Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/27/1996 03:04 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           JOINT HOUSE & SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND                          
                   SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                                   
                       February 27, 1996                                       
                           3:04 p.m.                                           
 HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                         
 Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                            
 Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                       
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                
 Representative Gary Davis                                                     
 Representative Tom Brice                                                      
 Representative Caren Robinson                                                 
 HOUSE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                          
 SENATE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                        
 Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                  
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
 SENATE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                         
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 * SENATE SPECIAL CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                  
 Disapproving Executive Order No. 97                                           
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 * HOUSE SPECIAL CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                   
 Disapproving Executive Order No. 97                                           
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 373                                                            
 "An Act relating to educational benefits for family members of                
 deceased members of the armed services."                                      
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 93                                                           
 "An Act relating to the duty-free mealtime for teachers in certain            
 school facilities."                                                           
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 HOUSE BILL NO. 179                                                            
 "An Act relating to the commissioner of education and the                     
 commissioner of fish and game; and providing for an effective                 
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 512                                                          
 "An Act establishing English as the common language and related to            
 the use of English in public records and at public meetings of                
 state agencies."                                                              
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HSCR 3                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: DISAPPROVING EXECUTIVE ORDER 97                                  
 SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/21/96      2833    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/21/96      2833    (H)   HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES               
 02/27/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  SSCR 3                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: DISAPPROVING EXECUTIVE ORDER 97                                  
 SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/21/96      2491    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/21/96      2491    (S)   HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES               
 02/27/96              (S)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAP. ROOM 106                     
 BILL:  HB 373                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,BARNES,Mulder,Foster,Kott,Ivan           
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 12/29/95      2364    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2364    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2364    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                      
 01/26/96      2548    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  FOSTER                             
 01/31/96      2586    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  KOTT, IVAN                         
 02/13/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 02/13/96              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 02/15/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 02/15/96              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 02/27/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB  93                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: TEACHER DUTY-FREE MEALTIME                                       
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES                                           
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG              ACTION                                      
 01/18/95        69    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/18/95        69    (H)   HES, FIN                                          
 02/15/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 02/15/96              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 02/27/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB 179                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT                                      
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/13/95       337    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/13/95       337    (H)   FSH, HES, FINANCE                                 
 02/14/96              (H)   FSH AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 02/14/96              (H)   MINUTE(FSH)                                       
 02/15/96      2774    (H)   FSH RPT  CS(FSH) 1DP 3NR                          
 02/15/96      2774    (H)   DP: G.DAVIS                                       
 02/15/96      2775    (H)   NR: OGAN, ELTON, AUSTERMAN                        
 02/15/96      2775    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (FSH/ALL DEPT'S)                 
 02/27/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB 512                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ENGLISH AS THE COMMON LANGUAGE                                   
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT,Barnes                                     
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/12/96      2728    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/12/96      2729    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                    
 02/27/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director                                             
 Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education;                                 
    and Executive Officer, Alaska Student                                      
    Loan Corporation                                                           
 3030 Vintage Boulevard                                                        
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2113                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HSCR 3 and SSCR 3                           
 ERIC FORRER, Representative                                                   
 University Board of Regents                                                   
 Postsecondary Commission                                                      
 176 Behrends Avenue                                                           
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-1847                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HSCR 3 and SSCR 3                           
 TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Assistant                                           
 Representative Terry Martin                                                   
 Capitol Building, Room 502                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3783                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 373                             
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 102                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3743                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime sponsor of HB 93                                   
 PERCY HOUTS, Superintendent of Schools                                        
 Fairbanks North Star Borough School District                                  
 520 5th Avenue                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 452-2000                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 93                                       
 WILLIE ANDERSON                                                               
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-3080                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 93                         
 JOSHUA DONALDSON, Legislative Secretary                                       
 Representative Gene Therriault                                                
 State Capitol, Room 421                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4797                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statement for HB 179                   
 CHRYSTAL SMITH, Legal Administrator                                           
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 179(FSH)                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 532                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3777                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor of HB 512                                  
 RAYMOND TORREON, Director for Alaska                                          
 U.S. English                                                                  
 1747 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 1100                                          
 Washington, D.C. 20006                                                        
 Telephone:  (202) 833-0100                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 512                           
 LYNN STIMLER, Executive Director                                              
 American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska                                      
 P.O. Box 201844                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99520                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 258-0044                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 DOROTHY SHOCKLEY                                                              
 University of Alaska                                                          
 P.O. Box 756500                                                               
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99775                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 474-5827                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 MALINDA CHASE                                                                 
 P.O. Box 82960                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99708                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 474-5827                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 ELEANOR LAUGHLIN                                                              
 316 Wedgewood G35                                                             
 Fairbanks, Alaska   99701                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 451-7170                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 NASTASIA WAHLBERG                                                             
 P.O. Box 60505                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99706                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 474-6431                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 REVA SHIRCEL, Director                                                        
 Education Department                                                          
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 1st Avenue, Suite 600                                                     
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 452-8251                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 MISHAL TOOYAK GAEDE                                                           
 P.O. Box 81188                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99708                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 457-4720                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 512                        
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director                                           
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone: (907) 586-3090                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 512                                      
 SAM KITO, JR., Lobbyist                                                       
 P.O. Box 1350                                                                 
 Sultan, Washington  98294                                                     
 Telephone:  (360) 793-0442                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 512                                      
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-16, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 008                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE called the meeting of the Joint House & Senate             
 Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committees to order at           
 3:04 p.m.  House members present at the call to order were                    
 Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Vezey, Rokeberg, Davis, Brice and              
 Robinson.  Senate members present at the call to order were                   
 Senators Green, Leman, Miller and Ellis.  A quorum was present of             
 both House and Senate members to conduct business.  The first order           
 of business was HSCR 3, Disapproving Executive Order 97 and SSCR 3,           
 Disapproving Executive Order 97.                                              
 SENATOR JUDY SALO joined the meeting at 3:05 p.m.                             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE opened the meeting for public testimony.                       
 HSCR 3 - DISAPPROVING EXECUTIVE ORDER 97                                    
 SSCR 3 - DISAPPROVING EXECUTIVE ORDER 97                                    
 Number 128                                                                    
 DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on                       
 Postsecondary Education; and Executive Officer, Alaska Student Loan           
 Corporation, said when she testified before the committee last                
 month, she spoke about the history of the Commission and the                  
 various functions it has performed over the past 22 years.  She               
 described how the current functions, primarily management of the              
 operations and finances of the Alaska Student Loan Program, are not           
 well-served by the existing configuration of two boards --                    
 especially when the designated members are particularly susceptible           
 to special interest influences, sometimes to the detriment to the             
 loan fund itself.                                                             
 MS. BARRANS said this past week, she met with groups at AMBAC, the            
 Alaska Student Loan Fund's bond insurer, as well as staff at Moodys           
 and Standard & Poor's credit rating agencies in New York City.  In            
 anticipation of the upcoming bond issue, she provided for them an             
 overview of the pending legislation and a servicing and operational           
 status report.  Their reaction to her update was uniformly quite              
 positive.  When reviewing the Executive Order and the related                 
 comments by Bond Counsel to the Loan Corporation, Ken Vassar, they            
 were pleased to see that we in Alaska are continuing to refine our            
 focus on the financial well-being of the loan fund.                           
