Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/24/1998 04:11 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON                                        
           MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                      
                 February 24, 1998                                             
                     4:11 p.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Beverly Masek, Chair                                            
Representative Joe Ryan                                                        
Representative Pete Kott                                                       
Representative Eldon Mulder                                                    
Representative Richard Foster                                                  
Representative Reggie Joule                                                    
Representative Irene Nicholia                                                  
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
All members present                                                            
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 51                                                
Relating to support for H.R. 2924, which allows certain Alaska                 
Native Vietnam veterans and the Elim Native Corporation to select              
land under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.                            
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHJR 51(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 362                                                           
"An Act relating to the use of space for military lounges in state-            
owned or state-controlled airports."                                           
                                                                               
     - MOVED HB 362 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: HJR 51                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORT H.R. 2924                                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MASEK, Foster, Ivan                             
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
01/26/98      2132     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  

01/26/98 2132 (H) MLV 02/19/98 (H) MLV AT 4:30 PM CAPITOL 17 02/19/98 (H) MINUTE(MLV) 02/24/98 (H) MLV AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 362 SHORT TITLE: AIRPORT MILITARY LOUNGES SPONSOR(S): SPECIAL CMTE MILITARY & VETERANS AFFAIRS Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action

01/28/98 2153 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)

01/28/98 2154 (H) MLV, STATE AFFAIRS 02/19/98 (H) MLV AT 4:30 PM CAPITOL 17 02/19/98 (H) MINUTE(MLV) 02/24/98 (H) MLV AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 17 WITNESS REGISTER DONALD STOLWORTHY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Beverly Masek Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 432 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2811 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sponsor statement for HJR 51. LAWRENCE SIFSOF P.O. Box 15 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-5523 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 51. DAN NODEN P.O. Box 896 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-5131 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 51. PATRICK CHIKLAK, JR. Realty Department Bristol Bay Native Association P.O. Box 1281 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-5257 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 51. LAURENCE O'NEILL 3123 East 41st Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99508 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 51. PETER CHRISTOPHER Box 85 New Stuyahok, Alaska 99636 Telephone: (907) 693-3171 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 51. VERNE GOLIA P.O. Box 465 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-5548 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 51. VICTOR SIFSOF P.O. Box 815 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-5574 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 51. TOM MORGAN Anchorage Armed Services YMCA 19341 Upper Skyline Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99577 Telephone: (907) 552-9622 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 362. BONNIE DORMAN 8831 Cross Pointe Loop Anchorage, Alaska 99504 Telephone: (907) 333-9003 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 362. COLONEL SAMUEL JOHNSON, Commander Eleventh Air Support Group 5841 Azalea Drive Anchorage, Alaska Telephone: (907) 552-3443 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 362. DENNIS R. POSHARD, Legislative Liaison and Special Assistant Office of the Commissioner Department of Transportation and Public Facilities 3132 Channel Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801-7898 Telephone: (907) 465-3904 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 362. CAROL CARROLL, Director Administrative Services Division Department of Military and Veterans Affairs P.O. Box 110900 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0900 Telephone: (907) 465-4730 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 362. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-1, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIR BEVERLY MASEK called the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting to order at 4:11 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Masek, Ryan, Kott and Joule. Representative Mulder arrived at 4:12 p.m., Representative Nicholia arrived at 4:20 p.m. and Representative Foster arrived at 4:21 p.m. HJR 51 - SUPPORT H.R. 2924 Number 0080 CHAIR MASEK announced the first order of business would be HJR 51, "Relating to support for H.R. 2924, which allows certain Alaska Native Vietnam veterans and the Elim Native Corporation to select land under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act." DONALD STOLWORTHY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Beverly Masek, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to present HJR 51. He read the following statement into the record: "During the Vietnam Era, between 800 and 2,000 Alaska Natives serving in the armed forces missed their opportunity to apply for their Native land allotments under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). These veterans were either serving in combat zones, or were overlooked by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). "Alaska Congressman Don Young has introduced H.R. 2924 into the United States Congress in an attempt to rectify this inequity. H.R. 2924 would amend ANCSA to allow these overlooked veterans an opportunity to apply for their Native land allotments. It would also restore 50,000 acres to the Elim Native Corporation's land entitlement, which was improperly removed by President Hoover through a presidential