Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/10/1998 04:35 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                                      
                   March 10, 1998                                              
                     4:35 p.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Beverly Masek, Chair                                            
Representative Joe Ryan                                                        
Representative Eldon Mulder                                                    
Representative Richard Foster                                                  
Representative Reggie Joule                                                    
Representative Irene Nicholia                                                  
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Pete Kott                                                       
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 211                                                            
"An Act renaming the Gravina Veterans' Memorial Bridge as the Ralph            
M. Bartholomew Veterans' Memorial Bridge."                                     
                                                                               
     - MOVED SB 211 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 63                                                
Relating to support for Mitchell Field Adak airport.                           
                                                                               
     - MOVED HJR 63 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 356                                                           
"An Act establishing the Joint Committee on Military Bases in                  
Alaska; and providing for an effective date."                                  
                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
                                                                               
CONFIRMATION HEARING:  ANG ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL                          
                                                                               
     - CONFIRMATION HEARING CANCELLED                                          
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: SB 211                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: RENAMING VET MEM BRIDGE IN KETCHIKAN                              
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TAYLOR, Mackie, Leman, Duncan;                          
REPRESENTATIVE(S) Williams                                                     
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
01/12/98      2165     (S)  PREFILE RELEASED 1/2/98                            

01/12/98 2165 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)

01/12/98 2165 (S) TRANSPORTATION

01/29/98 (S) TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205

01/29/98 (S) MINUTE(TRA)

01/30/98 (S) MINUTE(RLS)

01/30/98 2356 (S) TRA RPT 4DP

01/30/98 2356 (S) DP: WARD, WILKEN, GREEN, LINCOLN

01/30/98 2356 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DOT) 02/04/98 2391 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 2/4/98 02/04/98 2393 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 02/04/98 2393 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 02/04/98 2393 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 211 02/04/98 2393 (S) COSPONSOR(S): LEMAN, DUNCAN 02/04/98 2394 (S) PASSED Y18 N- E2 02/04/98 2396 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 02/06/98 2230 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/06/98 2230 (H) MLV, TRANSPORTATION 02/06/98 2249 (H) CROSS SPONSOR(S): WILLIAMS 03/10/98 (H) MLV AT 4:30 PM CAPITOL ROOM 124 BILL: HJR 63 SHORT TITLE: ADAK AIRPORT SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MOSES Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 02/18/98 2351 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/18/98 2352 (H) MLV, TRANSPORTATION 03/10/98 (H) MLV AT 4:30 PM CAPITOL ROOM 124 BILL: HB 356 SHORT TITLE: JOINT TASK FORCE ON MILITARY BASES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MULDER, Dyson, Foster, Croft, Ivan Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action

01/26/98 2138 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)