 MS. BARRANS pointed out that in his January 10 letter commenting on           
 the Executive Order, Mr. Vassar noted that this reorganization                
 would be "beneficial to the corporation's efforts to finance the              
 student loan program through the sale of its bonds and beneficial             
 to the student loan program generally."  Mr. Vassar has been bond             
 counsel to the corporation since its creation and therefore his               
 comments are particularly valuable.  While not an insider to the              
 management of operations, he has been a consistent and objective              
 observer over time.  He goes on to add "The existence of two,                 
 separate state agencies with identical staff and possessing powers            
 and duties relating to the same program is confusing.  Even the               
 members of the commission and the members of the corporation have             
 been confused as to the boundaries of their respective powers and             
 duties."  Additionally, he adds "consolidation will also eliminate            
 the inefficiencies of having two entities that must transact the              
 same business with each other."  Mr. Vassar provides examples of              
 the inefficiency and reiterates that "it would improve the                    
 efficiency of the entire process to have the same entity                      
 responsible for these interwoven procedures."  Ms. Barrans said Mr.           
 Vassar will be in town for a corporation meeting tomorrow afternoon           
 and would be available to answer questions regarding his                      
 experiences with the commission and corporation.                              
 MS. BARRANS concluded that they are convinced the consolidation               
 under Executive Order 97 provides for stronger, more focused                  
 management of the Loan Fund and they respectfully asked that the              
 committee not disapprove it through the Resolution.  Members of the           
 legislative body may elect to amend the statutes through the bill             
 process.  She was looking forward to working with any of the                  
 committee members on such an initiative.  She stated however, at              
 this point, it is critical that the entities which can positively             
 or negatively impact our bottom line, that credit rating agencies,            
 the insurer of the bonds has the highest possible comfort level               
 that we are working cooperatively and continuing to move in the               
 right direction.                                                              
 Number 416                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said speaking for himself and he believed for the              
 House and Senate HESS Committees, it would be their goal to                   
 continue to work toward this consolidation.  He added that                    
 statutory changes would be needed to achieve that.                            
 Number 453                                                                    
 SENATOR JUDY SALO said when they dealt with the issues in SB 123 as           
 well as the items in this Executive Order, she thought that these             
 were all part of a package to make the whole loan fund more                   
 financially stable.  She asked if that was true.                              
 MS. BARRANS replied that from an administrative perspective, all of           
 these changes are pieces of what is necessary to move the fund to             
 a financially stable existence.  She said having a single entity              
 that administers both the financial side as well as the operational           
 side is a big part of that.                                                   
 SENATOR SALO said the reason she asked the question is that she had           
 some problems with portions of SB 123.  She felt it was sort of a             
 hard hit on students who were taking out the loans and profited               
 from this program over the years and there were a couple of places            
 where the increased costs were significant.  But in combination               
 with decreasing the administrative costs and becoming more                    
 realistic about those costs, that's what sold her.  So, she was               
 happy to hear the committee's commitment to address the concepts in           
 this Executive Order.                                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded that he was cautious to speak for himself            
 and for the House HESS Committee, the wheels are already in motion            
 to begin to deal with it.  He emphasized that it would require an             
 extensive statutory change.                                                   
 Number 600                                                                    
 ERIC FORRER said the question before the committee concerns the               
 status of the Governor's Executive Order that changes the governing           
 structure of the postsecondary education agency.  He commented he             
 is one of the University Board of Regents representatives to the              
 Postsecondary Commission.  He sat on the commission for two years             
 and is now chair of that commission.  While two years is not that             
 much, he said it did give him a bit of the history and the flavor             
 of the commission's operations, including at some meetings, as much           
 as a full day of student appeals.  His arrival on the commission              
 coincided with the hiring of a new agency director, the initiation            
 of a new management style and the creation of a new internal                  
 organization.  Upon that director's departure for a job in                    
 Washington, he wrote the commission a position paper, in which he             
 was able to refer to a Division of Legislative Audit report from              
 December 1994, which pointed out the Alaska Student Loan Program              
 Fund is not self-sustaining and is in a state of financial                    
 deterioration.  The report also noted that the current role of the            
 Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education does not reflect its             
 statutory mandate.  The outgoing director also wrote "Over the past           
 20 years, our education policy changes in Alaska have definitely              
 resulted in the obsolescence of the ACPE's original role."  Mr.               
 Forrer said he was quite interested in the financial deterioration            
 part of the assessment, and at the last meeting of the Student Loan           
 Board, he asked the managing director of Smith Barney, a New York             
 debt security firm, what that deterioration amounted to.  The                 
 answer he gave, which got the nod from other financial advisers in            
 the room, was that of the 480 million general fund dollars invested           
 by the state in the student loan fund, some 260 million dollars               
 remain.  He was shocked at the notion that the commission of which            
 he is chair, has been living with a set of statutes, rules and a              
 political environment that enabled 45 percent of such a huge                  
 investment to be lost.  His initial reaction was and remains that             
 the second half of this fund is not going to disappear on his                 
 MR. FORRER said the upshot of his experience is that he has                   
 cooperated with the Governor's Office in the creation of the                  
 Executive Order and he urged the committee to let it stand.  He               
 noted that if the committee denies its passage, it will be one of             
 the most expensive political gestures the state has endured.  The             
 connection between the structure of the commission and the                    
 management of the fund is that the commission as it is currently              
 structured is a very blunt tool for rigorous management.  It is a             
 difficult environment in which to muster sustained political will.            
 It suffers from lack of authority and it is fatally subject to the            
 relentlessly self-serving lobbying of private sector interests that           
 have arrayed themselves around the fund.  Consequently, the public            
 policy governing the fund is structured at least in part, by                  
 interests for which the fund was never intended in the first place.           
 He was not accusing the proprietary schools of doing anything                 
 except engaging in self-preservation, but their vision has a very             
 close horizon.  How this group can make arguments for a structure             
 that results in a loss of millions of dollars annually to the fund            
 upon which they depend is beyond him.  He explained that when the             
 fund loses its ability to sell bonds and the state loses the equal            
 access aspects of the loan fund, the first crowd at the table                 
 begging for fresh money will be the private interests that take               
 such a keen interest in influencing the statutes and regulations.             
 The arguments that should be made to counter their positions have             
 a constituency that is as wide as the entire state, but at any                
 given moment, is only a few students deep.  There is no well-                 
 connected lobbyists for the united future student borrowers of                
 Alaska, there is only the agency itself, himself, and the committee           
 members who have the authority to help rescue this investment of              
 public dollars for the state's future.  He urged the committee to             
 let Executive Order 97 stand and to use subsequent clean up                   
 legislation to achieve more finely directed goals.                            
