Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

02/19/2020 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 91 NATUROPATHS: LICENSING; PRACTICE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= SB 106 HOMEOWNER/RENTER INSURANCE RENEWAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 106(L&C) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 113 MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                       February 19, 2020                                                                                        
                           3:19 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ivy Spohnholz, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Mel Gillis                                                                                                       
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 91                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the  practice of naturopathy; relating to the                                                               
licensure  of   naturopaths;  relating   to  the   Department  of                                                               
Commerce, Community, and Economic  Development; and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 106(L&C)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to renewal  of insurance coverage for homeowners                                                               
and renters; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 106(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 113                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to employment  preferences  for  spouses  and                                                               
children  of veterans,  disabled  veterans,  former prisoners  of                                                               
war,  members  of  the  national   guard,  and  deceased  service                                                               
members."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  91                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NATUROPATHS: LICENSING; PRACTICE                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOHNSTON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/13/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/13/19       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/03/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/03/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/03/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/08/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/08/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/08/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/03/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/03/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/03/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/12/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/12/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/12/20       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/19/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 106                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: HOMEOWNER/RENTER INSURANCE RENEWAL                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BEGICH                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
04/10/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/10/19       (S)       L&C                                                                                                    
05/07/19       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/07/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/07/19       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/09/19       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/09/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/09/19       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/10/19       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
05/10/19       (S)       Moved CSSB 106(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
05/10/19       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/11/19       (S)       L&C RPT CS  4DP SAME TITLE                                                                             
05/11/19       (S)       DP: REINBOLD, BIRCH, COSTELLO, GRAY-                                                                   
                         JACKSON                                                                                                
05/14/19       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
05/14/19       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 106(L&C)                                                                                 
05/15/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/15/19       (H)       L&C                                                                                                    
02/12/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/12/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/12/20       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/19/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 113                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JACKSON                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/27/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/27/19       (H)       MLV, L&C                                                                                               
04/16/19       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/16/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/16/19       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
04/18/19       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/18/19       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/23/19       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
04/23/19       (H)       Moved CSHB 113(MLV) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/23/19       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
04/24/19       (H)       MLV RPT CS(MLV) NT 5DP 1NR                                                                             
04/24/19       (H)       DP: KOPP, JACKSON, TARR, TUCK, LEDOUX                                                                  
04/24/19       (H)       NR: THOMPSON                                                                                           
05/06/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/06/19       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
05/10/19       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/10/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/10/19       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/19/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ERIN SHINE, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained the changes in the committee                                                                   
substitute (CS) for HB 91, Version K, on behalf of                                                                              
Representative Johnston, prime sponsor.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUZETTE MAILLOUX                                                                                                                
Alaska Association of Naturopathic Physicians                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 91 and                                                                
answered questions from the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TOM BEGICH                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented SB 106 and                                                                   
answered questions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
LORI WING-HEIER, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 106.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SHARON JACKSON                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 113 as prime sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ELIJAH VERHAGEN, Staff                                                                                                          
Representative Sharon Jackson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Presented  a   PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
entitled "House Bill  113," and provided a  sectional analysis of                                                               