01/26/98 2138 (H) MLV 03/10/98 (H) MLV AT 4:30 PM CAPITOL ROOM 124 WITNESS REGISTER JOE AMBROSE, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 30 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4906 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sponsor statement for SB 211. REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 521 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4451 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sponsor statement for HJR 63. CHRISTOPHER GATES, Executive Director Adak Reuse Corporation 4000 Old Seward Highway, Suite 300 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 561-4300 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 63. VINCE TUTIAKOFF, Manager Adak Reuse; Chairman Aleut Corporation FPO AP 96506 PSC 486 Adak Adak, Alaska 99685 Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 63. AGAFON KRUKOFF, Mayor Elect; Chairman, Adak Community Council PSC 486 P.O. Box 1961 Adak, Alaska 99695 Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 63. GEORGE SPEAKE, Manager Adak Airfield PSC 486 P.O. Box 1933 Intra Alaska Zone 1 PFP AP 96506 Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 63. MITCH FERGUSON, Station Manager Reeve Airways, Adak (Address not provided) Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 63. Tim Sullivan, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 501 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 356. CHRIS NELSON, Legislative Staff to the Senate Majority Alaska State Legislature 716 West Forth Avenue, Suite 540 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 258-8159 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSHB 356(MLV). TIM ROGERS, Legislative Program Coordinator Municipality of Anchorage P.O. Box 196650 Anchorage, Alaska 99519 Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 356(MLV). ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-2, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIR BEVERLY MASEK called the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting to order at 4:35 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Masek, Foster, Joule and Nicholia. Representative Mulder arrived at 4:42 p.m., and Representative Ryan arrived at 4:47 p.m. SB 211 - RENAMING VET MEM BRIDGE IN KETCHIKAN Number 0095 CHAIR MASEK announced the first order of business would be SB 211 "An Act renaming the Gravina Veterans' Memorial Bridge as the Ralph M. Bartholomew Veterans' Memorial Bridge," sponsored by Senator Taylor. JOE AMBROSE, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee. He read the following statement into the record: "Back in 1989, as Senate Bill 37 was moving through the House, an amendment was added designating the bridge to be built across the Tongass Narrows at Ketchikan as the Gravina Veterans' Memorial Bridge. "This amendment was offered at the suggestion of Ralph Bartholomew. Ralph was a life-long resident of Ketchikan, a noted civic leader and a veteran of World War II. He was also the leading proponent for the construction of a bridge connecting Ketchikan with its airport. "Ralph passed away this fall and the community would like to see the bridge renamed as the Ralph M. Bartholomew Veterans' Memorial Bridge." Number 0239 REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA asked what the current name of the bridge is. REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER responded that it is the Gravina Veterans' Memorial Bridge. REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA asked who was Gravina. REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER pointed out it is the name of the island. The bridge is to be built across Tongass Narrows to Gravina Island. Number 0285 REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER moved and asked unanimous consent to move SB 211 out of committee with the attached fiscal notes and with individual recommendations. There being no objection, SB 211 moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. HJR 63 - ADAK AIRPORT Number 0318 CHAIR MASEK announced the committee would hear HJR 63, "Relating to support for Mitchell Field Adak airport," sponsored by Representative Moses. Number 0346 REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES came before the committee to explain the resolution. He said he submitted HJR 63 in hope of getting a special appropriation through Congress for the operation of the airport at Adak. Representative Moses stated that the operation of the airport is very important for the development and reuse of the community of Adak. There is a lot of justification for getting a special appropriation for the operation of the airport because the airport is needed by the Coast Guard, the Air Force and the Army. He noted a lot of different federal agencies have a need for the airport, but those agencies don't want to commit any of their own money as would affect their budget. Representative Moses said the airport is also very important for twin jets that fly to the Orient. There is a requirement that in order for twin jets to fly over water or on long flights, they have to be within a certain distance of an alternate airport or they can't fly that route. He asked for the support of the committee to pass the resolution. Number 0468 REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER pointed out that resolutions can take awhile to go through the various committees. He said if there isn't time for the resolution to go through all the committees of referral, he would be glad to be a signatory on a letter with other legislators if the resolution isn't passed. Number 0510 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER questioned what the estimated annual operating expense is of the airport. REPRESENTATIVE MOSES responded that the amount is $750,000. He noted that is an estimated figure. Number 0534 REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA spoke in favor of HJR 63. She said she believes it is a good investment. Representative Nicholia said she was able to go to Sakhalin, Russia, and they stopped at Adak to see the airport. She said it is a really nice airport. Representative Nicholia informed the committee members that a new oil pipeline is just being started in Sakhalin. There are Russian regions that are very interested in trading and getting more economic development projects in conjunction with Alaska's participation. They are opening a bridge to their country in order to bridge Alaska and Russia together to produce economic development. She noted that Alaska even has a training center in Sakhalin in order to train Russians to work on their pipeline. She stated she believes HJR 63 helps to further Alaska's economic development process. Number 0656 CHRISTOPHER GATES, Executive Director, Adak Reuse Corporation, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He noted the Adak Reuse Corporation is a corporation