 Number 863                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON referenced Mr. Forrer's comment that            
 he had worked with the Governor's office and asked him to explain             
 how they reached the conclusion to go in the direction taken in the           
 Executive Order.                                                              
 MR. FORRER responded that anyone who has paid attention to                    
 postsecondary in the past, would come to the same conclusion; that            
 is, it needs significant structural change and the two bodies                 
 existing simultaneously is confusing and serves no purposes.  He              
 began to question what could be done to solve this problem and what           
 are the things that drive the postsecondary education; that is to             
 say the legislation that created it.  It turned out to be a bigger            
 can of worms than what he realized.  For example, two regents are             
 there because of the statutory language that states post secondary            
 oversees the university's budget, which has never occurred and on             
 and on.  He wasn't certain who actually came up with the proposal             
 to move in the direction of the Executive Order.                              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it becomes a question of the cart before the              
 horse.  It would require some serious statutory changes, which Mr.            
 Forrer had alluded to, and whether there's an Executive Order that            
 goes halfway and then statute, or just statutory change is a policy           
 call.  Co-Chair Bunde assured Mr. Forrer that he shares the                   
 concerns about the financial stability of the loan.                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was further public testimony.                   
 Hearing none, he opened the meeting for discussion.                           
 Number 1000                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE questioned the statement on the fiscal               
 note stating the estimated savings reflected in Executive Order 97            
 will not be achieved in the manner proposed by the Governor.  He              
 said there is no back up documentation in the packet to                       
 substantiate that statement and asked if there was any information            
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said as he previously mentioned, the Executive Order           
 only makes half of a step and significant statutory change is                 
 required in order to achieve the needed efficiency.  He added that            
 it's going to take legislation which overhauls the entire post                
 secondary system, instead of just limiting the number of people.              
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the bill was currently in the                   
 drafting stage.                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded the bill was presently being drafted and             
 he would make it available as soon as it was available to him.  He            
 anticipated it to be an ambitious, cooperative and perhaps lengthy            
 goal to write the applicable statutes.                                        
 Number 1116                                                                   
 SENATOR MIKE MILLER moved to pass Senate Special Concurrent                   
 Resolution 3 out of the Senate HESS Committee with individual                 
 recommendations.  An objection was raised.  CHAIRMAN GREEN asked              
 for a roll call vote.  Voting in favor of the motion were Senators            
 Green, Miller and Leman.  Voting against the motion were Senators             
 Salo and Ellis.  CHAIRMAN GREEN announced that action on the                  
 Resolution disposes of the issue of Executive Order 97 and it will            
 be passed to the Senate Secretary.                                            
 Number 1158                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to pass House Special Concurrent                
 Resolution 3 out of the House HESS Committee with attached fiscal             
 notes.  REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected and raised a point of                   
 question relating to procedure.  He explained that it is normal               
 procedure for the House HESS Committee not to pass a bill out of              
 committee on the first hearing.  Given the impact of this Executive           
 Order, he felt it would be appropriate to hold it over until the              
 next meeting.                                                                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted the House HESS Committee has moved bills out             
 of committee at the first hearing on several occasions, and that it           
 was his wish to do so with HSCR 3.                                            
 Number 1203                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for a call of the previous question.               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE pointed out that when bills had passed out of            
 committee at the first hearing, it had been done with a consensus             
 of the committee.                                                             
 Number 1235                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for a roll call vote.  Voting in favor of the            
 motion were Representatives Vezey, Rokeberg, Davis, Toohey and                
 Bunde.  Voting against the motion were Representatives Brice and              
 Robinson.  C0-CHAIR BUNDE announced that House Special Concurrent             
 Resolution 3 had moved from the House HESS Committee.  The action             
 on the Resolution disposes of the issue of Executive Order 97 and             
 it will be passed to the House Clerk.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the joint meeting of the House & Senate              
 HESS Committees at 3:23 p.m.                                                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE reconvened the meeting of the House HESS Committee             
 at 3:25 p.m.                                                                  
 HB 373 - EDUC FOR FAMILY OF DECEASED MILITARY                               
 Number 1330                                                                   
 TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Assistant to Representative Terry Martin,           
 said he would respond to the questions raised at the last hearing             
 on HB 373.  Regarding the definition of Alaska Naval Militia, he              
 provided committee members with a copy of AS 26.05.030(c) which               
 states "The Alaska Naval Militia consists of units authorized by              
 the governor, organized, equipped, trained, and administered as               
 prescribed by state and federal law and regulation, and manned by             
 personnel who are (1) members of the United States Naval Reserve or           
 the United States Marine Corps Reserve and (2) enlisted, appointed,           
 commissioned, or warranted under the laws and regulations of the              
 United States."  He furnished committee members with a memorandum             
 from Wendy Redman of the University of Alaska, which addresses the            
 costs of a typical "full-ride" scholarship at the University of               
 Alaska.  He pointed out the cost is approximately $2,000 more than            
 the fiscal note denotes.                                                      
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for an approximate number of students who                
 might take advantage of this opportunity next semester.                       
 MR. ANDERSON said he was guessing maybe two or three.                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if past history gave an indication of the                
 number of students per year who might take advantage of this                  
 MR. ANDERSON replied there had been four in the last five years.              
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY questioned the amount of the fiscal note.                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it was $13,600.                           
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he didn't understand what this                      
 legislation was changing.                                                     
 MR. ANDERSON explained that it was being changed to include room              
 and board and an extra stipend of $200.  He pointed out that while            
 it is not a significant amount, it was felt that it would complete            
 the package more so than just tuition, which was the current                  
 statutory allowance.                                                          
 Number 1511                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to pass HB 373 out of committee with            
 individual recommendations and attached fiscal note.  Hearing no              
 objection, it was so ordered.                                                 
 HB 93 - TEACHER DUTY-FREE MEALTIME                                          
 Number 1570                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, Prime sponsor, explained that                 
 current statute allows for duty-free mealtime for teachers.                   
 Specifically, it states "Each governing body shall allow its                  
 teachers in school facilities with four or more teachers a daily              
 duty-free mealtime of at least 30 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and              
 1:00 p.m."  She explained the Fairbanks North Star School District            
 has indicated that deleting "between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m."                
 would make it easier for them to manage the play time, etc.  It was           
 her belief this doesn't even belong in statute; it should be part             
 of the negotiation of the union agreement with the school district.           
 She commented she would elect to repeal it; however, in deference             
 to some members of the House HESS Committee who felt strongly that            
 the duty-free time should be left in statute, she had no problem              
 with that if the specified time could be deleted.                             
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it would create a hardship on the people             
 who were watching the children during the lunch break.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said this was to allow more flexibility in the           
 scheduling.  For example, it would allow a teacher to take a lunch            
 break after 1:00 p.m. or before 11:00 a.m.  It's not to take the              
 duty-free mealtime away, but just to allow for a greater spread of            
 Number 1674                                                                   
 PERCY HOUTS, Superintendent of Schools, Fairbanks North Star                  
 Borough School District, testified from Fairbanks via                         
 teleconference.  He indicated they have some problems in that with            
 classes currently starting at the high schools between 7:30 and               
 2:15, the lunch time ends up at 10:30.  In some of the larger                 
 schools, they actually run three lunch shifts and as a result,                
 students and teachers are eating lunch outside that 11:00 a.m. and            
 1:00 p.m. time frame and supervision becomes difficult.  It was his           
 understanding in the past there had been an agreement with the                
 union to have the duty-free lunch at a different time.  He pointed            
 out the problem with that is there is no authority to appeal the              
 state law, regardless if there is an agreement with the agreement.            