HB 113 on behalf of Representative Jackson, prime sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN, Director of Veterans Affairs                                                                                      
Office of Veterans Affairs                                                                                                      
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
113.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEGAN JAMES                                                                                                                     
Alaska Coalition for Veterans & Military Families                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 113.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:19:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR IVY SPOHNHOLZ called the  House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  3:19 p.m.  Representatives Stutes,                                                               
Fields, Hannan, Story, Gillis, and  Spohnholz were present at the                                                               
call to order.   Representative Rasmussen arrived  as the meeting                                                               
was in progress.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
            HB  91-NATUROPATHS: LICENSING; PRACTICE                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:20:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  91,  "An Act  relating  to  the practice  of                                                               
naturopathy; relating  to the licensure of  naturopaths; relating                                                               
to   the  Department   of  Commerce,   Community,  and   Economic                                                               
Development; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:20:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 91, labeled  31-LS0608\K, Fisher, 2/8/20,                                                               
as the working draft.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:20:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:20:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERIN  SHINE,  Staff,  Representative  Jennifer  Johnston,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Johnston, prime                                                               
sponsor, explained  the changes to  HB 91 proposed  under Version                                                               
K, which  replaces Version  M.  She  paraphrased from  a document                                                               
provided in the committee packet,  entitled "House Bill 91 ver. K                                                               
Explanation  of   Changes,"  which  read  as   follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section  2    Adds a  five-person Naturopathy  Advisory                                                                  
     Board  for the  purpose  of  making recommendations  on                                                                    
     adoption  of regulations  and other  department matters                                                                    
     relating to naturopaths                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Sections 3-7, 10-15,  18   Adds and  amends sections to                                                                  
     provide  the  Department  of  Commerce,  Community  and                                                                    
     Economic   Development's   Division  of   Corporations,                                                                    
     Business and Professional  Licensing appropriate powers                                                                    
     and  oversight of  naturopathic doctors  for licensing,                                                                    
     investigations, and disciplinary actions                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section   8       Adds  a   provision   that   requires                                                                  
     naturopathic   doctors   to   pass   the   Naturopathic                                                                    
     Physicians  Licensing Examination  pharmacology portion                                                                    
     to be able to prescribe allowed medications                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  10    Amends  to  increase  the public  health                                                                  
     duties  to report  for naturopathic  doctors to  mirror                                                                    
     the requirements for other health care providers                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
       Section 14  Adds requirement for the department to                                                                     
        report actions on naturopathic licensees to the                                                                         
     National Practitioner Data Bank                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 15  Adds title protection for naturopath                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
      Section 22  Updates the effective date to January 1,                                                                    
     2021                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:23:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:23:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY asked  if Version  K narrows  the scope  of                                                               
prescriptive ability for naturopathic doctors (NDs).                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHINE  offered her belief  that it does  not.  She  said they                                                               
envisioned the same prohibitions in  Version K as in the previous                                                               
CS,  which  prohibits  naturopaths  from  prescribing  controlled                                                               
substances and chemotherapeutic agents.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:25:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY, referring  to Section 8 of  Version K, said                                                               
the addition  of a provision  that requires  naturopathic doctors                                                               
to pass an exam seems to narrow their scope of practice further.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHINE noted  that their  prescriptive  abilities remain  the                                                               
same;  however,  naturopathic  doctors  would have  to  pass  the                                                               
pharmacology  portion of  the  Naturopathic Physicians  Licensing                                                               
Examination to be able to prescribe in Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:25:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  directed  attention to  the  fiscal  note                                                               
[identifier:  HB091-DCCED-CBPL-01-16-20] and  asked  how it's  $0                                                               
when there's an advisory board.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHINE offered  her understanding  that the  previous CS  had                                                               
$4,200  appropriated for  adopting  regulations.   She  explained                                                               
that  if Version  K were  to  move from  committee, the  division                                                               
director would  probably update  the fiscal  note to  reflect the                                                               
costs.  She noted that this  wouldn't be spent from general funds                                                               
because the licensing  professions bear their own  costs in their                                                               
