consuming  and                                                              
required  all time  spent just  in  updating.   She imparted  that                                                              
anything someone  wants to research can  be found, as long  as the                                                              
information  is  public  and  tied  to  community.    She  offered                                                              
9:16:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  asked whose  idea this was  and how long  it took                                                              
to create.                                                                                                                      
MS. BICKMORE  relayed that this was  not her idea but  that of her                                                              
predecessor.   She  indicated  that the  division  was looking  to                                                              
replace a failing  system and put  out for bid, and the  cost just                                                              
to  replace  the existing  system  would  have  been over  half  a                                                              
million dollars.   The division had  neither the money  nor the IT                                                              
resources, so it  looked for other options.   The division already                                                              
had  an Esri  tool  to create  many  of the  maps.   The  division                                                              
worked  with Esri.    In 2017,  the  division  created the  Alaska                                                              
Taxable and  the RUBA  report and  began looking  at how  it could                                                              
"display  that  information  in  this  format."    Once  that  was                                                              
successful,  the division  moved to  "this new  forum," which  she                                                              
said is more of  a data warehouse rather than database.   She said                                                              
the  division updates  the data  as a  dataset rather  than as  "a                                                              
single  line" for  most of  its data.   She said  this system  has                                                              
made  it  possible  to  "delve  into  areas  we've  never  had  to                                                              
opportunity to."                                                                                                                
MS. BICKMORE  introduced  her staff  in the room:   Emma  Hatcher,                                                              
Esri Research  Analyst; Kevin  Prestegard, Research  Analyst; Eric                                                              
Caldwell;  George  Plumley,  GIS   Analyst;  and  Grace  Beaujean,                                                              
Research Analyst.                                                                                                               
9:19:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOLLER  interjected that  this group has  won awards  for this                                                              
cutting-edge application.                                                                                                       
9:20:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN suggested  there  may  be a  way  "to patent  the                                                              
intellectual property of a collective."                                                                                         
9:20:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked if contracting  with Esri was                                                              
a "one-off"  contract  entered into  by DCCED  or if the  division                                                              
piggy-backed  on  "something"  already  in  existence  within  the                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR).                                                                                          
MS. BICKMORE  answered that DCCED  already had a license,  and the                                                              
division  added to  that.   It has  a  server where  it posts  the                                                              
data, and then it  posts that data online.  She  said the division                                                              
also gets  credit, which  it can use  for additional  training and                                                              
support  [from]  Esri.    She  explained   that  Esri  helped  the                                                              
division get  to the next  level in terms  of customizations.   In                                                              
response  to  a follow-up  question,  she  said the  most  current                                                              
license was $80,000,  and it gives more credit  to work one-on-one                                                              
with  developers.   She  talked about  automating  the process  so                                                              
that  multiple  community  story  maps  could  be  created.    She                                                              
explained that  all the data  was on separate  tables, so  "it was                                                              
just a  matter of  matching up  the different  communities."   She                                                              
expressed pride at  her group's ability to "push  the envelope" to                                                              
make a better product.                                                                                                          
9:23:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND opined  that  the database  is wonderful,  with                                                              
consistent access across  a variety of information.   She asked if                                                              
Alaska is the only state that uses something like this.                                                                         
MS.  BICKMORE  confirmed that  Alaska  is  unique in  having  this                                                              
tool.   She said the  Esri software  is geo-spatial  software, and                                                              
she  mentioned  other  states have  more  photos  and  information                                                              
readily available.   She said the  division does not have  that in                                                              
Alaska,  which  is a  huge  state with  a  vast number  of  areas,                                                              
climates, and  communities.   She said the  tool allows a  user to                                                              
look  at  those  things  in ways  he/she  could  never  have  done                                                              
before.    She  offered  examples  wherein  information  is  shown                                                              
regarding  communities  and that  may  lead to  solving  potential                                                              
9:25:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  queried  whether   other  research  entities  in                                                              