 With the increases in population they are looking at the                      
 possibility of starting the school day at 7:00 a.m. and ending at             
 7:00 p.m.  The deletion of the specified hours would allow them the           
 leeway to meet the needs of their district.                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the problem was with mainly secondary                 
 schools or if they were experiencing scheduling problems in the               
 elementary schools as well.                                                   
 MR. HOUTS said it was predominately the secondary schools.  The               
 only time problems experienced with the elementary schools is                 
 having to double shift.                                                       
 Number 1769                                                                   
 WILLIE ANDERSON, NEA-Alaska, testified in opposition to HB 93.  He            
 noted he had a letter from the Fairbanks Education Association                
 substantiating the testimony of the superintendent of the Fairbanks           
 North Star Borough School District which indicated they had been              
 able to work out their difficulties with the scheduling of the                
 duty-free lunch in their high schools.  Therefore, there is no need           
 to change a law that will affect every school in the state.  One of           
 the issues raised by the superintendent is the lack of a provision            
 in the law which allows for a variance based on his interpretation            
 of the law.  If the legislature determines the legislation is                 
 necessary, he said NEA would propose an amendment to Section 1 that           
 would insert the language "or between such other hours as the                 
 governing body and the union representing teachers in a school                
 district may specify."  That would provide for the permissive                 
 language; however, it is his belief the permissive language isn't             
 really necessary.                                                             
 MR. ANDERSON noted that in Anchorage there was some double shifting           
 in the late `70s or early `80s because of an asbestos problem.                
 This law was in effect at that time, and there wasn't a problem               
 accommodating that situation.  He concluded there is no reason to             
 change this law to accommodate two or three school sites where the            
 scheduling of a lunch hour which may occur at 10:30 a.m. or 1:15              
 p.m. because an agreement has been reached with the district.                 
 Number 1904                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG expressed concern with the first sentence             
 of the second paragraph in the February 27, 1996, letter from the             
 Fairbanks Education Association which reads "The Fairbanks                    
 Education Association has agreed with the Fairbanks North Star                
 Borough School District that in some situations, lunches outside              
 the 11:00 - 1:00 window are appropriate."  Representative Rokeberg            
 asked if that was because the union and the school district have              
 agreed to break the law.                                                      
 MR. ANDERSON said he interpreted the law to read that a lunch                 
 period would be between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  Absent some                 
 agreement other than that, it is his understanding that a law can             
 be enhanced in a union agreement.  That is an enhancement of the              
 law to meet the needs of the children in the school district.                 
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said enhancement means going outside what             
 the law stipulates.                                                           
 MR. ANDERSON responded you can improve upon a situation, but you              
 can't diminish a situation.                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that HB 93 would be held in the House HESS               
 Committee for another hearing.                                                
 HB 179 - LIMIT TERM OF COMMRS OF EDUC. & FISH/GAME                          
 Number 2009                                                                   
 JOSHUA DONALDSON, Legislative Secretary to Representative Gene                
 Therriault, read the following sponsor statement:  "House Bill 179            
 is intended to change the term of office for the commissioners of             
 Education and Fish and Game so their terms do not exceed the term             
 of the governor who appointed them.  House Bill 179 is needed to              
 avoid a situation in which an outgoing commissioner's contract must           
 be honored by an incoming administration.                                     
 "The Alaska State Constitution provides the power for the governor            
 to appoint each principal department head.  The Department of                 
 Education and the Department of Fish and Game are unique due to the           
 involvement of their respective boards.                                       
 "The principal head of the Department of Education is the Board of            
 Education.  The Board of Education appoints its principal executive           
 officer.  The board has the right to dismiss the commissioner, if             
 a dismissal is deemed necessary.  House Bill 179 would eliminate              
 the present 5-year term as specified in current statute.                      
 "The Commissioner of Fish and Game is appointed by the governor               
 from a list compiled by the Board of Fisheries and the Board of               
 Game.  HB 179 clarifies that the commissioner does serve at the               
 pleasure of the governor and eliminates the reference to the                  
 commissioner of Fish and Game being approved to a 5-year term.                
 "The Alaska State Constitution grants the governor the power to               
 appoint department heads.  House Bill 179 reaffirms this                      
 constitutional right."                                                        
 Number 2080                                                                   
 CHRYSTAL SMITH, Legal Administrator, Department of Law, testified             
 on behalf of the Administration.  She said the Governor heartily              
 supports CSHB 179(FSH).  It parallels his efforts in legislation              
 introduced last year to ensure that the commissioners of the                  
 Departments of Fish and Game and Education are on basically the               
 same grounds as the other commissioners; that is, they serve at the           
 pleasure of the appointing authority.  In the case of the                     
 Department of Fish and Game commissioner, the appointing authority            
 would be the governor and in the case of the Department of                    
 Education commissioner, it would be the Board of Education.  There            
 would be no fixed terms that could potentially overlap the                    
 governor's term.  She noted that last year, there was a concern               
 about the Commissioner of Education, who had a contract which would           
 have gone over the term of the governor.  There was a need to buy             
 that contract out which is not only expensive for the state, but it           
 puts the incoming governor and his/her Board of Education in a                
 difficult position.  This legislation would make it very clear that           
 the Commissioner of Education serves at the pleasure of the board;            
 there would be no fixed term contracts, and the Commissioner of the           
 Department of Fish and Game serves at the pleasure of the governor.           
 The recommendation for the position would come through the Board of           
 Fish and Game, but the governor would make the appointment;                   
 therefore that person would serve at the pleasure of the governor.            
 Currently, the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game has            
 a five-year term.                                                             
 Number 2162                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked where the governor's bill was                   
 currently in terms of the legislative process.                                
 MS. SMITH responded she didn't know where the House bill was                  
 currently, but added the Senate version is in the Senate Finance              
 Committee.  She added that Representative Martin had a similar bill           
 that apparently got bogged down in the House Finance Committee                
 toward the end of the legislative session last year.                          
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony on HB 179.                             
 Number 2194                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to pass HB 179 out of the House HESS                    
 Committee with zero fiscal note and individual recommendations.               
 Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                      
 HB 512 - ENGLISH AS THE COMMON LANGUAGE                                     
 Number 2231                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT, Sponsor of HB 512, pointed out the                  
 committee should have before them a committee substitute for HB
 512.  He presented the following sponsor statement:  "English is              
 the nation's single shared language that crosses all ethnic,                  
 racial, cultural, and religious lines, and allows diverse Americans           
 to share their various backgrounds.  The bill would simply make               
 official what is already common practice in the state of Alaska               
 today, which is to use English in public meetings and with public             
 documents or records.  Public documents include such things as                
 birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates, and any other               
 written matter the state provides.  He said the intent of the bill            
 was not to change any practices that are already occurring in the             
 state, but simply to give official recognition to what is already             
 being done:  That is to recognize English as the common bond which            
 basically holds everyone together.  It is an empowerment tool.  If            
 an individual does not have comprehensive understanding of the                
 English language, they will not be able to take full advantage of             
 the social, political and cultural aspects in Alaska.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT pointed out that since 1812, with Louisiana               
 being the first state to recognize English as the official                    
 language, 21 other states have adopted this measure.  It is his               
 hope that Alaska will be number 23.  He noted there are a number of           
 other states that have addressed the matter in their legislative              
 sessions.  The bill does not infringe on anyone's rights in any               
 way, it does not affect private organizations or private                      
 conversations, it is directed only at state agencies and political            
 subdivisions of the state.  He informed the committee that he has             
 worked extensively with various organizations to ensure a palatable           
 product that would be acceptable to all.  Representative Kott said            
 from a financial application, at some point in the future the state           
 will save an enormous cost by not having to duplicate records in a            
 number of languages.                                                          
 TAPE 96-16, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said he would explain the changes in the                  
 committee substitute if the committee so desired.                             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Kott for a list of the 22                 
 states that recognized English as the official language.                      
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY pointed out the information was in the committee              
 Number 037                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated there is federal legislation moving                
 through the process that will recognize English as the official               
 language of the Nation.                                                       
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said this is an issue that has been creeping up for           
 some time, but many individuals in the state were reticent to make            
 the Native community feel that the importance of their language is            
 not being recognized.  She asked Representative Kott to explain how           
 that fits into this legislation.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said he believed that as Alaska increases its             
 commitment to cultural diversity, a commitment to a common bond of            
 English becomes more essential in maintaining that clear and                  
 precise communication.  He pointed out the original bill addressed            
 the issue of English as the common language; however, he recognized           
 there are a number of common languages in rural Alaska and did not            
 want to infringe on that commonality within that particular area of           
 the state, so the issue was readdressed and it is addressed in the            
 form of an official language of the state of Alaska. Representative           
 Kott said those common languages are still recognized and no one's            
 toes are being stepped on in any way.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referenced the cost savings with regard to                     
 duplication of records and asked Representative Kott if that occurs           
 now or was he projecting in the future.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT responded it was more of a future projection in           
 that he didn't believe the state duplicates any great number, if              
 any, of the documents referenced in his sponsor statement.                    
 Number 122                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Representative Kott what he is trying           
 to stop or fix.                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said the English language has not been adopted            
 in law; common usage is generally by custom, not by law.  This                
 legislation would put into statute.  He believes it is important to           
 recognize that English is the common bond.  He stated there are a             
 number of applications of languages especially in rural Alaska, but           
 in order to take advantage of the social, political and economic              
 tools available to citizens of this state, we need to empower them            
 with at least the knowledge that English will get a person from               
 here to there.  In looking at some of the job requirements in the             
 urban centers, he doesn't believe a person will go very far without           
 a good understanding of the English language.  It's being elevated            
 as an umbrella language that suggests if an individual wants to get           
 from here to there, the ability to communicate in the English                 
 language is necessary.  That's not to say the other languages are             
 not as important, but English is the overall general accepted                 
 language in this state.                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was trying to figure out what is             
 being gained or lost by passing this legislation.  She is under the           
 impression that most people, no matter what language they speak,              
 who come to Alaska will quickly figure out they need to learn the             
 English language in order to get around.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said he wasn't sure that many of the                      
 individuals who come to Alaska have that recognition.  Certainly              
 American citizens by birth should have no problem, but other groups           
 coming to the state may not have that idea embedded in their minds            
 when they come to Alaska.                                                     
 Number 254                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it is no longer a requirement to speak                
 English to become a citizen of the United States.                             
 RAYMOND TORREON, Director for Alaska, U.S. English, testified that            
 U.S. English is a national nonprofit organization that was founded            
 13 years ago by Senator Sam Hayakawa, an immigrant of Japanese                
 descent.  In response to Co-Chair Bunde's question, currently, the            
 Immigration and Naturalization System (INS) does not give                     
 citizenship tests in any other language other than English.                   
 However, based on U.S. English's perspective, the INS will start              
 next year through the Education Testing Service in New Jersey,                
 giving citizenship tests in as many as 56 different languages.  He            
 pointed out that in Tucson, Arizona in the late 1980s, there was a            
 citizenship ceremony in another language, and the official who gave           
 the citizenship ceremony thought it would mean more to the people             
 taking the oath to become an American citizen if it was done in               
 another language.  He said it is a policy question and any person             
 in Alaska who speaks another language can ask, request or demand              
 government documents in that other language.  Since Alaska has no             
 official policy, a bureaucrat may or may not be so inclined to give           
 the individual that treatment.  On the issue of fairness, he                  
 commented that if one ethnic group is treated one way, they should            
 all be treated the same; if one group is going to be treated                  
 special, then all of them should be treated special; but if you're            
 going to be fair, treat everyone equally which he believes this               
 legislation does.                                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if there were federal court rulings             
 or areas of the judiciary that are forcing the implementation and             
 adoption of state statutes in order to set out this official                  
 position in terms of language.                                                
 MR. TORREON responded most of the case law dealing with the English           
 language, whether it's official or not, has been in reaction to               
 statutes.  He could not recall one case where a judiciary, circuit            
 court or a local state court had to rule on discrimination that was           
 outside of a statute.  In other words, he didn't know of any case             
 that was developed independent of a statute.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if there weren't cases in federal               
 courts about teaching foreign language in school as the primary               
 MR. TORREON said as an example, recently in New York City a group             
 of parents sued the state of New York because they believed their             
 children were not given a fair chance to learn English.  The                  
 children were in a language program that was a little more costly,            
 but their children were not learning English.  Consequently, the              
 parents sued to have the right to choose whether their child should           
 be in a certain special program or just the regular programs.  The            
 parents lost that case.  He believes parents should have the right            
 to decide whether their child should be in a special program or               
 not.  In response to Representative Rokeberg's question he said he            
 wasn't aware of any particular case.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG mentioned Texas or the border states in               
 particular, where schools have been required to teach the Spanish             
 language as either a primary or fully bilingual basis.                        
 MR. TORREON said one thing to understand with regard to bilingual             
 education when it refers to Spanish in particular or a couple of              
 the other ethnic languages in Texas, California or Arizona, those             
 programs are fully mandated.  The grant program is mandated at the            
 federal level.  There is no question of funding, there has been no            
 question of participation and no question of efficacy on those                
 programs.  They are occurring and it's a $12 billion program at the           
 federal and local levels.                                                     
 Number 533                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Mr. Torreon to explain the U.S. English            
 organization and asked if he represented areas other than Alaska.             
 MR. TORREON summarized that U.S. English is a national nonprofit              
 organization with 657,000 people.  In Alaska, he represents the               
 nearly 2,000 Alaskan residents who live in Alaska and want this               
 legislation.  His area includes basically all the states in the               
 West, with the exception of California.  U.S. English was founded             
 by an immigrant, Senator Sam Hayakawa, and is currently chaired by            
 an immigrant of Chilean descent who speaks five languages.  Mr.               