licensing fees.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:26:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  removed her objection.   There being  no further                                                               
objection, Version K was adopted as the working draft.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUZETTE MAILLOUX, Alaska  Association of Naturopathic Physicians,                                                               
provided  a  brief  personal  background.   She  said  Alaska  is                                                               
missing  out on  many qualified,  capable [naturopathic]  doctors                                                               
who don't want  to accept the state's limited  scope of practice.                                                               
She  pointed out  that naturopaths  are trained  as primary  care                                                               
physicians  and offered  her  belief that  the  limited scope  of                                                               
practice is  a waste  of their  training.   She reflected  on her                                                               
personal  experience  with  the  inability to  prescribe  to  her                                                               
patients,  which forces  them to  see other  providers -  costing                                                               
them more  time and money.   She said the reality  of medicine is                                                               
that  prescriptions   and  minor  office  procedures   are  often                                                               
necessary.   She touted the safety  record that NDs have  in both                                                               
Alaska and  in states that  allow for  a full scope  of practice.                                                               
She  reiterated that  they are  fully trained  as physicians  and                                                               
want to  stay in Alaska  to provide safe  an effective care.   To                                                               
conclude,   she  addressed   opposing  testimony   consisting  of                                                               
malpractice  claims that  she said  are unsubstantiated  and were                                                               
never reported to the state.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:31:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY   questioned  whether  Ms.   Mailloux  took                                                               
pharmacology classes that would allow her to prescribe.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MAILLOUX answered yes, adding  that she received her training                                                               
in Oregon where, had she  stayed and pursued licensure, she would                                                               
have  the full  scope of  practice of  a primary  care physician.                                                               
She further noted  that the addition of Section 8  in the current                                                               
CS would  ensure that naturopathic  doctors stay up to  date with                                                               
current pharmacological knowledge and training.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:32:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked if there  are residencies involved in                                                               
a naturopath's education.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MAILLOUX  replied  that residencies  are  not  required  for                                                               
naturopathic doctors,  they are optional.   She noted  that there                                                               
are not enough  residency positions for NDs in the  U.S., as they                                                               
do not practice hospital-based medicine.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:33:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   FIELDS  sought   to   clarify  which   surgeries                                                               
naturopaths  would  be allowed  do  under  HB  91.   He  directed                                                               
attention to Section 8, paragraph (3), which read as follows:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     perform  procedures  in  the  office  using  operative,                                                                    
     electrical,  or other  methods,  including  the use  of                                                                    
     antiseptics  and local  anesthetics,  for the  surgical                                                                    
     repair and care  of superficial lacerations, abrasions,                                                                    
     and lesions  and the removal of  foreign bodies located                                                                    
     in  the  superficial tissues  of  the  human body;  the                                                                    
     procedures   may   not   include  general   or   spinal                                                                    
     anesthetics,  major   surgery,  surgery  of   the  body                                                                    
     cavities, plastic surgery,  surgery involving the eyes,                                                                    
     or  surgery involving  tendons,  ligaments, nerves,  or                                                                    
     blood vessels; and                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MAILLOUX, in response to  Representative Fields, listed small                                                               
biopsies,  mole  removals,  stitches   of  minor  cuts,  and  IUD                                                               
[intrauterine device] placement and removal.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:35:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  asked how naturopaths and  medical doctors                                                               
differ in the dermatological training they receive.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MAILLOUX said  it's  similar; however,  they  differ in  the                                                               
variety  of treatments  offered,  as well  as  the philosophy  of                                                               
medicine.   Regarding the basic science,  pathology, or assessing                                                               
for illness - both are "on par."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:35:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that HB 91 was held over.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
           SB 106-HOMEOWNER/RENTER INSURANCE RENEWAL                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:36:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be CS FOR  SENATE BILL NO. 106(L&C), "An Act  relating to renewal                                                               
of insurance  coverage for homeowners and  renters; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:36:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TOM  BEGICH, Alaska State Legislature,  as prime sponsor,                                                               
highlighted the  basic elements of  SB 106.  Basically,  he said,                                                               
it eliminates  a loophole  that causes the  loss of  insurance if                                                               
someone makes a  claim against a criminal action  that might have                                                               
occurred in  his or her  home.  SB  106 would offer  a three-year                                                               
