Legislature(2001 - 2002)
02/07/2002 03:13 PM MLV
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS February 7, 2002 3:13 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Mike Chenault, Chair Representative Lisa Murkowski Representative Sharon Cissna Representative Joe Hayes MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Beverly Masek Representative Joe Green Representative Pete Kott OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT Representative Richard Foster COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 20 Relating to declaring September 11, 2002, as Emergency Service Providers and Armed Forces Appreciation Day. - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 33 Expressing gratitude to President George W. Bush, to the President's cabinet, and to the men and women of the United States armed forces and declaring support for the war on terrorism. - MOVED CSHJR 33(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HCR 20 SHORT TITLE:EMERGENCY SERVICE PROVIDER DAY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)STEVENS Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 01/14/02 1946 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 01/14/02 1946 (H) MLV 01/14/02 1946 (H) REFERRED TO MLV 01/29/02 (H) MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124 01/29/02 (H) Heard & Held MINUTE(MLV) 02/07/02 (H) MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HJR 33 SHORT TITLE:SUPPORT WAR ON TERRORISM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)JAMES Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 01/22/02 2028 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 01/22/02 2028 (H) MLV 01/22/02 2028 (H) REFERRED TO MLV 02/07/02 (H) MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE GARY STEVENS Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 428 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HCR 20. MARK JOHNSON, Chief Community Health & Emergency Medical Services Division of Public Health Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110616 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0616 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of the intent behind HCR 20. REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 214 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HJR 33. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 02-7, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIR MIKE CHENAULT called the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting to order at 3:13 p.m. Representatives Chenault, Murkowski, Cissna, and Hayes were present at the call to order. HCR 20 - EMERGENCY SERVICE PROVIDER DAY Number 0077 CHAIR CHENAULT announced the first order of business, HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 20, Relating to declaring September 11, 2002, as Emergency Service Providers and Armed Forces Appreciation Day. CHAIR CHENAULT pointed out a new proposed committee substitute (CS) in packets. [Prepared by the committee aide, it bore the title, "Relating to declaring September 11, 2002, as a Day of Remembrance."] Number 0116 REPRESENTATIVE GARY STEVENS, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor, noted that HCR 20 had been discussed at a previous meeting. He pointed out that [the proposed CS] asks the governor to declare September 11, 2002, as a day of remembrance. Included are [the people on] Flight 93 [which crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001], as well as those who were at the Pentagon. He stated the intention of paying respect to and honoring the people who were so deeply involved in that tragedy. He expressed satisfaction with the new proposed CS. CHAIR CHENAULT voiced appreciation for the cooperative effort to try to "round this out" so it [encompasses] all of the groups being discussed with regard to September 11. Number 0239 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to the second "Whereas" clause in the proposed CS, relating to Flight 93; she suggested that the name of the airline should be specified. She noted that some people truly fought to take that plane down in order to avoid the taking of more human life [by the hijackers]. At first, she expressed concern that the resolution talks about everybody on that flight; she then acknowledged that all the people on the plane certainly sacrificed their lives. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS agreed it should say "American Airlines" for clarity. He also agreed that everyone [on that flight] sacrificed his or her life, even if unable to respond. Number 0414 CHAIR CHENAULT clarified that the first "Whereas" clause deals with New York City and the World Trade Center, specifying the 343 firefighters and 23 police officers. [In the following "Whereas" clauses] Flight 93 is the flight [that went down] in Pennsylvania, and those who died in the attack on the Pentagon are included. Number 0527 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES proposed recognizing the people on the other planes as well. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS said that is a good point. He suggested it may go best in the first "Whereas" clause, which deals with New York City. CHAIR CHENAULT offered that it could go after "collapsed". He indicated perhaps the airlines and flight numbers should be specified. Number 0616 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI suggested that if it were to be put chronologically, the first "Whereas" clause might recognize the United Airlines and American Airlines flights that crashed into the World Trade Center, as well as the lives lost onboard; the second "Whereas" clause could cite the firefighters [and police officers] who lost their lives there. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI turned attention to the "Whereas" clause that mentions the lives lost at the Pentagon. She said it sounds impersonal to say "casualties". She proposed saying that 125 lives were lost, so it sounds less like a military statistic. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS replied that he was comfortable with that. He specified that it could read, "125 lives were lost in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon". Number 0795 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether the 125 included the people on the airliner as well as those in the Pentagon. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS offered his belief that it was a cumulative total. Number 0846 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES suggested specifying the flight number of the plane [that crashed into the Pentagon], for consistency. Number 0930 MARK JOHNSON, Chief, Community Health & Emergency Medical Services, Division of Public Health, Department of Health & Social Services, came forward to testify in support of the intent behind the resolution. Mentioning that he hadn't seen a copy of the proposed CS, he pointed out that he'd noted a couple of items in the original bill that sound as if they have been addressed. He mentioned law-enforcement people who died in New York City as an example. MR. JOHNSON also said he was pleased that the resolution recognizes emergency responders in Alaska; many of them were involved in responding to the events after September 11. He expressed hope that the revision would include those as well. He pointed out that most of the firefighters and EMS [emergency medical service] providers in Alaska are volunteers. Number 1016 CHAIR CHENAULT announced that the resolution would be fine-tuned and then brought back before the committee on February 12. Number 1062 REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS recapped the earlier discussion. The first "Whereas" clause would deal with the two airplanes that struck the World Trade Center. What would become the third "Whereas" clause would relate to Flight 93; American Airlines would be added as a clarification. In the "Whereas" clause about the Pentagon, included would be language about [the people] aboard the flight, specifying the airline and the flight number. He added that in response to Mr. Johnson's testimony, he wanted to include a comment in the next-to-the-last "Whereas" clause about Alaskan participants. CHAIR CHENAULT added that "lives lost" would be a change in the fourth "Whereas" clause. REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS concurred. [HCR 20 was held over.] HJR 33 - SUPPORT WAR ON TERRORISM Number 1166 CHAIR CHENAULT announced the final order of business, HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 33, Expressing gratitude to President George W. Bush, to the President's cabinet, and to the men and women of the United States armed forces and declaring support for the war on terrorism. Number 1170 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HJR 33, explained that the [terrorist attacks] on September 11, 2001, forced recognition of how serious the terrorist issue is globally. "They're in our midst, and they're everywhere," she said. Emphasizing that time is of the essence, she said this issue must be put on the top of the list. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES suggested that the most discouraging aspect is a feeling of powerlessness. Furthermore, a suspicion of others "totally destroys our own basic freedoms that we have in this country that we ... like so very much," she said. Representative James proposed that a hard line must be taken in order to defeat [the attitudes by the perpetrators that led to the attacks]; she cited poverty and despair as factors in the "fertile ground" that results in these kinds of problems in many countries, which often are managed by dictatorships. She stated the need for the nation to "reach our hand out to help some of these other people be able to help themselves to rid themselves of this scourge." Number 1353 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES told members she believes the importance of having a resolution is that "the people who are there with this assignment didn't necessarily ask for this assignment when they went there." She said almost everyone nationwide supports the efforts to "rid ourselves of this scourge." She expressed her belief that Alaskans are behind these efforts, as is the whole nation. Even though Alaskans are a long way from [where the particular attacks occurred], Valdez and the oil pipeline have been listed as valid targets, she noted. Therefore, she is voicing support and gratitude [through the resolution]. Number 1443 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES brought attention to an amendment proposed by Representative Cissna [later adopted as Amendment 3], labeled 22-LS1314\A.1, Cook, 2/7/02, which read: Page 1, line 3, following "terrorism": Insert "and for the President's effort to support democracies and promote peace worldwide" Page 2, line 8, following "terrorism": Insert "; and be it FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature declares support for the President's effort to support democracies and promote peace worldwide" REPRESENTATIVE JAMES advised members that she supports the idea behind the amendment and believes it makes HJR 33 stronger. Number 1490 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES remarked that she wouldn't be surprised to wake up some morning to find [another attack], but emphasized the importance of "getting on with our lives." She again expressed gratitude that people are taking care of this issue in a direct way, doing their best to try to get rid of this scourge. She offered to answer questions. Number 1552 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that although perhaps Alaskans feel a modicum of safety [from terrorist attacks] because of the geographical location, many serious issues still arise. She agreed that it is important to send a message thanking these people for what they are doing. Calling it a timely resolution, she suggested perhaps it should have been sent even earlier. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that HJR 33 specifically recognizes the efforts of Secretary of State [Colin Powell], Secretary of Defense [Donald Rumsfeld], and Director of Homeland Security [Tom Ridge]; she suggested adding them to the distribution list as well. She suggested perhaps doing the same for the Joint Chief of Staff, so that the message could get to the members of the armed services. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI also proposed having a reference to the National Guard. She said the guard certainly "hopped to" in all 50 states in order to address any contingencies. Number 1681 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated agreement. She added that the National Guard will have an increasing role in protecting [Americans]. She also noted that the President is encouraging more people to go into the Peace Corps, for example. She pointed out that not only must terrorism be fought, but also there must be a plan "that helps these people to help themselves in their freedom issues that they have and being able to ... help these little places where they just don't have the wherewithal or the power to make changes." She added, "If we have people willing to go do that, I think we should probably recognize that." She restated her willingness to add that as an amendment. Number 1779 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI moved to adopt [conceptual] Amendment 1, on page 2, line 2, after "Coast Guard", to insert "the National Guard" and fix the grammar and commas. CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether there was any objection. [No objection was stated, and Amendment 1 was treated as adopted.] Number 1824 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI moved to adopt [conceptual] Amendment 2, on page 2, line 12, after "Congress", to insert "Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge", and whoever the Joint Chief of Staff is. There being no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted. Number 1874 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA moved to adopt Amendment 3, labeled 22- LS1314\A.1, Cook, 2/7/02 [text provided previously]. CHAIR CHENAULT objected in order to ask whether this is the correct format; he removed his objection after a brief explanation was offered. Number 2040 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES objected to Amendment 3, noting that amendments he would offer may conflict. He expressed concern about leaving out Congress. He suggested the first "Whereas" clause could say "the federal government has shown leadership, using their offices [and so forth]"; it then would list President Bush, the Secretaries, and so on, and would include Congress. The resolution would require another "Whereas" clause discussing Congress also, which has just as much relevance in this, he said, as the President and his cabinet. Furthermore, under the "Be It Resolved" section, it would still need to either say "the federal government, as [an] omnibus" or include Congress. REPRESENTATIVE HAYES explained that it is nice to recognize the President by himself, but the current language leaves out a large part [of the government]. He pointed out that if there were a resolution recognizing Alaska's governor, legislators would object [to not being included]. Furthermore, HJR 33 is to be sent to Alaska's congressional delegation, although Congress isn't even recognized in it. Number 2135 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES respectfully disagreed, saying it isn't the purpose for which she did it. "It's not to make a laundry list of everyone who has participated and who hasn't," she said. Although the majority of Congress has supported [the war on terrorism], there has been some dispute, she noted. She said she didn't think it was appropriate, although perhaps she could think about it further. She suggested that if it would make Representative Hayes happier, Alaska's congressional delegation could be left out [of the distribution list] specifically, with all members of Congress to receive a copy instead. [Representative Hayes didn't respond verbally, but indicated he didn't agree with this last suggestion.] REPRESENTATIVE JAMES concluded by saying she didn't understand. Number 2200 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES offered his understanding that as far as the war on terrorism goes, there is no opposition in Congress; rather, there is opposition regarding domestic policies that have no relevance to the war on terrorism. In the federal government, he noted, there has been quite of bit of bipartisanship when it has involved financing the war on terrorism and supporting the troops. REPRESENTATIVE HAYES said he understood the desire to not have a laundry list. He reiterated his earlier suggestion to begin the resolution with the federal government, followed by specific "Whereas" clauses [that