 Torreon observed that when Marcos was in power in the Philippines,            
 many people asked why he was never overthrown since he had been a             
 dictator for 20 years and was hated by everyone.  He explained                
 there are five major dialects in the Philippines, and because the             
 people all spoke different languages, there was no unity.  Only               
 with the use of English were the dialects able to communicate, and            
 with people power, Marcos was overthrown.  He noted that unity is             
 the key behind this issue and unity is the bill.                              
 Number 642                                                                    
 LYNN STIMLER, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union              
 (ACLU) of Alaska, testified from Anchorage via teleconference.  The           
 ACLU believes that HB 512 is both unnecessary and unconstitutional            
 under the Alaska Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.  It is the           
 belief of the ACLU that English only laws, laws that make English             
 the official or common language and particularly this law that is             
 restricting government's use of languages other than English in               
 communication and delivering service to non-English speaking                  
 Americans, violates the constitution.  This bill appears simple,              
 but she warned not to let its appearance be deceiving.  This bill             
 systemically limits the access of language minorities to                      
 governmental services and is constitutionally suspect because 1)              
 language discrimination is the functional equivalent to national              
 origin discrimination; and 2) language minorities are a prime                 
 example of a "discreet and insular minority" under United States v.          
 Caroline Products Company and the Supreme Court has held that they           
 deserve heightened judicial protection under the equal protection             
 clause.  She noted that in 1991, the Supreme Court observed "It may           
 well be for certain ethnic groups and in some communities that                
 proficiency in a particular language, like skin color, should be              
 treated as surrogate for race under an equal protection analysis."            
 That case, Hernandez v. New York, is saying that national origin            
 discrimination like race discrimination is considered inherently              
 suspect under equal protection principals.  She pointed out a                 
 recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case which struck down                  
 Arizona's official English law.  The Court of Appeals felt the                
 government's use of languages other than English in communicating             
 with limited English proficient residents increased rather than               
 decreased efficiency and that a law broadly prohibiting the use of            
 different languages served no significant government interests.               
 She said that came out on October 5, 1995, and it had gone up once            
 before and the earlier cite was 42 F3rd p 1217.  She shepardized              
 it, "Barring the government from communicating with non-English               
 speaking citizens in their language will result in                            
 miscommunications and hinder the implementation of government                 
 policies in Alaska, such as enforcing hunting regulations,                    
 promulgating rules of the National Resources Agency."  In                     
 conclusion, Ms. Stimler said the Alaska Supreme Court holding, hel        
 that our surrealistic society is clouded in such basic values as              
 the preservation of maximum individual choice, protection of                  
 minority sentiments and appreciation of divergent lifestyles.  She            
 said the ACLU urged the committee to look behind the simple                   
 language of this bill and consider whether the state really wants             
 to endorse a common language and whether that will help our multi-            
 racial, multi-cultural system.                                                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said there were 22 other states that had similar               
 laws and asked Ms. Stimler if they had all been struck down by the            
 U.S. Supreme Court or if they were valid laws.                                
 MS. STIMLER responded she would be happy to research it and get               
 back to the committee.  She said the arguments are First Amendment            
 rights of the non-English speaking citizens.  Also, the First                 
 Amendment rights of the government officials have been analyzed and           
 a new area that is starting to be looked at is the equal protection           
 analysis where they hold that language is one of the ways that                
 people's racial identities are most identified.                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said it was her belief that people come to America            
 to become Americans and to take advantage of what is being offered            
 as Americans, part of which is to be had under the English                    
 language.  She felt strongly that making English the common                   
 language is the right thing to do.                                            
 Number 946                                                                    
 MR. TORREON said of the 22 laws that are on the books, some since           
 1812, none of them have been struck down and only Arizona is in               
 litigation.  He furnished the committee with some background                  
 information on where Arizona is and why it is where it is.  He said           
 Arizona started as an initiative by a group of individuals.  After            
 it was drafted and put on the ballot, U.S. English got involved and           
 helped with some of the marketing and other various things.  The              
 initiative passed by over 50 percent by the people of Arizona, was            
 reaffirmed by the Attorney General's Office, and was upheld after             
 a challenge by the state Supreme Court of Arizona.  Only when it              
 was brought to a circuit court, which has one of the highest                  
 turnover rates in the Nation, was it overturned by a 2 to 1 vote.             
 It was then by the circuit court head judge called a very unusual             
 (indisc.) hearing, which means they wanted a review with a panel              
 larger than the three judges.  He said the people of Arizona have             
 spoken, the Attorney General's Office has supported the people, the           
 state Supreme Court of Arizona has supported the people, but a                
 federal court is trying to infringe on the sovereignty of the                 
 state.  Following the 2 to 1 vote, the head judge of the circuit              
 court had another vote, which unfortunately we lost 8 to 6 and it's           
 going to the Supreme Court.  As far as being broad, the ruling from           
 the circuit court didn't say you can't make English as the official           
 language (indisc.); what it did say is that Arizona's language in             
 the initiative could be tightened a little bit so it wouldn't                 
 inflict First Amendment rights.                                               
 Number 1074                                                                   
 DOROTHY SHOCKLEY testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in               
 opposition to HB 512.  Her first reaction to the legislation was              
 anger and she finds it offensive.  She believes that if a language            
 is going to be recognized in Alaska, it should be the indigenous              
 languages that were in the state first.  She saw no need to make              
 English the common language and to officially recognize it.  With             
 regard to the 2,000 people that support HB 512, she commented there           
 are over 83,000 Alaska Native people in Alaska who would like to              
 have their languages recognized, also.                                        
 MALINDA CHASE testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 512.               
 She pointed out she is a resident of Fairbanks but her father's               
 family is from the village of Anvik on the Yukon River.  She noted            
 that her grandmother was raised in a mission, and to this day, Ms.            
 Chase hears stories about her grandmother's experiences of not                
 being able to speak her own Native language at the mission.  Her              
 grandmother still feels mixed up about languages and she represents           
 a large number of elders in the village.  What comes to mind for              
 Ms. Chase is that the institution is trying to dictate personal               
 self-expression, as well as group self-expression and identity.               
 Once again, the government is telling people they don't have the              
 power to express themselves in the way that is most comfortable,              
 adequate or to the best of their ability.  She echoed                         
 Representative Robinson's question regarding the purpose of this              
 Number 1311                                                                   
 ELEANOR LAUGHLIN testified via teleconference that she is                     
 originally from the village of Nulato and strongly opposes HB 512.            
 She said the state of Alaska has a diversity of ethnic languages as           
 well as speakers whose first language is not English.  This                   
 legislation would deny those people their right to use their Native           
 tongue to testify at public meetings and would adversely restrict             
 the rights of many village elders.  Also, it would deny a public              
 employee who speaks another language the right to explain to                  
 his/her constituents issues that are of concern to them.  This bill           
 is very dangerous and if passed could be open to interpretation               
 that could eventually be harmful to all speakers of another                   
 language.  Ms. Laughlin said this bill has connotations of the                
 concept of eminent domain and she is strongly opposed to it.                  