grace   period  in   which  a   claim  could   be  made   without                                                               
penalization.  He stated it's a  bill to keep a victim from being                                                               
revictimized.  He proceeded to  follow up on unanswered questions                                                               
from the bill's  previous hearing.  First, he said,  there are at                                                               
least  10 states  that  may have  similar  kinds of  legislation.                                                               
Second, he  confirmed that  personal insurance  covers homeowners                                                               
and renter's  insurance.  He  directed attention to  AS 21.36.460                                                               
(i)(7)(B).                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:39:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ opened  public  testimony.   After  ascertaining                                                               
that no one wished to testify, she closed public testimony.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:40:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked to hear from Lori Wing-Heier.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:40:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORI WING-HEIER,  Director, Division of Insurance,  Department of                                                               
Commerce, Community  & Economic Development, explained  that this                                                               
has been an  issue, particularly in the  Anchorage and Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna  area,  where people  are  losing  their insurance  after                                                               
making a  claim.  She  said after  working with the  insurers and                                                               
the  bill sponsor,  the  Division of  Insurance  doesn't see  any                                                               
problems with  SB 106.   She  added that  the division  thinks it                                                               
strengthens   consumer  protections   in  the   event  they   are                                                               
victimized by a crime.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:41:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN  thanked the  bill sponsor  for bringing                                                               
this piece of  legislation forward, adding that  she will happily                                                               
support moving SB 106 out of committee and on the House floor.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:41:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  moved to  report SB  106 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   Without  objection,  CSSB 106(L&C)  was  moved from  the                                                               
House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:42:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:42 to 3:46 p.m.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          HB 113-MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:46:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE   BILL  NO.  113,   "An  Act  relating   to  employment                                                               
preferences  for  spouses  and  children  of  veterans,  disabled                                                               
veterans,  former  prisoners  of  war, members  of  the  national                                                               
guard, and deceased service members."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:46:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHARON  JACKSON,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  as                                                               
prime  sponsor, introduced  HB  113.   She  paraphrased from  the                                                               
sponsor statement  provided in the  committee packet,  which read                                                               
in its entirety as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  purpose of  House Bill  113 is  to extend  current                                                                    
     hiring  preferences to  military spouses  and dependent                                                                    
     children  in  the  State  of  Alaska  and  the  private                                                                    
     sector.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Military families  fall into two categories:  Blue Star                                                                    
     or Gold Star Families.  Blue Star families are military                                                                    
     spouses and  dependents of  active service  members and                                                                    
     veterans. Gold  Star families are spouses  and children                                                                    
     of a deceased service members  who died while in active                                                                    
     duty.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     A recent  report from the  Department of  Defense found                                                                    
     that a  quarter of  military spouses are  unemployed or                                                                    
     underemployed. There are several  efforts being done in                                                                    
     all  50 states,  but Alaska  is one  of the  few states                                                                    
     that do  not extend employment preferences  to military                                                                    
     spouses.  There are  roughly  151,881 military  spouses                                                                    
     and  dependents  in  Alaska  according  to  the  Alaska                                                                    
     Department of Military & Veteran Affairs.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     This  is  a small  but  significant  way to  honor  our                                                                    
     service members  and their families,  who are  making a                                                                    
     sacrifice  to  serve  their  country,  yet  often  fall                                                                    
     between the cracks while doing so.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:49:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELIJAH  VERHAGEN, Staff,  Representative  Sharon Jackson,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  provided a PowerPoint  presentation, entitled                                                               
"House  Bill 113,"  on behalf  of  Representative Jackson,  prime                                                               
sponsor.   He  directed  attention to  slide  3, titled,  "What,"                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HB113 Will  extend current state hiring  preferences to                                                                    
     military spouses  and dependents.  It will  also extend                                                                    
     liability protections to the  private sector to include                                                                    
     spouses and dependents.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:50:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  asked what  it means to  "extend liability                                                               
protections to the private sector."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  directed attention to page  2, line 12, of  HB 113,                                                               
and  said,  "this is  legally  putting  in  statute that  in  the                                                               