include Congress]. Number 2250 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES responded that it isn't intended to be a partisan issue. The President happens to be commander in chief of the military, and that is where the leadership in this particular issue comes from. She suggested that encouraging [President Bush] fully regarding this issue covers the breadth of the issue. She said everyone knows that other folks are supporting this issue. "I don't want to make this appear to be partisan or nonpartisan or bipartisan or partisan at all," she added. "This has to do with the commander in [chief] and the decisions that have been made at the top level," she concluded. "And that was my intent." Number 2316 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES replied that he wouldn't want to vote against this or any other resolution. However, it would be shortsighted to not recognize the work Congress did. At least theoretically, if the plane [that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001] had found its target, there might not be a Congress right now. "I think we should recognize the work that those brave men and women are also doing," he added, noting that the President has to obtain funds from Congress in order to declare war. "The Congress is an integral part of this process, and I just think that you have to recognize them - some way, shape, or form - in this, or you're leaving out a large chunk of your ... government," Representative Hayes concluded. Number 2361 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI remarked that she understands where the sponsor is coming from. President Bush represents and symbolizes the government, in addition to being an individual. She said she had no problem with singling him out, since he leads "from the top down." REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI then suggested that Representative Hayes could resolve his objection by adding Congress in the "Be It Resolved" clause [page 2, beginning on line 4] where the legislature is expressing gratitude to the President, his cabinet, and the men and women of the armed forces for their leadership and sacrifice. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she had no problem with that. Number 2428 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES replied that it is acceptable to him to a point. If it just expressed gratitude to the President for the great job he has done, that would be fine with him. However, it highlights [in the "Whereas" clauses and the title] his cabinet, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of Homeland Security - who is new in the position and hasn't really done a lot yet. If people other than the President are included, then Congress also should be commended for the bipartisan manner in which it worked to achieve victory too. It should be either all or just the President, he again proposed. Number 2489 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI suggested another compromise, in the first "Whereas" clause: "recognizing that [President] Bush has shown leadership at home, using his office to rally the nation and Congress". She explained that the President has rallied Congress and set the example and tone; Congress, reasonably, has followed. She added, "I think it's kind of superfluous myself." REPRESENTATIVE HAYES proposed the wording, "rallied Congress and the nation". REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she would like to have Representative Cissna's amendment [Amendment 3] approved. Number 2560 CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether there was any objection to Amendment 3. There being no objection, Amendment 3 was adopted. Number 2570 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI came up with another proposal [to address the concerns of Representative Hayes], on page 1, line 8, to have it say "shown leadership nationally and internationally, building a broad coalition of nations to support the fight against terrorism". She said [President Bush] has shown leadership throughout the country, which is reflected in Congress. Further in the resolution, then, Congress could be thanked in the "Resolved" section. REPRESENTATIVE HAYES indicated agreement with that idea, but again pointed out that the "Whereas" section of the resolution highlights three men from the President's cabinet; he said he doesn't see why it can't include Congress there as well. He reiterated that Congress is who presents the budget that allows this war on terrorism. Number 2651 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI moved to adopt Amendment 4, on page 2, line 5 [in the "Be It Resolved" section], after "the President's cabinet," to insert the U.S. Congress. There being no objection, Amendment 4 was adopted. Number 2685 REPRESENTATIVE HAYES indicated he needed more time to arrive at wording regarding the addition of Congress in the "Whereas" section. He asked whether the resolution could be held over. CHAIR CHENAULT noted that the committee had moved in the direction of including Congress by adopting Amendment 4. He stated his intention of moving the resolution from committee, however. He acknowledged that perhaps Representative Hayes hadn't received his committee packet earlier enough to draft amendments. REPRESENTATIVE HAYES announced that he would come up with an amendment for the House floor. Number 2778 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI moved to report HJR 33, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHJR 33(MLV) was reported from the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was adjourned at 3:57 p.m.