of regional representatives, including the Aleut Corporation and others, who have been designated by the federal government and the state government to plan and implement the reuse of the former Naval Air Facility Adak. He stated they have prepared some extensive comments in support of HJR 63 which talks about the lives that would be saved, the fisheries that would be enhanced, the international air carrier operations from Europe to Asia that would be allowed to proceed, the research and development in the Bering Sea, fishery enforcement issues, Western Alaska restoration, Adak restoration, and the Russian commerce that is possible with Adak. He said this is a very important airport for the state of Alaska. It is also very important regional airport for Atka. Mr. Gates emphasized that the community of Atka, located 70 miles east of Adak, could not receive essential air service without the instrument airport being functional and operating at Adak. It would impact a number of communities if Adak goes out of business as a regional instrument flight rules (IFR) airport. He thanked Representative Moses for introducing the resolution. Number 0818 VINCE TUTIAKOFF, Manager, Adak Reuse; Chairman, Aleut Corporation, testified via teleconference from Adak. He said it is very important that the Adak Airport be funded through HJR 63. It is also import to recognize that the airport is important to the state of Alaska. He said there are approximately 200 citizens of Alaska working at Adak. Mr. Tutiakoff pointed out that Adak provides the community of Atka with freight service. It is important for search and rescue operations, supply and emergency landing operations for international carriers as well as within the state of Alaska. Adak is important for the fisheries and the enforcement that needs to be done in the area. Mr. Tutiakoff pointed out that they have had a lot of contact with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and fish and game vessels in the area. If the base wasn't operational, they would not be able to do crew transfers and get their groceries. Number 0970 AGAFON KRUKOFF, Mayor Elect; Chairman, Adak Community Council, testified via teleconference from Adak. He said the community is currently working towards the incorporation of Adak as a second class city. He stated that he strongly supports the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for Adak. Mr. Krukoff said that the people registered to vote in the community are thinking globally and internationally. The airport is highly beneficial for the further development of the state of Alaska. He thanked the committee members for their support. Number 1042 GEORGE SPEAKE, Manager, Adak Airfield, testified via teleconference from Adak. He stated that not only is the Adak Airport important to the state of Alaska, but it is also important internationally. There are a lot of heavy aircraft that fly over that rely on Adak as a divert airfield. Mr. Speake informed the committee members that about four weeks ago he spoke with the customer service representative for Alaska, from the Federal Aviation Administration, who meets with the oceanic working group. He said he had the representative pose the question to the oceanic working group of what would happen if Adak was no longer available to them. The response was unanimously that they would have to change their routes and it would cost them $1 million. Mr. Speake said he would also like to mention that they have about nine medivac missions, the most recent being a boat that was in distress and had a injured person on board. He referred to the IFR requirements for the airfield and said if the Adak Airport had not been open, that injured person would have not gotten off the ship and would have possibly died. Number 1125 CHAIR MASEK said the resolution asks Congress to appropriate funding to the FAA to keep the Adak Airport operational. She asked if the state of Alaska will maintain the airport. REPRESENTATIVE MOSES said he expects the FAA to provide the funds for the state to operate the airport. They will probably require the normal participation by the state with non-federal funds. Number 1191 MITCH FERGUSON, Station Manager, Reeve Airways, Adak, testified via teleconference from Adak. He informed the committee that he receives calls on a weekly basis from several aircraft operation companies with questions regarding the airfield at Adak. Their concerns are that it would be detrimental to their operations to not have a working airfield at Adak. It is not only a benefit for the state of Alaska, but it is a benefit internationally. Number 1228 REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN asked Mr. Ferguson if Adak is on the great circle route to the Far East. MR. FERGUSON answered in the affirmative. He said they are one hour north. Number 1250 CHAIR MASEK said there is a short video about the airport and it is available for any committee members wishing to see it. Number 1280 REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER moved and asked unanimous consent to pass HJR 63 out of committee with the attached fiscal notes. There being no objection, HJR 63 moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. HB 356 - JOINT TASK FORCE ON MILITARY BASES Number 1313 CHAIR MASEK announced the last order of business would be HB 356 "An Act establishing the Joint Committee on Military Bases in Alaska; and providing for an effective date," sponsored by Representative Mulder. Chair Masek noted there is a proposed committee substitute. Number 1330 REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER moved to adopt the proposed committee substitute dated 3/3/98. There being no objection, the committee substitute was adopted. Number 1355 TIM SULLIVAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee to explain the legislation. He informed the committee that there have been recent calls from the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense and many others asking for another base realignment and closure committee process. He said the committee members have an article written about the acting secretary of the Air Force saying that if a new base realignment and closure (BRAC) committee does not occur, he will start shutting down bases on his own. Mr. Sullivan said for that reason, Representative Mulder introduced HB 356. He read from the sponsor statement: "House Bill 356 would establish a joint House and Senate Committee on Military Bases in Alaska. This committee would monitor the activities of a new BRAC Commission, work to strengthen the military presence in Alaska and, in the case of a reauthorized BRAC process, work with the military, the administration and the affected communities to protect our bases from closure. "This joint committee will have an existence longer than that called for in the Uniform Rules because of the reactivation of the federal BRAC Commission. Creating