private sector,  an employer  may hire  a military  spouse solely                                                               
because they are  a military spouse.  Whereas  currently, that is                                                               
not  in  statute."   He  asked  if that  answered  Representative                                                               
Hannan's question.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:52:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN said not quite.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  pointed  out   that  the  slide  says,  "extend                                                               
liability protections," and asked what that means.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. VERHAGEN said  "currently, if someone were to  choose to hire                                                               
- because  it's not  in statute  - a  military spouse  instead of                                                               
someone else who's  equally qualified, I believe  that they would                                                               
be able to be  sued and this is giving them -  they are free from                                                               
this liability because now it's  written in statute that they may                                                               
give a hiring preference to military spouse."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:53:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  contended that  a private  sector business                                                               
employer  can  hire  who  they  want.   She  said,  for  example,                                                               
coastguard  kids are  frequently  the first  round  of hires  for                                                               
seasonal businesses  because of their accountability  to military                                                               
structure, adding  that she never  perceived there was  any legal                                                               
liability associated with that.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:54:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  stated  that,  "private  businesses  are                                                               
private -  we are not  here to tell them  what they can  or can't                                                               
do,  but  this will  be  extended  to them  to  at  least give  a                                                               
military spouse the interview."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ said perhaps the  language in the presentation is                                                               
confusing.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:56:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  resumed his presentation  on slide 4  and explained                                                               
that  military  spouses  are among  the  highest  unemployed  and                                                               
underemployed  group   in  the   United  States,   despite  their                                                               
education or experience.  He cited  a poll of over 4,000 military                                                               
spouses   that  found   40  percent   have   a  college   degree.                                                               
Additionally,  upwards   of  60   percent  have   "some  college"                                                               
experience  compared to  29 percent  of spouses  in the  civilian                                                               
sector.  He  further noted that 9 out of  10 military spouses are                                                               
women.  Mr.  Verhagen went on to paraphrase slide  5, titled "Top                                                               
3  Challenges,"  which  read  as  follows  [original  punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
       ? Unemployment  The number of unemployed military                                                                        
     spouses averages at more than 40%.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     ?  Underemployment     Low  pay.  Research  shows  that                                                                    
     military spouses  with a college  degree earn  40% less                                                                    
     than   their  counterparts.   A  study   from  Syracuse                                                                    
     University found that 90% of  female spouses of active-                                                                    
     duty members reported they were underemployed                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     ?  Frequent   moves     Spouses  and   dependents  move                                                                    
     constantly,  resulting  in  employment  gaps,  lack  of                                                                    
     networking                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:59:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN sought to  clarify whether 29 percent of                                                               
civilian spouses have a degree  or 29 percent of civilian spouses                                                               
have a degree and are currently unemployed.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:59:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VERHAGEN  clarified  that  "29.9"  percent  have  a  college                                                               
degree.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN asked for the source of that data.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VERHAGEN directed  attention  to Figure  1 on  page  2 of  a                                                               
document  provided in  the committee  packet, entitled  "Military                                                               
Spouses in the Labor Market."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:00:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  noted  that  it's  an  uncomfortable  statistic                                                               
because  it's not  clear who  the civilian,  noninstitutionalized                                                               
population is.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:00:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  responded by reading  the following  paragraph from                                                               
the document [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     According  to  the  ACS survey,  working  age  military                                                                    
     spouses  are  predominantly  female (92  percent),  and                                                                    
     they are young. Although  the average American adult of                                                                    
     working  age  is 41  years  old,  working age  military                                                                    
     spouses  are  33  years old,  on  average.  2  Military                                                                    
     spouses  are also  more educated  than other  civilian,                                                                    
     non-institutionalized   Americans   of   working   age,                                                                    
     suggesting  that  losing  their  contributions  to  the                                                                    
     labor  market  is   particularly  detrimental  for  the                                                                    
     American  economy (Figure  1).  While approximately  30                                                                    
     percent  of  the  U.S. working  age  population  has  a                                                                    