executive order. "The resolution simply calls on the Alaska State Legislature to support Congressman Young's efforts to right these wrongs." Number 0188 MR. STOLWORTHY noted HJR 51 has a zero fiscal note. Number 0218 CHAIR MASEK informed the committee she has a proposed technical amendment that would make the resolution more accurate and reflect H.R. 2924. On page 1, line 2, after "veterans" add the word "era." It would then read, "Relating to support for H.R. 2924, which allows certain Alaska Native Vietnam era veterans..." Chair Masek said the same amendment should be made to page 1, line 7. Number 0295 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT moved to adopt those changes as Amendment 1. There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. Number 0355 LAWRENCE SIFSOF testified via teleconference from Dillingham in support of HJR 51. He stated he supports H.R. 2924. Mr. Sifsof explained he is an Alaskan Native and spent two years in the Army in 1969 and 1970, and one year in Vietnam. Mr. Sifsof said 1971 was the last year Alaska Natives could select 160 acres of land and he was in Vietnam at the time of the selection. He said when many Natives returned from Vietnam, all the land that had easy access was gone. Mr. Sifsof informed the committee when he came back from Vietnam he had no money. He continued to discuss the hardship he had saving money. Mr. Sifsof urged that HJR 51 be passed. Number 0578 DAN NODEN was next to testify via conference from Dillingham in support of HJR 51. He informed the committee he is a Vietnam Veteran. He referred to the 1971 deadline and said he never kept too close a track of anything that was important to his future, so he didn't stake any land and didn't even think of it until the deadline had passed. Mr. Noden pointed out that even if he did think of it, he had no transportation to get to parcels of land to stake it. He thanked the committee for listening to him. Number 0692 PATRICK CHIKLAK, JR., Realty Department, Bristol Bay Native Association, testified via teleconferece from Dillingham. He explained his job is to help clients get title to Native allotments. He stated he believes HJR 51 and H.R. 2924 are good bills. Our veterans were serving the country at the time of the land claims. Mr. Chiklak continued to read excerpts out of the United States Code, Section 278 and 279, and said he would like similar language added to H.R. 2924. He discussed lengthening the time frame that Veterans would have to reapply. CHAIR MASEK asked Mr. Chiklak to forward the excerpts to her office so she can distribute them to the committee members. She also noted that some of the issues Mr. Chiklak discussed should be addressed at the congressional level. Number 1080 LAURENCE O'NEILL was next to testify via teleconference from Anchorage. He informed the committee that in 1969 he entered the United States Army and was in the Infantry. He said he served from March of 1970, until October of 1971, in Vietnam. When he was done serving in the Army, he came back to Alaska and found out that there was a Native allotment selection and he had missed out. Mr. O'Neill said he notified the BIA, but they told him there was nothing that could be done. Since that time, everything has been on hold. He pointed out that when he was in Vietnam he gave more than 100 percent and was willing to give his life for his country. Mr. O'Neill said he would love to see the leaders of our country give the same that he had given during the war. He referred to the land he is filing for and said his family has lived on that land and it has very traditional and culture values. Number 1215 PETER CHRISTOPHER testified via teleconference from New Stuyahok in support of HJR 51. He said he joined the United States Naval Service in September, 1971. and served three and a half years and was done in September, 1975. He said he had no choice in joining because his draft number was low. That was right after he graduated from high school. He stated that he wasn't in the state at the time of Native allotment section. Mr. Christopher indicated he served the country and he shouldn't have such a hard time receiving a Native allotment. He informed the committee of the subsistence sites that his family has used. He said he is in full support of HJR 51. Number 1409 VERNE N. GOLIA was the next witness to testify via teleconference from Dillingham. He indicated that when the ANCSA was enacted, there were people who were serving the country. They went to a foreign country. He said he served from August of 1966 to August of 1967. When he came back, he really didn't understand what was going on. He had heard about ANCSA, but his mind wasn't right. He urged that the legislation be passed. Number 1547 VICTOR SIFSOF testified via teleconference from Dillingham. He informed the committee members he is the past president of Choggiung, Limited, a Native Corporation in Dillingham. He stated he is currently the Native Hire Coordinator for Bristol Bay Hospital Corporation. He said he isn't a veteran, but has felt very strongly about this issue for years as he had a brother and number of friends that went to war. They didn't have an opportunity to get the land that the rest of the people were getting. Mr. Sifsof said he strongly supports HJR 51. He said his brother actually used a piece of land for hunting and trapping, and when he returned, somebody else had already got the land. He stated when his brother returned, he was a changed person and it took several years for him to start focusing on anything. He urged that the resolution be passed. Number 1656 REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN said if you read the congressional record, in addition to Congressman Young's testimony, there is testimony from Richard Rolland, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management. Secretary Rolland addresses the entitlement for the Elim Corporation, but says there has been an over selection. Representative Ryan quoted from Mr. Rolland's comments, "Moreover the proposed amendment presents a problem in that about 11,440 acres of described lands proposed for conveyance to Elim had been probably selected by the Native Village Koyuk. This would leave only 38,560 acres for Elim instead of the 50,000 they desire. The proposed amendment is included in H.R. 3157. It should include clear congressional intent and guidance to which (indisc.) receive the 11,440 acres and provides that the conveyance is in full satisfaction of Elim's entitlement under Section 19(B)." Representative Ryan asked Chair Masek if she knows if Congressman Young has addressed that in his bill or will that be something that will have to be revisited. Number 1712 CHAIR MASEK responded that Congressman Young has written her a letter, dated December 17, that the committee members should have in their committee file. The letter states that there will be a hearing scheduled, but a date hasn't been set as of yet. Chair