this joint committee for longer than the duration of the current Twentieth Legislature requires a change in statute, and cannot be done by means of a concurrent resolution, hence this bill. The joint committee would expire on the date the Twenty-Second Legislature convenes. This time frame corresponds with the activity period of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which will again be reviewing all military facilities in North America for justification of their continued existence. "The attention by BRAC given to Alaska bases in the past presents a considerable challenge, and necessitates vigilance and a strong unified response from the legislature. The military establishment in Alaska accounts for approximately $1.7 billion throughout the Alaskan economy. In addition, the base closures experienced to date (Adak Naval Air Facility, Erickson Air Force Base, Galena Air Force Base, King Salmon Air Force Base and Fort Greely) have shown that the process requires considerable attention on the part of state government to monitor the economic impact and the reuse potential of such base closures. This joint committee would provide that critical focus." Number 1462 CHAIR MASEK asked Mr. Sullivan to explain the difference between the committee substitute and the original version of the bill. MR. SULLIVAN informed the committee there are two changes. The first is on page 1, line 14, which changes the number from $2.7 billion annually to $1.7 billion annually. He said this change was made to represent draw downs that have already occurred in Alaska. It also removed retirees that had been included in the earlier number. The number is based on current military personnel and their activities. Mr. Sullivan referred to Section 2, page 2, subsections (3), (4) and (5), and said it made the individuals who were to be appointed, individuals rather than members of the legislature. He said he believes those are the changes. Number 1491 REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA asked why the wording was changed to include individuals as opposed to a member of the legislature. MR. SULLIVAN said it is his understanding that there would be a better representation, across the state, of individuals who have some close workings with previous base realignment closure commissions and/or work in the military area. REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA asked how a public member from Juneau would have information on the closure of bases. Number 1549 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded that the possibility or specter of opportunity would come under subsection (5). He said, "An individual who is a state resident and appointed jointly by the president and speaker after consideration of the recommendation of the commissioner of Military and Veterans' Affairs, I think for the fiscal note they were trying to give it a broad perspective of what the options out there were to make sure that the fiscal note was adequately addressed." Representative Mulder said he doesn't know if there is anybody in Juneau that is concerned or interested or wants to be involved, but it recognizes that the possibility exists. He said he believes the more important point about the public members is the fact that there are a number of individuals who are retired from the military and they reside in Fairbanks, Anchorage and throughout the state who are tremendous resources and who would have the opportunity of being immense help to the interim committee. Number 1640 CHRIS NELSON, Legislative Staff to the Senate Majority, Alaska State Legislature, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said, "In 1995, I was the chief of staff to the legislature's Joint Task Force on Military Bases, that headed up our efforts to defend our bases from the 1995 BRAC. I would hope that the committee would consider the fact that we are not alone in having bases that are being threatened by future closure initiatives and that other jurisdictions, right now, are moving just as we are moving to get ready to defend their bases. In January, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce retained R. Duffy Wall (ph), a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., that was their 1995 BRAC team in Washington, to begin to prepare a defense strategy to save Fort Carson. The state of New York, each year, has a line item budget to support its military bases within the state that the state government appropriates. Each year, the state of New York will be spending $7.8 million for all of its bases. We expect a large portion of that will go to try to defend Fort Drum. The state of California, likewise, has an agency in the state government completely devoted to military bases, the reuse of closed bases and defending their current bases from future BRAC closures. So there are people that are already moving towards preparing their bases for defense in a BRAC 2001 and I think that HB 356 is a very prudent and careful measure that puts Alaska on an equal footing. It involves members of the legislature. It also, at this time, provides for public members that can bring a new perspective into this thing. I think that it provides for a broadly based organization that can start the process now so that we don't get caught flat footed." He said in 1994 and 1995, Alaska came into the game rather late. Mr. Nelson said he believes this is a great opportunity to be ahead of the curve for BRAC 2001 and to pull together a lot of the people who were involved in BRAC 1995, and keep our institutional memory going. Number 1774 TIM ROGERS, Legislative Program Coordinator, Municipality of Anchorage, came before the committee to testify in support of CSHB 356. He said the military is a very important and vital resource for the state of Alaska. It provides significant economic resources to the state. He said the municipality is concerned that there may be some threat to that resource in the future. Mr. Rogers pointed out that the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce has just recently formed their own BRAC Committee and the Municipality of Anchorage is working with the chamber on that committee. Mr. Rogers stated that if it weren't for the joint task force that was appointed in 1994, he is thoroughly certain that the negative impact on Anchorage would have been much more severe if nothing was done. He urged passage of the legislation. Number 1847 CHAIR MASEK said she would hold the HB 356 over until the next meeting as she wants to review the fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER stated that he is proud that there is a House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs and he would like to see the Senate have one also. ADJOURNMENT Number 1910 CHAIR MASEK adjourned the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs at 5:10 p.m.

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