     college  degree, approximately  40 percent  of military                                                                    
     spouses in this age range do.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ clarified that "this is the civilian,                                                                           
noninstitutionalized population of United States workers."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:02:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VERHAGEN concluded  his presentation  on slide  6, reporting                                                               
that 24 states  have instituted a hiring  preference for military                                                               
spouses.   He turned attention  to the sectional  analysis, which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1. AS 18.80.200(c)                                                                                               
     This section does not prohibit  a private employer from                                                                    
     having  hiring  preferences  for persons  described  in                                                                    
     Section 2 of this bill.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2. AS 23.88.010                                                                                                  
     This section  repeals and reenacts the  current statute                                                                    
     by  adding  definitions  removed  from  Section  1  for                                                                    
     clarity.  This  section  does not  prohibit  a  private                                                                    
     employer  from  having  hiring preferences  to  active-                                                                    
     military,  veterans  and  families. This  section  adds                                                                    
     language to  include spouses and dependent  children of                                                                    
     deceased service members to the list.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3. AS 39.25.150(19)                                                                                              
     This  section   amends  the  State  Personnel   Act  to                                                                    
     reference  definitions  as  stated  in  Section  4  for                                                                    
     consistency.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4. AS 39.25.159(a)                                                                                               
     This  section  amends  the  employment  preference  for                                                                    
     veterans  or  former prisoners  of  war  by adding  new                                                                    
     language to include families  of an active-duty service                                                                    
     member, veteran, or former prisoner of war.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     This  section clarifies  the type  of preference  given                                                                    
     the  hiring  process  and   whether  the  applicant  is                                                                    
     disabled or not.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection (B) is removed for consistency                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5. AS 39.25.159(d)                                                                                               
     This  section clarifies  that a  person may  receive an                                                                    
     employment preference under only  one of the categories                                                                    
     described in  sections 3  and 4. A  person may  use the                                                                    
     preference  without  limitation when  being  considered                                                                    
     for a position for which  persons who are not currently                                                                    
     state   employees   are   being  considered.   If   the                                                                    
     recruitment  for   a  position  is  limited   to  state                                                                    
     employees, preference under (a)  or (c) of this section                                                                    
     may not be counted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     This  section  adds  language  to  include  spouses  or                                                                    
     dependent   children   for   consistency   with   other                                                                    
     sections.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6 AS 39.25.159 (e)                                                                                               
     This section clarifies that this  bill does not involve                                                                    
     interpreting  amendments  of  a  collective  bargaining                                                                    
     agreement and  makes a reference  to subsection  (a) of                                                                    
     Section 4.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Section 7 AS 39.25.159(f)                                                                                                
     This section defines a dependent child.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 8 AS 39.25.159(c)                                                                                                
     This section  removes language  that has  been included                                                                    
     in Section 4 of this bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:05:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked if the hiring preference for either                                                                 
the spouse or the dependent child has a time limit.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON said the limit for the dependent child is                                                                
age 19 or age 23 if he or she is attending college.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked if there is a time limit for the                                                                    
spouse.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON replied the spouse receives the benefit                                                                  
until he or she remarries.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN questioned whether it could be a lifetime                                                                 
benefit.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON said yes, for the working years of the                                                                   
spouse's life.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:07:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  asked if  there is  information on  how the                                                               
program  is  working in  the  24  states that  provide  veterans'                                                               
preferences to spouses.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:10:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN,  Director of Veterans  Affairs, Office  of Veterans                                                               
Affairs, Department of Military  & Veterans' Affairs, stated that                                                               
in Maryland,  [military] spouses and  children have been  able to                                                               
gain  employment much  faster  now that  the  benefits have  been                                                               