Masek said she assumes those issues will be brought up during that hearing. She suggested contacting Congressman Young regarding the issue. She noted it will probably take over a year and a half for them to go through the lengthy process of going through ANCSA to try and find where the lands will come from. She indicated she would follow-up with Congressman Young regarding that issue. CHAIR MASEK said there were no other witnesses to testify. Number 1763 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER made a motion to move CSHJR 51 from committee with the accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. CHAIR MASEK asked if there was an objection. There being none, CSHJR 51(MLV) moved out of the Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. HB 362 - AIRPORT MILITARY LOUNGES Number 1790 CHAIR MASEK announced the next order of business would be HB 362 "An Act relating to the use of space for military lounges in state- owned or state-controlled airports," sponsored by the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. Number 1820 TOM MORGAN, Anchorage Armed Services YMCA, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He read the his statement into the record: "For more years than anyone knows, the Armed Services YMCA has been quietly and competently serving the traveling military through the Military Courtesy Lounge now located at Concourse B at Anchorage International Airport. A safe and secure place has been dedicated to the Armed Forces at no expense to the state or to the military, "Reaching over 22,000 visitors in 1997, quasi booster clubs provide the volunteers to staff this lounge 365 days a year meeting the needs of domestic and international military members and their families. "Alaska continues to be of strategic importance to the training of our military and the defense of the nation. The military has always been there for us, we should not shift our duties to them. The existing statute does not allow the Armed Services YMCA to provide these services without a rental charge. So that we may continue to meet the needs of the traveling military in Alaska, the Armed Services YMCA supports HB 362. This change will allow us to continue our work, at the same time authorize the Anchorage International Airport to offer this space rent free. "I might add this arrangement would be consistent with other military lounge operations at airports (indisc.) by the Armed Services YMCA or the USO. Again, thank you for the opportunity to speak today." Number 1900 BONNIE DORMAN was next to testify via teleconference from Anchorage. She stated she has worked in the (indisc.) squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base and has had the pleasure of being a volunteer in the YMCA Lounge at the airport. She indicated it is a benefit because it is nice to be able help people who are traveling. She is able to direct them to where they need to be or what they need to do. She said that, as a traveler, she has utilized the lounges for leisure. It is crucial that they are provided with a safe and comfortable environment. She urged the passage of HB 362. Number 1941 COLONEL SAMUEL JOHNSON, Commander, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He stated that he would encourage support for HB 362. He said at least since 1962, when he first came to Alaska, the lounge has been supported by the YMCA and a partnership with the Anchorage International Airport to provide this invaluable service to our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen as they travel through and from the Anchorage International Airport, both domestically and internationally. Colonel Johnson stated last year more than 23,000 travelers took advantage of this wonderful service. As our military members and their families travel overseas with extended airport connection times, this lounge provides a much needed service. It gives our soldiers, airmen and sailors a place to rest and care for their families, as well as to communicate back to their military units and families via the autobahn system which is a government phone system. He noted that at times he has commanded as many as 2,500 troops on Elmendorf and a lot of his people use that invaluable service. Colonel Johnson encouraged support for the legislation. Number 2006 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked Mr. Morgan and Colonel Johnson to pass along to the staff and board members his congratulations on an excellent Salute to the Military the previous Friday evening. Number 2040 DENNIS R. POSHARD, Legislative Liaison and Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, came forward to testify. He said the committee can see in the few sentences in the department's fiscal note that they have no opposition to HB 362. He said he wanted to point out that the fiscal note is zero because the department is going to proceed under the assumption that they are not required to bump a current tenant. If there is revenue generating space available and someone is willing to pay for that space, the DOT/PF will take the revenues. He said in every instance where there is space available, the department will make it available, free of charge, to the appropriate organization. Once they're in, the department is not going to bump them for someone else. Number 2094 CAROL CARROLL, Director, Administrative Services Division, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, came before the committee. She said the department does support HB 362. It is nice to show appreciation to those who do serve our country and one of they ways of doing that is to provide a comfortable place while they're traveling. Number 2121 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER thanked Chair Masek for submitting the legislation and said it is a very worthwhile venture. He noted, for the record, that he has a conflict of interest as he is a board member of the Armed Services YMCA. Representative Mulder then made a motion to move HB 362 out of committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. CHAIRMAN MASEK said his conflict would be noted in the record. She then asked if there was an objection to moving HB 362 out of committee. There being none, HB 362 moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. HJR 51 - SUPPORT H.R. 2924 REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER referred to HJR 51, which was heard earlier during the meeting, and said he has a conflict of interest as he is one-quarter Eskimo, was in Vietnam and missed the entire selection process. CHAIR MASEK indicated that it would be noted in the record. CHAIR MASEK said she also attended the Twenty-First Annual Salute to the Military with Representative Mulder. There were 12 people that were recognized and of those 12 people, 7 were women. ADJOURNMENT Number 2222 CHAIR MASEK adjourned the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs at 4:50 p.m.

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