Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/27/1996 03:04 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 None SENATE MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Lyda Green, Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Mike Miller Senator Johnny Ellis Senator Judy Salo SENATE MEMBERS ABSENT None 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 date." - 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 SHORT TITLE: EDUC FOR FAMILY OF DECEASED MILITARY 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 SHORT TITLE: LIMIT TERM OF COMMRS OF EDUC. & FISH/GAME 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 NEA-Alaska 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 NEA-Alaska 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 watch. 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 available. 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 program. 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 time. 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 packet. 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 language. 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 legislation. 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 speech. "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 feelings. 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 state. 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. ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the House HESS Committee at 5:00 p.m.