Alaska,  such as  Legislative Legal  and  Research Services,  have                                                              
been made aware of the tool provided by DCRA.                                                                                   
9:26:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MOLLER said  this  is something  the  division  is trying  to                                                              
promote, for  example, through presentations  like this one.   The                                                              
division is looking  at making the foundation strong,  and then it                                                              
will  add economic  data, as  well as  other data.   She said  the                                                              
division has spoken  with the Alaska Energy Authority  (AEA) about                                                              
its personal  consumption expenditure  (PCE) data and  considering                                                              
how  to incorporate  it.   She said  AEA has  a separate  platform                                                              
that  it  uses.   She  indicated  that  the  division is  "on  the                                                              
beginning  parts  of letting  people  know  that  this is  up  and                                                              
going."  She said that is why the division welcomes feedback.                                                                   
MS. BICKMORE added  that the division has been  working with other                                                              
agencies and  asked some of them  to test out the  product through                                                              
presentations  followed by  feedback.   She said  the division  is                                                              
doing weekly presentations  and has an hour-long  session to teach                                                              
people how  to build their  own maps.   She said several  agencies                                                              
and researchers have  attended.  She said the  division would like                                                              
to extend that up into the Anchorage area.                                                                                      
9:28:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON asked about access to the product.                                                                       
MS.  BICKMORE showed  the committee  how to  access the  community                                                              
database online.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  congratulated  the  team  who  worked  on                                                              
making this  data available.   She  said she  has visited  the web                                                              
page in  the past  and it is  apparent much  has been  added since                                                              
9:29:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BICKMORE  continued with  demonstration of  the website.   She                                                              
drew  attention  to "Alaska  Taxable  2018."    She said  the  old                                                              
system took  a long time  to navigate.   She said the  new product                                                              
was highlighted in  Esri Magazine and won an award.   She scrolled                                                              
down the screen  to show:  taxation in Alaska;  legends of unified                                                              
and   non-unified   communities;    various   classifications   of                                                              
municipality;  tax determination  for  second-class cities;  which                                                              
communities  have   taxes,  and   which  have  not;   borough  tax                                                              
information;  tax  revenues;  city  revenues;  and  municipalities                                                              
reporting tax revenue or not.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  suggested Ms. Bickmore  show the  Fairbanks North                                                              
Star Borough.                                                                                                                   
MS.  BICKMORE demonstrated  looking  at  the information  for  the                                                              
borough and how  to filter for specific information  for the city.                                                              
In response  to Co-Chair Hannan  and Representative  Thompson, she                                                              
related  statistics   related  to   bed  tax,  tobacco   tax,  and                                                              
marijuana tax.                                                                                                                  
9:37:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON thanked the  department on  an incredible                                                              
job being done with "a small crew."                                                                                             
9:38:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOLLER  concluded that  the department is  tasked to  get this                                                              
data  and works  hard  to make  it presentable  and  usable.   She                                                              
encouraged committee  members to let her know if  there is missing                                                              
data they would like to see added.                                                                                              
9:39:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  expressed  appreciation  for  the  information                                                              
9:39:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  thanked the presenters  and staff for  their work                                                              
in developing the  community database online and  for reaching out                                                              
to the committee  for the opportunity to present  the information.                                                              
She  stated, "I'm  looking forward  to learning  more and  helping                                                              
improve Alaska's policy by using data-informed decision-making."                                                                
9:40:25 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Community  and Regional  Affairs  Standing  Committee meeting  was                                                              
adjourned at 9:40 a.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Division of Comm & Regional Affairs Presentation.pdf HCRA 3/26/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB0072A.PDF HCRA 3/26/2019 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 3/28/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 72
HB 072 Sponsor Statement 3.5.19.pdf HCRA 3/26/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 72
HB 072 Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 3/26/2019 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 3/28/2019 8:00:00 AM
HB 72