implemented.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:11:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ asked  if there are any states  that have limited                                                               
the length of the benefit for widows.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:11:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN answered no, adding that  most states do not sunset the                                                               
gold star  clause.  Under  the gold star clause,  DIC [Dependency                                                               
and  Indemnity  Compensation]  payments are  provided  until  the                                                               
spouse remarries.   He noted that  most states use that  as their                                                               
reference point.  He reiterated  that if the spouse remarries, he                                                               
or she loses access to the gold star benefit.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:12:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ asked  if Mr.  Bowen would  like to  provide any                                                               
additional testimony.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:12:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN said  he would like to see this  bill passed because it                                                               
does "several things"  for family members.  He  noted that Alaska                                                               
has  over 43,000  active duty  National  Guard Reserve  Component                                                               
family  members  within  the state  that  are  supporting  22,000                                                               
active duty  members.  He stated  that the primary way  to reduce                                                               
stress is to  help them gain access to  gainful employment, which                                                               
will help  reduce other  factors that  could happen  within their                                                               
housing units.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  questioned whether  a family  whose member                                                               
dies by suicide is still considered a gold star family.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:16:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN  replied that gold  star is usually provided  to people                                                               
that die in a combat zone.  He  said if an individual took his or                                                               
her life in  a combat zone or  was injured in a  combat zone then                                                               
the gold star identification would apply.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:16:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked if  there's  a  limit on  the  life                                                               
insurance policy that's  paid to a family if the  death is caused                                                               
by suicide.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN  answered no.   He explained  that the exact  amount of                                                               
the life  insurance is paid  to the family regardless  of whether                                                               
the death was caused by suicide.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:19:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEGAN JAMES,  Alaska Coalition for Veterans  & Military Families,                                                               
stated that many military spouses  and dependent children come to                                                               
the  Alaska  Coalition  for  Veterans  &  Military  Families  for                                                               
assistance in looking for professions.   She added that they work                                                               
longest  with  the  military  spouses  because  of  their  varied                                                               
working  backgrounds  due to  continued  sacrifice  of their  own                                                               
career for  that of the service  members.  She noted  that varied                                                               
work histories  and gaps in  employment don't look like  the best                                                               
hires  on  paper to  some  employers.    She  said HB  113  would                                                               
essentially even the playing field  for military spouses and gold                                                               
star families.   Furthermore,  she pointed  out that  if military                                                               
families are  gainfully employed and spouses  are happily working                                                               
at the duty  location, the service members are more  likely to be                                                               
mission  ready, to  reenlist, and  their home  is likelier  to be                                                               
resilient   and  thriving   without   the   worry  of   financial                                                               
implications that  come from having  a spouse without  work while                                                               
they're  gone.    She  shared  a personal  anecdote  of  her  own                                                               
experience with  this matter.   She noted  that this bill  is not                                                               
offering  the promise  of a  job, but  it allows  them to  have a                                                               
better  chance against  other qualified  candidates  as they  are                                                               
going through the employment process.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:22:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that HB 113 was held over.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:23:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
[4:23] p.m.                                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 106 LRS Report on Laws for non-renewal 2.17.2020.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
SB 106
HB 91 ver. K Explanation of Changes 2.18.2020.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 91
HB 91 ver. K 2.8.2020.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 91
HB 91 ver. K Sectional Analysis 2.18.2020.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 91
HB 113 Fiscal Note DOA-DOP 02.14.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Powerpoint The Blue Star and Gold Star Families Act 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HL&C 2/21/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 - Explanation of Changes v. S 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 - Sectional Analisys v. S 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB 113 Fiscal Note DLWFD-WH 11.19.19.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 - Sponsor Statement 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Backup Document Top Military Spouse Challenges 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Supporting Document 2018 Blue Star Family Survey -Executive-Summary 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Reference Document Office of the US President Military Spouses 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Supporting Document 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Supporting Document Column The Military Spouse Employment Plight 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
Hb113 Backup Document Military Families Are Struggling to Make Ends Meet - The Atlantic 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113
HB113 Backup Document NCSL veterans' state hiring preference 1.31.20.pdf HL&C 2/19/2020 3:15:00 PM
HL&C 2/21/2020 3:15:00 PM
HB 113