 Number 1390                                                                   
 NASTASIA WAHLBERG presented a portion of her testimony in Yupik.              
 She testified that she was expressing that she has the freedom to             
 speak publicly in her own language.  She said right now they have             
 the freedom, but this legislation would restrict her rights.  She             
 read the following prepared statement:  "This bill, however                   
 carefully worded to avoid conflicts to any existing programs,                 
 businesses, public safety or health, or for individuals providing             
 translators, infringes on our inalienable rights of freedom of                
 "Based on the premises that we as a people of different ethnic                
 backgrounds, deserve the right to speak in any language we want               
 without being restricted in open public forums.  We have the                  
 opportunity to use translators for that in place.                             
 "In reviewing the section of Freedom of Speech in the encyclopedia            
 of the American Constitution, I found some areas that need to be              
 brought before the state and this committee.  Various quotes read             
 as follows:  `Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of           
 speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to              
 assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of                     
 grievances.'  That means that the state should not abridge the                
 freedom of thought and communication, which are integral to our               
 individual rights.  The fundamental values are `essential to the              
 development of the individual personality.  The right to express              
 oneself and to communicate with others is central to the                      
 realization of one's character and potentiality as a human being.             
 Conversely, suppression of thought or opinion is an affront to a              
 person's dignity and integrity.  In this respect freedom of speech            
 is an end in itself, not simply an instrument to attain other ends.           
 As such it is not necessarily subordinate to other goals of the               
 society.'  My interpretation of that is that we, as individuals               
 when speaking in our own native tongues do characterize who we are,           
 where we come from, and how we choose to speak.   However HB 512 is           
 worded, on the overall, cannot and should not be used as an                   
 instrument to control and restrict speech because it infringes on             
 our individual character as a people who speak other than English.            
 "The way to do that is to be accepted and respected for speaking in           
 our own native tongue.  We must live with our diversities of                  
 language and cultures and be willing to tolerate each other.  Using           
 English only is a way to control and restrict the use of language             
 and character."                                                               
 Number 1655                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said in response to the last testifier, it                
 seems that people are not dealing with the facts, but rather                  
 emotions.  He reiterated this bill does nothing that is not                   
 currently being done.  Native tongues can be used, an interpreter             
 can be used and minutes will be recorded in English, as these will            
 be.  There is nothing restricting the use of native tongues.                  
 Number 1680                                                                   
 REVA SHIRCEL, Director, Education Department, Tanana Chiefs                   
 Conference (TCC), testified from Fairbanks that she is puzzled by             
 the introduction of this bill.  She questioned the intent of the              
 legislation and what needs to be fixed.  She said the Tanana Chiefs           
 Conference is committed to the preservation and enhancement of the            
 11 Athabascan languages within their region and they consider the             
 introduction of HB 512 to be premature because there has not been             
 thorough legislative discussion on the preservation and enhancement           
 of their indigenous languages.  House Bill 512 is inconsistent with           
 what has tried to be done through the linguistic and cultural                 
 activities.  She noted that last year during the legislative                  
 session, Tanana Chiefs Conference testified on SB 32 and HB 160,              
 companion bills introduced by Senator Lincoln and Representative              
 Nicholia respectively, for native languages to be taught in the               
 school.  With reference to the preservation and enhancement of the            
 Athabascan language and cultural, their direction comes from the              
 elders who have stated consistently that respect and adherence to             
 traditional culture and values are an important part of the                   
 equation which allows Native people within the TCC region to be               
 able to develop and maintain their self-esteem.  The Tanana Chiefs            
 Conference also supported HB 167 which was introduced by                      
 Representative Nicholia to support the main streaming of the Alaska           
 Native languages, culture and history into the school because there           
 is a need for all Alaskans, regardless of who we are and where we             
 come from, to recognize diversity, to promote and preserve cultural           
 heritage and to ensure access to the rich legacy of our American              
 ancestors to all students.  In conclusion, Tanana Chiefs Conference           
 is urging that HB 512 not be passed.                                          
 TAPE 96-17, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 008                                                                    
 MISHAL TOOYAK GAEDE testified from Fairbanks that she is opposed to           
 HB 512.  She said this legislation requests that records accepted             
 by a state agency for recording or filing must be in English.  She            
 noted that her mother attended BIA schools less than 40 years ago             
 and was punished, shamed and humiliated for speaking Inupiat.  She            
 said her name is Inupiat and if this bill was adopted and enforced,           
 she would not be able to even state her name and where she                    
 originated from.  She asked how this impacts public records?  Her             
 Inupiat name cannot be translated into English because English is             
 not common enough to include Inupiat thought, expression or                   
 description.  What happens when an elder is giving testimony at a             
 public meeting on subsistence matters?  This legislation states the           
 elders would be required to a) translate and b) transcribe their              
 testimony into English.  This is not a simple bill; it impacts                
 blatantly and discriminately.                                                 
 Number 159                                                                    
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, NEA-Alaska, testified that               
 NEA-Alaska wishes to express concern regarding HB 512.  First, they           
 questioned the need for the measure as introduced.  For example,              
 Section 2 of the bill would add a new section to Alaska statutes              
 declaring that the official language of the state is English.  He             
 commented if that declaration reflects the way Alaskans write and             
 talk, then there is no need for a statute, because English is                 
 already the language used by most of us.  If that declaration is              
 meant to change the way Alaskans write and talk, it is useless.               
 Changing the language of any population is not something that can             
 take place with a simple statutory fiat.  Language emerges from the           
 way people live in their homes, their community halls, their work             
 places and their recreational activities.                                     
 MR. MARSHALL continued that second, NEA is concerned that this bill           
 will be perceived, however innocent the intentions of the sponsors            
 may be, as just another stroke or gesture by the English-speaking             
 majority against minorities whose primary languages may be other              
 than English.  This concern is heightened because of the historical           
 context in which the bill arises, for we recall how a similar                 
 proposal in California was the cause of divisiveness and bad                  
 MR. MARSHALL said third, NEA is concerned that HB 512, as                     
 presented, could operate to repeal Alaska's bilingual education               
 program through an oblique or "back door" approach.  In looking at            
 the bill, whether Alaska would have bilingual education should                
 always be a policy question for us Alaskans to decide for                     
 ourselves.  But under HB 512, the Congress and President of the               
 United States might repeal authorization under federal law for                
 bilingual education and, by doing so, terminate bilingual education           
 or activities in Alaska as well.   If there is a desire to debate             
 bilingual education, then let us have a straightforward vehicle for           
 that debate, not an oblique clause in a bill touted as establishing           
 English as the common language and applying to public records and             
 public meetings.                                                              
 MR. MARSHALL said NEA-Alaska is not aware of any problem in Alaska            
 that requires enactment of HB 512.  If there are public meetings in           
 Alaska at which English speakers cannot participate because the               
 meetings are held in other tongues, NEA does not know about them.             
 MR. MARSHALL said fifth, HB 512 sows the seeds of confusion.  For             
 example, would it be permissible to use public funds to engage a              
 translator at a public meeting attended by persons not fluent in              
 English?  Would a signer, made available to hearing impaired                  
 Alaskans, be considered to be an English speaker, or would the                
 employment of the signer raise the contention that HB 512 had been            
 violated?  How do the bill's findings, particularly in items 1 and            
 2 connect with the balance of the bill?  Would the bill prohibit a            
 bilingual teacher in his/her role as a teacher from talking to a              
 parent in a non-English language since the exemption applies to               
 bilingual education activities authorized under the federal law?              
 MR. MARSHALL stated in sum, NEA believes legislation should be                
 passed, when needed, to solve real problems.  They suspect that               
 declarations about language from political bodies will achieve                
 little to change language patterns in real life.  At a time when so           
 many forces want to divide us Americans and us Alaskans, a measure            
 that could be viewed as an affront to some of our fellow citizens             
 should not be enacted.                                                        
 Number 473                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she shared Mr. Marshall's concern and                    
 explained they are all reticent to step out because of that                   
 concern.  She asked how this issue has been dealt with in states              
 like Arkansas, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, North                 
 Dakota, etc., that all have Native populations.                               
 MR. TORREON said the interesting thing about this piece of                    
 legislation is that in 1995, South Dakota, Montana and New                    
 Hampshire all passed this legislation; no constitutional challenges           
 and no problems.  He pointed out that Montana and South Dakota have           
 Indian tribes, and New Hampshire has a large French population who            
 speak only French.  He said in each of those cases, the legislation           
 is designed not to exclude anyone or to force anyone to do                    
 anything.  For example, in New Hampshire there was a specific                 
 clause which said that international trade dealing with French-               
 speaking Canada would be exempted.  He commented that in HB 512,              
 there are very specific and broad exemptions to deal with critical            
 services; e.g., hospitals, police, etc., so that any critical                 
 service is not affecting the access to the person.  This                      
 legislation is not trying to single anyone out, but rather to                 
 create a policy that everyone can abide by; not just the tribes,              
 but everyone.                                                                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he was aware of official Fish and Game meetings           
 held in rural areas that were conducted in native languages and the           
 English-speaking people certainly didn't understand.                          
 Number 725                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked where all the forms and documents in the           
 various different languages are?  He has not seen them in the                 
 schools or government agencies in his district.                               
 MR. MARSHALL said he was aware of the need for bilingual education.           
 He referenced page 1, line 16, and said what happens if bilingual             
 education is struck down on the federal level, is we in effect have           
 struck down bilingual education in Alaska because it is authorized            
 under federal law.   NEA-Alaska has a problem with that; they feel            
 there is a very real service and benefit that is provided those               
 persons who are educated in the classrooms that need and get great            
 benefit from bilingual education.  He pointed out page 2, line 6,             
 says that meetings of a state agency that are open to the public              
 shall be conducted in English and asked if there are meetings                 
 conducted in a Native language, does that change this particular              
 provision.  He questioned if the exclusions were in conflict with             
 very clear statements that are included in the body of the draft.             
 In answer to Representative Brice's question, he said he didn't               
 know where these forms were or how much money was being spent to              
 develop forms in a particular language.                                       
 Number 900                                                                    
 SAM KITO, JR., testified that one of the issues he wanted to raise            
 before the committee is that the sponsors had initiated dialogue              
 and communication with Native organizations in the state.  He noted           
 there are diverse cultural communities - 11 Athabascan languages,             
 a number of Yupik dialects, a number of Inupiat dialects, Simsean,            
 Haida, Tlingit, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Jewish, etc., all                
 residing in Alaska.  If a meeting was to take place between an                
 Athabascan and a Tlingit who spoke their own language, how would              
 communicate?  It wouldn't be in Athabascan or Tlingit, but they               
 would find a common language to communicate with each other.  He              
 believes there is a common language in the state of Alaska used to            
 communicate - that common language is English.  He noted that first           
 and foremost, people should be able to communicate in a language of           
 the community where they are going to get their education.                    
 MR. KITO said secondly, there has been dialogue with organizations            
 regarding the Findings Section and the ability for communities of             
 interest to speak their own language.  If there's a concern with              
 language "being authorized by federal", it can be amended to say              
 state.  There is no interference in the ability for communities to            
 have bilingual education.  They can tax themselves in order to                
 provide the funds for bilingual education in their communities, and           
 there isn't anything that says the state cannot provide funds to              
 teach bilingual education.  There is nothing that stops individuals           
 in those communities of interest from learning how to speak the               
 tongue they were raised in.  He stated that when it's taken to the            
 next step, no matter how proficient you become, when you talk to              
 someone else who speaks another language and you don't speak that             
 language, you look for something common.  In the Philippines for              
 example, there is a common language among all the dialects and that           
 common language is English.  He indicated that if people are going            
 to communicate better, then we in the educational system should               
 find a commonality for those people to communicate with each other.           
 He questioned whether we are going to diversify ourselves so much             
 that when we get into a room, nobody communicates with anybody.               
 Right now everybody is communicating in the English language and              
 when you can't communicate in the English language, there is                  
 authorization to use translators, which is being done now.  He                
 remarked that he was the Executive Vice President of the Tanana               
 Chiefs Conference and said when 11 different cultures or dialects             
 were in a room they did not hire 11 different translators.  They              
 communicated in the English language and those individuals who                
 wanted to use their own tongue had a translator and the translation           
 was put into the record in the English language.                              
 MR. KITO noted the accomplishments in the Findings Section and                
 suggested communities of interest in the Native community                     
 read them one by one.  He pointed out that Article 5 states "The              
 official language of the state is English.  Meetings of a state               
 agency that are open to the public shall be conducted in English.             
 Except during a public meeting, this section does not prohibit an             
 officer or an employee of a state agency from orally using a                  
 language other than English in the scope of employment."                      
 MR. KITO said bilingual education is not going to go away.  Local             
 communities of interest will still have the opportunity to do it.             
 He noted that the Jewish community, which is a small minority group           
 in the United States, kept their language because their students              
 went to school on Saturdays.  That's how they taught themselves to            
 communicate in Yiddish.  Mr. Kito concluded that in his opinion no            
 one is being discriminated against.  Communities of interest were             
 given an input into the Findings Section and had the opportunity to           
 look at the Exemptions.  He admitted there is some additional work            
 that needs to be done, but people are being brought to the table to           
 reach a solution.                                                             
 Number 1370                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that HB 512 would be held for an                     
 additional hearing.                                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to adopted CSHB 512, Work Draft 9-              
 LS1700\F, 2/27/96.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was curious about the number of              
 states that ended up appealing the law and what the cost was to the           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he understood the concern about the cultural              
 issues and the domination by major English.  He mentioned the need            
 for the International Air Traffic Control System to have a common             
 language, and that language happens to be English.  Co-Chair Bunde            
 said he would make every attempt to invite all interested parties             
 to participate in the hearings on HB 512.                                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the House HESS Committee at 5:00 p.m.                

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